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Mark Rushton, Vitec
ATLANTA - GeorgiaChron -- The ISR intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) community faces growing challenges as the volume of information shared, including real-time video streams, continues growing exponentially. The complexity associated with data collected, analyzed and disseminated to meet mission-critical objectives has been matched only by the increasingly diverse set of stakeholders with strategic—and urgent—interests in ISR work product.

"Delivering critical data to different sets of collaborators requires a new approach to the system architecture that underpins today's ISR operations as leaders address the challenges of 1) securing communications, 2) overcoming bandwidth limitations, and 3) ensuring data protection across multiple networks," says Mark Rushton, Global Defense and Security Lead at VITEC in an audio interview for journalists.

Adding nuance to the equation is that the types of devices receiving and processing video data have also become more complex. ISR equipment is no longer limited to being consumed on large screens in operation command centers. Video intelligence is also delivered to portable devices in remote locations where users—who may need this information the most—often have limited access to bandwidth," says Rushton.

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Evolving Role of IP Video

In this context, the use of IP video in ISR has rapidly evolved, driven by technological advances, higher demands for real-time data, and the need for better interoperability and security.

"IP-video technology allows for the seamless sharing of real-time feeds across various platforms and devices. This is crucial for ISR operations that support timely decision-making and coordination among different stakeholders, including military units, intelligence agencies and coalition partners," he says.

Advancements in video compression algorithms, such as advanced video coding (AVC or H.264), high-efficiency video coding (HEVC or H.265), and versatile video coding (VVC), have improved video quality while reducing bandwidth requirements.

"This means high-resolution video can be sent over various networks, even with limited bandwidth, without losing quality," says Rushton.

Like most other important areas of technology application, ISR has not been immune to the forces driving the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). The community of interest is rapidly coming to grips with the implications of integrating IP video with AI and machine learning to enhance ISR capabilities.

"A growing number of use cases are emerging that leverage how AI analyzes video feeds in real-time to detect anomalies, identify objects or individuals and provide actionable insights. In so doing, these intelligent automated measures significantly reduce the workload on human analysts in theaters of operation that produce an overwhelming amount of data," he says.

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Embracing Standards and COTS

The key to taming the volume and complexity of today's ISR environment, according to Rushton, is to double down on established technology standards that future-proof solutions while enabling backward compatibility.

"Standards are essential for supporting the ISR mission. It is the only way everyone—including system architects, platform vendors, signal integrators, ISR commanders and third-party collaborators—can ensure systems are compatible and work together," says Rushton.

While a standards-based approach to interoperability prevents the ISR community from being locked into proprietary technologies that limit future options, it must also be coupled with utilizing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that offer access to the latest and greatest technology without the need to develop something from scratch.

This ensures that everyone can leverage commonly used technology, facilitating compatibility and interoperability.

"That is why it is important for decision-makers to choose options with an upgradable path that can be utilized in the future. By allowing for flexibility, as the ISR environment evolves, standards-based COTS solutions offer the best way to optimize operational effectiveness while maximizing return on investment," he concludes.

EDITORIAL NOTE: To read the full Q&A of our interview with VITEC's Mark Rushton, visit: https://bit.ly/3XYHg8S.

Source: VITEC

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