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The concept of a soldier with a battery powered radio hiding in the bushes and reporting back to base for enemy troop position information is, other than in the movies, long gone. Heck, even the days of email and email attachments being sent via satellite modem to provide this kind of in-the-field data would appear to be numbered. Instead, it would seem, the US Army is maintaining an up to date SharePoint portal over satellite instead.

The US Army South has successfully deployed Corpora’s iOra Application Acceleration software alongside its Microsoft SharePoint platform to provide improved in-the-field access to operational information and collaboration with their main command post at Fort Sam, Houston. The network acceleration solution has enhanced the army’s ability to coordinate its humanitarian, theater security co-operation and anti terrorism operations in Southern and Central America according to a press release from Corpora that I received today.

The Army’s SharePoint deployment relies on this acceleration technology to provide soldiers with round-the-clock access to operational information wherever they are, sending each other links to pages they have created on SharePoint. This critical information can be more safely stored, kept more up to date and made more accessible to whoever needs it than it was when the military relied on that old technology of email.

Corpora cite an example of how this is enhancing the US Army south operations comes from their theater security co-operation exercises in remote areas of South America. The iOra technology provides them with all the decision-making information that was available to them at Fort Sam Houston, the army’s personnel in the field can access their SharePoint portal via mobile command posts mounted in HMMWVs over low bandwidth satellite communications. iOra compresses the data being transmitted over satellite by up to 99%. When the army is asked to respond to a contingency, the solution enables Fort Sam personal and field personnel to immediately create web pages on which all the relevant operational information for that event can be shared.

This long distance collaboration on SharePoint would simply not be possible without application acceleration technology. Personnel can now share information more effectively, and they have access in the field to over 500,000 documents that they did not previously have including large images like maps.

Although still a trial, based upon the success of the South American project it looks likely that iOra and SharePoint will be rolled out to support US troop operations in Central America and the Caribbean next.

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