Intelligence: VidCams Go To War


December 27, 2005: Singapore is embracing commercial technology for combat intelligence. A new unit, the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion are using tools popular with police and private security firms. The primary item is the digital video camera, and encrypted radio transmission of the video and sound data to troops equipped with laptops. The intel troops also use more conventional tools, like binoculars. But vidcams placed on the ground, or operating in UAVs, are the main tools. Just as police and commercial security specialists have discovered, that a lot of vidcams can provide ample information, the Singaporean troops are developing tactics to do the same. Enemy soldiers, as well as criminals, will be on the outlook for vidcams, so emplacing the devices, so they remain hidden, is now an essential military skill. Another useful technology is pattern recognition software that enables one soldier to monitor many vidcams. The software recognizes military useful images, alerts the monitoring troops, and ignores everything else. Moreover, the video images can be saved and reviewed by the intel troops. This would include adjusting the pattern recognition software to look for new information. The Singapore battalion will also use other types of sensors (acoustic, seismic and so on) for collecting information on what is going on over a wide area. The new generation of sensors are smaller, cheaper and more reliable. Thus fewer of them will fail when used, and when they are lost, the cost won’t break the bank (or prevent there being plenty of spares to replace them.)


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