Morale: Video Email From the Combat Zone


January10, 2007: The U.S. Army has made video email available to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The service began in December, 2006, and over 3,500 video emails were sent the first week. The service operates via the army's AKO (Army Knowledge Online) intranet. This is the largest intranet (a closed section of the internet, usually set up for large corporations to conduct their business) in the world, with 1.8 million registered users (active and reserve troops, dependents and retirees are eligible to use it.) AKO now contains easy-to-use tools for creating and sending the video emails. The service is mainly aimed at troops in combat zones, where high speed Internet access is often not available. AKO sees that the large video files get delivered. Otherwise, trying to send large attachments, of videos the troops have made themselves, is often impossible because of the slow Internet connections in combat zones. Most of the Internet Cafes in the combat zone have PCs equipped with vidcams. Troops are warned about not transmitting any information that would compromise security. Email, or the video email, is not checked for such information, and so far that "honor system" approach has worked. The video email shows the folks back home that their guy (or gal) is OK, and the troops can see family and friends back home in full motion video.


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