Making Strategic Business Decisions? 4 Latest Military Technologies To Stay Ahead of the Curve


Imagine controlling your car just with the power of your mind or making your networks so secure that a hacker will not know where and what to attack. How about simulating an entire smart city? The technologies to make these scenarios a reality are being developed by military R&D departments and made available for commercial purposes as well. How can businesses use these technologies?

What is the common link between defense and business? Staying prepared: anytime, anywhere. While a country’s military should always be prepared to defend the country in a war-like situation, an organization should always be ready to forge ahead of its competition.

There is another common thread between these two entities, and that is technology. In today’s world, a country’s military needs advanced technology to win a war or protect its defense secrets. Similarly, an organization needs to have the technology to improve efficiencies, enhance product and service offerings, and protect its sensitive data. What if businesses have access to some of the latest military technologies? It can unlock vast opportunities in the consumer market.

This article discusses some of the latest technologies militaries are developing and using, the civilian applications they have, and how they can help organizations build their business strategies.

Technology 1: Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI)

A brain-computer interfaceOpens a new window (BCI) technology is currently underway at the University of Delaware (moved from Arizona State University). This technology can help people operate machines such as drones just using their minds. A fleet of mind-controlled drones is only one of the BCI applications being explored by researchers at RAND Corporation. The corporation is also exploring further applications to see how this technology can contribute to global security.

The BCI technology allows a human brain and an external device to communicate by exchanging signals. If successful, BCI technology will give humans the ability to control machines without physical constraints. Non-invasive tools such as sensors can be applied around the head so that the brain can send signals, while invasive methods would require surgery. While invasive procedures offer more accurate signals, they may have health risks. Further, they will also raise serious legal and ethical concerns.

What are its applications?

While BCI undoubtedly has numerous military applications, it also has healthcare, marketing, education, and entertainment applications. For example, imagine people who have lost their limbs. The technology can help them control sophisticated prosthetic limbs directly using their mind. Another medical application is where people battling Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can improve their memories through implanted electrodes. Beyond this, BCI can be applied in smart home technology where the surrounding components at home or workplace can adapt according to the person’s mental state. In media and marketing, BCI based assessment can measure the watching activity and associated attention span for a TV commercial.

How can brands use this technology to create a business strategy?

BCI is still in its early stages of development and study as to its practical applications and potential risks. However, some of its functions may be available within a few years. Corporations such as Neuralink, Emotiv, NextMind, and BitBrain are already using BCI technology to develop commercial solutions. Any organization that can utilize this technology can bring significant innovation in its product or service offerings.

Technology 2: Signals Intelligence

Signals Intelligence is a technology that can help marketers and businesses similar to their military counterparts, according to Frances ZelaznyOpens a new window , CMO, Signal AnalyticsOpens a new window .

Zelaznyy further adds, “In the military, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), is used to intercept signals from people (COMINT) and electronic signals (ELINT). It deciphers encrypted messages, identifies senders, and analyzes the signals to draw conclusions for acting. Applying this approach to marketing, AI is leveraged to ingest data from a variety of sources, including unstructured data from external sources, which are otherwise difficult to contextualize. From there, machine learning and next-generation Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies are utilized to extract meaning from and uncover trends and predictive insights that marketers can use for their strategic planning.”

How can brands use this technology to create a business strategy?

Zelaznyy says that this approach, called advanced analytics, helps marketers develop situational awareness, a phrase with roots in the military. Leveraging these capabilities enables automatic and scalable analysis of a wide range of signals, and allows marketers to make smart, data-backed decisions. For example, one beverage manufacturer recognized declining consumer sentiment around carbonated soft drinks. By analyzing the voice of the consumer, product reviews, patent filings, and other market signals, it was able to pinpoint specific features consumers wanted – caffeine and carbonation. The company used this market intelligence to develop a new product line, now on track to become a $1 billion brand.

Technology 3: Digital Twins

A digital twinOpens a new window is a digital replica of a real-world entity, people, systems, places, devices, and processes. The technology can be used both in and outside the context of IoT. It offers information about how a real-world device operates, how it responds to changes, and how it works with other devices. GartnerOpens a new window estimated that, with about 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints existing by 2020, there would be digital twins for billions of things soon. Outside the context of IoT, digital twins can be used to represent everything besides devices.  

Digital twins are dynamically connected to their real-world counterparts and with each other. By infusing IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics capabilities to digital twins, digital simulation models can be created. These simulation models change in real-time as physical entities change.

What are its applications?

Digital twins have a wide range of applications. In the short term, they offer help with asset management. However, they are valuable in gaining insights into how products are used and how their operational efficiency can be improved in the long term. For example, they can help city planners run advanced simulations of urban environments to planning smarter neighborhoods. Manufacturing companies can use digital twins to make their product lifecycle management (PLM) more efficient. Companies such as General Electric, Mechanical Solutions, and Arctic Wind use digital twin technology to improve their effectiveness.

How can brands use this technology to create a business strategy?

Gartner predictsOpens a new window that by 2021, almost 50% of large industrial companies will employ digital twins, which will improve their effectiveness by 10%. Further, Markets and Markets estimates that the digital twins market will reach $15.66 billionOpens a new window by 2023. These estimates show how essential this technology will become for businesses. Digital twins can create enterprise value and new customers by improving product quality, operations, and customer experience. They can further provide highly reliable data and rich insights, leading to innovation and better offer designs.

Technology 4: Moving Target Defense

In the age of ever-growing security threats, protecting sensitive data is of absolute importance. Data security is especially of paramount concern in both the defense and civilian fields. The moving target defenseOpens a new window technology (MTD) is expected to be a game-changer in data security. The technology has its origins in academic and military research (conceived by the Department of Homeland Security). Moving target defense makes the attack surface dynamic, flipping the attack-defense asymmetry. It dynamically and continuously morphs and shifts the defense infrastructure such as data, networks, or application layers, confusing and making it difficult for hackers over time.

Source: CryptoMove

What are its applications?

Currently, several MTD tools are being developed by various groups. For example, random and frequent mutation of a few system configuration attributes can be used to defeat a wide range of code injection attacks on web applications. Similarly, MTD can change the program to invalidate collected information, thereby preventing an attacker from building a powerful attack. The technology can also be used as a cryptographic mechanism to secure communication in case a hacker uses a quantum computer. Several startups such as CryptoMove, Polyverse, and Morphisec are actively developing the technology further and creating security products for businesses.

How can brands use this technology in their business strategy?

Technology such as MTD becomes essential in today’s world where cyber threats are getting increasingly complex, and sensitive data is becoming more vulnerable. Moving target defense provides businesses an edge over attackers by making them challenging targets. MTD further reduces the need for threat detection solutions. The technology is also a scalable security solution as it can be applied irrespective of the size of networks, terminals, or servers.

MTD’s benefits outweigh its costs and can be an essential component of an organization’s cybersecurity strategy.

To Conclude

Next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain revolutionize both military and businesses as they find their applications in both the fields. Further, the latest military technologies are also finding their way into commercial use. As such, organizations should not shy away from using these emerging technologies anymore. Of course, some of these technologies do have legal and ethical concerns. Nevertheless, with the right legal and ethical policies in place, organizations can gain significant business advantage by implementing them.

How can the latest military technology help you stay ahead of the curve? Share your thoughts with us on LinkedInOpens a new window , FacebookOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window .