Microsoft, SES and Nokia demo Azure communications technology for Australian Defense

11. 04. 2022 Monday / By: Robert Denes / Industrial / Exact time: BST / Print this page

M icrosoft has announced that it has partnered with SES and Nokia to successfully demonstrate secure access to the Azure cloud platform over private 5G and satellite communications networks, while defense organizations continue to respond to new threats and changing strategic circumstances.

One of the biggest challenges is accessing and sharing large amounts of data from remote locations quickly and securely, with defense organizations having access to the best possible technology for modernized military capabilities and high-performance operations. Through integration, organizations can provide cloud-based services anytime, anywhere, including remote and rigorous environments. Nokia has created a secure, private 5G network with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud solution. This streamlined, plug-and-play connection provides fast access to ultra-low latency high capacity networks.

During the demo, users accessed the SAP maintenance environment hosted by Microsoft Azure using laptops connected to a private 5G network. This concept shows that security personnel working in the field can access and update an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution without having to wait to return to the primary facility or base. Vehicle data can also be accessed and analyzed in the field, synchronizing the results with the ERP platform.

With real-time ERP updates, logistics and commanders at the center can make decisions based on the latest tactical data from vehicle fleets. Both raw and processed data can be sent from off-road vehicles via SATCOM to enterprise systems if the operational situation allows, increasing commanders ’awareness of the devices installed. Better access to data also provides the ability to automate and optimize background processes, such as predictive maintenance, inventory management, fleet management, and operating budget forecasting. During the demonstration, SES - Azure Orbital Ground Station as a service partner - demonstrated the possibility of high-volume data transmission by accessing the O3b satellite system via portable terminal antennas. The Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) O3b system, which orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 8,000 km, provides a low-latency, high-performance connection. SES’s next-generation second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, represents a significant change in the capabilities of satellite-based networks. With an unparalleled scale, the system can deliver up to several gigabits per second transfer rate per service, providing flexible cloud and edge connectivity. In this tutorial, the download and upload speeds reached 348 Mbps and 67 Mbps, respectively. With O3b mPOWER, bandwidth can be scaled from 100 Mbps to Gigabit, depending on the requirements of the mission.

Azure Services can be used to display live positions and analytics data in a dashboard in the area. During the demo, the Microsoft Azure Stack Edge Mini R, an ultra-portable, rugged-edge computing tool, was used for on-site computing and analysis, enabling advanced cloud analysis and visualization in both connected and disconnected environments. Using a 5G and SATCOM connection, data analysis can also be performed on Azure’s hyper-scale cloud-based computing platform. For example, predictive maintenance analysis can be used to automatically send alerts and notifications and feed relevant data into ERP maintenance modules, allowing you to schedule maintenance orders, check inventory, and automate staffing requirements.

By unleashing the power of SATCOM, 5G, and cloud computing, security organizations can stay connected in remote locations, share data quickly and securely to increase strategic awareness, and perform in-depth data analysis to improve decision-making. The reference architecture created by the defense demonstration can be easily transferred to other sectors where remote connectivity and data analysis is required, including agriculture, healthcare, mining and resources, transportation, and logistics.

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