Internet of Things for Command and Control

NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) chose WonderBit in a tender process as partner to create a prototype demonstrating secure integration of heterogeneous Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and actuators with existing NATO Command and Control (C2) systems.

Employing IoT in a military context

WonderBit designed, built and delivered a proof of concept demonstrating the capabilities of loT technologies for C2 in the context of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. In the case of a natural or human-induced event (such as an earthquake, flooding, tornado or major explosion) increased situational awareness (SA) helps in better decision-making and therefor has the potential of minimizing the number of human casualties. IoT data from public and private sensors may contribute significantly to this increased SA.

In this comprehensive IoT project, WonderBit explored and employed diverse IoT hardware sensors, as well as associate software technologies such as object recognition through machine learning techniques, advanced data-centric encryption procedures and broker-based message exchange mechanisms. In collaboration with other partners from the NATO’s Science and Technology Organization (STO) IST-176 Working Group, WonderBit integrated Identity and Access Management (IAM) by means of distributed ledger technology and data exchange through the distributed interplanetary file system (IPFS) protocol.

The final deliverable was a “one-click“ deployable application, where a presenter with a minimal technical knowledge can guide an audience through the benefits of integration of heterogeneous IoT technologies with C2 systems.

Secure processing and distribution of sensor data

WonderBit's fully “containerized” prototype demonstrates how sensor data of public or private provenance can be collected, processed and forwarded securely to external applications.

Presenting two real-life examples, the prototype collects environmental data from real sensors as well as visual data from open live camera streams. In the case of the live camera, the video stream is processed using real-time image processing technology to detect objects. The detected objects are assigned text labels (such as “person”, or “car”) which can be forwarded to other processes.

Data is secured using data-centric mechanisms, such as ciphertext policy attribute-based encryption (CP-ABE), and is formatted in compliance with the NATO standardization agreements (STANAGs). This ensures that NATO nations are able to process incoming data in a standardized way. A distributed open-source architecture, based on message queue telemetry transport (MQTT) and IPFS protocols, is used for sharing the data. Lastly, the authorized C2 applications are able to ingest this incoming data, and visualize it to the end users in support of the decision-making process.

Image recognition and object detection

Surveillance cameras are everywhere nowadays and are powerful sensors, producing highly valuable information. Object detection is a computer technology related to image processing that allows identifying and locating objects in pictures and video streams.

Object detection is a topic that has been covered for a long time before neural network approaches became accessible. Some of the best known technologies are SIFT (Scale Invariant Feature Transform) and HOG (Histogram of Oriented Gradients).

A Google search on “object detection” points to YOLO, R-CNN or similar neural network based algorithms, as they provide very accurate responses for real-time object detection systems.

Attribute-based encryption

Encryption is the process of scrambling information so that only authorized parties can read the information. Attribute-based encryption (ABE) is a way of cryptographically encoding information that allows users to decrypt and encrypt data based on the attributes of the data and the user. Only users with a certain attribute, for example their clearance level or country of origin, are granted access to the specific data. One of the most evident benefits of ABE is its ability to support a fine-grained access control.

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