Special Report

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A swirl of advanced video, audio and data technologies promises an exciting future for how people in government agencies will talk and collaborate with one another. Converging existing systems into an IP network is essential for this and agencies don’t have much time, but it’s proving to be a slow process.
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The old idea of converged communications focused on voice over IP, but with video, instant messaging and social media now at the fore, voice no longer seems in fashion. But it’s still the core of IP convergence programs, and it still needs to be the basis for agency planning.
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Agencies will use the cloud to deliver many different kinds of services, and it could also provide a pathway for converged IP services. It’s not for everything, but if agencies paid more attention to cloud capabilities, it could help them with most of what they need.
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The need for security has been a drag on early IP convergence efforts, though that was probably overstated. Going forward, agencies can’t depend on generic IP security to provide protection. They’ll need to come up with architectures and security schemes that deal specifically with VOIP and other IP-based communications.
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Many agencies are thinking of what it will take to converge their communications network, but DOD has already begun to do it. Making the change to all-IP networks is the key to the kind of situational awareness and intelligence warfighters will need to fight future wars.
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