On 26 November 2014, the Agency Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Service Line team demonstrated the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology to the General Manager by providing a status update on the 'Eye Catch' project; an activity where the Agency has provided important subject matter expertise to the Italian MoD in close collaboration with the Army General Staff Logistic Department.
Connection to the NATO JOC Watch Server and various other functionalities were demonstrated, including a patrol reporting feature that allows a soldier to take pictures with the AR glasses, already enriched with metadata (location, time, soldier ID, spatial orientation) and send it to a digital patrol report available on a soldier-ruggedized Scorpion smartphone.
Among the various applications that were described (and that are under development following the Agile Software development concept), is the employment of collected data for biometric usage. This functionality has the potential to be extremely useful for soldiers guarding an Entry Control Point of a base, allowing them to rapidly identify a potential enemy trying to enter (without him being aware). Such a utility could be key for a rapid reaction and could ultimately help save lives.
Smart Defence initiative
One of the end goals will be to launch a Smart Defence initiative in mid-2015 that, under the leadership of the Italy, will look to identify other Nations interested in continuing to develop this activity. A key objectives of this initiative will be to provide dismounted soldiers with a capability to enhance their situational awareness. In addition, this concept could also allow the dismounted solider to be used as an additional 'sensor' on the ground, collecting valuable data to support intel analysis/exploitation and to help provide decision advantage.