New Army commercial cloud deal offers smartphone chat, video & voice

An AT&T Unified Capabilities deal will expedite cloud-based voice, video, chat and data services.

The Army is now working with AT&T on a new commercial cloud effort that improves interoperability using voice, video, screen sharing and chat functions for one million service business leaders on both classified and unclassified networks.

Called the Unified Capabilities Soft Client subscription service contract, the deal will facilitate IT modernization and greater data sharing access across an array of command and control systems, including  home station facilities.

"Unified Capabilities is one of the first commercial cloud-based solutions that will be delivered across the Army Enterprise," said Sergio Alvarez, product lead, Enterprise Content Collaboration and Messaging.

By using a commercial cloud, users will be able to draw upon software to access voice services from any Army approved end user device--desktops, laptops, tablet computers and smartphones.

Forward deployed or dismounted soldiers will have an ability to connect and share combat relevant data from farther distances, potentially beyond an otherwise limited network.

“This is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) contract that avoids a capital investment.  There are many benefits to COTS including saving money on initial investment, meeting IT requirements while avoiding costs, lowering maintenance investments, cost-effective new upgrades and features and using technology that has already been tested,” an Army statement said.

The service will also provide video conferences and desktop sharing services, as well as multi-user chat functions.