Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT): Replacing Soldiers with Technology

If you watch any Sci-Fi war-themed movie, you’ll know of the high-tech gadgets the soldiers use against their adversaries. While it may be fiction now, it’s slowly becoming a reality over time! With the Internet of Things developing at a rapid rate, so too has the military’s capabilities to develop their own hardware to those previously unattainable Sci-Fi levels of complexity. So, how is the “Internet of Battlefield Things” shaping up?


Military drones have been around for quite some time, usually manned by someone on the other end of the screen. The modern-day military drone, however, won’t work just as a single unit, but as an entire swarm!

This is the objective of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in northern Israel. They’re working on a drone swarm that can act and move similarly to a flock of birds. They can use their numbers to scan the battlefield, and when they detect an enemy, they can attack in unison for an efficient defense force that doesn’t put allied lives at risk.

Advanced Scouting

We haven’t yet gotten to the point where the military can only send out bots to do war instead of humans. As such, there are times where human soldiers are needed in the frontline. Even here, however, the Internet of Battlefield Things is replacing humans to give the soldiers the best intel with no danger to life.

You know how Nest cameras can keep track of a home regardless of whether the owner is in or not? Imagine that kind of system but across an entire battlefield. Enemy soldiers will think they’re being discreet by hiding in the woods, but if the trees themselves have hidden cameras beaming back their location over a 5G connection, their cover is blown long before the fight even starts.

Soldiers themselves will see equipment upgrades to make their loadout “smarter.” With all the IoBT gadgets sending data back to their gear, it can give a soldier ‘extra sensory’ perception over what’s going on in the battlefield.

A member of the IoBT REIGN team, Tancréde Lepoint, mentioned that this technology could even be used on ammunition. A commander could designate targets to shoot, and any soldier who disobeys the order will find their gun won’t fire at all.

What Does This Mean For The Future?

With technology both enhancing soldiers and standing in for them, this new scene of IoBT is an interesting one. It could start off an arms race in the technological world, with the army with the most advanced technology being the ‘top dog’ of the world.

Of course, all this technology is useless if none of it works. As armies become more and more advanced due to technological advancements, so too does the potential for an enemy to do damage by infiltrating the system and damaging it from the inside. We may see wars fought on a digital level, as both sides try to penetrate the defenses of the other’s IoBT to disable their equipment.

We’re already seeing a large amount of cyber warfare between countries right now, but when a digital attack could also significantly weaken a physical army, it creates an even greater incentive to crack open the enemy’s virtual defenses. As such, we may see the next big wars done digitally instead of physically.

Military Might

The connectivity of the Internet of Things makes it a very useful tool for the military as well as civilians. As soldiers and equipment become more enhanced by the Internet of Battlefield Things, we may see a shift toward digital warfare to interrupt the enemy’s intelligence.

How digital do you think future wars will be? Let us know below.

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Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a freelance writer who loves fiction, technology, history, and cats.