The Polycom team was in attendance at the TechNet Land Forces South conference in sunny Tampa, Florida last week. The show is one of three TechNet shows that resulted from splitting up the annual LandWarNet Conference, and is designed to provide a forum for the branches of the military to discuss issues and share best practices.

The focus of this year’s event was on coalition forces, and Polycom was excited to see just how large of a role video is starting to play in ensuring collaboration between these forces.

The military has the complicated job of coordinating the personnel and activities of multiple, disparate branches in theater. The Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy need to coordinate activities, share information and collaborate to ensure that they’re on the same page and are working towards accomplishing the unified mission.

Video is enabling decision makers from each branch of the military to collaborate and communicate seamlessly. It’s also expediting decision making by enabling information sharing and face-to-face communication between parties regardless of the distance separating them.

The adoption of video as a means of communication and collaboration between military branches is being driven by advances in the technology. Today’s advanced Unified Communications (UC) technologies, including video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions, are increasingly interoperable and vendor agnostic. This means that the branches of the military can use their VTC solutions to communicate even if they’re using different technology from disparate vendors.

Technological advances are also helping to drive video communications further out to the edge, right to the warfighter in the field.

With new mobile applications turning mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers into portable, HD VTC solutions, the warfighter can now have video communications with decision makers back home and among themselves. Also, today’s advanced protocols and technologies are drastically reducing the bandwidth needed for HD video. These new protocols enable video calls to originate from theater with the requisite clarity and quality for well-informed decision making without monopolizing expensive, precious bandwidth.

With its ability to increase collaboration and communication between the disparate branches of the military and bring HD video communication to the warfighter in the battlefield, video is much more than a novel technology in today’s armed forces. It’s for this very reason that every military IT decision maker we spoke to at the conference was adamant that video be a component of the UC implementations they’re undertaking. And we couldn’t be more excited.