Connectivity for a competitive edge

A globe is surrounded by a network of connected lines
A globe is surrounded by a network of connected lines
Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by Microsoft Canada.


Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and driving digital disruption across all industries, defence and intelligence included. Modern defence and intelligence agencies need to keep pace with this technological innovation in order to maintain the agility needed to succeed in an increasingly complex security landscape. A critical component to ensuring this success and advancing missions is having access to technological infrastructure that is modern, secure and trusted.

Today, this includes adoption of the cloud. Many defence and intelligence organizations are adopting cloud-first policies and leveraging technology to turn their data into actionable insights. But one unique challenge for defence organizations is that they are often deployed in remote and isolated areas that are cut off from modern infrastructure, but still require these advanced capabilities.

Microsoft aims to support defence and intelligence agencies as they advance their missions wherever they are – across land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. This requires a convergence of connectivity and the cloud experience to deliver a highly secure and advanced digital experience anywhere in the world. To reach a network that extends beyond earth and into space, we’ve tapped into satellite connectivity, allowing organizations to connect satellites and their ground stations into Microsoft’s Azure  cloud solutions. By working with innovative satellite and ground station providers, Microsoft is creating an ecosystem that allows our network to expand while directly connecting to our hyperscale data centers and our edge cloud computing.​

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To deliver on these capabilities, we forged an alliance with leading satellite operator, Telesat, to leverage their advanced satellite network ‘Telesat Lightspeed,’ which delivers secure and reliable broadband connectivity anywhere in the world. This highly innovative global network is composed of 188 state-of-the-art Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, seamlessly integrated with on-ground data networks. By leveraging this extended low-latency network, we’re able to distribute cloud-enabled capabilities to the tactical edge to provide defence and intelligence organizations with the technologies they need, wherever they are. 

Recent experiments in Canada’s Arctic in partnership with the Telesat Lightspeed network, proved that we can deliver these trusted capabilities to the most remote locations. Our demonstration included simulated military capabilities including running a full command control suite, synthetic environmental training and full motion video, simultaneously. These capabilities are mission critical to special operations in Canada and for tactical purposes need to be secure, resilient and covert.

By leveraging ubiquitous networks and cloud capabilities we can meet the specific and strategic requirements of Canadian defence organizations. This will ensure that they operate with the most advanced systems allowing them to efficiently analyze and respond in the face of a rapidly changing global defence and security landscape.

Written by Derek Dobson, defence industry lead at Microsoft Canada


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