Eurosatory 2012: Raytheon to extend BMS with social media capability
Raytheon BBN Technologies is seeking to expand the capability of its Broadcast Monitoring System (BMS) by allowing it to exploit social media, company officials have told Shephard.
First adopted by US Central Command for operations in Iraq from 2004 and onwards, the BMS creates an archive of international television and radio broadcasts, which is automatically translated into English.
Since 2004, other US Department of Defense (DoD) agents have embraced the technology including the US Army and Special Operations Command who have highlighted BMS's suitability for open-source intelligence (OSINT), PsyOps, information operations, public affairs and diplomacy.
Defence sources also suggested to Shephard that such a capability would prove beneficial to coalition forces conducting support and influence tasks in Afghanistan. The BMS is also used in DoD language schools for cultural awareness and language learning and sustainment.
Broken into three parts, a BMS display comprises a real-time video stream; automated transcription of the channel's original script; and a translation into English. Key words such as names, places and organisations are highlighted and linked to the transcript. Currently, the BMS is capable of translating 12 languages including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Pashto and Dari.
However, Raytheon officials said they were trying to extend BMS's capability even further by tapping into video and audio social media sites such as YouTube.
A spokesperson for the company said: 'This capability enables users with no foreign language skills to get the gist of a broadcast and triage enormous values of media, allowing skilled linguist to focus on translation tasks.'
Elsewhere, it is understood that the UK's Ministry of Defence is testing Raytheon BBN Technologies' TransTalk two-way translation device. The portable unit is designed to translate English into Iraqi Arabic, Pashto, Dari, Farsi, Malysian and Indonesian.
Integrated onto an Android smartphone, TransTalk can be used for force-on-force training; peer-to-peer communication between military personnel; intelligence gathering, medical/refugee scenarios; civil and administrative meetings; and session logging and evidence gathering. The unit can also be connected to speakers and microphones for check point commands.
One US military user commented: 'I conducted a tactical questioning session with the translation system. The Arabic speaker understood all the questions and I understood all the answers.'
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