Telepresence used to boost Afghan troops' morale

Nato is using Cisco videoconferencing tech to enable virtual meetings between front-line troops and relatives

Nato is using high-end videoconferencing technology in an attempt to boost morale among servicemen and women serving in Afghanistan.

Nato is in Afghanistan as part of the Afghanistan Compact, a five-year plan between the Afghan government and the international community to boost the security, governance and economic development of the country, following the US-led invasion in 2001.

A Cisco TelePresence System 1000 model unit has been installed at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe — the central command of allied operations — near Mons, Belgium, with another in Kabul, to enable front-line troops to have virtual meetings with loved ones and relatives thousands of miles away.

Nato's director lieutenant general, Ulrich HM Wolf, said in a statement: "Being able to give our front-line service people the impression of actually being in the same room as their loved ones many miles away is a powerful morale booster."

The Cisco TelePresence system has been installed by BT and General Dynamics C4 Systems and connects via X-band satellite.

Back in July, the Ministry of Defence said it was considering trialling telepresence technology to offset its travel budget.