"A day will come when there will be no battlefields, but markets opening to commerce and minds opening to ideas" -- Victor Hugo.

The US Army needed to figure out how to use TCP/IP network router / router subnets to emulate leader's orders and schemes of maneuver to change the paradigm of broadcasting orders over the radio and drawing plans on "John Madden" boards / acetate sheets. Not successful at first, generals at the National Training Center NTC said to the would be battlefield digitizer's "this digitization isn't working so give me back my porkchop (radio handset) and my (John Madden) acetate boards". To determine if a squad or platoon was mission capable or where it was supposed to be and equipped with the requisite resources: food, water, fuel, ammo etc,.. data had to be sampled and forwarded using a minimum of network resources -- in other words TIME -- time frames or intervals in time set aside for specific purposes. The Internet Protocol was examined closely and it was re-discovered that time interval frame assignments were left unassigned / available by internet creators (Stanford U etc) to transport additional state meta data at some future date when a need arose. These heretofore unassigned time intervals set aside for future use would be used to carry data about the organization -- it's unit designation or Organizational Identifier <Org_ID>, it's geo-location at specified times (time - stamp) and it's resources <URN> Uniform Resource Name.

A network ping only provides time increments to carry data describing the ping itself whereas the heartbeat or heartbeat ping "ack-nack" included time intervals that were up until this time reserved for future use -- namely the <Org_ID>, <URN> and geo-location time stamp which provides an opportunity to identify this data -- PRIOR TO inclusion / processing by Data Fusion Centers -- important to BIG DATA / Data Analytics / Network Forensics etc.   The TCP/IP heartbeat's simplicity, lowest possible network overhead, timely local data heartbeat get - puts was the solution that the Army was seeking. Retrieving time stamped data from data fusion centers to form a Common Operating Picture COP after the fact and after data has been sent to caches, queues, temporary storage or databases over a wide area is problematic. Funding for the project saved, the rest is history -- necessity being the mother of (US Army Communication Electronic Command's "greatest") invention   :)  Battlefield digitization begat Network Centric Warfare (awards lavished) which begat Network Enabled Operations NEO -- more awards lavished.. followed by Mission Aware Networking awards TBL. To receive an award from one of the "three Amigo's" was the pinnacle -- "the grail".  The grail of achieving a Single (Common) Operational Picture SIOP derived, filtered from a FIOP (Family of Common Operating Pictures) still remains elusive. To obtain the much vaunted grail -- in my opinion -- can only be achieved by taking the original system FBCB2 / Blue Force Tracker now called Joint Battle Command JBC as a procedural template to emulate, replicate among participating systems. The grail to achieve a common situation awareness picture Single Integrated Operational Picture SIOP. derived from a wide area network among diverse Dbase, middleware, caching etc., technologies is problematic. Use of a procedural template derived from the military's most successful situational awareness system in history -- the much heralded Blue Force Tracker is the most likely means to achieve the "grail". Data doesn't know if it's military, stock exchange, currency, commodity, Bitcoin etc. etc. The internet is what it is and we may not like to admit it, TCP/IP unicast -multicast, workflow logic and filters is mainly upon what everything relies. There are no such things as packets or frames -- only intervals, cycles in time to do or not do (computational) tasks. The DoD's  most widely used situation awareness system should be used as a template to achieve consensus among diverse groups using diverse technologies. Since the Heart Beacon Cycle is a document -- a template, other technologies enhance and improve it by providing the transport, signaling, telemetry that it lacks.