The defence sector has always been important to Massive Analytic, some of our biggest customers are in this sector and it continues to be a focal point for us as we scale and globalise. It’s something we’re proud of, that we’ve been able to innovate and contribute to advances in this space. So it was fantastic to make a return to in-person conferences with the DSEI Conference at ExCel London (www.dsei.co.uk), to uncover some of the new technologies being applied to the Defence industry in the UK and worldwide. My focus, as CEO of a deep tech growth company, was of course on AI and I saw some exciting developments in this space and met some fantastic companies.
Once I had made it past the small (but vocal) protest outside, I was impressed by how well organised the show was and the speed and ease of passing through the security checks to enter the Conference. In this post-covid world it’s impossible to take these things for granted.
The DSEI Conference itself was huge and was very well attended, it is certainly one we would return to as at least a visitor. The exhibition halls were dominated by the major players in the sector as you would expect (the premium real-estate always goes to the highest bidder), which did make it difficult for some smaller companies to stand out.
However, that’s not to say early stage growth companies weren’t given their place to shine! I was impressed to see the support provided to this community by organisations such as DSTL and DASA, showcasing some of the innovative projects that they have funded, and we will explore the opportunity to showcase our own DASA project next year once it is completed.
It was also encouraging to see the inclusion of Academia, such as the University of Lincoln and Cranfield University, in several of the projects and it bodes well for the future of UK Defence that the next generation of engineers, data scientists and AI experts have the opportunity to work closely with defence organisations on new innovations.
The show continues to be a great place to demonstrate and showcase new equipment, but there were some key themes that were highlighted by several exhibitors that were of special interest to us.
Many organisations were at the show to display their latest unmanned vehicle and to highlight how it could be utilised for intelligence gathering, threat detection and even elimination of targets. A key interest for me is understanding how these vehicles are controlled and the level of autonomy that they have to make decisions without human intervention or when they are unable to communicate with a human.
Unmanned vehicles are going to become increasingly important in the future battlefield and are an area of defence with particular synergy to Massive Analytic. One of the areas we work in is the field of AI control systems for autonomous vehicles, and we are actively looking for partners that are interested in increasing the autonomy of unmanned vehicles. As well as this we have also explored how our video analytics technology could be used with drones for surveillance – intelligence gathering being a fundamental role of current unmanned vehicles. Which leads nicely onto…
Evolving Threat Detection
Increasingly, there is a focus on understanding and identifying potential threats on the battlefield as quickly as possible. This is an era close to our hearts as Massive Analytic as our first project in the defence sector focused on persistent surveillance (Read more here). The use of new technology means that objects can be identified and tracked from great distances and, by accurately understanding their characteristics, it becomes possible to understand whether and when they may become a threat.
At Massive Analytic we have gone one step further with our patented Artificial Precognition, being able to predict future events with incredible accuracy and explainability by fusing video with data analytics. By applying this technology to the Defence sector we can provide a genuine and lasting advantage to the UK and our allies.
Communications and Connectivity
It’s arguable that the most important requirement of current and future battlefields is to have an effective communications system that cannot be jammed, intercepted, or targeted by the opposition. There are some great new systems coming to market that could potentially provide a lasting advantage on the battlefield. The delivery mechanisms for these systems vary, but the focus is on providing a system that is mobile, cost effective and can be deployed quickly and effectively. At Massive Analytic we are focusing on using drone swarms to provide a flexible, manoeuvrable, and jam-proofed system and are aiming to develop this further with our Defence partners. In fact some of our most exciting and innovative work is happening in this area, so watch this space…
Overall, the DSEI show was informative and well worth a visit. To get around the full show and talk to everyone of interest, I recommend allowing yourself 2 days (the show really is that big) and to wear comfortable shoes! DSEI is a great way to find out more about the Defence sector, new trends and technologies and also to engage with potential partners and customers. On a more general note it was fantastic to get out there again and to see that this difficult year hasn’t dampened the passion of the tech community. As we return to normalcy I hope to see some of you at future events!
And as always If you’d like to know more about the work that Massive Analytic are doing in the Defence sector, please contact me.
To read some of my other articles, please follow the links below:
Global Defence Technology – AI in Defence: The Impending Future of Warfare
AI Business – In Defence of Defence