Harnessing the IoT: SensusQ and Winning Mind

Estonia's SensusQ provides military intelligence by leveraging IoT technology, aligning with Estonia's proactive approach towards modern defence. Harry McNeil reports.

SensusQ, an Estonian-based company, has showcased the effectiveness of its Winning Mind technology in live military scenarios. Credit: Harry McNeil

In the dynamic landscape of military intelligence, Estonia's SensusQ is seeking to harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), the process by which systems are networked to greatly improve data sharing and, in a military sense, situational awareness.

Developing its Winning Mind technology, SensusQ aligns well with proactive approach to defence modernisation in its home country of Estonia, as well as the country’s digital philosophy. According to the company, Winning Mind can work to reshape military intelligence, providing a 30% efficiency gain over traditional methods.

Deployed actively in Ukraine, the platform is intended to provide for swift decision-making, heightened security, and aid in the prevention of intelligence failures.

SensusQ's Winning Mind technology

According to GlobalData's Thematic Intelligence: Internet of Things in Defense (2023) report, IoT showcases a range of applications in defence, including health monitoring, remote training, boosting situational awareness through the networking of uncrewed systems such as drones, and more.

SensusQ's impact is not confined to theory

Erik Markus Kannike, chief strategy officer at SensusQ

GlobalData's IoT report notes the increasing importance of digitalisation in military operations to reduce the fog of war, enhancing overall operational effectiveness. The report introduces the concept of AIoT, the convergence of AI and IoT, a feature embedded in SensusQ's technology to provide a comprehensive understanding of collected data.

Estonia's decade-long military strategy is planned on surpassing Nato’s defence spending guidelines with a commitment to a $1.3bn defence budget by 2028, positioning the country as a key partner in the European defence sector. The GlobalData report acknowledges the growing IoT market, expected to reach $1.2trn by 2027, emphasising the unique opportunity SensusQ presents for deep tech and sector-specific investors.

The SensusQ team, with Marko Kaseleht, CEO and co-founder, pictured centre bottom left and Erik Markus Kannike (CSO), pictured centre bottom right. Credit: SensusQ

Addressing the challenges faced in military environments, Erik Markus Kannike, chief strategy officer at SensusQ, said that the company’s technology “transcends borders”, and contributes to military intelligence wherever deemed most crucial.

"SensusQ's impact is not confined to theory,” said Kannike, seemingly in reference to the company’s work in Ukraine.

AIoT in SensusQ's technology

The current geopolitical landscape, marked by increasing uncertainties and threats, demands a paradigm shift in military intelligence. SensusQ emerges as one of a new vanguard, responding to challenges and reshaping the narrative of defence operations.

Further delving into IoT technology, the report from GlobalData highlights the intricate interplay of AI and IoT components. This AIoT convergence becomes the bedrock of SensusQ's approach, ensuring that data collected by sensors and actuators is not just amassed but analysed through the lens of artificial intelligence.

In the sprawling landscape of military operations, where every second counts, SensusQ's technology aims to shave off critical time through its streamlined processes. "Every step of the way that I'm showing here is saving 10-15% of time from each operation," explained Kannike.

The timesaving is not just an abstract metric; it directly translates to heightened efficiency, quicker decision-making, and a potential tangible impact on the ground.

The practical implications of SensusQ's technology are evident in its collaboration with the Ukrainian border guards, a partnership shrouded in confidentiality due to the sensitive nature of military operations. SensusQ's states its platform providing various capabilities, from deciphering complex situations to facilitating strategic communications, operating as a force multiplier.

SensusQ's technology has practical implications that are demonstrated in its partnership with the Ukrainian border guards. Credit: paparazzza/Shutterstock

Tristan Sauer, aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, explained that IoT technology had a “myriad of uses” in Ukraine.

"The most important is facilitating command and control of Ukraine's diverse military and security assets by leveraging both new and well-established IoT solutions to facilitate transmission of battlefield data and communications between different forces,” Sauer detailed.

Access to these capabilities and the Ukrainian military's capacity to adapt solutions to their needs using innovation has been critical to ensuring effectiveness across different operations, and they have collaborated with both nation-states and commercial players to further develop IoT solutions as their needs and challenges evolve.

Navigating the intricacies of the military-industrial complex, SensusQ continues to grapple with difficulties unique to its sector with Kannike admitting there was a “certain challenge” to operating in the domain. Training data, in particular, was “quite hard” to come by. 

Estonia's multifaceted defence approach

Estonia’s commitment to a $1.3bn defence budget by 2028, as outlined in GlobalData's intelligence on the Estonian defence market, underscores the country’s dedication to fortifying sovereignty amid regional threats, primarily from Russia.

"As one of the smaller members of Nato, Estonia has focused efforts on specialising in niche capabilities such as cybersecurity, uncrewed systems, and IoT solutions,” said Sauer.

"This has been enabled by both public and private sector investment, with examples including the Nato Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) and local company Cybernetica's contributions to the European Cyber Situational Awareness platform illustrating the international impact Estonia's IoT focus has had on the European and Nato security apparatuses."

The proactive stance extends beyond Estonia's borders, with collaborations spanning Nato, the EU, and Baltic partners. GlobalData’s report emphasises Estonia's role as a dedicated partner in the European defence market, a role solidified by companies like SensusQ.

SensusQ is working on self-explainable and transparent AI, aligning with Nato standards

Erik Markus Kannike

A notable success of the Estonian defence market includes Milrem Robotics, the Estonian-based company that has received investment, with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann acquired a 24.9% stake in 2021. In a subsequent development, the UAE's EDGE Group acquired a majority stake in Milrem Robotics in 2023.

Milrem Robotics has since secured a contract for an extensive combat robotics programme with the UAE, supplying various unmanned ground vehicles. Beyond investments, Milrem Robotics has actively contributed to defence upgrades, partnering with Go Craft and Scania Estonia to support the refurbishment of Estonia's CV90 infantry fighting vehicles.

Milrem's TheMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) has made operational debuts in Mali and been delivered to Spain and Ukraine. These developments underscore Milrem Robotics as a player in advancing autonomous and robotic solutions within the global defence landscape.

Looking to follow in the footsteps of Estonian defence industry players such as Milrem, SensusQ was “working on self-explainable and transparent AI, aligning with Nato standards," revealed Kannike.

By committing to a military strategy that surpasses NATO guidelines, Estonia has established itself as a player in both global defence and the IoT arena. Credit: Shutterstock

The commitment to a decade-long military strategy and meeting Nato defence spending guidelines positions Estonia as a strategic player in global defence and the IoT arena. The collaborative approach, evident in partnerships with Nato, the EU, and Baltic allies, underscores Estonia's resilience in the face of shared regional challenges as its defence market grows.

Its niche position in European defence enables opportunities for companies such as SensusQ to harness IoT to enhance intelligence and situational awareness on the battlefield and providing a real-world benefit to operators on the ground.