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Latest news: Military digitalisation brings IoT adoption

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17 January 2024

Royal Navy tests IoT system at HMNB Portsmouth

UK-based Internet-of-Things (IoT) solution provider Smarter Technologies has supported the Royal Navy’s digital innovations team at HMNB Portsmouth to maximise the efficiency of port operations, through its proprietary Orion IoT data network.

HMNB Portsmouth is home to the majority of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, including the flagship aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the Type 45 air defence destroyers, Type 23 anti-submarine warfare frigates and, a number of mine countermeasure vessels.

Combined with civilian craft, the harbour at Portsmouth is one of the busiest in the UK, with around 130,000 significant movements annually, and it is also the home for ship repair and maintenance.

HMNB Portsmouth, like many defence establishments, is a large and complex estate that presents significant infrastructure management challenges, with continued emphasis placed on maximising efficiencies in port operations. This is particularly the case where the estate is historic in nature – as with HMNB Portsmouth – and is not designed or constructed to meet modern operational needs.

IoT adoption provided operational efficiencies

According to a Smarter Technologies release, the infrastructure asset management team at HMNB Portsmouth approached the company to assist with the provision of real-time data from multiple sensor platforms across a large geographic footprint, in order to inform critical operational decision-making.

Following an earlier demonstration of its sensor technology and Orion real-time IoT data network, Royal Navy officials invited Smarter Technologies to install depth sensors in each of the dockyard’s key operational and historic basins and transit locks to monitor water levels.

Via a customer-configurable dashboard, the sensors provided teams at HMNB Portsmouth with the empirical evidence needed to adjust how and when the locks and pumps were used to optimise water levels, assets to target for remediation to minimise unintended water flows and maintain effective waterfront operations.

As a result, unnecessary pumping operations were avoided, both long- and short-term targeted mitigation measures were implemented and material operational efficiencies were realised, almost immediately delivering a return on investment.

Simon Kierstan, the Royal Navy’s strategic infrastructure lead at Portsmouth, said: “The management insight that Smarter Technologies have brought to the waterfront operation has been incredibly helpful, and it’s been amazing just how quickly it gave us the evidence-base we needed to do things differently and do things better.”

11 December 2023

ProvenRun secures €15m funding to accelerate IoT-related expansion

The UK Government is making a £100m ($121.14m) investment to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to develop new, transformational therapies for previously incurable ailments.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the AI Life Sciences Accelerator Mission, a new initiative in life sciences and healthcare.

The investment will be used in areas where rapid AI deployment has the potential to create transformational breakthroughs.

The mission will leverage the UK’s secure health data using AI to address eight tasks, including developing cancer therapies and dementia treatment.

The project will detect individuals at risk of ailments such as dementia and related conditions and they will join trials for developing new therapies. This approach will collect crucial data on the working mechanisms of such therapies. The latest grant will facilitate government investment in areas with increased clinical requirements in 2024 to 2025.

The government also intends to deploy AI in clinical settings to enhance health outcomes. By establishing a robust data infrastructure, it plans to enhance mental health research in the next five years.

Sunak stated: “AI can help us solve some of the greatest social challenges of our time. AI could help find novel dementia treatments or develop vaccines for cancer. “That’s why today we’re investing a further £100m to accelerate the use of AI on the most transformational breakthroughs in treatments for previously incurable diseases.”

IoT key trend in industry 

The global aerospace, defence, and security industry experienced a 50% decline in the number of IoT-related patent applications in Q3 2023 compared with the previous quarter. The total number of internet of things-related grants dropped by 38% in Q3 2023, according to GlobalData’s Patent Analytics. 

The largest share of IoT-related patent filings in the aerospace, defence, and security industry in Q3 2023 was in the US with 59%, followed by South Korea (18%) and China (6%). The share represented by the US was 15% higher than the 44% share it accounted for in Q2 2023. 

16 November 2023

US DoD includes IoT as topic in new on-demand learning platform

The US Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) announced the launch of "Digital On-Demand" in late-2023, an initiative to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge by providing access to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Horizon’s library of learning resources.

The initiative will see the CDAO open the MIT Horizon learning platform to all members of the DoD military and civilian workforce, stated the DoD at the announcement. The CDAO became operational in June 2022 with a mission to integrate and optimise AI capabilities across the US DoD enterprise.

"The CDAO is rolling out digital on-demand to foster a baseline understanding of AI systems and other emerging technologies," said chief digital and artificial intelligence officer Dr. Craig Martell. "This resource demonstrates to the DoD workforce how they fit into the future of these advancements and further enables their adoption throughout the Department."

According to a US DoD release, the CDAO provides the capability through Digital University, a joint venture of the US Air Force and US Space Force, granting access to the training content. Digital on-demand can be used to gain foundational knowledge of certain technologies and act as a reference tool to provide definitions or explanations of terms and concepts. 

IoT key element of emerging technologies 

The MIT Horizon online platform consists of bite-sized learning assets on AI capabilities as well as on other emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, edge computing, generative AI, cybersecurity, and big data analytics.

"The DoD is on a historical journey of building a digital workforce. When it comes to AI and emerging technologies, it is really important that their employees are all speaking the same language," said Kathleen Kennedy, senior director of MIT Horizon and executive director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

The official launch followed a soft launch that occurred earlier in 2023 to members of the US Special Operations Command and the US Central Command workforce.

Additionally, in August 2022, the CDAO piloted content into a 101-training programme for approximately 1,200 participants, with results of the pilot showed that 91% of participants found that the content broadened their understanding of AI and 97% found the content relevant to their role.