AI used on British Army operation for the first time
The British Army has used Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the first time during Exercise Spring Storm, as part of Operation Cabrit in Estonia.
Operation Cabrit is a Nato exercise, which involves British service members working to tighten Euro-Atlantic security, in conjunction with French, Danish and Estonian forces. During the annual Nato event, the technology was used by soldiers to carry out live-fire drills.
Soldiers from the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade used an AI engine that provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain. Through the development of automation and smart analytics, the engine is able to rapidly cut through masses of complex data. It provides efficient information regarding the environment and terrain, enabling the Army to plan its appropriate activity and outputs.
'First of its kind'
The deployment was a first of its kind for the Army and was built on collaboration between the MoD and industry partners, designing the AI to match the way the Army is trained to operate.
“The lessons this has provided are considerable, not just in terms of our support to deployed forces, but more broadly in how we inform Defence’s digital transformation agenda and the best practices we must adopt to integrate and exploit leading-edge technologies.” said the Army’s Director of Information, Major General John Cole.
The AI capability can be hosted in the cloud or operate in an independent mode, provides soldiers with instant planning support and enhancing command and control processes.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to use a new and innovative piece of technology in a deployed environment. The kit was shown to outperform our expectations and has clear applications for improving our level of analysis and speed at which we conduct our planning. I’m greatly looking forward to further opportunities to work with this.” said 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade and user of the AI, Major James Mcevoy.
“In the future, the UK armed forces will increasingly use AI to predict adversaries’ behaviour, perform reconnaissance and relay real-time intelligence from the battlefield,” he added.
AI and the Army
AI has already been incorporated in a number of military initiatives, including the Future Combat Air System, and is the focus of several innovative funding programmes through the Defence and Security Accelerator.
Announced by the Prime Minister last November, Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24 billion across the next four years, focusing on the ability to adapt to meet future threats. Further outlined in the Defence Command Paper, the MOD intends to invest £6.6billion over the next four years in defence research and development, focusing on emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, AI-enabled autonomous systems, cyber, space and directed energy systems.
ManageEngine Survey Finds Global AI Use Increase
ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, has announced results from its recent market study, The 2021 Digital Readiness Survey, finding that 86% of organisations worldwide are using artificial intelligence (AI) more than they did two years ago. However, only 35% of the global respondents reported that their confidence in the technology has significantly increased.
The focus of the study was to understand technological changes in a post-COVID world, in areas such as remote work, security, business analytics, and AI. It was found that organisations worldwide mainly increased their use of AI to improve business analytics (63%), increase operational efficiency (62%) and enhance the customer experience (60%). While a majority of global respondents (94%) believe that AI will meet business expectations—and 65% stated AI had delivered measurable business results—some fears remain around the technology’s performance.
“The potential for AI to improve business efficiency and the customer experience was firmly on show through 2020, with AI handling everything from increased customer service volumes to oversight of self-service processes,” said Rajesh Ganesan, vice president at ManageEngine. “While AI is being handed more responsibility and is applied in more business-critical use cases, our research shows this is a double-edged sword and that more work is needed to embrace the technology and lift internal capability to ensure AI achieves its promise.”
Is business analytics the key to success?
The growing use of AI coincides with a broader trend of using analytics to improve the use of available data and the speed and accuracy of decision-making. In the post-pandemic era, profitability and competition are also driving organisations across the world to invest in business analytics platforms and capabilities.
Business analytics is an umbrella term for several types of analytics—descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.
The biggest user of business analytics by far is IT. An average of 63% of IT departments worldwide cited this in the survey. However, in North America, 67% of executives noted their use of business analytics, which was higher than their IT departments’ use (61%). Business areas such as marketing, sales, human resources, operations and R&D are also showing interest in business analytics but are well behind IT and executives on adoption and actual use.
Other key global findings of the survey
– A mighty 96% of organisations are planning to continue supporting remote workers for the next two years. Concerningly, the report also found that 84% of IT professionals believe that remote workers have increased their enterprise’s security risk.
– More than half (56%) of respondents stated that improving their security infrastructure is a key driver of adopting new technologies.
– 78% of organisations revealed that remote workers download software without obtaining approval from the IT department; this shadow IT mainly included mobile-specific applications (40%), online meeting tools (38%) and document sharing solutions (31%).
– 84% of respondents use more cloud services now than they did before the pandemic began. However, most respondents believe that improved security (56%), performance (52%) and reliability (51%) would increase their company’s confidence in cloud-based solutions.