28 Sept 2021

From BattleLab to the Battlefield: Winning tech solutions from Army & Adarga Hackathon to be rapidly tested in real-world environment

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Remarkable outputs of Hackathon 2021 demonstrate the powerful value of close partnership between Industry and Defence to help maintain the speed and agility of the force. 

On 15-17 September, Adarga and the British Army held Hackathon 2021 at the Defence BattleLab. This brought together military personnel and industry teams to collaboratively develop innovative AI and software solutions to real-world challenges faced by the Field Army.  

As a result of the successful event, selected solutions are being deployed for experimentation in the field at a transformational pace as part of the Army’s Digital Readiness Experiment (DRE). Supported by Adarga, the DRE will help the Army to procure and adopt next-generation technology at the speed required to retain its winning edge in an era of persistent competition.  

The selected solutions are AI web applications which cut right to the heart of the Army's critical challenges. They have been designed to support headquarter staff to enhance casualty evacuation; transform geographical risk monitoring; augment route planning; accelerate mission planning cycles and assist in the sighting of communications systems. These include tools like 3D virtual modelling, live event feed dashboards, predictive analytics and more to transform capabilities on the ground. 

Chosen by a panel of senior military and industry judges, these were developed by individual teams of software engineers and data scientists from Atreides, Babcock, Adarga, Maxar and PA Consulting, in conjunction with military participants.  

Now entering into phase two of the 1st (UK) Division’s DRE, they will be developed into prototypes over the coming weeks and tested on Exercise in November as the Army learns to adapt to digital force preparation timelines.   

Brigadier Chris King, Commander 104 Logistic Support Brigade said:

“We were bowled over by the calibre of the solutions developed in such a short period of time. They provided laser-focused, transformational capabilities to solve challenges that the Field Army face day-to-day on Exercise. 

More broadly, Hackathon 2021 has helped to inspire wider participation in the vital Defence transformation agenda and, importantly, enabled serving soldiers the ability to contribute directly and lead practical innovations in digital readiness.” 

Rob Bassett Cross, CEO of Adarga said: 

“The incredible outputs of Hackathon 2021 demonstrate the paramount value and speed of innovation afforded by closer collaboration between industry and UK Defence.   

We are proud to have been selected by the Army to deliver the trailblazing Digital Readiness Experiment which is calling into action the operational and commercial processes required to deploy battle-winning digital tools at the tempo required in this information age. We look forward to holding Hackathon 2022!” 

The relevance and cutting-edge nature of every single solution put forward by the teams that were brought together for the Hackathon by Adarga  - including Atreides, Babcock, Maxar, PA Consulting, Osprey Flight Solutions, IBM and ESRI UK - has meant that the Army is interested in engaging all of the participating organisations to help address the challenges set out in the DRE and beyond. 

Set against the backdrop of the Integrated Review, Hackathon 2021 and the DRE represent the Army’s highly innovative approach to meeting the challenges of the rapidly evolving character of warfare and pace of technological change that requires a transformational shift in how data, software and algorithm-driven solutions are tested, developed and deployed within UK Defence. 

The event was supported by AWS and held at the new Army BattleLab in Dorset. It was captured and live-streamed to global Defence tradeshow DSEI by our media partner BFBS.  Accenture is supporting Adarga to deliver the wider DRE in collaboration with 1st (UK) Division and the British Army. 

The Hackathon is Adarga’s inaugural event showcasing our commitment to supporting the adoption of practical and cutting-edge AI within the British Army and wider UK Defence. 

Quotes from partners, participants and judges: 

Madeline Lewis, Managing Director of Accenture: 

“Accenture is privileged to have been part of such a successful event, and helping to choose the winners of Hackathon 21. We look forward to partnering with Adarga and the Army to work with the winning teams to deliver innovative products that will make a real difference to 1st (UK) Division’s digital readiness experiment, and upcoming Exercise Rhino Charge. DevOps at the point of need, and at pace, will bring innovation and exploit digital capability that will deliver immediate effect.” 

Simon Albert, Principal, Babcock IX: 

“It was a real privilege to be part of this first stage of the Army's Digital Readiness Experiment. Hackathon 2021 exemplifies what can be achieved in such a short space of time when you bring together such deep and broad ranging knowledge, skills and experience to grapple with supporting Defence. Now we’ve shown what we can do, it’s down to the hard yards to make this a reality for November.” 

Jeffrey Spencer, CEO of Atreides: 

“It was a pleasure working alongside our British Army counterparts to develop a digital, data-driven solution that cuts right to the heart of the challenges they face in the field. Thank you to Adarga for spearheading this collaboration and putting a spotlight on the vast benefits of AI and software-driven capabilities, as well as their scope for rapid implementation in line with today’s fast-evolving operating environment. We look forward to phase two of the Digital Readiness Experiment as we develop and shape our solution so it can become a repeatable playbook that can be used real-time by anyone in the organization, from private to General.”  

Adam  Waters, Director BFBS Academy & Creative: 

"Innovation is more important than ever, so it was a privilege for BFBS Creative to team up with Adarga and facilitate a live stream, as well as gather content for this event. Seeing it happen on the ground with the British Army was a thrilling opportunity.” 

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