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MoD plans for big data defence platform



Competition leads to plan to use 'artificial precognition' in testing operational scenarios

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is laying plans for a big data analytics platform for operational support, based on a recently contract signed recently by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) and London based company Massive Analytic.

The deal emerged from the CDE's Defence Growth Partnership Innovation Challenge for proof of concept research proposals. The competition was framed to cover the acquisition, analysis and visualisation of data to support decision-making in defence – by humans and autonomous systems.

Massive Analytic's submission proposed the creation of a big data analytics platform for operational tactical planning and support, using persistent surveillance and the patented 'artificial precognition' technology that supports its Oscar analytics platform.

This makes it possible to examine possible outcomes of decisions before they are put into effect, acting – as the company describes it – as a “trusted advisor”. The platform was released for beta testing last year, with one of the early users being the Association of Train Operating Companies, and has now convinced the CDE of its potential in military operations.

It has also been further developed to incorporate video evidence to establish patterns that can be fed into the dashboard.

Streamlining surveillance

The system for the MoD will bring together surveillance data from static and dynamic sources, feeding an interactive dashboard with insights to help identify threats in advance and to use in planning for different scenarios. This is aimed at taking the weight off military analysts who are currently faced with an increasing deluge of data.

The company said it will help to mitigate the risks that arise in peace keeping and humanitarian operations.

A spokesperson for Massive Analytic said the project is still at the research stage and the schedule for implementation is not yet clear. But the initial work involves exploring the possible uses of the platform in supporting non-combatant evacuation operations, with the objective of being able to analyse the entire operational area.

The aim is integrate the video analytics with a range of MoD data to provide commanders with a swift understanding of risks and consequences of any actions they might take.

He also said that, while the Oscar platform is designed as a cloud service, the MoD will implement it in-house as the security demands require that it runs without an internet connection.


Jill Pennycook, head of operations at CDE, said big data was one of the prime themes of the Innovation Challenge competition, and that Massive Analytic is bringing an innovative approach to defence.

George Frangou, founder and chief executive officer of the company, said: “I believe Oscar provides an innovative and unique solution to the surveillance challenges being faced today. With Oscar’s video precognition and the ability to analyse multiple streams of data, analysts will soon have an edge both in real time scenarios and in advanced planning.”

Picture from GOV.UK under Open Government Licence v3.0

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