The five finalists’ submissions covered a range of innovative capabilities to aid predictive, near-real time and evidence-based decision making in order to: (a) improve asset performance (availability, capability and readiness), (b) be ‘safe to operate and operate safely’ and (c) reduce through-life costs. Solutions included: automated predictive maintenance that can handle ‘dirty’ data and provide near real-time predictions, virtual reality applications such as immersive training, mobile maintenance engineers empowered using handhelds, aggregating data from multiple automated sources such as Internet of Things devices and a collaboration hub for Product Life Cycle support. The winning submission made by Warwick Analytics – https://warwickanalytics.com – was for a proposed Maritime Automated Predictive Maintenance (MAPM) solution. Dan Somers, MD of Warwick Analytics, explained that MAPM “takes both the live and static data from maritime fleets to automatically predict issues, and also recommend how to obviate or resolve them with live corrective actions and/or maintenance.” Key areas addressed are increasing availability, saving costs and improving safety.
MAPM is able to work with data of variable quality, a common issue for many (legacy) systems. The original algorithms were developed over a decade of academic research – the company is a spin-off from Warwick University. These algorithms are designed “to handle dirty, incomplete, heterogeneous and unstructured data and automatically generate predictive signals without requiring a data scientist; they are ‘parallelised’, meaning that they can calculate predictions with any sized dataset in near real-time,” explained Dan as part of his presentation to the MIC judges and later to an audience at D1’16.
Dan continues, “The interface is simple and intuitive, and raises alerts only at appropriate confidence thresholds, which can then be investigated and validated accordingly providing potential solutions i.e. sets of business rules (aka ‘regions’) that define the problem and recommend actions.”
MAPM is an extension of technology that Warwick Analytics has developed for predictive maintenance in a range of sectors including aerospace, rail, automotive and energy where its users number Rolls-Royce, GE, Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, Volkswagen and E.ON. The company has some experience of working with defence, for example through its InnovateUK work, viz. Automated Root Cause for Aerospace (ARCA) where Logistics IT System (LITS) datasets were used; also, in relation to Land Vehicles.
What does this mean for Warwick Analytics and for other Challenge entrants? The £50,000 prize is a significant reward in itself – representing the profit equivalent on a substantial level of business turnover for an SME. In addition, there is the kudos and associated publicity – plus the potential chance to develop a solution for defence. SMEs who entered the Challenge all benefitted by putting themselves on the Royal Navy’s ‘innovation radar’ (with links to Land and Air too). Part of the intent of the Innovation Challenge was to enable the Royal Navy to connect with SMEs that have innovative solutions that could address three areas: Peer-to-peer Knowledge Sharing, Data Visualisation and Knowledge Capture. The spread of entrants indicated that this ambition has been achieved, with the opportunity that Navy Command will take forward some of the innovative ideas and proposed solutions. For SMEs, the MIC provided a great showcase for their capabilities; participation also helped many of them better understand the market opportunities in defence. The process involved a written submission and, for nine shortlisted SMEs, a ‘pitch’ to a panel of judges who then made their decision.
The MIC has given SMEs an attentive audience and has opened potential for future business opportunities, regardless of whether they were an award winner. Cdre Little OBE, who presented the Awards on behalf of the Royal Navy, said that he was very impressed with the relevance and quality of SME offerings and was very positive about the scope the Royal Navy had for future working with SMEs.
Dan Somers, MD Warwick Analytics said, “We are delighted to win this award, and to be part of the Maritime Innovation Challenge. We hope that we, and the other entrants of this Challenge, serve as examples of the innovation that SMEs can bring to benefit the Royal Navy – indeed, the maritime and defence industries as a whole. We have been very impressed by the openness and support of the sponsors and stakeholders to engage with innovative solutions which can truly benefit them.”
Steve Wyatt, MD Analytic Solutions Babcock International Group said, “Babcock’s sponsorship of the Maritime Innovation Challenge reflects our commitment to supporting the Royal Navy in promoting and delivering innovative approaches to warship life-cycle management. Pro-active engagement across the Defence Enterprise, and in particular the SME community – often the source of innovative ideas, is a core component of our business strategy.”
Phil Williams, MD UKCeB, said, “UKCeB has been privileged to organise this Maritime Innovation Challenge on behalf of sponsors Babcock International and the Royal Navy. We also valued working closely with both ADS Group and techUK, as part of our contacting SMEs via these associated trade bodies. The MIC has provided a great showcase for SMEs and, we trust, also helps them better understand the market opportunities in defence. We look forward to learning how the Royal Navy will exploit the interesting opportunities surfaced through this valuable competition.”
Capt Paul Marshall, Royal Navy, said, “The Royal Navy’s fleets use sophisticated technology and, increasingly, seeks to leverage information technology to exploit data to improve predictive, near-real time and evidence-based decision making. We have seen, through the innovative solutions proposed in this Maritime Innovation Challenge, where and how SMEs can help the Navy make a real difference. This exciting Challenge provides an excellent opportunity to help us capitalise on different approaches to gathering and exploiting data.”