Can you imagine life without jet engines, satellite navigation or even the internet? So many everyday technologies were first developed for the space or defence industries.
Innovation in space and defence is different from other sectors. For a start, competition is not only between companies but between countries and continents. There is much more at stake in gaining a competitive advantage. However, it is increasingly difficult to justify a fiscal return on investment for military or space innovations. At RINA we have the experience to help shape these investments and provide the justification for doing so.
These are all challenges to those of us trying to drive innovation in space and defence. But perhaps the biggest challenge is the long lifecycle of projects. Imagine buying a laptop now and starting to use it five or ten years later. Some elements of these projects become obsolete and need upgrading even before delivery. Smart use of off-the-shelf systems can help us speed up development times – and that can’t come fast enough.
So innovation in space and defence projects are surprisingly difficult – but there are things we can do to smoothen the process. RINA’s expertise spans many sectors and countries, and that is really helpful when innovating. Smart people in one industry always look over the fence to see what best practices they can pick up from other industries.
The services that we’re focusing on developing right now is about information systems and cybersecurity. This fast-growing area of innovation is driven primarily by the defence industry but has implications for all industries worldwide. Over the next months, our ICT security experts in Italy will support the expansion of our cybersecurity services here in the UK, to meet demand from our government and defence clients. At the same time, we are promoting the use of our Decisions Support, Competence Management and Training consultancy services, including simulation and virtual reality solutions for our clients across all industry sectors.
Successful innovation in space and defence is about providing practical, reliable solutions that are both effective and cost-effective. They must take into account the entire lifecycle of a project and the people involved in it. The best innovators are therefore those who can see not just the detail but the bigger picture, which is something I’m proud to say we do particularly well here at RINA.