Gary Waterfall CBE, Senior Defence Advisor, Clarion Defence and Security United Kingdom, Previews IT2EC 2024 for MS&T


MS&T: Innovation and Disruption – The military needs its industry partners’ agility and responsiveness for the supply of new technologies such as XR and AI. How will IT2EC help attendees better understand the trends in this area and the approaches large and small companies are taking?

Gary Waterfall (GW): IT2EC has a strong focus on disruptive innovation and is set to explore the impact it will have on the defence simulation and training sector. With the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR) and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, the defence community acknowledges the strategic requirement to quickly integrate this technology to keep pace with potential adversaries.

IT2EC’s content programme provides a platform for militaries and exhibitors to learn about and discuss the future of training and simulation technologies. The agenda is packed with discussions from ‘The Gen AI is out of the bottle: how can we use it?’ on day one to ‘Achieving operational advantage through training and simulation technologies and expertise’ on day three.

MS&T IT2EC Q&A with Gary Waterfall imagery GW.jpg

Gary Waterfall CBE, Senior Defence Advisor, Clarion Defence and Security United Kingdom. Source: Clarion Defence and Security.

MS&T: Data - There is currently a lot of talk about data, how it can support a more quantitative approach to training design, delivery and evaluation, and also how it can support AI techniques such as machine learning. Can you tell us about how the exhibition and the conference are addressing this topic and what attendees might expect to see and hear?

GW: The role of Big Data and Advanced Analytics (BDAA), offers significant opportunity in transforming existing training methods to make it more data driven and tailored to individuals. Across the ExCeL exhibition centre in London, leading innovators are poised to demonstrate how their solutions can streamline defence training across the globe.  

We are undeniably in the middle of a digital technology revolution; bright ideas swiftly transform into credible capabilities but can be outpaced with future development in a matter of months. Moreover, the requirements grow daily as better connectivity and harnessing of AI powered by effective data analytics make it seemingly simpler yet deliver additional complexity. It is a jigsaw puzzle with no corners and no discernible edges. But, this is an area where perfection will be the enemy of progress. Setting standards to allow incremental growth and additional capabilities to spawn will see success.


MS&T: Policy and Ethical Considerations - As we incorporate advanced technologies in training, what are the critical policy, security and ethical issues to consider, particularly regarding the responsible use of AI and data analytics, and how will these topics be addressed at the conference?

GW:  The use of AI is an area that the enterprise is adjusting to swiftly. Whilst right to highlight, I do feel that it is an area that must be kept in context. The advantages of use of data analytics in particular is a key area which could become an experience multiplier and help shape future operations for the good. Harnessing AI for the benefit of accelerated training and delivering operational advantage another key area. Yes, we need to be alive to the boundaries, but should not be afraid of pushing up against them. 


MS&T: The Ukraine-Russia war continues - Preview how the conference programme and the exhibition hall booths will update delegates on the simulation and training lessons learned from the months of combat in that theatre of operations. 

GW: We cannot and do not pretend that IT2EC operates in a vacuum. The gathering of military and industry expertise will shine a light on current conflicts and see how innovative or disruptive technologies can give countries a competitive edge. Exhibiting companies will have their own take on how lessons learned from the Ukraine-Russia conflict shape their products and business plans for the future. 

One session that jumps out is on day one of the conference on the subject of ‘Tactical AI and training for the next Ukraine.’ Peter Morrison, Chief Commercial Officer of Bohemia Interactive Simulations will discuss this topic and I would urge delegates to visit theatre two at 1530 on April 9 to hear what he has to say.


MS&T: The 2024 European S&T business environment – Highlight how IT2EC 2024 will mirror the growth and diversification of this simulation and training industry in terms of numbers of exhibitors (and co-exhibitors), the industry segments they represent and other metrics.           

GW: Defence companies will be in attendance from across the supply chain. Prime manufacturers such as Elbit Systems, L3Harris and Leonardo will exhibit alongside tens of smaller companies. There will be a large UK and US presence at the show in addition to companies from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden and many more.

IT2EC continues to be a fantastic event to attend for specialist defence companies. Companies in attendance vary and include: Electronic warfare antenna supplier Alaris Antennas from South Africa, Spanish SatCom specialist ERZIA and Swiss electrical optical connectivity specialist Huber+Suhner. 

One initiative being launched is a DisTec Challenge which will be hosted and run in collaboration with the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL). For the challenge, the overall aim is to develop solutions that address real-work issues faced by the end users of today. DSTL has identified two key challenge areas, emphasising on the one hand the refinement of training methodologies and on the other the integration of state-of-the-art technologies for the future workforce. SMEs from all industries are welcome to submit an entry that showcases their approach to cutting-edge innovation. Three finalists will be selected to present their solutions on April 10th, with the winner receiving a stand free-of-charge for IT2EC 2025.

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