Delivering groundbreaking technology for a Military Metaverse? It must be Friday
Technology and the military – a short history
History is littered with examples of warfare forcing invention and innovation; we have the military to thank for an impressive array of technological innovations; GPS tracking, drones, digital cameras, microwave technology and walkie-talkies, to name a few. It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that the concept of a military metaverse and its applications is not a new one. For more than four decades, the elements that form the core pillars of a virtual or extended reality environment for use in defence operations have already been in place. Since the eighties, simulator networking (SIMNET) has been employed to train soldiers collectively. Fighter pilots are running high altitude tests or practising combat manoeuvres using VR and AR technologies. The move to embracing a fully-fledged metaverse, which we describe here as a persistent bridge between the physical and virtual worlds that will allow for vast numbers of connected users to harness enhanced digital capabilities to solve real world problems, should be a logical next step in the evolution of defence capabilities.
So why should the defence sector lead the metaverse charge?
Well, firstly as mentioned above, the building blocks are already in place. Secondly, and more crucially, it is worth taking stock of the macro situation. Right now, the defence industry is witnessing a seismic technological shift on a global scale. Rapid advancements are being made in other parts of the world, where the talk of ‘cognitive warfare’ (AI warfighting systems) makes it self-evident that a military metaverse is no longer a case of if but when. We have reached a point where there is an expectation that the Armed Forces already have a discerning knowledge of extended reality, its applications and are viewing it as a requirement and no longer just a ‘nice to have.’ However, to meet and supersede adversaries, certain capability and technological challenges must be surmounted.
Are we there yet?
Although the fundamental foundations for building out a military metaverse are in place, the infrastructure that will enable optimal functionality are not all joined up yet. There are a number of other technical factors which have to be addressed in order to launch viable, interoperable, persistent, multi-domain single synthetic environments. Factors such as networking, computing power, persistence and user concurrency.
The great news is that these are all issues that Hadean is bringing solutions to; in other words, we are drawing on technologies that we have pioneered for the commercial sector and applying them to meet the complex challenges that are inherent within the defence space. Hadean is ably positioned to supply the digital backbone which will support the next phase of the armed forces’ journey to realise the benefits and efficiencies of a military metaverse.
The hosting of the synthetic environments that will be the meeting point for the military metaverse needs to take place on either public, private or edge cloud, on premises or air-gapped networks. To have the capability of running multiple simulations within a multi-domain exercise in a single synthetic environment (SSE), computing processes need to be distributed across hundreds or even thousands of machines. This distributed process is what will allow for persistent, extended reality environments with high fidelity and large concurrent user counts.
Persistent performance has, to date, been elusive both in the commercial and defence sectors meaning that existing solutions can only run for a finite period before requiring a re-set to reduce complexity. The computational demands it takes to run a persistent virtual world that adapts, evolves and responds to input are high. For example, in a military training exercise where a makeshift bridge has to be built to enable troops to cross an obstacle to reach an objective that offers a tactical vantage point, this bridge has to continuously exist and react in a natural manner in response to the way it is being interacted with otherwise reality is not being truly represented. Maintaining this level of detail takes a computational toll.
By tapping into the power of and exploiting the flexibility of the cloud, Hadean’s distributed computing platform allows for reliable and resource efficient virtual worlds that are, more importantly, persistent.
Networking technologies enable the distribution of and therefore access to simulated environments so that personnel, no matter where their physical location happens to be, can engage in shared real-time experiences such as running joint domain training exercises. This necessitates a continuous high speed, high bandwidth and uninterrupted internet connection that can translate huge amounts of data to and fro between users and the server infrastructure. Personnel need to be able to feel that their inputs and interactions are having a real-time effect and are not disjointed or buffering as a result of poor networks. Hadean’s Platform is able to offer near limitless connections via a single rendezvous point. Participants in their thousands, from diverse locations can be brought together across a distributed cloud and edge network. Bandwidth is optimised through spatial data structures and so is real-time bidirectional flow, ensuring messages between users via servers are immediate. Latency — the time delay that occurs between the instruction to transfer data and its actual transfer — is one of the main networking challenges for a well functioning metaverse, Hadean has smashed through this barrier with our unparalleled Connect system.
There is very little purpose to creating a military metaverse if user numbers have to be capped. Joint military exercises that gather different disciplines together meet some redundancy if they will only allow for a limited number of participants or if, once it reaches its limit, the world shards and new users get sent into another space. This is what necessitates the requirement for high concurrency within a single environment.
Hadean’s platform scales dynamically in response to any spikes or ebbs in demand and is therefore able to offer proven concurrency to an unlimited number of users across dispersed locations.
What is Hadean bringing to the table?
Much in the same way that the metaverse is heading towards becoming the nexus point between the physical and digital world, Hadean’s groundbreaking technology is bridging technology gaps to support the federation of legacy and novel training simulations into single synthetic environments. What makes our capabilities so unique is, in part, as a result of our approach. As an award-winning metaverse company, our focus began with looking at the tech stack itself, rebuilding it completely and removing the need for multiple frameworks, microservices and middleware. What is left is the enigmatic Hadean platform which sits in between the hardware and the application. Once implemented it is ready to scale, distribute and duplicate meaning it is prepared to provide solutions for simulations, connectivity and scenario modelling.
We’re bringing the technical expertise and benefits that the gaming world has enjoyed, and optimising them for use in defence to help our partners become ‘Hadean-ready’. These collaborations will allow us and our partners to co-exist within a future ecosystem of digital capabilities.
For the armed services, being ‘Hadean-ready’ ensures that SSEs are primed to enable troops to fully develop their skills, learn and train more often and securely to meet the challenges of the modern operating environment.
The achievement of a fully functioning military metaverse is not far away. To learn more about its further applications look out for the blog from Nick Brown, Hadean’s Defence Director, which offers insights from our recent webinar in collaboration with BAE Systems.
We already have a roster of ‘Hadean-ready’ defence partners within our technology ecosystem:
CAE: Building out a city-scale environment, using Hadean Simulate, capable of hosting over two million continuously active AI entities including humans, ground and aerial vehicles.
BAE: Enabling complex collective training solutions within a secure environment. Hadean’s Platform parallelised simulations to accelerate scenario analysis, and allocated computing power dynamically to wherever it was most needed within the simulation.
Defence Technology Partners
Cervus: Working in partnership with Cervus’ AI analytics engine, The Hive, Hadean provided the computational power to develop and test innovative solutions to create a more rapid and agile decision cycle and enhanced decision support process.
Thales & Plexsys: Providing the digital backbone to support scalable, high-fidelity training that builds next generation capabilities for cross-domain collaboration, gathering and utilising data intelligence and the efficient leveraging of synthetic environments.
Government clients – British Army
MoD: Selected to support the British Army’s Collective Training Transformation Programme with the prime aim of combining live data feeds into a single immersive simulation.
I/ITSEC 2022 is coming to a close, what have we been up to?
There are many exciting and innovative projects in the works . We have shared various demos illustrating the work we’ve accomplished so far and taken to the stage with our partners to discuss the pioneering innovations that we are bringing to the defence space.
We have premiered a recent demo made in collaboration with the British Army that supports their vision for modern integrated Land Collective Training that comes under the umbrella of their CTTP project. If you’re at the conference and want to catch up any of the action or just want to come over for a chat, we’re at booth 1460.Back