Our Top Takeaways from the Official UK Government Global Security Event

John Atkinson, Director of Solutions Engineering UK & Ireland at Riverbed Technology

Last month, Riverbed attended Security & Policing, the official Government global security event, hosted by the Home Office.

The Riverbed team had the opportunity to engage with senior decision-makers and policy developers across the UK Government, plus many of those who work directly on the front line. This included experts across UK Defence & Security Exports, Border Force, the Joint Maritime Security Centre, Digital, Data & Technology and related departments, as well as over 350 other suppliers.

The theme of the event was “Collaboration. Innovation. Resilience.” and across the three days, stands were visited, talks were listened to, insights were shared, conversations were had, immersive live demonstrations were eagerly experienced. Here are our most significant takeaways from it all.

There are many ways to work in tech

At Riverbed, we are proud to provide industry-leading IT solutions that empower exceptional digital experiences. But the kind of technology we offer is totally different to some of the advancements we saw on other exhibitors’ stands. It was exciting and eye-opening to explore the innovations from companies that craft weapons, convert police cars, design tactical workwear, and more.

Yet today, each of these organisations is supported by their IT infrastructure; without robust and reliable back-end systems, employees can’t effectively do their jobs, risks can’t be mitigated, and research and development can’t happen at the pace the industry demands. It felt inspiring to speak to representatives from these kinds of organisations who we could, or do, support–knowing we’re contributing to the production of tools and equipment that keep our country safe.

Collaboration is on the rise

In the past, we’ve noticed many technology companies working in closed-off ways, wanting to keep customers in their ecosystem without losing them to competitors. But this attitude seems to be shifting, and it was refreshing to see so many major vendors collaborating to create end-to-end solutions that address all customers’ needs.

We’re proud to be included in this number, as we continuously become more and more open, incorporating third-party data into our platforms to generate the best outcomes for both our customers and peers. We were also delighted that the Government and Home Office were keen to chat with us, as they were looking for ideas and inspiration to improve the way they work.

Response times are of critical importance

When working alongside our customers, it’s often the engineering teams we liaise with–the people who run things, not necessarily those who use things. The event gave us an ideal opportunity to talk to the end users working on the front line, who actually utilise the systems we’re enlisted to transform.

It was fascinating to hear about their challenges and goals, and how their perceptions and experiences can differ from those of the engineering teams. Primarily, responsiveness is top of mind for this group–they don’t think about how smart or snazzy a tool is, as long as it allows them to enter a situation, search for what or who they need, and send an update in an instant. After all, in an emergency situation or warzone, every second counts.

Stand visitors were pleased to hear that Riverbed can help staff at all levels and roles. We’ve helped many customers in this sector to reduce costs, which can then be rerouted to capacity and technology improvements; reducing latency to accelerate system response times; enhancing end-user experiences; and mitigating the need for ‘war rooms’ to resolve issues. Moreover, we’ve empowered other customers to significantly improve their response times, enabling employees to keep colleagues in the loop quicker and more reliably than ever.

While AI can be seen as a threat, it’s also a force for good

Artificial intelligence was, unsurprisingly, one of the event’s hottest discussion points. It’s clear that the technology brings about unprecedented threat in areas such as terrorism, fraud, and economic- and cyber-crime. The Alan Turing Institute gave a particularly interesting talk entitled ‘The Rise of Deepfakes’, exploring how easily and convincingly images and video can now be manipulated, with potentially dangerous consequences.

However, the tech’s positive impact can’t be ignored, as was discussed in a thought-leadership panel our team attended: ‘Applications of Artificial Intelligence in National Security and Policing’. At Riverbed, we use AI and machine learning to automatically find and fix issues in organisations’ networks, often before the end-user even knows there’s been a problem. This enables security and defence companies to break free from blue screens, become more productive, respond to situations faster, and focus on what really matters: protecting people and saving lives.

Seeing high-energy stunts will always be awesome

There’s no doubt that the event provided a great platform for us to share our solutions with those who really need them, and to learn even more about a sector in which we’re deeply embedded.

Still, some of the most awe-striking moments were the live demonstrations performed by the likes of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service who showcased the latest equipment and skills to fight the most severe fires and rescues from complex car crashes. And the ADS Special Interest groups who presented interactive Counter Threat demonstrations on the UK’s premier capabilities in C-EO, CBRN drones, and Counter drones.

If you work in the Public Sector and find yourself constantly fighting fires across your IT infrastructure, get in touch. We’d be thrilled to move you to a place where you can focus on innovating rather than dealing with your ongoing IT challenges.

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