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Google Cloud signs MoU to accelerate take-up of AI by UK defence sector

Google Cloud is continuing to make in-roads into the UK public sector after signing MoU with The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Google Cloud to accelerate the adoption of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies within the UK defence sector.

News of the technology tie-up between the two organisations was announced by Paul Lincoln, the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) 2nd parliamentary under secretary of state (PUS), at the London Tech Week AI Summit.

The agreement will provide Dstl with access to Google Cloud’s portfolio of AI services, as well as a host of staff learning and development opportunities to help transform it into an AI-ready end-user organisation.

Dstl will also benefit from being able to tap into the Google Cloud Marketplace, as well as the firm’s wider partner ecosystem, while also providing it with opportunities for cross-sector collaboration so the defence sector can learn from how other vertical markets are making use of AI.

Paul Hollinshead, CEO of Dstl, said: “As one of the most transformative and ubiquitous new technologies, AI has enormous potential to transform societies. Dstl’s collaboration with Google Cloud is one of the significant steps Dstl is taking to prioritise research, development, and experimentation of technologies in line with our commitment to safe and responsible AI.” 

News of the technology tie-up between Google Cloud and Dstl comes hot on the heels of an announcement made by the MoD in July 2022 about the opening of the Defence AI Centre.

This initiative is similarly geared towards accelerating take-up of AI technologies within the UK defence sector. Helen Kelisky, managing director for UK and Ireland at Google Cloud, said its collaboration with Dstl will see the pair work together to create a “secure and prosperous UK”.

She said: “AI has potential to assist the ministry in a broad range of use cases, including cyber security, disaster response, and employee productivity. We look forward to helping Dstl in its commitment to using AI boldly and responsibly.”

The Dstl MoU is one of a series of AI-focus contracts Google Cloud has signed with governments and defence agencies around the world, including one with the US Defense Innovation Unit.

Incidentally, the hyperscale cloud giant has also seen the amount of UK public sector business come its way rise markedly in recent quarters, based on the UK government’s own Digital Marketplace data, with the company securing a total of £2.8m in spending through the G-Cloud framework during the first quarter of 2023 alone.

To put this figure into context, the company has secured a total of £7m in G-Cloud spending since the third quarter of 2020 with the bulk of that occurring since the second quarter of 2022.

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