BAE | Maritime Labs

BAE | Maritime Labs


Agency: M Integrated Solutions

Client: BAE Systems

Event Name: Maritime Labs

Agency Website:

The Brief

BAE Systems Maritime approached M with a brief to support continuous R&D and innovation. The Innovation team wanted to explore how augmented reality could disrupt BAE Systems’ business, to create controversy, to generate conversation, and to generate change for the future. Ultimately to use the latest innovations to further innovate and identify new possibilities. The original brief specified an internal user group and audience, with potential to extend reach to the customer in future phases. M were asked to create a semi-permanent solution within BAE Systems’ site at Portsmouth Naval Base, an experimental mixed reality hub.

The Solution and Activation

M conducted an extensive research programme to interrogate all aspects the brief and to enable us to work with the client to establish the exact requirement. Our research explored the latest Mixed Reality (MR) technologies, the audience and influences, potential locations and site conditions, and consideration for future proofing and potential broader roll-out opportunity. We invested time in visiting the Naval Base teams, to understand challenges, and to identify suitable scenarios to feature in the facility.

At all times our focus was to bring out and to articulate BAE Systems’ continuous innovation programme, and to provoke discussion through demonstration and controversy. To create a test bed for change.

Our research enabled M’s Digital and 3D Design team to establish the best technology to use, to produce a creative concept, and to create storyboard. M selected the MS Hololens2 as the augmented headset, we focussed our resource on compelling augmented content and illustration. The environment created was built to M’s usual high-quality standard, and purposefully kept to a simple design, allowing the content to stand out.

Content stories range from specific manual handling tasks, to detailed operational planning concepts. Addressing both today’s tasks and the next generation of defence and mission planning scenarios. This, purposefully, opened the audience group to a diverse range from mechanics, to engineers, and technologists.

All creative, narrative, storyboard, design and detailing was conducted within M’s in-house team. M’s technical team carried out all site installation and configuration to handover and completed and ready-to-use Maritime Lab.

On arrival guests are welcomed at a front desk, the BAE Systems host gives a quick introduction and familiarisation brief with the Hololens units. Guests are then invited to follow the host into the Maritime Lab room wearing their device, experiencing an introduction and “Hazard Board” augmented information as they enter. Within the room the host, who is also wearing Hololens, points out key activation hot spots around the space and explains the rationale behind each.

Activation points include:
– Central table for large area augmentation
– Wall graphics for headline messaging and videos
– Secure cabinet for manual task augmentation guides
– Entrance for hazboard (hazard board) and welcome

During, and following the discussion, BAE Systems Maritime Labs team collect data and note trends and feedback. In the process we track preferences, behaviours, appetite for change, success or lessons learned. This feedback will direct both the next generation Maritime Labs and also will influence emerging innovations.

The Results

The Maritime Lab was handed over just one week before the initial COVID19 lockdown. However, its use has continued through 2020 with a small user group within the innovation team. Now in 2021, with people returning to the Naval base we are seeing increasing numbers using the suite each week. Feedback has been uniquely positive.

The facility’s success has now led to the creation of additional content chapters, a roadshow version for external events, and the inclusion of an innovation feature at DSEI 2021.

As a Tier One supporter to BAE Systems, M frequently share knowledge around the group. The Maritime Labs project has inspired similar projects with other business units including Defence Information (DI), Maritime Services, and Submarines.

We are now seeing senior BAE Systems Maritime staff taking time out to use the experience, with now the Royal Navy and MOD partners and customers also being welcomed in. The Maritime Labs feature is now a truly collaborative innovation space serving all aspects of user groups.