Exclusive Interview with Neil Owen
We spoke with Neil Owen, our NEW Head of Emerging Technology and Innovation to discuss the future of display technology in the defense industry. We also uncover how Neil's expertise in emerging technologies and innovations will integrate into new and existing KME displays as well as diversifying into new modular electronic systems.
What is your background?
I am a chartered electronics engineer (CEng) and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET) and a member of MINCOSE. Before joining KME I had over 35 years working for MOD/Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL). I have worked in areas such as electronic counter measures (ECM), electronic surveillance, Cyber and Internet of Things (IoT) to name but a few. I also acted as Innovation Advocate for an entire division and supported DSTL’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) as an assessor, moderator and technical partner.
How would you describe your Role at KME?
My role is to harness the latest emerging technologies and innovations to drive their integration into new and existing KME display technologies. I will also be driving KME to
develop more ‘secure by design’ modular electronics, aligned to the requirements of defence digitisation programmes, harnessing the technological developments seen as part of the fourth industrial revolution. Through my role KME will be an innovation led company.
What Challenges do you think you are likely to face?
KME will look to gain strategic partnerships to deliver capabilities that when combined are greater than the sum of the individual capabilities. Selecting the correct partners to deliver KME’s vision is possibly the biggest challenge.
What journey is KME on?
I would say it is on a path of enlightenment in regard to the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on defence. I hope to drive KME into other technology areas that will augment its current product line as to provide solutions for defence digitisation programmes, Urgent Operational Requirements as well as supporting specialist defence users with rapid capabilities.
How are you intending to engage with KME’s customers and the end user?
I hope to engage with likeminded innovative individuals within the customers we serve. I also want to demonstrate the art of the possible to those users that may deploy or use our products as to obtain feedback for future innovative cutting-edge solutions.
What do you think about the future of display technology for the defence industry?
In all but a few niche areas defence tends not to lead technological innovation. Defence looks at what is being developed for the consumer/industrial markets and then modifies and ruggedises it. This also applies to display technologies such as personal displays (watches etc) and virtual reality (VR) technologies which are growing technology areas. KME seeks to take advantage of these commercial / industrial advancements and innovatively augment these technologies for specific requirements in the defence market.
Why did you choose to come and join KME?
During my planned exit from MOD/DSTL I was fortunate to be interviewed by KME. KME made it clear at the interview stage that I could focus on innovation at the company and that I could start with a blank page to develop an emerging technology and innovation role. With KME being a dynamic and forward leaning company, this very much appealed to me.