Arne Matthyssen from RHEA GroupThe world around us is changing rapidly, driven by disruptive events. In response, businesses like RHEA have to innovate to stay ahead of the curve. But innovation on its own is not enough to create a sustainable business.

In this first of a series of blog posts, RHEA’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Arne Matthyssen, explains why all technology companies need to evolve, using RHEA as an example of how to successfully approach such evolution through innovation.

The world around us is changing rapidly, driven and enforced by disruptive events. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and, even more so, the global geopolitical situation, and the tensions these events create at human, economic and technology levels.

In this new era, RHEA Group’s markets are seeking resilience, digital sovereignty and security, in addition to state-of-the-art technology and capability building. As RHEA Group’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, it is my responsibility to provide technology leadership to ensure the group answers the rapidly evolving needs of our markets by continually integrating key technologies and innovations in our services, products and solutions. In doing so, we are increasing our technological edge, building our capabilities and creating a sustainable business.

This is first of a series of posts in which I intend to give you a peak into our Technology and Innovation kitchen, revealing how we are responding to the needs of our markets today, and how we will do so in the years to come.

Why do technology businesses need to evolve?

In 2022, the geopolitical situation made us all aware of how vulnerable we are, from both human and economic standpoints. It made us realise that many of the things we rely on are connected in such a way that a snowball effect exists, in which a change somewhere is likely to touch every human in some way or another. This calls for different requirements for future solutions, services and systems as well as new approaches to turn those requirements into added value solutions.

Climate change has been a topic of great importance for much longer, but both the pandemic and the geopolitical situation are today pushing climate change issues to the forefront of everyone’s attention. Energy transition, independence, food crises and recent extreme droughts and floods make changes in corporate behaviour not only desirable, but also mandatory to ensure the survival of companies and individuals.

All of the above have resulted in rapidly changing customer demands and expectations. Industry dynamics are changing. New disruptive actors and business models are making successful and rapid entries into the market. And there is a common understanding that progress and acquisition/retention of market-leading positions require embracing and monetization of emerging technologies.

Driven by needs of our markets

Driven by these global changes, and the increasing importance of space infrastructure and services on terrestrial (critical) infrastructures, organizations in the markets in which RHEA is primarily active, including space, aerospace, defence and critical infrastructure, are turning to us to assist them in a range of ways. They are looking to us to help with:

  • Increased digitalization
  • Greater focus on security and trust
  • Heightened resilience
  • Independence, digital sovereignty and strategic autonomy
  • Keeping a technological edge
  • Capability building.

These are not necessarily independent of each other; rather, they are often intertwined.

2022 was therefore a year of ‘reflection’ during which the RHEA Technology and Innovation Division combined these market needs with national and international strategies and priorities (e.g. on space, defence, security and critical infrastructures), RHEA’s regional and sectorial strategies, and key global strategic technology trends. This provided us with a good view of, and direction for, what needs to be present in RHEA’s solutions, services and products now and in the next 3 years.

How we are responding

Identifying the market needs and the key technology trends and technologies, and mapping these onto our current and emerging offerings, resulted in future-proof roadmaps of RHEA’s solutions, products and services, and the creation of 11 Competence Areas:
Graphic showing green icons for RHEA Group Technology and Innovation division Competence Areas in a large green hexagon

  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data and Downstream
  • Digital Engineering
  • Emerging Technologies
  • End-to-End Systems and Services
  • Ground Systems and Services
  • Physical Security
  • Complex System Engineering
  • Positioning, Navigation and Timing
  • Space Situational Awareness

These roadmaps embrace and integrate the key technology trends and related technologies – not for the sake of it, but where they are truly applicable and where they add value to our customers. Some of these trends and technologies are: maximized automation, trustworthy autonomy, AI and machine learning, quantum communication, decentralized digital ledger technology, cyber-physical systems, native cloud and edge solutions, zero trust architectures, digital ID and trust, maximized modularity and scalability, digital engineering and digital twinning. That looks like a long list, but it is only a selection of the many we have taken into account.

I am convinced that the results of this ‘reflection’ enable us to provide what our customers are looking for and to guide them towards a successful, safe and secure future, in space and/or on Earth.