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Insights Atkins launches new opportunities in applied technology

We're proud to welcome John Batterbee to head up our new applied technology practice at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. He's an engineer who has worked across defence, security, energy, transport and water industries, helping clients enhance the customer experience, increase productivity and increase resilience through technology.
this is a image of John smiling

What is the applied technology practice?

We're a centre of excellence for data, digital and technology skills. Our rapidly growing team of 300 people solve complex client challenges in aerospace, defence, security, government and critical national infrastructure.

While we focus on applied technology, we collaborate with others across our business. Our expertise includes architecture, software development, data science and geospatial. Every member's skills, expertise and knowledge mean a lot to me. It's great being able to work together with talented people who just want to see each other succeed and grow.

Why did Atkins need a whole new practice?

Atkins is known for its diversity of thought, expertise, and great work. And there aren't many entities that understand the integration of operational tech and information tech like my team. The way we support clients is unique. We get the whole spectrum from the operational technologies that link to physical assets to the information technologies that enable enterprise business processes.

So far, what are you enjoying about Atkins?

We always have a wide variety of projects on the go. These are big and small, from biometric airport security to digital rail maintenance, AR apps for property and programme management, AI across the project's lifecycle and assessing the environment from space!

It's fantastic to see teams work on the entire lifecycle of their projects, from the upfront strategy and architecture to technology solutions, service delivery, and ongoing data-driven performance improvement.

I also enjoy the flexible working culture. Employees respect each other's priorities and are ready to support each other to get the job done.

What kind of projects are your junior team members working on?

We work in a flat structure with team members of all levels working alongside each other. I like to see colleagues at any level trusted with more responsibility, while being supported to succeed.
For example, we have mixed teams working on a biometric security solution for Heathrow. It enables 40 million passengers to pass through quickly and efficiently, with a single record of their access throughout the airport.

Another team is doing digital lineside inspection for the rail industry. Traditionally, rail side vegetation is inspected manually. By using data analysis for this, we’re cutting down manual checks by 80%, which has significant cost benefits as well as reducing the risk of disruption to improve the passenger experience.

How would the team like to see AI make a tangible difference in people's lives?

I'm struck by how Atkins genuinely cares about the well-being of its employees. So, we've been thinking about enhancing safety and improving efficiency through augmented intelligence, derived from connected worker data sources.
We could get real-time data on individuals' well-being from existing wearable tech, like Fitbit. When compiled and analyzed, it could help us deliver a happier, more rewarding work environment with better safety outcomes.

What other technologies are the team pursuing?

More and more projects are establishing a common data environment as their foundation. And that's exciting because if we can get more organized data, we can find new ways to deliver what's right for people and the environment. The team can analyze that data and apply AI to create superior predictive insight and better asset design and operation.

We're gathering data around the world in innovative ways. For example, satellite imagery lets us assess biodiversity impacts on a broader scale than ever before. The team uses natural language processing to quickly make sense of thousands and thousands of pages of unstructured documentation. It's saving hours of time on things like requirements documents.
We're also looking into virtual and augmented reality (AR). Our AR apps, for example, allow the client to point a smartphone at one of their assets and check its maintenance history and current health. It's no good having lots of data if we can't unlock its value by making it accessible to the right people at the right time.

Do you have a message for candidates who are looking for opportunities in digital and technology?

The applied technology practice is growing very fast, we're actively recruiting, and we value equality, diversity and inclusion. I want to hire people who look and think differently from me and come from different backgrounds and disciplines.

If you want to build a career by being the best you can be, you'll do well here. Search our available roles.