Challenging the Situational Awareness on the Sea – from Sensors to Analytics

New technologies for data gathering, dissemination, sharing and analytics in the Mediterranean theatre


Venue: Hilton Sorrento Palace, Italy


TechNet Europe is AFCEA Europe’s second largest annual event. This conference is very similar to NITEC (TechNet International) with an intimate feel which fosters networking opportunities and features a highly regarded industry and technology exhibition, focused on European needs. TechNet Europe 2018 was organised in cooperation with the Italian chapters of AFCEA, Rome and Naples, and held under the patronage of the Ministry of Defence, Italy.
The dramatic events that continue to occur in the Mediterranean Sea and the threats growing along Europe’s southern doorstep once more underline the need to increase precision and predictability of the situational picture on the high seas and all adjacent coasts in this region, not the least in order to enhance cooperation and integrate the capabilities of the various parties who have a legitimate interest in gathering relevant data for surveilling the situation. 
At the strategic headquarters and (maritime) forces level, a variety of partners, such as the Italian security organisations (military and law enforcement), European Union, NATO, UN, and humanitarian organisations each work on comprehensive information for their respective legitimate purposes. All respective methods and activities are not seamlessly integrated, thereby forcing each party to rely on different sources, technologies, data bases, etc. The rescue of refugees, fighting illegal actions, observing adversaries, tracking terrorists, guaranteeing maritime safety and security, and protecting the maritime environment are amongst the various tasks, which are all based on this very situational awareness.
Modern technologies from automated, long distance sensors, to space-based, real-time communication systems, to predictive analytics, to cloud-based data solutions are indispensable for the success of all the related tasks. The agencies´ ability to exchange information securely, without disruption and to cooperate effectively is based on the integration of multi-source technological solutions, at least in order to be able to exchange and manage information in a standardised and automated way. Their competitive edge on the operational field relies also on the ability to leverage the technological progress that is made on the offender´s side (including means for spectrum warfare).
AFCEA Europe, in cooperation with the Italian chapters of AFCEA, Rome and Naples, had decided to conduct TechNet Europe Conference 2018 under this topical umbrella. 
At this two-day conference, representatives from some of the highest levels of the European and NATO institutional, academic and industrial world were invited to discuss the current situation, challenges and the prospects of Maritime Situational Awareness. The conference illustrated the international regulatory, institutional, and cooperative framework, deepen operational aspects and provide perspective on technological solutions. In addition, it emphasised the need for sharing surveillance data and the exchange of information, supported by advanced technologies from sensors to analytics between agencies and amongst the nations and NGO’s. Cyber security plays an eminent role at all levels in securing sensors, communication networks and data against sophisticated and advanced threats from Cyber space, both criminals and state adversaries, also in this theatre.