The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency's flagship event NITEC19 kicked off today in Oslo, where more than 700 senior government, military and industry leaders gathered to discuss potential partnerships and upcoming business opportunities.
The three-day industry conference is focused this year on advancing technology and business practices to strengthen NATO operations from the South to the High North.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen opened the conference on Monday. In his remarks, the Minister outlined why operating in the High North is especially challenging. The Minister emphasized the importance of adapting communication systems and technology to this harsh environment.
"Meeting these challenges requires close collaboration between Nations, industry and the Alliance," Bakke-Jensen said. "Peace and stability in the High North helps safeguard peace and stability in all of NATO."
Panels that followed on Monday tackled questions of technology suitable for the High North, autonomy in defence and fostering a strong tech-savvy workforce.
In his keynote address, NCI Agency General Manager Kevin J. Scheid said he wanted NATO's Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) community to take the lead in technological development for particular areas of operations in the High North.
"We are here to keep our edge," Scheid said. "We want to be a smart buyer. We want to learn from industry, see what is going on and make sure that you know how to engage with NATO and the NCI Agency."
And that was just day one!
There are two more exciting days of programming ahead, including panels on data science, maritime technology and technology priorities for the High North.
On Tuesday, the winners of the Agency's Defence Innovation Challenge will also present their solutions.
During the conference senior Agency managers will also preview business opportunities the Agency plans to release in the next 18 months. These business opportunities amount to 1.4 billion EUR in total.
The NCI Agency is hosting NITEC19 with the support of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Europe, and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.
Through the conference's exhibition organized by AFCEA Europe, companies, not-for-profit organisations and academia can showcase their work.
"There is a need to bring together government, academia and industry," said AFCEA's General Manager Erich Staudacher. "Our exhibitors are inviting you to hands-on experiences, demos and expert talks. We feel encouraged we are providing you with a unique experience."
For more information follow along on Twitter at #NITEC19, or check out the conference programme at https://nitec19.com/.