The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has started to accept submissions for the second annual Defence Innovation Challenge, seeking to accelerate tech solutions in support of NATO Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and cyber capabilities, the agency said Jan. 27.

The challenge specifically aims at accepting “transformational, state-of-the-art” submissions from small businesses and academia, the agency said. It is inviting Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and academic institutions from all 28 NATO member states to submit proposals in ten focus areas of critical importance to the alliance mission, including:

  • cyber security: sensors, analytics, visualization;
  • Internet of Things (IoT): public protection and disaster relief in a smart city, federation of IoT communities, analytics for trust and skepticism in IoT data;
  • long range wireless communications: low-cost satellite communication services for remote IoT devices, satellite communication services for polar regions, resilient terrestrial long-range communication services;
  • service management automation and analytics: big data, business intelligence and cognitive analytics, proactive event management;
  • rapidly deployable, scalable IT infrastructure;
  • software defined networks;
  • cloud security;
  • secure voice interoperability, secure voice bridges;
  • security-accredited containerization;
  • eProcurement services.

Entries are due to NATO by March 3, 2017, while top finishers are set to be announced March 31. They will then be invited to showcase the technology solutions at the 2017 NCI Agency Conference and AFCEA TechNet International (NITEC17). The conference is titled “Sharpening NATO’s Technological Edge: Adaptive Partnerships and the Innovative Power of Alliance Industry”, and is planned for April 24-26 in Ottawa, Canada.

The top 10 finishers will gain a full registration waiver to the conference, showcase space, participation in the award ceremony with NATO leadership, a presentation slot during the plenary sessions, including in the NITEC 17 report, and including in the industry innovation report in the Communicator Magazine, the agency said.

NCI Agency General Manager Koen Gijsbers highlighted how the Warsaw Summit in 2016 made it clear that for NATO to maintain its technological edge it must identify advanced and emerging technologies, evaluate any applicability to the military domain, and implement them through inventive solutions.

“The Defence Innovation Challenge is a key step in harnessing the potential of small companies and academic institutions toward that effort, and we look forward to reviewing the submissions,” he said in a statement.

Proposals are directed to the Industry Relations Office at