The challenge lies in the ability to enhance society’s resilience by developing new crisis management tools, interoperable and standardised communications systems and innovative surveillance solutions for critical urban infrastructures. Cyber security, smart networks and unmanned platforms bring a new dimension to societal security, requiring advanced end-user driven solutions. Overall, secure societies aim to reduce the loss of human life, the environmental and economic impact and the material damage from natural and man-made disasters, while integrating and addressing human and social dynamics.
The need for responsive C2 and communications systems is being driven by the rapidity with which new, asymmetric threats can be deployed. These now dictate the development of new command and control (C2) systems, uniting strategy, tactics and operations so that knowledgeable action is taken. These systems' integrity are today ensured by reliable, secure and robust communications and by advanced security protocols that protect critical information for the sustainability and competitiveness of businesses.
Equipped with data processing units, sensors, control and communications systems, unmanned systems are able to perform missions autonomously, without human intervention. Although the human-in-the-loop is always required, for high-level analysis and decision-making, unmanned systems have proven to be extremely useful to carry out repetitive, high-precision, dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, in the areas of agriculture, security, utilities, healthcare and transportation. Hence, robotics assumes the potential to transform the quality of lives and work practices.
The environmental impact of agricultural, fishery and forestry activities determines the need for better and more reliable prediction, monitoring and decision support tools, integrating citizens’ observatories to to develop comprehensive global environmental observation solutions. The transition to competitive and sustainable energy systems requires intelligent solutions to manage energy resources and monitor its use. The focus lies on smart cities technologies, energy efficient buildings and communities and smart digital and mobile added-value services.
Concerns about climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortage is leading to the rapid growth of environmental sensing and monitoring technologies, a market expected to reach €12.6 billion by 2020. Technology-led improvements in sensor design, development and production, in wireless communications and networks and in big data management techniques have enabled the implementation of sophisticated real-time environmental monitoring systems that envisage to contribute to sustainable environmental protection policies.
Smart grid management is becoming increasingly important, for it allows the use of an array of enabling technologies like sensors, meters, integrated communications systems and storage devices to improve the efficiency of network and services. This improvement requires advanced home automation capabilities, aiming for the development of smart buildings and urban spaces, with the capability to generate substantial savings in operational costs and energy use while reducing carbon emissions.
Research involving mobile wireless sensors to monitor a variety of vital signs and transmit this data in real-time is a cutting edge development, applicable to the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics and integration of sensor data with health information systems and decision support systems to achieve personalised healthcare. Today, wireless health sensors and mobile health apps are key for the sustainability of new integrated healthcare models.
Thanks to the rapid developments in wearable technologies, there is now a myriad of wearable devices to track health and lifestyle indicators, creating new opportunities for better healthcare services. These new equipment are booming because of telemedicine benefits and its unprecedented capability to identify new disease markers, drive evidence-based therapies and enable better and personalised strategies to a healthier life.
The increasing adoption of mobility technologies - smartphones, tablets and health apps - announces a new era in personalised healthcare services, where real time monitoring and multimedia communication between patients and health professionals is revolutionised by remote monitoring of chronic or critically-ill patients, more precise and accurate diagnosis capabilities and the direct involvement of patients in their own treatments.