Seven companies gathered at the CMRE in La Spezia, Italy for the second JANUS Interoperability Fest from 14-19 November 2019.
The event was sponsored by NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and supported by the Italian Navy Centro di Supporto e Sperimentazione Navale (CSSN).
JANUS, developed by CMRE in collaboration with NATO Nations, is the first underwater digital communications protocol. It was promulgated as a NATO standard in March 2017. Adopted globally, JANUS can make military and civilian, NATO and non-NATO devices interoperable, providing them all with a common language with which to communicate and cooperate.
To be able to communicate with each other, underwater assets need common standards. “In our daily life, we are so used to be able to interconnect our phones or tablets and start exchanging data via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other standards that we do not even think about it,” says CMRE Scientist Roberto Petroccia, chairman of the JANUS Fest, “Until JANUS, there wasn’t anything even remotely similar for the underwater domain.” As with the industry standard for WIFI communication, an undersea communication standard has to be defined in order to guarantee the interoperability between equipment from different manufacturers.
Despite torrential downpours and severe winds, seven industry leaders from across Europe and the United States travelled to CMRE to test JANUS capable technologies with an unmanned system in the maritime environment. The participating companies included Applicon srl, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, EvoLogics GmbH, Popoto Modem, Teledyne Marine, Wärtsilä ELEC and W-Sense.
The Fest gave manufactures the opportunity to work together to test their technology in real time. As Dr-Ing. Florian Schulz, Head of Research and Algorithms at the ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Sonar Centre, states, “Since JANUS is a standard, we need to make sure it is interoperable between different Navies so that everyone can communicate across products and platforms. Schulz adds that ATLAS is integrating JANUS into already existing submarine sonar systems with an additional software module. This technique allows submarines to exchange information with operators at the surface.
“The most interesting thing about this trial is that we are getting into real applications,” says Ken Scussel, Engineering Manager of Acoustic Communications at Teledyne Marine, Benthos, located in the United States. Scussel continues, “Janus Fest is our opportunity to collaborate with other companies and make sure our technologies can all work together.”
Gianni Cario, Co-founder and CTO of Italian company, AppliCon, has been implementing JANUS code into communications platforms for over five years. AppliCon focuses on the design and development of hardware and software for microprocessor-based embedded systems used in communication, networking, localization, navigation and monitoring. The company is in the process of developing a JANUS capable surface vehicle. Cario states, “JANUS Fest is an important opportunity to match our results with other technologies.”
Joining JANUS Fest was Popoto Modem from the United States. James DellaMorte, President of Popoto Modem, immediately saw the value in creating JANUS compliant technology, “We thought it was a good thing to jump on to. If you look at what happened in air-based communication technology, everyone can use a cell phone and satellite. When we saw JANUS we thought eventually, everyone who works in the maritime industry will be involved in it and JANUS will grow.” By implementing the JANUS standard for undersea telecom, modems maximizes interoperability with the outside world.
Through JANUS Fest, the wide-ranging applications for the underwater communications standard across the maritime industry are examined. The Italian company W-Sense not only works with military bodies but also archeological explorations of the undersea environment. Fabrizio Gattuso, a representative from W-Sense, emphasizes that the ability to communicate across sectors is vital for the safety and security for everyone. “We provide networks for underwater communication for activities in oil and gas control, blue economy, and excavation of underwater heritage sites. We want to bring JANUS inside network solutions so we can use it as a point of first contact. The Fest allows us to test the products with other companies. It is very important for us to prove we have compatibility with other brands.”
The German company Wärtsilä ELAC Nautik GmbH released the UT 3000, the first system proven to offer analogue voice communication and digital data transmission in the underwater and maritime environment. The UT 3000 is installed in major sections of Naval submarines and surface ships worldwide. Michael Sieger states that “Wärtsilä ELAC is very interested in interoperable communications,” that not only is JANUS important for communications but customers are demanding it.
EvoLogics, a German company that designs and manufactures wireless underwater communication. EvoLogics develops technology that enables intelligent cooperation between various vehicles and sensors. As EvoLogics software developer, Maksym Komar, adds, “We need equipment to be JANUS compliant, it was good to bring everyone here to test the capability so we can understand each other”
In addition to the companies, observers from the US Navy attended the event. Dusan Radosevic and Pedro Forero from the Naval Information Warfare Centre, Pacific in San Diego, California, discuss the importance of JANUS to future operations. Forero says, “JANUS is very beneficial for future rescue efforts and automatic identification system (AIS) moving forward. If more nations actively pursue JANUS it would be very useful for underwater interoperability amongst different groups.” The main role of the Naval observers were to talk to the developers and researchers to see how far JANUS capable technology has come. Radosevic adds, “JANUS is the first underwater communication standard that has been published openly. It gives us the opportunity to implement technology to communicate through the standard. This event encourages the industry to incorporate JANUS into applications instead of having to solve the same problems, over and over again.”
Deputy ship design manager, Kevin Hawk, of the Submarine Escape and Rescue Group of the US Navy, says JANUS is gaining traction in the underwater communications world and it is important for Navies to see how it works. Hawk adds, “We need the ability to communication to our international allies, which is a technology that we have not had. In the event of a rescue, we may have to operate in the same area as an ally, so communication is very important for safety and efficiency.”
For more information about the participating companies, please visit: https://www.cmre.nato.int/images/stories/janus/wkshp2019/JANUS_FEST_participants.pdf