All eyes in the world of quantum and optical communication were on Greece on 15th and 16th May as more than 200 delegates joined the 6th Annual ScyLight Conference in the heart of Athens. Attendees included industry leaders, academic researchers, representatives of consortia currently engaged in ESA activities and national delegations who enjoyed a packed agenda over two days, followed by an optional half day workshop on Quantum Internet.
This year’s conference was hosted jointly by the Greek Ministry of Digital Governance, the General Secretariat of Telecommunications and Post and ESA. Secure optical communication is one of the Greek Government’s national space priorities and it has worked closely with ESA in recent years across a range of activities. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year and a number of observatories with exceptionally large telescopes, the climate and infrastructure provide the ideal setting to develop optical ground stations (OGS) and play a key role in ESA’s ScyLight programme. It was therefore the perfect venue for this year’s conference.
The event saw a high-level opening by Dr. Athanassios Staveris-Polykalas, Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post of the Ministry of Digital Governance, and Javier Benedicto Ruiz, ESA Acting Director of Connectivity and Secure Communications.
In his video message, the Director said “This conference has really become a key event in the field of optical and quantum communication in Europe…these technologies are considered to be a game changer in the field of computing, connectivity networks and security….and we take this conference as a milestone in our roadmap for defining the future plans for optical and quantum technology in Europe.”
With Europe at the forefront of this important technology, this year’s event saw the usual packed agenda with keynote speeches, industry pitches and plenty of opportunity for networking. The conference dinner was an important moment for colleagues to gather n the shadow of the Acropolis, discussing opportunities and the future in a relaxed atmosphere.
As well as reviewing the latest developments in quantum and optical technologies and finding out more about member states’ plans for quantum satcom systems, the agenda also included user and service provider panels for the first time this year, providing unique insights into user applications and bringing stakeholders who will implement these technologies in the future into the debate.
Also new for 2023 was the organisation of a specialist Workshop on Quantum Internet on day three, held at a Cultural Centre in the city of Kalavryta. The event was hosted by the Mayor of Kalavryta, Athanasios Papadopoulos, the Governor of the Region and the President of the National Observatory of Athens, Manolis Plionis. It included guided panel discussions with quantum technology experts and thought leaders and debates with the audience around both the technology and its future implementation.
Reflecting on this year’s event, Dimitrios Kagklis says: “Optical & Quantum Communications in space are developing rapidly and we were delighted to host the 6th ESA Scylight Conference in Greece thus year. We highlighted the capabilities of the Chelmos Observatory in Kalavryta in the Quantum era as the largest telescope in Central Eastern Europe and had the opportunity to show our European partners the HellasQCI and engage in new discussions and collaborations. Many thanks to ESA for choosing Greece as well as Eugenides Foundation and the municipality of Kalavryta for the hospitality. “
Christopher Vasko, Quantum and Optical Engineer at ESA, who co-organised the event said: “We are very pleased with the success of the conference and the workshop. It was energising to see the community come together, discuss, exchange and debate key topics. Thanks to our Greek co-hosts, as well as the event partners HellasQCI, the National Observatory of Athens and the city of Kalavryta, our participants left with a positive impression, good memories and a host of new contacts.”
For more info please visit our conference website: https://atpi.eventsair.com/scylightconference2023/conference-objectives