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The application of intelligent systems composed by smart cameras is continuously spreading in a wide range of applications, playing a key role in public, military and commercial scenarios. As well, in the last years, the capability of wireless sensor networks to collect information from the environment in a distributed manner has been successfully applied in both civilian and military applications. In this paper, basing on recent studies on autonomous cognitive systems, we explore the concepts for designing interactive, adaptable and intelligent multi-sensor surveillance systems able to react to situations in a preventive way by using actuators placed in the monitored environment. To this end, taking inspiration from ambient intelligence (AmI) and cognitive radio (CR) paradigms, fusion of information provided by heterogeneous sensors is used to improve awareness regarding surrounding environment.