Annual Report 2020
Bittium in 2020
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Defense & Security

Tactical and Secure Communication Systems

In the Defense & Security product and service area, Bittium offers globally leading products and services for its customers in the defense, security and public safety markets. Bittium´s competitiveness in these markets is based on trust and reliability, high quality products and services, as well as on advanced technology and security know-how developed within the company during more than 35 years.

Bittium Tough Mobile™ product family
At the core of the information security features of the Bittium Tough Mobile smartphones lies their multilayered security structure, which is based on hardened Android™ operating system, unique hardware solutions, and the information security features and software integrated in the source code. The phones are fully designed and manufactured in Finland, and Bittium ensures supervised and secure manufacturing and supply of the smartphones to customers. Bittium Tough Mobile smartphones together with Bittium Secure Suite device management and encryption software product can be certified for secure use of different national government authorities. Bittium Tough Mobile C smartphone together with Bittium Secure Suite back-end system form the first smartphone-based communication solution in the world that has been certified for CONFIDENTIAL security level (NCSC-FI, National Cyber Security Centre Finland). As the smartphones have been designed for use by authorities, they have a significantly longer availability and lifespan and better availability of security updates compared to conventional smartphones.

Bittium Secure Suite™ is a device management and encryption software product that complements Bittium Tough Mobile smartphone product family with a scalable set of new software services for remote management, remote attestation and securing the network connections of the device. Bittium Tough Mobile smartphone and Bittium Secure Suite form a unique, complete, reliable system for processing and transferring sensitive and classified material and securing critical communication.

Bittium Specialized Device Platform™ is a versatile device platform leveraging latest mass market mobile device hardware and software technologies. The platform enables companies to roll-out fully customized mobile devices in various form factors (incl. module, smartphone, tablet and smart watch) faster and with lower development risks. The platform has been productized to public safety, security, industrial and smart watch markets. One of the major products based on this platform is the secure Bittium Tough Mobile smartphone.

Bittium SafeMove® Mobile VPN software enables the utilization of all IP based applications and networks by securing the connections between the work station and corporate services immediately from startup of the phone. With Bittium SafeMove, for instance, home care workers are allowed to have full access to the same systems and applications they would have on a hospital desktop, enabling safe and real-time access to patient records. The new SafeMove Streams feature enables optimized, durable and secure connectivity, even when the network connections in use are unreliable and sensitive for interference.

Bittium SafeMove® Analytics is an advanced monitoring and reporting module that helps organizations to monitor network connectivity and performance to improve productivity and user experience. The analytics tool continuously gathers connectivity data, such as connectivity status, speed, throughput and bytes transferred, network type and Wi-Fi network information. It is also easy to enhance the tool with positioning information if GPS data is available. In addition, the new security features enable immediate report of possible security deviations in the mobile phones used by the employees. This enables reacting to the cyber threats without any delay, for example by disconnecting device that reported the deviation from the company network for the time of clearance of the situation.

Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) is a Software-Defined Radio based wireless broadband network system intended for military and public safety use. With the system, MANET (mobile ad hoc network) link and connection networks can be formed into one logical IP network quickly, no matter where the location is. Bittium TAC WIN is compatible with existing fixed and wireless network infrastructures. The core of the system is a tactical router that enables users to freely form both wired and wireless broadband data transfer IP connections. Tactical router enables also connections to different types of terminals and other communication systems connecting them into one communication network. In addition to the router, the system comprises of three types of radio heads. Each radio head covers its own frequency band area and can be used for flexible formation of optimized network topologies for different communication needs. All the products of the system are designed for harsh conditions, and, thanks to the system´s automated functions, the implementation of the system can be done quickly. Due to the software-based functionality of the Bittium TAC WIN system, it can be easily updated with additional performance cost-efficiently during the whole lifespan of the system.

The Bittium Tough SDR™ product family of tactical radios consists of Bittium Tough SDR Handheld™, handheld radio for dismounted soldiers, and Bittium Tough SDR Vehicular™, tactical radio for vehicle installations. Bittium Tough SDR products help to produce and share real time situational awareness (location, image, voice, video, and sensor data) to all levels of the organization. The uniquely wide frequency range of the radios brings combat resistance and the use of multiple waveforms, such as Bittium TAC WIN Waveform™, Bittium Narrowband Waveform™ and ESSOR High Data Rate Waveform, improves compatibility and allows for different tasks and levels depending on the situation. Together with the SDR based Bittium TAC WIN system, it is possible to bring broadband data and voice to all mobile troops starting from brigade level and all the way across the battlefield.

Bittium Tough VoIP™ product family´s products enable tactical IP calls and broadband data transfer even in demanding conditions. Products are easily integrated into existing IP infrastructure. The product family consists of a range of tactical IP-based communication products, including Bittium Tough Comnode device; a distributed VoIP service network for tactical environment, Bittium Tough VoIP Service; Voice over IP client, Bittium Tough VoIP Field Phone; a network extension unit, Bittium Tough VoIP Network Extender; and Bittium Tough VoIP Softphone software product.

Bittium Tough Comnode™ fulfills the data transfer needs for mobile troops by functioning for example as a VoIP phone (Voice over IP), an IP router (Internet Protocol), and an SHDSL repeater (Symmetrical High-speed Digital Subscriber Line). Additionally, Bittium Tough Comnode also provides SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) server functionalities of the tactical voice network for commercial VoIP terminals and enables using also legacy Combat Net Radios (CNR) as part of the IP-based tactical communication system (Radio over IP, RoIP).

Bittium Tough VoIP Field Phone™ is a SIP (Session Initation Protocol) compliant client that provides interoperability with other SIP clients and server implementations available in the market and incorporates functionality that enables introduction of VoIP services in dynamic self-forming networks independent from server.

Bittium Tough VoIP Network Extender™´s SHDSL (Symmetric-High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line) connectivity can extend an IP network over long distances using conventional field wire. The Network Extender also features Ethernet and SHDSL connections to external networks and devices.

Bittium Tough VoIP Service™ is a software product, which can be used to connect both fixed data network users and wireless tactical data network users to the same voice service network. It is a flexible and decentralized solution designed specifically for mobile troops. It can be installed on routing elements of the network, such as the Bittium TAC WIN Tactical Router™, the Bittium Tough Comnode™ device or the Bittium Tough SDR™ radios. 

Bittium Tough VoIP Softphone™ is a VoIP software product designed especially for tactical use. It can be used for VoIP calls, instant messaging, conference calls and screen sharing in the Bittium Tough VoIP Service network either with a PC or smartphone.

Bittium Tactical Power Pack™ is a versatile accessory for powering tactical communication devices. It has been designed to be used with the Bittium Tough SDR Handheld™ radio and the Bittium Tough Comnode™ device, for example, but can also be easily used with standard tablets and smartphones via USB.

Bittium Tactical LTE Access Point™ is a stand-alone LTE access solution that enables the creation of multiple parallel wireless LTE areas and seamless connection to an IP network. The Tactical LTE Access Point is fully compatible with the Bittium TAC WIN backbone network. With the solution, different troops can benefit from cost-effective and fast multimedia data transfer and VoIP services with both commercial smartphones and special terminals intended for government use.

Year 2020

Despite the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the cooperation with the Finnish Defense Forces continued very well. The volume deliveries of the new Bittium Tough SDR handheld radios started in April and, at the end of the year, the first pilot series of Bittium Tough SDR Vehicular™ radios was delivered to the customer.  The development of vehicular radios will continue also in 2021. The development work of the radios has taken slightly longer than expected because of their unique frequency range and because they have been designed to operate under extreme conditions.

In February, Bittium received a purchase order from Finnish Defence Forces to continue porting the European ESSOR (European Secure SOftware-defined Radio) programme´s OC1 (Operational Capability 1) wideband waveform to the Bittium Tough SDR radios that will be delivered to the Finnish Defence Forces. A significant European player in the defense industry, Germany, joined the ESSOR programme, which strengthened ESSOR´s position in the market and affected positively the deployment of the ESSOR waveform in the future.
The Finnish Defence Forces also ordered Bittium Tough Comnode™ terminals based on a framework agreement covering the years 2018–2022.

Cooperation regarding the renewal of the Finnish Defense Forces command control and communication system continued, and in accordance with the framework agreement for 2018–2020 Bittium delivered the last batch of products of the Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) software defined radio system meant for tactical communication. In December, the Finnish Minister of Defense authorized the Finnish Defense Forces to procure products of the Bittium TAC WIN™ system, and a new framework agreement for 2021–2024 is being prepared. The value of the agreement is at the maximum about EUR 30 million.

In November, the Finnish Defense Forces ordered Bittium Tactical Power Pack™ battery units as accessories for portable Bittium Tough Comnode™ devices already in use. The battery unit was launched in October. The ordered products, with the value of approximately EUR 1.1. million, will be delivered to the Defense Forces during the first half of 2021.

Bittium also announced to be a part of the iMUGS (integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System) project that is operating under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). The iMUGS project is developing new capabilities for European defense forces based on autonomous systems. In the project, Bittium is responsible for the execution of resilient and networked data transfer, including both tactical communications and data transfer over commercial 4G and 5G cellular networks.

In the governmental market, the interest in the mobile security and secure Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 phones grew. Continuous security attacks raise awareness of the importance of security. In June, Bittium launched a new, even more secure variant of its smartphone: Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 C.

The unique new variant is based on the previously launched Bittium Tough Mobile 2 and is meant for CONFIDENTIAL level authority communication. The new smartphone variant is complemented with Bittium Secure Suite™ management software, enabling remote management of devices and applications, as well as encrypted IP-based data transfer.

Bittium and ENENSYS Technologies, a leading provider of media delivery and public safety solutions, announced that evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Solution (eMBMS) with ENENSYS´ Middleware, which is intended for public authority LTE networks, can now be deployed in the highly secure Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 smartphone. With this cooperation, LTE Broadcast features are now enabled in rugged public safety Bittium Tough Mobile 2.

Bittium and Virve Tuotteet ja Palvelut, a long-term operator of sales and maintenance of equipment suitable for Tetra networks, started a cooperation covering the resale of secure Bittium Tough Mobile 2 smartphones complemented with Bittium Secure Suite management software to critical communications organizations in Finland. Through the cooperation, Virve Tuotteet ja Palvelut is able to deliver a complete solution to the end customer, which includes state-of-the-art secure devices and related additional services, such as maintenance and support.

At the end of the year, the company began cooperating with Tutus Data AB, a Swedish expert in certified web encryption solutions. The collaboration will create a high-security mobile solution that combines Tutus´ strong security expertise with Bittium´s ultra secure Bittium Tough Mobile™ 2 smartphone platform. Designed for a mobile work environment, this solution provides data security, especially as a critical communication tool. Tutus is the main supplier of IT security products approved and certified by the Swedish government in Sweden, and the co-developed solution will be part of Tutus´ product offering.

Bittium released a new streams feature for Bittium SafeMove® Mobile VPN security software. It enables optimized, durable and encrypted connection even when the network connections in use are unreliable and sensitive for interference. The strong connection of Bittium SafeMove® Streams technology enables the protecting of several applications and their different connections. Encryption and security adapt to the changing needs of different applications, and the special needs of real-time voice and video applications, for example, are taken into account.

Market outlook

Defense and Public Safety Market

  • In the defense sector´s tactical communication market, the governments´ defense forces and other authorities need networks that troops, who are more and more constantly on the move, can use and transfer growing amounts of data securely. This creates demand for Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) broadband network, Bittium Tough SDR™ handheld and vehicle radios and for other Bittium´s IP-based (Internet Protocol) tactical communication solutions that fulfill the needs of data transfer of moving troops and individual soldiers. Bittium continues efforts to bring its defense market targeted products and services also to the international defense markets and aims to get new international customers for its tactical communication system in 2021. Due to the long sales cycles driven by purchasing programs of national governments, it will take time to receive purchase orders.
  • The financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affect the budgets of public finances, such as states and public authorities, and may require postponing of procurement. This may delay receiving new orders. Especially in the defense and authorities´ markets, testing and piloting of products and systems are typical phases before receiving orders of larger entities. Current circumstances may postpone the materialization of some orders from their planned schedule. In addition, due to the travelling restrictions, the acceptance tests may need to be rescheduled, which may affect the final product acceptances and thereby the actual product deliveries. The Covid-19 pandemic may also somewhat affect the availability of some components used in the products, which may affect the company´s capability to deliver products to its customers.
  • The use of LTE technology, smartphones, and applications continue to increase in special verticals such as public safety creating demand for Bittium Tough Mobile™ secure LTE smartphones and other customized special terminals based on Bittium´s own product platform. The awareness of mobile security risks is growing and the interest towards secure mobile devices is increasing. The implementation of LTE-based devices in use in the Public Safety markets has been slower than expected because of the delay in the device functionalities required by the authorities and because of the slow progress of the market. The sales of the secure terminal products are expected to develop moderately according to the nature of public safety markets.
  • The smartphone sales process often involves testing and piloting systems and equipment, possibly integrating third-party technologies, and possible local regulatory approvals, which are typically long-lasting. Exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic may have a significant impact on the progress of projects, which slows down the closings of larger transactions.
  • Using public network connections in portable devices is increasing also in demanding professional use, for instance in the public sector. This creates requirements for network connections to be easy to use and secure. The products in the Bittium SafeMove® product family enable the ease of use of the devices and security in demanding use. Demand for the Bittium SafeMove® product family has not been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.