Business Development in JanuaryDecember 2020
In 2020, the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the global market situation. At the end of the year, the effects began to be seen more widely in Bittium´s business as well. Completion of some projects delayed and some of them were moved entirely to 2021. Acquisition of new projects and customers was clearly slower than normally.
Despite the exceptional circumstances 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 tactical communication products of the software defined Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) system and Bittium Tough Comnode™ terminals.
Cooperation regarding the renewal of the Finnish Defense Forces command control and communication system continued, and in accordance with the framework agreement for 20182020, and the last batch of products of the Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) software defined radio system meant for tactical communication was delivered. 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 20212024 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 to the end customer a complete solution, that 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.
The active negotiations with the State of the Mexico about the Mexsat phones to enable a wider use of the Mexsat system continued. The prevailing exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Middle America have significantly slowed down the progress of the negotiations. Deliveries of mobile satellite phones developed for the Mexican state authorities fell short of target last year. However, the delivery volumes are expected to grow in 2021.
Demand for Bittium´s medical technology products for remote monitoring and remote diagnostics remained steady. Based on the delivery agreement signed in 2018, Bittium continued to deliver tailored Body Guardian® MINI ECG measuring devices to the major US remote monitoring provider Preventice as planned. In September, Bittium and Preventice signed an extension to the agreement, under which Bittium will continue to supply BodyGuardian® MINI devices for the years 20212024. When fully implemented, the total value of the agreement will be approximately USD 22.9 million.
In May, Bittium BrainStatus™ product family received medical device approval in Europe (directive 93/42/EEC). Bittium BrainStatus product family is a compact wireless EEG measurement system for the brain´s real-time electrical activity monitoring. It is designed for emergency, acute and intensive care use. Its ease of use enables high-quality EEG measurements by both paramedics and clinicians quickly and easily. At the end of the year Cerenion´s C-Trend® analysis software, which is integrated in Bittium BrainStatus™ EEG system, was granted medical device approval in the European Union. With Cerenion C-Trend® analysis, the status of the brain is presented as simple and easy-to-interpret numerical values by utilizing advanced machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. The aim of the solution is to improve medical care and make the work of nursing staff in the intensive care unit easier and faster.
Bittium launched an advanced remote monitoring service platform that utilizes wireless data transfer to enhance medical remote diagnostics services. Bittium MedicalSuite™ web-based service platform is mainly aimed at service providers to facilitate secure information sharing and workflow management between service providers, clinics and specialists. Currently the system supports cardiac monitoring services, but the same technology can be applied to any biosignal measurements, such as brain monitoring and home sleep apnea testing services. Data transfer is secured with Bittium SafeMove® VPN software, which uses strong encryption algorithms to guarantee the confidentiality, privacy, and integrity of communications.
In December, Bittium released a new version of its Bittium Cardiac Navigator™ cardiac analysis software. The new software version introduces improvements in, among other things, P-wave detection, which further increases the analytical accuracy of measuring the atrial fibrillation. Cardiac Navigator is used by several customers of Bittium Faros™ ECG devices that measure the electrical activity of the heart.
Demand for R&D services remained stable. The development of R&D service offering continued, especially for the telecommunications, medical technology, automotive and industrial Internet markets. The development of operating methods and organization also continued, which has brought more efficiency in operations. Bittium continued to provide connectivity solutions to its customers with the goal of further increasing the number of R&D service projects and expanding the customer base.
As the demand for 5G technology development leveled off, Bittium has continued to invest in new customers and application areas. The company also continued to deliver different kind of connectivity solutions to its customers and aims at growing the amount of product development projects and widening its customer base. As a new application area for product development services, Bittium joined Rightware´s Kanzi partner program and has introduced its own OEM application management and security solutions implemented on the Android Automotive platform. Bittium brings deep Android system experience to the automotive industry, from the hardware level all the way up the software stack.