Despite the decrease in the demand for R&D services for the mobile network manufacturers, the demand for Bittiumīs R&D services developed positively during 2016. Also, the demand for R&D services in the IoT markets developed positively. The product development project for the Mexican Ministry of Communication and Transportation, started in May 2015, has continued according to plans. Bittium develops Android-based mobile devices that use both terrestrial and satellite connection for their MEXSAT system.
In October, Bittium announced to have received information according to which significant customer cooperation with a global network equipment manufacturer will reduce during 2017. At that time, according to the information received, if the planned actions of the customer will materialize in full, Bittium estimated that these actions might have a negative effect to Bittiumīs net sales and operating result in 2017.
During 2016 Bittium continued the R&D investments in its own products and product platforms aiming for growth especially in the international mobile security, defense and public safety markets. The investments focused mainly in the further development of the Bittium Tough Mobile secure LTE smartphone targeted for the mobile security and public safety markets.
Bittium Tough Mobile
Bittium Tough Mobile and related management system and VPN encryption Bittium Secure Suite have generated lots of interest in the information security and public safety markets. Bittium has been actively seeking for, and has found a few suitable partners and resellers who have taken Bittium Tough Mobile as part of their own product portfolio and/or solution for their customers. The product deliveries of Bittium Tough Mobile continued during the whole year. The awareness of information security risks is growing and the interest towards secure mobile devices is increasing, however, the development of the public safety and information security markets in 2016 was somewhat slower than expected.
In the turn of May-June at Critical Communications World exhibition in Amsterdam, Bittium launched a new Bittium Tough Mobile B28 frequency variant, which is targeted for public safety networks requiring this band 28. In addition, Bittium and Air-Lynx demonstrated the first public safety LTE evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Solution (eMBMS) that enables efficient use of the whole LTE radio spectrum, delivering huge amounts of data even in a congested network environment. This is particularly important in public safety, security and other mission-critical communications, which require fast data speeds, low latencies and reliable connections.
In October, the company announced to have conducted the first ever Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call with Bittium Tough Mobile on the Public Safety Band 14 LTE Network in the United States.
Bittium SafeMove Product Family
Bittium continued R&D investments in Bittium SafeMove product family and announced Bittium SafeMove Analytics software as a standalone software product for enterprises for monitoring and analyzing the performance of wireless networks and mobile devices. Organizations that use Analytics will get real-time and historical data on the location of mobile devices and the performance of wireless networks and thus are able to enhance the efficiency and user experience of mobile workers.
In May, Bittium released a new software version of Bittium SafeMove Mobile VPN remote access solution. The new software version enhances the information security of mobile workers by supporting performance-improving encryption methods. Moreover, the new management user interface and support for mobile Android devices make the work of IT departments significantly easier.
In May, Bittium established a partnership with Getac to improve the productivity, security and user experience for field workers in challenging conditions. Bittium offers its SafeMove Mobile VPN and Analytics software to all Getacīs rugged tablets and notebooks as an option across Europe from May 2016 onwards.
Bittium Tough VoIP Product Family and Bittium TAC WIN System
The development of the tactical communication system Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network (TAC WIN), used by the Finnish Defence Forces, continued during the year. The product deliveries for the communication system were continued during the whole year. Bittium received a new order for a new software package for the system. The main objective for the development work of the new software package is to continue enhancing the performance, data transfer capacity and survivability of the software and the related radio platform.
Bittium also continued efforts to bring its products and services, targeted to defense industry, to the international defense markets and received a small order of TAC WIN system in Asia. In November, the company announced to have received a purchase order for a tactical communications system and related integration work to be delivered to the Estonian Defence Forces.
Bittium expanded its product portfolio in tactical communications by introducing Bittium Tough VoIP Service (Voice over Internet Protocol) software product. With the product both fixed data network users and wireless tactical data network users can be connected to the same voice service network. This significantly improves the capability to lead troops and maintain situational awareness in the quickly changing conditions of the battlefield.
ESSOR (European Secure Software defined Radio) Cooperation Continued
Bittium has been part of the European ESSOR programme since it started in 2009. The aim of the program is to develop the European Software Defined Radio technology in order to improve the capabilities for cooperation in coalition operations.
In June, Bittium demonstrated together with both Italian company Leonardo and French company Thales how the land forces of different European countries will be able to communicate with each other in joint operations, linking up via a common waveform regardless of the actual radio platforms they use.
In December, Bittium demonstrated together with Leonardo, Thales and Finnish Defence Forces the capabilities and functionalities of the High Data Rate Waveform (HDRWF) developed in the European ESSOR programme in battlefield conditions.
The Acquisition of Mega Electronics
In November, Bittium acquired Mega Electronics Ltd. and MegaKoto Ltd., companies specialized in healthcare technology and services.
Mega Electronics Ltd. (now: Bittium Biosignals Ltd.), founded in 1983, is a Finnish ISO 13485 certified medical device manufacturing company.
The Company is specialized in biosignal measuring for cardiology, neurology, rehabilitation, occupational health and sports medicine. MegaKoto Ltd. (now Bittium Medanalytics Ltd.) provides comprehensive arrhythmia monitoring services for its customers such as primary care centers, private clinics and hospitals.
With this acquisition Bittium got the ownership of Faros product family, focused on heart remote monitoring, NeurOne product focusing on measuring the electrical activity of brain, and BrainStatus, a disposable quick analysis headband used in emergency and intensive primary care to diagnose for example epileptic seizures and brain stroke, and other healthcare technology products. Faros devices are EU medical device directive class CE class IIa and USA FDA 510(k) registered medical devices. Bittium Medanalytics Ltd. is a private provider of healthcare services approved by the Finnish National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health having more than 70 health centers and private clinics using its heart monitoring Kardiolog.fi service. This acquisition was part of Bittiumīs strategy announced later in November.