Annual Report 2021
Bittium in 2021
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Connectivity Solutions

R&D Services

Bittium provides product development services in the areas of wireless communications, medical technologies, connected vehicles, and manufacturing. Outsourcing R&D either entirely or partly results in cost savings and enables the scaling of customers´ product development volumes according to their prevailing needs. Bittium has long experience in wireless connectivity, information security, and different communications technologies such as 5G. The understanding of industry-specific requirements and strong competence in R&D services, wireless devices, digitalization, and information security, as well as the ISO 13485:2016 quality certificate for medical devices and equipment, enable Bittium to create solutions that bring clear added value to customers and partners. Bittium also conducts R&D in the technology areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Solutions.

Year 2021

Bittium provides R&D services in the areas of wireless telecommunications, medical technology, automotive and manufacturing industries. Outsourcing R&D services, in whole or in part, brings customers cost savings and enables the scaling of their product development volume to meet their current needs. Bittium has extensive expertise in the areas of wireless connectivity, information security, and various communication technologies (such as 5G).

The delivery of R&D services and connectivity solutions for the customers continued and the demand for Bittium´s R&D services remained stable during 2021. The market for Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) architecture developed further and the demand for O-RAN know-how increased. During the last year, Bittium has been investing in the development, sales and marketing of its own O-RAN business. New demand also arose in wireless satellite technology. The growth of these areas has provided the company with new international customers.

The coronavirus pandemic slowed down the start of new R&D service projects in the manufacturing industry and automotive markets, and the demand clearly declined. The demand for medical technology solutions remained stable despite the slowdown in the lead times of the new medical device approvals caused by the new European Medical Device Safety Regulation (MDR).

The exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic strengthened the remote work practices with existing customers. However, despite the virtual meetings and events becoming more and more common, acquiring new customers was challenging. Also, the availability of a professional workforce on the market weakened, and, in particular, there is an insufficient amount of software engineers available compared to the demand. The competition for the workforce also increased labor mobility.

Market Outlook

Telecommunication and Digitalization

In mobile telecommunications, the implementation of 5G is accelerating in pace. Investments in developing new features continue and the importance of software development in the 5G network development expands. This creates demand for Bittium´s R&D services. There is a wide range of frequencies allocated for the 5G technology, thus creating the need to develop multiple products to cover the market and creating demand for R&D services for the development of product variants. The different kinds of needs for solutions in the open radio frequency network architecture, Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN), and satellite communication increase the demand for Bittium´s R&D expertise as new players enter the traditional supplier network. Also, the development of new devices utilizing 5G technology increases the demand for Bittium´s services.

As digitalization evolves, secure IoT (Internet of Things) has become a significant development area in almost every industry. The increasing need for companies to digitalize their operations, collect data wirelessly, and transfer it to the internet and cloud services generate a need for Bittium´s services and customized solutions. To this end, the market needs secure devices, for both demanding industrial and leisure applications, which collect information from the sensors used by the device and create a reliable wireless connection to the Internet and cloud services. The deployment of 5G technology is expanding and the number of digitalized devices increases continuously. The devices will also feature new and more advanced features that will create demand for design services. Therefore, the integration of different systems and technologies plays an important role in enabling complete digitalization services. There are several learning systems and devices under development that use different kinds of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to ease and speed up the processing of large data amounts.

Changes in the digitalization of the automotive industry and new business models as well as the automation of automotive operations create a need for technological development. Most significant technology trends, such as wireless connectivity, intelligent mobility, self-driving cars, and electric cars, are guiding needs for innovative software development. The share of software in cars is quicly increasing, and software is becoming a major enabler and a differentiator. The use of the Android™ Automotive operating system in the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems is strongly entering the market. Several carmakers have announced the launch of cars with Android Automotive. Bittium´s more than a decade of experience with the Android operating system and the Google ecosystem combined with wireless connectivity know-how create good business opportunities for this market.

The coronavirus pandemic has slowed sales of product development services. Despite the fact that adaptation to new circumstances and practices has gone well, the pandemic has slowed down the progress of existing projects and the acquisition of new customers. However, the market has slowly begun to recover from the effects of the pandemic and new customer projects have been launched. The coronavirus pandemic and labor competition are expected to continue prevailing in the market during 2022. The goal is to further increase the number of product development service projects and expand the international customer base.