CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver meets Timo Paakki, CSO-Sales Director of Observis Oy
The Finnish Company Observis Oy designs and delivers cost-effective and long lifetime solutions for CBRNe reconnaissance vehicles and provides complete situational awareness for critical infrastructure with its ObSAS software, a highly modular situational awareness system

CBNW: Could you provide a short history of the company – and how it became involved in the markets?

TP: Observis was founded in 2010 with the original idea of creating a ‘Big Data’ platform that would collect and turn any digital information from data into knowledge.

During the early years of the company we gathered remarkable experience and knowledge on cloud and mobile technologies, system architecture design, and device and system integrations. These assets became handy when a few years back a number of old customers from our previous long careers in the CBRNe domain approached us seeking support in some system upgrade projects.

We successfully completed those projects, received new ones and realised that we had become a notable player in the market. From there on, we have focused on developing and delivering monitoring solutions to provide mission critical situational awareness.

CBNW: Can you give details about your company’s research and development programmes?

TP: Since we are a software developer and system integrator, our products and operations are constantly evolving. Further development of the ObSAS situational awareness software is ongoing and new features will be released during the third quarter of 2020. Also, ObSAS LINK will have something new before the end of the year.

CBNW: What is the core of your solutions for CBRNe reconnaissance vehicles?

TP: The integration of all devices and sub-systems into one situational awareness solution, built on our ObSAS platform. We deliver vehicle system upgrades, complete turnkey vehicle systems, and everything in between.

We know and understand the challenges and risks the recce teams face during operations and what is required to ensure the safety of personnel. We also comprehend the operational challenges and the importance of successful execution of reconnaissance missions. The key personnel of the company have more than 15 years’ experience in delivering CBRNe recce vehicles, light and armoured.

CBNW: Can you explain the technology and development behind ObSAS Link and software?

TP: The concept of networking of assets has become the foundation of defence and security procurement specifications. In many cases, meeting this requirement means retiring and replacing of a vast number or fully viable and functioning devices in operational use – carrying their only limitation in their networking capability.

Additionally, in many countries defence and security organisations are required to operate with decreasing budgets. Therefore, organisations are looking for solutions capable of providing full networking and monitoring solutions with existing devices.

The idea of ObSAS LINK is to enable network connectivity to existing sensors, detectors and devices in general having physical data output capability. The output will be in most cases a serial type. ObSAS LINK connects to an output port of a device and transfers the device’s data stream to a mobile phone, which in turn transfers the data further to ObSAS situational awareness software.

ObSAS LINK is an adapter about the size of a thumb. It is connected to a device’s physical communication port. The adapter connects to the user’s mobile phone through its Bluetooth connection. A mobile application then displays the data the device is producing and sends it to the ObSAS system through wi-fi or available mobile network (3G, 4G, 5G, satellite, etc).

CBNW: What percentage of your business is in the military sector?

TP: Varies annually. Anything between 40 to 80%.

CBNW: What percentage of your business is in the critical infrastructure sector and who are your main customers?

TP: Critical infrastructure is currently roughly 40% of our business. Since most of our business is project based, the percentages of course vary annually. Currently, we are mainly delivering systems to underground shelters and those customer identities are, unfortunately, classified. In general, our customers typically are from the military and public security field. Our solutions are raising interest also in the industrial and logistics markets.

CBNW: What percentage of your business is devoted to software development services and Observis Oy in particular?

TP: Software services provide steady seven-figure revenues annually. The percentage devoted to business areas varies annually.

CBNW: Can you explain what training you offer to customers about the use and application of your products and services?

TP: We offer full training according to customer needs and requirements. In addition to actual product training, we are able to offer operational CBRN consultation and training directly by ourselves or through our partners in Finland and abroad.

CBNW: What are the advantages of your products and services over your competitors in the market?

TP: Our main advantage or competitive edge is 100% device independence, continuous employment of the latest technologies, and virtually limitless scalability. We offer complete solutions with full product lifetime support.

CBNW: Where do you see the greatest potential growth sector for your products and services?

TP: For the following three to five years we see the biggest growth potential in the interconnecting of handheld devices, in terms of creating highly agile mobile monitoring systems – as well as integrating devices to higher-level situational awareness systems.

Photo Credit: Using the ObSAS LINK system with a CBRN detector. ©Observis Oy