In Case of Emergency: Don’t Break the Glass, but Use Airbus’ Communication Technology and Secapp Crisis Response Application

Secapp’s CEO Dr. Kari Aho giving a presentation at Airbus’ stand. Photo: Airbus Defence and Space.

In the beginning of the last decade, Secapp had been active in several projects related to the academic world. At the same time the company popped up in different occasions mainly in Central Finland but was noticed among others also at Airbus and to be precise, at its program unit Secure Land Communications. A huge journey and a great partnership was about to take its first steps.

Airbus saw opportunities to complete one of its own TETRA offerings with Secapp which is one of Airbus’ SmatTWISP partners. TETRA is a technology that has been developed for critical communications and it’s used by the public safety organisations such as firefighters and healthcare personnel. Its key features include operational reliability in exceptional situations and encryption.

The cooperation between Secapp and Airbus took a clearly bigger step at a point when it was found that both companies were striving to serve the same customer base, especially authorities and hospitals.

The integration between Airbus’ TETRA and Secapp meant that Secapp users could now send alerts also to TETRA and VIRVE devices and receive responses from them. After the integration the critical communication platform could be operated securely also via mobile devices.

– At this stage, the integration between the solutions was put into practice. This meant, as part of the collaboration, that a joint university-led research project for improving the critical communications of one of the Finnish Hospitals Districts was also set in motion. Even though Secapp was ultimately not involved in the project, Secapp decided to pursue the integration outside the research project, describes Mr. Timo Harju, the Business Development Manager at Airbus.

– Airbus also invited Secapp to its customer events and vice versa. Airbus has been investing in partnership programs for a long time, and as part of them, Secapp was also brought to the fair together with other application developers, Harju adds.

Secapp’s CEO Kari Aho remembers well the first steps of the partnership

– We found quite soon that we are operating on the same field. The university-led project was a brilliant way to start the cooperation as we had already an end user for it and could actually see the results in practice. Yes, we took a big risk with the integration, but it had such a major opportunity to improve Secapp’s accessibility that we thought it was worth it. And it sure was.

– Additionally, it’s evident that having a large company such as Airbus as a partner gave us not only more credibility but also pushed us to improve our own processes to such a level that they met Airbus’ requirements, Aho adds.

Aho is very proud how the meetings and events between Secapp and Airbus have been taken into practice and the companies have been able to improve even the national safety in Finland.

– Collaborative events have played a significant role, as the results have shown. Not only in Finland but also in Estonia and Saudi Arabia. In Finland, however, our cooperation has succeeded in ensuring national security and, above all, in saving lives. Honestly, you can be proud of it! It was worth having those meeting at that time.

Long-term cooperation led to success

The partnership between Airbus and Secapp started well but it took a while before the customers’ interest was gained. However, patience and perseverance soon began to bear fruit.

– Occasional contacts didn’t deepen until customers began to ask for such a solution as Secapp had. After that the cooperation was easy to justify as customer needs and demand started to exist, Harju says.

– In general, the partnership has been quite easy and straightforward from the outset. Since the initial fairly informal way of cooperating, the relationship between the companies has been given a more precise framework, support channels and procedures through partnership programs. This has certainly been a benefit for both parties, indirectly also for the customers. The improved flow of technical information and support channels also show up as a better service for customers, Harju tells.

After convincing results from testing and auditing, Airbus and its customers soon realized that the Finnish company would be a good partner.

– Firstly, Secapp has a unique solution that fits nicely to a set of Airbus’ customers and their needs. In addition, Secapp from day one has shown the strength and flexibility to adjust to the tough requirements of public safety and the way the business is conducted, says Mr. Rahim Zaknoun, the Head of Innovation and Developer Ecosystem at Secure Land Communications of Airbus.

Secapp is an important element in Airbus’ ecosystem

Airbus has out a lot effort in building a network of partners in mission critical communications. The basic idea is to create an ecosystem of developers and solution providers around Airbus technologies, whose products and services complement Airbus’ solutions and bring added value to customers.

– Secapp fits this pattern perfectly. With the help of Secapp’s solutions, users of the authority network have also been integrated into a multi-channel alerting and communication system. In the future the customers will demand even better integration between different systems and Secapp certainly has a part in it and together we’ll be improving customer satisfaction, says Timo Harju.

– In addition, I must say that I have often admired the speed and agility of a small businesses such as Secapp to respond to very specific customer requirements, Harju tells.

Rahim Zaknoun also sees that Secapp has a variety of benefits for the market.

– In public safety market the customer ROI on technology or solutions is not always measured in monetary sense but by how the technology or solution helps in saving lives of citizens, helping the field agents to do their jobs and go back to their family, help optimizing the processes, optimizing the mode of operation et cetera. Secapp fits nicely in these, especially the latter.

Predicting the future is difficult, but the partnership is expected to reach new levels

What lies ahead of us? Giving an answer to this question might be harder for a while as the pandemic has hit the globe. However, usually a crisis increases demand for solutions that helps maintaining the preparedness and to react to the situation. Airbus and Secapp are of course ready to respond to that need.

Timo Harju predicts that there are still aspects related to the pandemic which we haven’t seen yet.

– A small peak was seen in the deliveries during the spring, especially in the health care sector. Of course, the crisis is not over yet, and not all its consequences are yet visible. After this crisis there will be a lot of talk about preparing for this type of long-term exceptional situation.

Despite the current situation, Airbus is also firmly looking to the future.

– Airbus will continue introducing new capabilities that enable integration of third-party solutions with Airbus solutions to bring a greater value to Airbus customers’ needs. In addition to Secapp’s unique solution, Secapp is in a very good position as it has already made a first leaps in this market, it understands it very well, so it will be one of the Airbus preferred ecosystem partners in the area where Secapp excels, Rahim Zaknoun describes.

Please visit the Secure Land Communications at https://www.securelandcommunications.com