Researching future digital solutions

Jotron is establishing its own research department to develop future digital solutions for ships and aircraft.

For the technology company Jotron, it’s crucial to stay one step ahead in technological development.

– To be world-leading in technology, we must always stay far ahead. What we do today will never be good enough tomorrow, says Managing Director Merete Berdal.

Jotron has therefor decided to expand the research staff.

Hiring five new developers
Jotron currently invests more than ten percent of its revenue in research and development and has its own development division consisting of 50 engineers working on product development. Now, they are also establishing a dedicated research department of six to eight developers to engage in more long-term research.

– In product development, the main focus is usually on developing the products needed for the next three years. By establishing a dedicated research department, our goal is to work on projects that aren’t products now but could become products in the future, says Berdal.

The research group will focus on the products the company plans to sell in five to ten years, so it’s more long-term than regular product development. There will be a greater emphasis on exploring new technologies and determining which technologies are the right ones to use in the future.

Technology and security
Today it is very important to keep up with technological developments. Not only is there a lot happening on the technology front, but its’s happening incredibly quickly. It’s crucial not to fall behind on this development.

– If we don’t invest in development and research, then we won’t be relevant in the market. We always must renew ourselves all the time, says Otto Holm, Research Manager in Jotron.
In addition, new security threats have emerged, making it necessary to further enhance security. Jotron is therefore working extensively to secure their systems against cybercrime.

– What is important, and perhaps not equally well taken care of in today’s systems, is that one does not have full control over whether a message sent from an air traffic controller to an aircraft truly comes from the air traffic controller. It is an open communication system that is used, and in the future, it will likely be replaced by a more secure system to ensure integrity in communication. Then one will know with certainty that the messages received by the aircraft come from the right place, says Holm.

Jotron has also consciously worked on security within the company and underwent an ISO 27001 certification two years ago. ISO 27001 is a management system for information security that is implemented throughout the company.

Environmentally conscious customers
Even though Jotron has been concerned with sustainability, customer environmental requirements have made it necessary to go further than what is legally required.

– Many customers, especially within air traffic control, are wholly or partially state-owned, such as Avinor in Norway. They are subject to strict sustainability requirements, which are then pushed down to us as suppliers, Says Holm.

Regarding evaluation criteria for large tenders, sustainability may account for 10 to 30 percent of the weight, so it is important to excel in that aspect.

Where we stand now, customers are placing greater demands on us than the authorities do. For example, Jotron is not scheduled to start sustainability reporting until 2025, but customers are demanding that we do it already. And that’s a good thing. It’s demanding customers that propel us forward, says Berdal.

They recently hired a dedicated sustainability manager who will contribute to further enhancing competence and focus on sustainability efforts at Jotron going forward.

High quality and long lifespan
Another important aspect for sustainability is to create products with a long lifespan.

– Jotron has always focused on producing high-quality products that last a long time. And that’s one of the most sustainable things you can do when manufacturing products. Additionally, it’s important to choose materials that don’t contain toxic substances, and the electronics industry has been focusing on that for many years, says Berdal.

Also, power consumption is important.

– Many of our products and systems are running 24 hours a day, so it’s important to reduce the energy consumption of the products to make them use less power, says Holm.

Control over the entire value chain
One thing that sets Jotron apart from many of its competitors is that they have control over the entire value chain, from product concept to finished product. All electronics are manufactured at Jotron’s own factory in Lithuania, where they have around a hundred employees. This ensures good communication between product development and production. Thus, any problems that arise along the way can be solved promptly.

– Usually, electronics companies outsource this type of production. We have chosen to have control over it ourselves. It has been a huge advantage for us, especially during the pandemic and the subsequent component crisis. We were ensured good delivery capability, while many of our competitors were unable to deliver, says Berdal.

– During that period, we often had to modify the products to adapt them to alternative components from other suppliers. We believe we are quite skilled at this compared to our competitors. We are very satisfied with how we handled the pandemic, says Holm.

90 percent export.
Today, most of what Jotron produces is exported out of the country. The reason is that their customer base mainly consists of various states.

– Over 90 percent is exported out of Norway. Last year, we delivered to 115 countries, concludes Holm.

About Jotron
Jotron was established in Levanger in 1967 and moved to Larvik in 1978.
180 employees in Larvik, 350 employees in total.
Owns a production facility in Lithuania.
Certifications: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and ISO 27001.

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