MONCh launched a new regular feature entitled “The 3-2-1 Interview,” taking the same three questions every time, interviewing senior executives from smaller companies – those in the middle of the supply chain – and thereby determining the health, agility and sustainability of our industry over the long term.
For this interview, MONCh ventures to Portugal. EID , a subsidiary of UK-based technology group Cohort plc, is a good example of the innovation and technology insertion. EID’s Marketing & Sales Director José Pesqueira Mendes responds to Tim Mahon's (MONCh’s UK-based Special Correspondent and Editor of MÖNCH TRAINING & SIMULATION CHANNEL - MTSC) questions in the 3-2-1 format.
MONCh: What are your three most important products or services?
J. P. Mendes: We provide state-of-the-art, high performance fully integrated communications systems for naval vessels, meeting the most demanding requirements.
With our Integrated Communications Control System (ICCS) as the core sub-system that gluesall the on-board communications equipment together, the system includes all equipment required to establish both external and internal communication channels.
ICCS has a modular, flexible architecture, which can be scaled and tailored for vessels from patrol boats and submarines to aircraft carriers. The system was designed and developed specifically to provide an efficient ship’s communications management tool; ICCS provides a high degree of automation and is currently controlling communications on board 140+ warships from 12 navies.
EID has considerable know-how and experience in vehicular communications engineering, providing communications suites for several types of vehicles.
The ICC-201 and ICC-251 digital intercom systems are the optimal solutions for command vehicles at platoon, company and battalion levels, personnel transport and infantry fighting vehicles, artillery tactical data systems vehicles, shelters and fast patrol boats. They enable intercommunications among crew members and provide access to voice and data communications either over the air, standard copper or ruggedised fibre-optic cables.
VoIP functionality for inter-vehicular communication and connection to IP-based tactical backbones is available, as well as wireless terminals. The embedded digital signal processing algorithms and Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headsets offer clear communications in extremely noisy environments, such as tracked vehicles and fast patrol boats.
Our range of personal radios consists of state-of-the-art soldier radios, such as the TWH-100 series, software tools and accessories that cope with the real needs of tactical scenarios, providing communications and shared situational awareness to all soldiers, contributing to the mission effectiveness.
The standard TWH-101R and the enhanced TWH-104R are compact, cost-effective military transceivers that ensure secure, reliable voice and data communications for squad teams and higher echelons in scenarios such as dismounted, vehicular, naval and amphibious operations.
Always looking ahead to the customer’s needs, the TWH-100 series complements EID’s available C4I solutions, providing tactical communication services such as full-duplex voice conference, encryption, GPS reporting, e-mail, chat, file transfer and real-time video streaming.
MONCh: What are the two biggest challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
J. P. Mendes: The rapid evolution of electronic, information and communication technologies shortens the lifecycle of products; consequently, the time-frame in which a product is considered as state-of-the-art in the extremely competitive military communication market is becoming much narrower.
This demanding market requires a permanent attitude of innovation from us. Therefore, sustainable business growth strongly depends on the ability to develop and launch technologically evolved, innovative products and solutions, meeting the customer most stringent requirements.
This strategy requires significant investment in R&D to ensure emerging technologies are consistently incorporated into new products. On average, EID invests over 10% of turnover in R&D activities. Our assets thus rely essentially on the technological capabilities of a team of highly qualified electronics, software and communications engineers, who represent the majority of the company workforce.
Although we need to refresh existing products and launch new ones, in order to remain competitive, we also need to offer reliable logistic support – maintenance, spare parts, training – during the full life cycle of the solution supplied, which can typically be from 10-20 years. This kind of support helps customers feel EID is a partner they can rely on.
To balance the high R&D investment for keeping the products at the forefront of technology, we must operate globally and this is a huge challenge for a small company like EID. We have been successful, though, together with our first-class network of local partners, which we are continuously improving, and with the product and service quality so important to our regular customers. EID operates today in around 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
MONCh: What is the biggest change coming in your marketplace and how are you preparing to deal with it?
J. P. Mendes: The civilian market for information and communications technologies is wider and evolves faster than the military communication market: usually products are refreshed every year and the customer base consists of billions of people.
Dual-use technologies and products are more and more accepted by the military, enabling new players access to the military market with technologies and solutions migrated from the civilian market. This high technology offer is very attractive to the military community, because it makes available to the defence market emerging solutions with which soldiers are already familiar. We combat the threat of this new type of competition with strong investment in R&D to improve our technological competitiveness while maintaining the qualities that differentiate EID from these new players: our background in specific military requirements and a long-term, high quality logistical support to our customers.