FORNEBU, Norway – May 2, 2022 – Aker, through Aker Capital (“Aker”), Cognite and Telenor are creating a software security company to serve industry and operational technology. The company, called Omny, will fill a gap in the cybersecurity market where there is a large unmet need for software that prevents cyberattacks and secures business operations. The goal is to build a Norwegian software company that will be a global player in operational industrial security.
“Telenor has the security expertise and go-to-market capabilities,” said Øyvind Eriksen, Aker President and CEO.
“Aker offers industry know-how, while Cognite brings software and innovation expertise,” said Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor. The duo believe that as part of the same team, they complement each other and will be in a unique position to solve the security challenges facing businesses and public sector players.
About 90% of the data available today did not exist just two years ago. The need to secure data and information held in cloud-based services is growing rapidly. Digitization and the Internet of Things make businesses more efficient, but they also make them more vulnerable to those who seek to threaten them. From this, a significant market has developed for solutions that prevent the digital sabotage of companies and production processes connected to the Internet and control systems.
Omny will develop software to help secure industrial operators and critical infrastructure, such as oil and gas producers, energy providers, public sector players and hospitals. This product will be developed in close partnership with pilot customers in the industrial sector and will use Cognite Data Fusion® as its database. Cognite Data Fusion® helps industrial companies collect and connect large volumes of data to enable them to monitor trends and improve their businesses. In the world of cybersecurity, this provides opportunities to prevent attacks and enable data-driven decisions that limit damage and maintain critical functions.
The company will launch a commercial product in the Norwegian market in 2023 through Telenor’s commercial organization. The goal is to launch the product internationally in 2024.
A leading software security company
“With one of Norway’s largest IT security operations, several of our corporate clients have requested our assistance in securing their own operational technologies,” Brekke said. “The services Omny is developing will further strengthen our ability to provide comprehensive security services across IT and operational technologies. Over the past 5-6 years, Aker has played an active role in the creation and development of industrial software vendors. with such competent partners, we will be able to provide security services that are not currently available on the market.”
Final ownership of Omny will be 50% Telenor; Akker, 44.2%; and Cognite, which has developed the software so far, 5.8%.
“Omny represents the natural continuation of Aker’s investment in industrial software vendors, which is largely an area of growth,” Eriksen said. “We are known for honing our businesses. Cognite and Aize are focused on their core businesses. With Telenor, Aker has global ambitions and wants to make Omny a leader in industrial software security. It is reassuring to have Telenor on board in light of their unique understanding of advanced threats and vast experience in critical infrastructure protection.”
A unique product
Network monitoring is a traditional security solution that alerts in the event of a cyberattack, but the alerts say nothing about the industrial systems being attacked and provide no detail on the severity of the attack for production and availability.
“The uniqueness of our product lies in its ability to place the alert in both digital and physical context,” said John Markus Lervik, Chairman of the Board of Omny, who co-founded Cognite with Aker. “In the event that an unauthorized person attempts to engage in digital sabotage against a business, the software will use its monitoring and consequence understanding capabilities to detail precisely which systems will be affected and how critical they are to the customer. In order to protect against intruders, companies must have an overview of all potential vulnerabilities in their own systems and operations.We create a virtual twin of the physical operation in advance that allows us to identify the risk factors, actions and consequences.”
Sigve Brekke and Øyvind Eriksen will join the board, and the process for recruiting a CEO has been launched. Omny will launch with 15 employees, but expects to grow significantly in its first year of life. The transaction is subject to the approval of the Norwegian Competition Authority and the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, which is expected to be confirmed during the second quarter of 2022.
Cognite is a global industrial SaaS company that was created with a clear vision: to rapidly provide industrial enterprises with contextualized, trusted, and accessible data to help drive the large-scale digital transformation of heavy industries into assets around the world. Our core Industrial DataOps platform, Cognite Data Fusion®, enables data and industry domain users to quickly and securely collaborate to develop, operationalize and scale industrial AI solutions and applications to to offer both profitability and sustainability.