FORNEBU, Norway – May 2, 2022 – Aker, via Aker Capital (“Aker”), Cognite, and Telenor are establishing 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 great unmet need for software that prevents cyber attacks and secures businesses’ operations. The aim is to build a Norwegian software company that will be a global player in operational industrial security.
“Telenor has the security expertise and the go-to-market capabilities,” said Øyvind Eriksen, president and CEO of Aker.
“Aker offers industrial know-how, while Cognite brings expertise in software and innovation to the table,” said Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor. The pair believe that as part of the same team they complement each other and will be in a unique position to solve the security challenges that businesses and public sector actors face.
Approximately 90% of 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. Digitalization and the Internet of Things are both making businesses more efficient, but they are also making them more vulnerable to those who seek to threaten them. From this there has grown a significant market for solutions that prevent digital sabotage of companies and production processes that are connected to the internet and control systems.
Omny will develop software that helps to secure industrial operators and critical infrastructure, such as oil and gas producers, energy suppliers, public sector actors, 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 data foundation. Cognite Data Fusion® helps industrial companies to collect and connect large volumes of data to enable them to monitor trends and improve their businesses. In the world of cybersecurity, this affords opportunities for the prevention of attacks and allows for data-driven decisions to be made that limit damage and maintain critical functions.
The company will launch a commercial product into the Norwegian market in 2023 via Telenor’s sales organization. The aim is to launch the product internationally during 2024.
A leading software security company
“With one of Norway’s biggest IT security operations, several of our business customers have requested our support in securing their own operational technologies,” Brekke said. “The services that Omny is developing will further strengthen our ability to deliver comprehensive security services across IT and operational technology. Over the last 5–6 years, Aker has played an active role in the establishment and development of industrial software companies. By joining forces with such capable partners, we will be able to deliver security services the like of which are currently not available in the market.”
Final ownership in Omny will be 50% Telenor; Aker, 44.2%; and Cognite, which has developed the software until now, 5.8%.
“Omny represents the natural continuation of Aker’s investment in industrial software companies which very much constitutes a growth area,” Eriksen said. “We are known for refining our companies. Cognite and Aize focus on their core businesses. Together with Telenor, Aker has global ambitions and wants to build Omny into a leading industrial software security company. It is reassuring to have Telenor on board in light of their unique grasp of advanced threats and their extensive experience in protecting critical infrastructure.”
A unique product
Network monitoring is a traditional security solution that raises the alarm in the event of a cyberattack, but alerts say nothing about which industrial systems are under attack and provide no detail about how serious the attack is for production and uptime.
“The uniqueness of our product is its ability to put the alert in context in both digital and physical terms,” said John Markus Lervik, chair of the Omny Board of Directors, who co-founded Cognite together with Aker. “In the event that an unauthorized individual attempts to engage in digital sabotage against a company, the software will use its monitoring and consequence understanding capabilities to detail precisely which systems will be affected and how critical these are to the customer. In order to protect themselves from intruders, businesses 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 which allows us to identify risk factors, actions and consequences.”
Sigve Brekke and Øyvind Eriksen will join the Board of Directors, and the recruitment process for a CEO has been initiated. Omny will launch with 15 employees, but it plans to expand significantly during its first year of life. The transaction is subject to approval by the Norwegian Competition Authority and the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, which is expected to be confirmed during Q2 2022.
Cognite is a global industrial SaaS company that was established with one clear vision: to rapidly empower industrial companies with contextualized, trustworthy, and accessible data to help drive the full-scale digital transformation of asset-heavy industries around the world. Our core Industrial DataOps platform, Cognite Data Fusion®, enables industrial data and domain users to collaborate quickly and safely to develop, operationalize, and scale industrial AI solutions and applications to deliver both profitability and sustainability.