Károlya Kazi, managing director of BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd
With the funding provided under the “Support for export oriented R&D activities of domestic businesses” call of the NRDI Office, the company may also become an important player in space industry and satellite communications and is already participating in the National Quantum Technology Programme.
The “Funding for the export oriented R&D activities of domestic businesses” (EXPORT_17) call aims to promote the RDI activity of Hungarian businesses. The main objective of the scheme is to foster domestic businesses’ in-house development activities resulting in new, marketable products, technologies and services. Importantly, funded projects are expected to deliver quickly marketable products and services with a real innovative element based on the companies’ scientific or development results. Since its founding 27 years ago, BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd has been working toward this goal in the field of microwave communication.
– Our company was established in 1991, initially partly owned by a German partner. With time the company became fully Hungarian-owned and even outgrew the German parent company, but we have maintained a great relationship with them ever since – says Károly Kazi, managing director of BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd reflecting on the early days of the company. – Our focus has always been on high frequency (microwave) communication but it soon turned out that we can hardly compete with the mass produced products of Far Eastern manufacturers. So, we shifted our attention to research, development and innovation. We turn innovative ideas to products as soon as possible and then bring them to the market.
Currently, BHE Bonn Hungary has 120 employees more than a half of whom have a higher education degree in engineering and microwave technology and maintain a good relationship with universities and the research institutions of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The company has an annual turnover of HUF 2-3 billion, and 70-80% of its products are exported. The managing director underlines that this figure is particularly notable in view of how difficult it is to export products with only a few domestic references. In the domestic market the company was initially successful in the early days of mobile technology, but later on they could no longer compete against mass production in the Far East. However, law enforcement agencies, such as the police or the disaster management services, involved them in the deployment of the Uniform Digital Radio Communication System (EDR) (they developed the repeater stations), and partly due to their work, the national coverage of the system extended over 90% in one year. The company could use these references to sell abroad.
– In mountain tunnels and subways wireless communication has to work even in emergency situations. This must be assured at multiple levels so that communication is not interrupted in any part of the tunnel after an accident. Our technology can handle this task – Károly Kazi continues. – Recently, we have been given the opportunity to deploy communication systems in Northern and Western European tunnels using our technology. Examples include subways in Berlin, Brussels and Tehran, and the Formula One track in Abu Dhabi. This is why I consider export-facilitating funding schemes very important. Seeing the successful export businesses of Hungarian companies, perhaps more and more Hungarian customers will choose their products.
BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd, delivers equipment enabling high frequency communication in many parts of the world.
For our company the opportunity – as well as the necessity – of continuous development is provided by the advances in mobile technology which requires higher and higher frequency connectivity for the transfer of unprecedented amounts of data. Although most of us use these mobile devices on a daily basis (even for watching or broadcasting HD videos), only a few of us care to consider that an innovative, continuously developing infrastructure is required for the system to operate. BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd develops products in three main areas. The first is mobile and critical communications used by law enforcement agencies, the second is the communications needs of the defence forces and civil security, and the third is the space industry.
– We can fill the gap between small and multinational companies. With more than a hundred employees we can complete even larger orders highly professionally, while being more flexible than big companies – the managing director argues. – In consortium with our partners we have recently won a tender for the deployment of the communication system in a Swiss tunnel, and if we manage to perform the task successfully, dozens more may come. These systems serve both critical communications and traditional radios and mobile phones.
In the framework of the “Support for export oriented R&D activities of domestic businesses” funding programme, the company has won over HUF 420 million for satellite communication developments. BHE spends the funding on developing products which can support the system integrators of satellite ground stations in long-distance data transmission. Finding solutions to data transmission challenges and installing ground stations are key in the wireless communication sector. The company plans to develop high data capacity digital transmitters and receivers for the medium-frequency communication chain. These built-in smart solutions will greatly facilitate deployment and enhance the reliability of the communication system.
In addition, BHE Bonn Hungary Ltd also takes part in the National Quantum Technology Programme, implemented in cooperation with academic, higher education and business research centres, funded by the state with HUF 3.5 billion in a period of four years. The company is an industrial partner in the consortium. In all advanced technological R&D projects, there is a clear need for a consortium partner having a reliable, stable industrial background as well as an R&D and manufacturing infrastructure, where the equipment used for the research activity are built and the measurements and validation procedures are performed. The internationally widely acclaimed space tech company of BHE Hungary offers a special park of equipment suitable for testing devices operating in the microwave range. The project has a budget of HUF 200 million for four years, half of which is given by the funding and the other half is own sources.