Innovation is a core value at KONGSBERG. Every year, technologists meet for inspiration and networking during a gathering organised by the company. 

  • Ove Ronny Haraldsen
    Group Communication Manager

In order to utilise the total force for innovation amongst the company’s employees, KONGSBERG established a Technology Forum back in 2006. The aim of this forum was to increase the level of understanding for competence and technologies across KONGSBERG, create networks amongst technologies and increase collaboration and the reuse of technology.

One of the initiatives has been the annual technology conference, which is being arranged for the ninth time this year.  

“In KONGSBERG we constantly work to  increase the level of understanding for competence and technologies across the company, create networks amongst technologies and increase collaboration and the reuse of technology”, says Erik Glende, Head of Kongssberg Technology Forum.

“We have developed the event from a ‘gathering’ into a ‘conference’, with a more professional approach and improved content. The choice of themes and preparatory and post-conference work has been made more relevant for the strategic lines in KONGSBERG. As an example, this year’s theme ‘autonomy’ is one of the strategically prioritised technology areas for KONGSBERG”, explains Erik Glende, who chairs the KONGSBERG Technology Forum.

For the past couple of years, the Technology Conference has invited external lecturers within selected key themes. These lecturers have also been invited to take part in the first day of the conference. This has been very well received by the partners. During the conference, workshops are also held, where participants can use their creative skills and are encouraged to collaborate with colleagues from other parts of the company.  

“There is considerable interest in participating, which is evidence of the position that the Technology Conference has gained within KONGSBERG. When someone has to cancel, there is a long list of people from the same department wanting to take their place. We have no problem filling the 100 places that we have available”, says Erik Glende.

In 2015 the Conference focused on the Cyber Challenge, inviting Roger Johnsen, President of NorSIS - the Norwegian Centre of Information Security.

An important part of the conference is the Technology Award. This award was established in 2012. The objective is to promote outstanding technology achievements and create awareness about technology-based value creation across the KONGSBERG organization.

“The technology award has become much sought-after and is shown off both internally and externally in order to show the cutting-edge technology that KONGSBERG is developing. We have good candidates for the prize again this year too”, says Glende.

Norspace in Horten won last year’s award with their second generation command receiver- Rx2. Receiving the award on behalf of Norspace, were Grunde Joheim, Eystein Sedberg and Ben Jarle Imenes

Last year’s award went to Norspace in Horten with their second generation command receiver- Rx2. Receiving the honour, Grunde Joheim from KONGSBERG Norspace explained the crucial importance of the command receiver on board orbiting satellites.  

- What we have developed is the command receiver to be used on board satellites in space. This is actually the unit that receives command signals from the earth. You need it to control your satellites and it’s an extremely critical unit on board, said Grunde Joheim.

Autonomy is an important building block in the development of society, both in Norway and internationally. Autonomy is considered to be one of the challenging aspects of the ‘digitalisation process’ that is under way. The safer performance of tasks that people either do not want to carry out or are unable to carry out is one of a number of areas for application. Automation and cheaper operation and execution are other important drivers.

“Many elements of ‘autonomy’ are still at the incubator stage—consider collaboration between units for example. We then switch from one pre-programmed robot to several units which have been assigned a common task and which then allocate sub-tasks between them, and coordinate and compensate on an ongoing basis in order to achieve the best possible result—we call this ‘explicit coordination’”, says Erik Glende.

KONGSBERG has a extensive expertise within autonomy. The Naval Strike Missile features Autonomous Target Recognition (ATR) of the seeker which ensures that the correct target is detected, recognised and hit, at sea or on land.

Autonomy has been specified by corporate management as a strategically prioritised technology. The head of Corporate Business Development, Harald Aarø, explains why:  

“KONGSBERG has special advantages within autonomy. Not just because we are now a recognised supplier of autonomous devices, such as AUVs and missiles. But also because much of our technical expertise and technology is the key to the autonomy of the future. Safety, robustness, user-friendliness and system integration are good keywords here”, explains Aarø.