How to Ensure Humanity Survives the Existential Challenges of this Generation and Thrives to the New Century

The younger generations are facing a range of challenges on a global scale. On Episode 22 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Jim Keravala, the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Architect at OffWorld, to talk about the innovative solutions that the space industry is creating to tackle these issues. Jim has extensive experience in a range of space sectors, and currently sits on several advisory boards such as the National Space Society, International Moonbased Alliance and the Moon Village Association. He co-founded OffWorld to extract critical minerals, minerals and materials on Earth and in space using swarms of smart industrial robots. Read on to how space is set to save the world.

“The challenges that we’re facing today are, in part, born out of our own successes as a species. The other part is our systemic, steady state of ongoing risks that are always in the background – and to some extent, the intersection of the two is another challenge in itself. I think the manifestation of all of these challenges is not the uncertainties of big environmental cataclysms or other single impact changes. The more concerning risks are those that are subject to cascading sequencing. 

There’s always the asteroid impact issue. Stars could go supernova and create an untenable environment for life on this planet. There’s always the big issues like that, and those issues are real, but the probability of those occurring in the next 100s or 1000s of years are very, very small. The things that seem small and innocuous, such as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are cascading triggers. Greenhouse gases lead to atmospheric temperature rises, leading to loss of biodiversity, leading to changes in weather patterns, climate, ocean current path patterns, which can then lead to reduction of polar ice caps, which can add to the lack of reflectance of Sun’s energy, which can then start increasing those cycles. I’m more concerned by these dynamic instabilities which start running towards catastrophe. 

It’s my personal opinion that it’s a combination of natural cycles and small catalytic inputs into that environmental system that is the biggest threat. There’s a lot of debate around climate change and the origin of it; ‘Is it human generated or is it natural?’ That’s a less important question than ‘What are we going to do about it?’ For everything else we do we tend to take out insurance, whether it’s our car, our home, our pets – whatever is important to us, we insure it. We should take out some form of insurance for our planet as well. That form of insurance is not about creating an escape valve, it’s about opening up a closed system. 

If we can open up the system and use the resources of space, we can genuinely help solve some of these challenges. I believe we are in the midst of these changes already. I personally don’t believe that as a species we’re really that well equipped to deal collectively and sensibly and proactively with challenges that we rationally are aware of. As a species, we tend to wait for things to happen and then deal with the consequences afterwards, despite being able to afford what’s needed to address it now. We just don’t act proactively. To some extent, that’s the nature of our global economic structures as well. The economic structures respond to value in real time, and those same rules for creating long term visions of entrepreneurial change are unfortunately the same rules that applied to long term visions of environmental mitigation. So understanding that, what can we do to break down the problem and solve it once and for all?

I personally believe there are several different classes of mitigation work that can be done. The first is assuming that the consequences of the changes we’re undergoing now are going to happen. If we were going to address climate change, we should have started acting 50 years ago when it became obvious, because it’s too big of a needle to move now. The question that needs more urgent attention is what happens to coastal regions in deprived areas? What do we do for those communities? What are the risks of micro weather pattern changes that are emerging? Whether it’s more hurricanes, greater heat domes, etc, what does that do for agriculture? What does that do for the availability of fresh water? 

The most vulnerable will be the most affected, so coastal regions in emerging nations whose economies and infrastructure are less organised will suffer the most. So what can we do to get ahead of solving that problem? With a focussed enough set of challenges, there can be economic solutions to address them. They have to be economically viable solutions in order for us to help our fellow human beings. The end to end system will not mobilise unless people are making money off it, which sounds a little brutal, but evidence has shown that it tends to be the norm. We can provide humanitarian aid on a momentary basis for extreme isolated events because it’s part of our nature to try and help, but that nature becomes increasingly subject to economic pressure, and that’s the reality of humanity. 

That first class of problems is focussed on how we can help those who are affected by the changes that are emerging. The second class is how to mitigate the effects of it on this generation. The third class is, assuming those changes are coming, what can we do to truly turn that around by the 22nd century? The solution is to build space infrastructure which allows us to access the energy and material resources of the inner solar system. We can harvest it by building heavy industrial energy generating infrastructure in space, outside of Earth’s atmosphere. If we can do that in space and bring it down to Earth, we can provide clean, safe energy for our planet without generating heat. It’ll take at least two generations to mature that into an operating infrastructure, but I do believe that by staging economically viable revenue generating milestones from today to the end of the century, we have everything going for us to build these architectures in space. 

Transitioning many of our polluting technologies and industrial processes off the surface of the Earth will protect our local environments. If we build a beautiful cottage in a meadow, the last thing you want to do is put a chemical plant next to it. That’s what we’re doing on our planet though. We have an oasis in the universe, this perfect ball that has allowed life to flourish. Earth is the centre of the Anthropocene universe, and we need to do everything we can to care for it and look after it. 

The challenge is that we need a firm sense of reality on what is happening today. What can we really do about it? What are the changes we’re prepared to accept and tolerate? And what’s the big picture that we really have to focus on? Whilst those changes happen? There are going to be trillions of dollars of economic disruption in the next decades. There will be a lot of suffering, but there will also be a lot of opportunities to help and solve those problems. If we think ahead on those smaller scale problems like ‘how we can help the local communities that are going to be affected?’ There are addressable solutions for that class of problem. Questions like ‘how do we help the next generation or two of families and communities that are going to be in trouble?’ is where we should place our focus, as well as trying to solve the big picture terrestrially and addressing the big solution system. 

To hear more about Jim’s work in the space sector, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Gender Discrimination in the Connectivity Industry

During a special miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’re putting a spotlight on diversity and women in the industry. In the first episode of the Women In Telco miniseries we were joined by Kelly Lazuka, the CEO at FULLERTON. She started her career at SAC Wireless as a product manager, before quickly making her way into senior roles. She’s also a mum of five alongside her incredible work of supporting more women into leadership roles. She joined us to talk about the discrimination that women face in the connectivity industry, as well as advice for other women who are facing it now. Read on to learn from her insights. 

“I think a lot of people have experienced the same things I have, and one of those things was being very qualified for a promotion or a different role within the company, or even just wanting to learn that role, and being sidelined for various reasons, like ‘you’re not ready’, or ‘there’s somebody who’s more qualified’, when you know what you’ve been bringing to the table, so that probably is not true. That has happened to me a couple of times, and it’s unfortunate. 

Another thing that I’m sure a lot of your female listeners will attest to is that sometimes you’re in positions where you know other people’s salaries and see the discrepancy with your own. While we do keep that mostly confidential, it still plays with your mind. You still know what you do, what your title is, what you know, how hard you work, the contributions that you make, and somebody else makes substantially more than you, just because they’re of a different gender. I don’t think that gap ever goes away entirely. I think it’s getting better, but those are things that each one of us will come up against at some point in our lives. 

I’m no different. I’ve had some really great experiences in my career path, but there’s also been some challenges and roadblocks. What I try to tell my female leaders here at Fullerton is that we can sit around all day and list out the roadblocks that women face, or we can focus on how you can overcome them. How do you advocate for yourself? What’s a good argument? What are the skills that you really need? I encourage all women to figure out a way to be a good negotiator, whether that’s by taking a class or getting a mentor, but you need to be a good negotiator, not just for your work, but for yourself. Negotiating is an art, and if women who are committed to growing their career paths can master that art, they’re halfway there already.”

To hear more from Kelly, tune into Episode 13 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

From National Security to Cyber Security With Mark Daniel Bowling 

The Cyber Security space is an exciting one to be part of. On The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we regularly ask our guests how they get into the industry, and on Episode 21 our guest had a fascinating answer. We were joined by the CISO of ExtraHop Mark Daniel Bowling, who has over 20 years experience in Cyber Security, beginning as a special agent and cyber crimes investigator for the FBI. Since then he’s transitioned into several roles, most recently as the Chief Risk, Security, and Information Security Officer at ExtraHop. He shared the story of his unusual career path and his advice for other people who want to make a similar journey. 

How did you first get into the cybersecurity industry?

It was almost entirely a consequence of my service in the FBI. I spent six years in the United States Navy, where I was supposed to go into submarines, but I ended up on a carrier because we won the Cold War back in ‘91, so we just didn’t need as many subs. I did a little bit of time in the corporate world and didn’t love it, then I joined the FBI in 1995. That was right as cyber was becoming a thing. We didn’t even have a cyber division in the FBI back then, but we had a cyber investigation section coming out of the white collar branch. We created what was known as NIPC, or the National Infrastructure Protection Centre, then eventually when Muller came in, in 1999 or 2000, he created the cyber division. I grew up in the FBI and cyber at the same time, because I was an Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering technologist, so it was the right place for me to go. 

I made a great career in cyber in the FBI. When I retired from the FBI I went to another agency, which was the Department of Education, making a transition from a very serious law enforcement and intelligence community agency to the one that was more public facing. After that I retired from federal service and then I went into the public sector as a full time employee, but then I started to move into the consultant track where I’ve had multiple great partnerships with customers, and it was really good. I went back to full time employee status when I came to ExtraHop a couple of years ago. So that’s the route that I took, but I would say my experience in the FBI was really what pushed me into cybersecurity.

Who or what has been the biggest influence in your career?

Because much of my career was in public service, the biggest influence has been the amazing public servants that I met in my career. My role model was a man in the United States Navy named Admiral Larsen. He was a four star Admiral, and I worked for him in the Pentagon. He was just an amazing man. Anybody who knew Admiral Larsen recognises what a great leader he was. 

In the FBI there were a couple of amazing public servants too. I would say David Thomas, who was one of the early assistant directors of the cyber division, was also a great man. He helped build the cyber programme within the FBI. He was one of the great men I knew in the FBI. 

And then at the Department of Education there was a man named Chuck Cox. He was in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations before he went over to the Office of the Inspector General. He has since passed away, but he was a tremendous man. Each of those individuals modelled public service in an amazing way for me.

How do you feel your background within the FBI has shaped your career working for a security vendor like extra hop?

I think it’s absolutely vital that anybody who works in security understands the nature of threat and risk. If all you do is think about technology, you’re missing the boat. The job of the business is to stay in business, make money, acquire and retain customers, sell more products, provide better services and increase not just your profit margin, but also your presence in whatever sector you’re in. They don’t want to have to worry about cyber security, so the cyber security folks have to understand the threats to the business for them. 

You have to be able to see things in terms of risk, and that’s what the FBI did for me. One of the things that Muller did when he came into the FBI was created priorities, and we created those priorities based on the risks. After 1991, the number one priority in the FBI was counterterrorism, number two was counterintelligence, and of course, number three was cyber because of the growth of cyber attacks at that time. So what I learned in the FBI was to see things in terms of risk, understand a threat, appreciate the capabilities of the threat actors, and then turn around and prioritise and your resources appropriately to reduce the threat either by remediation or mitigation. If you can create compensating controls around the threat, it reduces the actual risk. At the FBI I learned that you can accept some threats, others you just have to remove, and some you can create compensating controls around. 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone entering the industry?

I would tell them to one, stay humble, two, listen, and three, be willing to do things that you’re not comfortable with so that you can learn from the experience. There’s different reasons for learning. You should learn how to do something you’re not comfortable doing so that you appreciate the people who do it on a daily basis. You should learn to do something to understand the level of effort that it actually takes, so that when you ask people to do it as a leader, you know what they’re going to do for you and what they’re going to have to give up to get it done. 

To learn more about Mark Daniel’s experiences and insights, tune into Episode 21 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast here. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Evolution of Satellite & NewSpace Technology 

The Satellite & NewSpace industry is constantly evolving. On Episode 21 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we sat down with Lindsey Kemp, who is the Director of Global Markets at Communications & Power Industries (CPI), to discuss her perspectives on these evolutions. Lindsey has been in the SATCOM industry for 15 years, and is currently responsible for global business development of CPI’s antenna and power electronics unit, which plays a key role in shaping innovation and exploring future technologies for the company. Read on to find out what she had to say. 

The satellite space industry has been continuously evolving evidence creation. How is the ground sat market adapting to those new pressures? 

We’re doing some new developments in terms of both amplifiers and antenna systems. It’s critical that we develop the design for manufacturing in a repeatable way, because we have to meet really aggressive timelines at the factory. We’re currently seeing some of these new product launches being very successful. It’s hard, because while we’re incorporating those manufacturing improvements, there are a lot of new things that we didn’t have to accommodate before, but we’re going to have to accommodate for now. It’s to our benefit that we have so much experience, both in terms of where we started and how we’ve been evolving along the way, because that’s prepared us for these complicated considerations and higher volume demands. 

Where do you think some of these developments could have come from?

We’ve been bringing people in from other industries. We have a new operations manager who is from the automobile industry – there’s quite a few people that we have brought in from there. That’s critical because we need to challenge what we’ve been traditionally used to, and be open to new things that we never thought could potentially be possible to get out of our comfort zone. Bringing things in from outside of industry, such as people who have experienced business elsewhere, is going to bring a totally different perspective to our company. What we’re doing is trying to push everything forward. 

What is the biggest development that we still need to successfully cater to new NDSI platforms?

There’s a lot of offerings at K band for LEO and MEO trackers and amplifiers. The ground infrastructure is there already. I think the big one in the future is going to be supporting the V band. There are some challenges that we need to face, but the great thing is that our company is building both travelling wave tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers. We have the ability to be agnostic when we go into these situations and see that this one makes sense for this application. One of the big drivers for that scalability is the need for solid state amplifiers to support those deployments. That’s something that is going to be really important for us to stay on top of and make sure that we’re looking to the future to be able to support that when that’s ready, because that’s a whole new ballgame in terms of that technology.

To learn more about evolving technology in the industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Impact of AI on Sports Content

AI is nothing new now. We’ve all seen it taking over people’s posts on LinkedIn, generating blogs and featuring in a plethora of panel discussions. What’s new is the impact it’s having on the sports media industry. On Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we were joined by Meghna Krishna, the Chief Revenue Officer at VideoVerse, to discuss the changes that she’s seeing AI make in the sports space. 

How do you see AI changing content creation and OTT streaming moving forward?

A lot of the customers that we’re working with have created automated highlights using AI. Obviously there’s a human in the loop and there are constant feedback cycles being developed too, but there’s so much requirement in terms of content, data and analysis, and interactivity that it’s humanly impossible to meet those requirements as they grow. AI will become a big part of providing those services. I would say that anyone who’s not using AI for video analysis currently needs to catch up quickly, because it’s the only way you’ll be able to generate the volume and quality of content that your competitors are producing at the speed with which they’re doing it. 

Personalisation is another area that AI is helping us develop. I’m more interested in watching the content that appeals to me instantly – I don’t want to be scrolling through 500 pieces of content to find the one thing that I’m interested in. An individual understanding of your customers is going to be an essential part of meeting their content requirements – hence the need for AI. Advertising, merchandising, clickable ads and shoppable videos are all going to be serviced with technology and AI too. Football is not only watched in 50 countries, it’s watched across the word, and the commentary translation is being done by AI now too. AI is becoming all encompassing. It’s not just in one or two places, it’s everywhere you look.

How is AI improving the experience of sports fans across the globe?

Personalised videos and ads that I can connect with are changing how people interact with content. With personalisation comes interactivity. The NBA had this place in the Metaverse where you could actually go in and be a part of the game which was an immersive experience that you can have while sitting at home. That gives fans the opportunity to feel like they’re getting the same experience as being in a stadium. 

There have been a lot of other smaller changes, such as more people watching games on social media. 52% of the younger generation is saying they’re watching sports on social media rather than broadcasts. Because these games and highlights are being published in real time it’s easier for people to do that. If you put a layer of AI generated data and analysis over that stream it completes the experience for the user without the need for live TV. 

How does AI help with the monetization of content?

If you’re serving personalised ads, the customer is seeing what they want to see, and not something that’s irrelevant. If they’re more likely to see it, they’re more likely to interact with it and you’re more likely to get monetization out of it. With AI you can actually get the highlights to the sports fans earlier, so they’re more likely to watch it. The value of a game goes down every minute after it’s over, so if your recaps are happening in real time you can monetise it far more effectively. 

We are seeing that a lot of youth sports teams that were not anywhere online are now coming onto social media because there are viewers for them there. We’ve had a recent youth organisation that publishes their games on social media and their app, and their views go up from 25,000 to 300,000 within a matter of months, because they were able to publish highlights quickly. That is a huge monetisation opportunity right there.

Want to hear more from Meghna? Tune in to Episode 21 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.