What Does the Future Hold for Cyber Security and Its Relationship with AI?

On Episode 26 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we were joined by Simon Hunt, the Chief Product Officer at Reveald. Simon is a prolific industry leader and inventor within cybersecurity and technology, specialising in protecting financial information. He also sits on a number of boards within the Cyber Security industry and volunteers with the American Red Cross. During the episode, Simon shared his insights into the relationship between Cyber Security and AI, which you can read here:

“I am super excited about the possibilities of generative AI. But, let’s remember that generative AI is guessing what it thinks the most likely word to come next will be. It’s fascinating how much reasonable content it has created just by guessing what word comes next using statistics. That’s fascinating to me. Ask Chat GPT to write a children’s story or love letters to your wife and it’s amazing. 

But the eye opener for me was that the systems I built create very complicated output, and you have to have a huge amount of expertise to interpret what it generates. We do a lot of work to turn that into stories that people understand. We found that we could throw that raw data into a generative AI model and it would make a readable explanation. If I wanted to tell somebody what their problem is, it would do that perfectly for me. 

I realised I could do it in Japanese, or Baja, I could tell it to write it in any language – and it’s not translating the English output into Japanese, it’s translating the raw data into Japanese. The translation or output is still a beautiful, understandable story. My challenge was taking raw data and making it simpler, because there used to be a huge natural language problem. Now it’s generative AI’s problem. 

Now, of course, we have the problem of misinterpretation, but we have the opportunity to eliminate the requirement for super talented experts and make our process more scalable. That is intriguing to me. I’m not trying to automate everything; I’m saying that we should automate as much as possible and redirect human talent. 

For me, AI is not discovering new things, it’s making our discoveries consumable and actionable for a wider range of people. Who knows where it will go? But now we can take entry level people that are at the beginning of their cybersecurity awareness, and make them as powerful as the experts of today. If we can do that, then we can cut the legs off this problem. 

Fundamentally, it’s not intelligence. AI is not adding any unique insight. It’s shocking how little unique insight we need to write a two page children’s story just by predicting the words that come next. However, we need to be careful with our expectations. You can’t ask it to solve cancer. If it came up with an answer, it would just have regurgitated something that a person has already tried. 

There is a challenge. If you ask AI to compare two companies, it will generate an output that would take you hours to do by hand. As a timesaver it’s amazing, but schools are worrying because it’s becoming indistinguishable from natural language, so how do you tell it’s not plagiarism? It’s a tool that we should use to take complicated information and make it consumable by people who are not domain experts. I can solve that industry challenge with predictive text.”

To hear more from Simon, tune into Episode 26 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 Impact of Thermal Satellite Images

On Episode 27 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Tobias Reinicke, the CTO and Co-Founder at Satellite Vu. Tobias has an extensive background in geography and computing with a career spanning over two decades in the aerospace industry. His main focus has been creating advanced solutions for global mapping. Satellite Vu is on a mission to build high resolution thermal data through the launch of their first satellite, the HOTSAT-1 in June, and the recent release of the first light imageries. Tobias explained the importance of using these images to protect our planet, and how companies can plan for the future using the same technology. Read on for his insights. 

How can organisations use thermal imaging data to change their behaviours?

As a company we can detect heat loss at a very high level. Any industry or activity that is based on heat production, we can infer activity levels of. So you can imagine that companies that run large equipment, factories, refineries, or that sort of infrastructure, would request data for their own sites and connected sites that they may not have easy access to, to assess where they are losing heat. Because we’re a global service, we can give them a holistic view of all their assets and sites, and provide a benchmark for their site, showing if they are running at a certain level of capacity. 

Companies have a mandate according to their emissions and wastage of heat that they need to abide by. We can show you whether your sites are achieving that or not. At the same time, if you’ve made some changes, we can show you what the before and after looks like so that you can validate that your changes have made an effect. As legislation and policies come into place in many countries, we are going to be able to help companies assess the situation and help them make the decision with our datasets. We hope to play a key part in monitoring assets that are coming online, are supposed to be coming offline, or are being retrofitted to be more efficient.

What are some of the benefits of infrared imaging sensors compared to other types of sensors?

There’s a bunch of other sensors, such as optical, where you’d see what the sun reflects, but that precludes you from collecting data at night. Again, you can derive activity by looking at cars or trucks being in place, etc, but you can’t see any actual heat losses or infer anything else. You have synthetic aperture radar, which can look at nighttime as well, which is the closest you can get to thermal on that sort of capability. But again, it doesn’t give you any colour because it’s a radar bounce, so it’s a bit tricky to interpret sometimes. Otherwise you can see actual activity by looking at the hyperspectral multispectral solar solutions, which look at gas emissions. Companies like GHGSat are looking at anything to do with emissions, which our bandwidth does not allow us to do. But on the other side, GHGSat can’t derive heat loss. A combination of sensors are going to create the best picture.

What can we learn from this data from the initial images?

The first image we got from the satellite was at Rome, it was a nighttime image, and you can very clearly see some heat around the place. Looking in the northwest of the image was the Vatican, which showed up as really hot. The reason for this was most probably because it is made up of large slabs of concrete. When we get into this city analysis and city planning, materials like concrete, stone, brick and tarmac retain heat really well, and emit it at night, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s fine in the winter, but not too great in the summer when you’re creating urban heat islands. Otherwise, in Rome, we can see a nice river flowing through and you can see that the water is very cool. You can see the green areas are much cooler. You can infer a lot from this and play with it on the urban planning front. 

How can satellite imaging help mitigate the effects of climate change? 

We will be a monitoring service. We will be able to monitor what’s going on; there’s not much else we can do other than that. But I think that if you don’t know where your biggest heat losses and emissions are, you’re not going to be able to do anything about it. That’s very much what we’re there for – to give it a global, holistic and uniform view of the sites that are emitting the most heat and therefore producing the most waste. Asset owners and policymakers want to know about that, and then when they’ve made the changes they want to know how they’ve actually improved the situation. That’s how satellite imaging will help. 

To learn more about satellite imaging and the work that Satellite Vu are doing in the area, tune into Episode 17 of 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.     

Unpacking Content Delivery Networks 

Content delivery is a huge part of the content and media industry. On Episode 24 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we sat down with Gautier Demond, the Vice President of Sales for Content Publishers North America at Qwilt, to talk about the different ways we can deliver content to consumers. Gautier has led a varied career across sales, engineering and architecture, giving him a range of perspectives. Read on to hear what he had to say about content delivery networks. 

Qwilt is a leader in open caching technology, which is a different way of doing CDN. Traditionally, CDNs have relied on big pops from all over the globe, that then leverage peering to get access to the eyeball network and deliver content. That has been working, but over the last few years we’ve seen bottlenecks appear either on capacity or that access to the eyeball networks. When it’s a Tuesday and you have an iOS update and Microsoft Update and the Champions League streaming at the same time, you’ll see serious congestion on the networks. That’s a problem. 

The way open caching changes that is by partnering with the ISPs and deploying caching architecture at a density and granularity never seen before inside the ISP network. We’re able to bypass those traditional bottlenecks. So why are companies allowing us to deploy within their networks? The second part is the business aspect of open caching, which is our revenue sharing model, where we share a percentage of our revenue with the ISPs that provided the deployment. 

In traditional CDNs you have three major players who are constantly bumping heads – you’ve got the content creators, the CDN and the ISPs. There’s always been tension between the CDN and the ISPs, because you send all that traffic to their network, but they’re not seeing any revenue from it to be able to invest into growing their network. Open caching allows us to share revenue with them so it benefits everyone. Instead of being in an adversarial relationship, you’re gonna be in a partnership. They’re getting engineering assistance, support, data… It allows us all to perform better. Working together allows for high density, which results in tremendous performances. It’s not rocket science. 

In the CDN world, we’re all subject to the algorithm. Over the last few years there has been a transition towards the contract side to accommodate that ability to switch traffic without incurring any financial penalties for the customer. Also, the platforms that perform the best are going to get the most traffic. The way we are judged is by our performance, which is measured on the client’s device, and that decides if your company or your relationship with the content provider is successful or not. So data is something we use daily, because we need to know what to improve and focus on. Everything is definitely data. 

To learn more about content delivery networks, tune into Episode 24 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.     

Improving Gender Diversity in the Telco Industry

On the Women in Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’re shining a spotlight on diversity. In the miniseries’ fifth episode we spoke to Alex Foster, the Managing Director of Division X at BT, about her experiences as a woman in the telco industry and how the sector could improve gender diversity. Read on for her insights. 

How do you think the attitudes towards diversity and inclusion have changed throughout your career so far in telco?

We’ve always spent a lot of time looking at diversity and inclusion. We’ve done an awful lot of work in terms of the barefoot computing initiatives. Our volunteers help to make sure that all children feel that they’ve got the ability to really enjoy the STEM world. That then moves up the chain in terms of what we do, both at senior school and university, where we run initiatives around coding for girls. The work that we do, particularly around cybersecurity, really helps make sure that people aren’t frightened about technology. It’s like riding a bike, it can seem frightening before you start. It’s the same thing with STEM; making it accessible means taking all of that fear out of it. And as a consequence of that, we’re seeing many more women coming into technology as well. We’ve got huge levels of representation for women, from apprentices and graduates and up through to our leadership roles within the organisation as well.

BT has a female CEO now. What impact do you think that will have?

It’s an important representation of women in leadership roles. I think that that will encourage more and more women into technology roles, because it just shows you how inclusive telecoms can be, and particularly how inclusive we as an organisation can be, and it shows that we are a very accessible workplace. Nobody should be worried about coming into a STEM role, because you can go from being an apprentice to being a CEO, and everything in between.

What challenges did you – or do you – face as a woman in the telco industry?

Some of the barriers have changed since I joined the industry. My children are on their way to university now, but if I think back to when I had maternity leave, coming back after only three months was quite challenging. Since then, huge amounts have changed. You can get a year’s maternity leave or alternative provisions in terms of how you return to work. At BT, we’re really proud that 87% of people who go on maternity leave come back into our organisation. 

The other challenges I had were things that are now mainstays like lactating rooms – those were definitely not common back when I started. 20 years on, the world has changed significantly. We’ve got great maternity policies, great return back to work policies and great facilities for people who want to carry on and bring their babies into the organisation and carry on feeding them at work. All of those provisions are there now. 

How do you think organisations can make the workplace more accessible to everyone?

Inclusivity is expansive. One topic close to my heart is dyslexia. I work with Kate Griggs and the Made By Dyslexia organisation. We have a chapter of the organisation here at BT, which helps us look at Dyslexia as a superpower, because dyslexic thinking can be very creative and join the dots in a different way. It’s absolutely about creating an inclusive place for all types of people to come and work with us. So for me, inclusion doesn’t just mean gender inclusivity, it’s all of those facets of identity. Having a space like the Made By Dyslexia chapter in a workplace can really empower people to share what makes them different and recognise their own strengths. We also use technology to solve some of their challenges too, such as using Word’s spell-check or speech to text ability. It all just helps us recognise what skills we can bring to the company. 

Do you have any specific recommendations for how companies can be more inclusive?

I think that it’s about making sure that when you’re starting to hire into the organisation, you’ve got diverse lists to start with. If your list isn’t diverse it’s going to be quite hard to create an inclusive environment. It definitely starts with having a look at how you hire and who you hire, and making sure that those that are hiring are starting to think about skills and inclusivity at the same time. Organisations that are on an inclusive journey can lean into external networks, such as Women in Technology, both from a learning and networking point of view, but also as a pipeline for talent. If you’re engaged with these groups, your organisation will start to show up as an organisation for whom inclusivity is important, and candidates will be drawn to you. You’ll then start to find a plethora of candidates who want to work at your organisation because you are seen to be inclusive, and you’re behaving in an inclusive manner.

To hear more from Alex, tune into Episode 17 of The Connectivity 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.