Five-minute CIO: Adrian Condon, B-Secur

2 Sep 2016

Adrian Condon, CTO, B-Secur

“Investing in integration with legacy infrastructure is key for us,” said Adrian Condon of B-Secur, a Belfast-based IT security player that has developed innovative technology that uses your body’s ECG rhythms as biometric security.

Adrian Condon is CTO of B-Secur, an emerging Irish-based business exploring the next generation of biometric authentication, having patented a technology solution that uses a person’s ECG rhythms for secure and convenient user authentication.

B-Secur has had an exciting couple of years. The company was named a Gartner Cool Vendor for 2016, is one of just 16 companies invited to join London Stock Exchange’s ELITE programme, and was named as a prominent vendor to watch in the global biometrics market in Technavio report ‘EEG and ECG Biometrics Global Market 2016 to 2020’.

Future Human

Condon comes with an impressive technical pedigree, leading complex projects, new product design and delivering strategic new technology across many industries, including industrial, automotive and telecoms industries.

B-Secur has raised in excess of £3m in seed and interim funding to date and is gearing up for its first round of Series A funding in October.

Can you outline the breadth and scope of your technology development and what improvement it brings to biometrics?

Our technology incorporates novel innovation in sensing technology, algorithm development and firmware design.

A person’s ECG signal has some very interesting attributes and unique features that distinguish one person from the next, making our authentication approach significantly more secure than passwords and PINs.

ECG is an internal biometric that, unlike fingerprints, does not leave any latent samples and, unlike facial or eye biometrics, is much harder to attain without the user’s permission. This means it is much more difficult to spoof or harvest.

Our patented technology has enormous potential and could be used in almost any industry where security is critical. Think of physical access control to restricted areas like government buildings and intensive care wards, biometric authentication for vehicles and secure financial transactions.

We are currently running a number of interesting pilots, including a biometric smart card for controlled access in a major UK airport technology integrator and a similar trial with one of the UK’s leading construction businesses.

What are the main points of your company’s technology development strategy?

Our primary strategy is not to develop a specific product but to deliver a host of ECG technical solutions that allow our technology to be easily integrated into other products and systems.

Given the many use cases where the technology could be deployed, we believe this is the best strategy to enable us to simultaneously work in many industries and with other technologies.

Investing in integration with legacy infrastructure is key for us – we understand that the costs and process of implementing brand new hardware can be daunting for businesses, so we’ve consciously worked to develop solutions that can integrate with existing systems and infrastructure. We’re proud of the security and convenience of this approach.

Of course, any successful technology development is only made possible by investing in the people creating it and we’ve worked hard to find and incentivise the best people in their respective fields, allowing us to make significant progress in our development.

In terms of managing Technology Development budgets, what are your key thoughts on how CIOs/Heads of Technology should achieve their goals?

There are a few elements I believe are crucial for accurate forecasting and management of budgets:

  • Regular strategic input from all elements of the business on the technology development roadmap
  • Exercising effective fit-for-purpose project management principles
  • Finding, investing in and incentivising the best internal and external talent

If you can effectively combine these elements, you’ll be able to control and manage your budget and timings and keep even the most complex of projects on track.

Do you have a large in-house development team, or do you look to strategically outsource where possible?

We have both. We have a core in-house team as well as designated development partners that bring certain areas of expertise and allow us to scale up development when required in certain areas.

We are moving very fast in our development, and this approach has been very successful for us. Of course, key to this is the selection of the best people and partners.

What are some of the main responsibilities of your own role, and how much of it is spent on deep technical issues compared to the management and business side?

My primary responsibilities include research, defining the technology roadmap, development planning and delivery, managing the technology budget, internal/external resource management and supporting the business with new and existing customers.

Where required, I assist the teams in wider technical issues.

Another key element of the role is ensuring the development teams have everything they need to deliver for the business, and meet our goals.

What metrics or measurement tools do you use to gauge technology development progress?

The overall goals of the company are turned into KPIs that the technology team must deliver on and which are regularly scrutinised by the board.

On a lower level, these KPIs are translated into various deliverables that the technology teams must meet. Overall schedule, budget, scope and performance (quality) are the main areas of progress reviewed.

Various indicators are used across the development teams information as an input to assessing these progress elements.

What other projects do you have lined up for the year, and what will they contribute to the business?

We have launched a number of ECG technology pilots in different industries this year and these are providing invaluable input to our ongoing technology development.

In the background, we have some very exciting projects underway that we believe could revolutionise products in certain industries. Combined with our plans to seek Series A funding in October, I believe these will make a significant contribution to our ambitious ongoing growth plans for the next five years. Watch this space!

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years