Developing a best-in-class team requires strong process and delivery skills too. Do you use any particular methodologies to keep projects on track Absolutely, we manage all of the engineering teams’ projects through a projects and priorities issue board electronically which allows us to closely monitor both timing and progress. In addition, every product and work package that is released to a customer is tested, documented and the relevant information is stored on a document control system. This allows us to track all released hardware and documentation.
For all products that we have delivered to customers, extensive hardware testing and functional tests are performed which is also documented to ensure that the devices and systems that get released will meet the required specifications. Many of these tests are semi-automated which makes testing both repeatable and efficient.
How does the work of the engineering team dovetail with the other teams in B-Secur? B-Secur is primarily an algorithm company but any data analyst or algorithm engineer will agree that the key to any good algorithm performance is the quality of the input data, in our case, the ECG signal quality. The ECG signal is a tiny electrical signal picked up from the surface of the skin. There are multiple sources of noise and interferences to be considered in an ECG system that can severely impact algorithm performance and therefore need to be managed.
Within the engineering team, we ensure the hardware and electrodes are set up to acquire the best possible signal for the algorithm. There are numerous aspects to ensuring the best quality signal, ranging from noise avoidance within the design to noise removal when the noise sources cannot be avoided. It’s safe to say that this area forms the basis of a significant part of the engineering challenge.
The landscape of biometric technology and its applications is changing exponentially. How do you and your teams keep ahead with such fast-paced development? The industry is always changing and updating but we are lucky that we get to work with the top semiconductor companies in research and development, electrodes analysis, next generation noise reduction techniques, working to develop enhanced ECG modules. Everyone in the engineering team commits a percentage of their time to research future trends and new technologies in our technology space.
What’s been a highlight for you in your time at B-Secur?
Seeing the video for the first time from our trip to CES in January of this year of the B-Secur HeartKey demonstration steering wheel being reviewed live by CNET. Watching a live broadcast on one of the world’s biggest technology media platforms that the engineering team here had developed from scratch – that was pretty special for all of us.
Scratching the Surface “The most notable and influential development over the last decade has been the vast increase in digital data across most industries and sectors. I still believe we are only scratching the surface with what is achievable with smart data analysis.”
Northern Ireland’s tech scene is vibrant and continuing to grow. What are the most notable developments you’ve seen? Business is thriving in Belfast especially in the technology sector. Driving around the city, it’s easy to see how the skyline of Belfast is constantly changing and developing with new skyscrapers appearing to fit all the business opportunities and demands within Northern Ireland. More specifically in engineering, the most notable and influential development over the last decade has been the vast increase in digital data across most industries and sectors. I still believe we are only scratching the surface with what is achievable with smart data analysis.
Algorithm development tools and techniques coupled with the knowledge that is coming out of our universities to make effective use of this data has led to a significant growth in many of the technology companies in Northern Ireland and across the world. The electronic engineer in me is prompted to finish with this thought – we will always still need quality electronic hardware to get the digital signals into the digital domain!