It's time for part two of B-Secur's Head of Product Braj Srigengan's interview.
In need of a recap on his previous interview? You can read part one here. You'll learn about Braj's early career developments and how he moved from engineering to Head of Product at B-Secur.
This week, Braj shares more detail on the elements that make a great product, B-Secur's quality-first approach to technology and advice for people looking to start a career in product development
Braj, what do you think are the key elements that make a great product?
"Having a technology that gets people excited and lets them take their own products in new and exciting directions is something that's hugely important.
"That said, you can have the coolest tech but if it's not built to a high enough standard, customers aren't going to go for it.
"We understand that we get one chance to make a good impression, so having a smooth and robust user experience is vital.
"Thankfully, this is a core value for B-Secur. From commercial to software, everyone knows the importance of this.
"A lot of our teams are coming from an automotive or medical device background. From the beginning we were able to put in place appropriate development processes to ensure that we’re developing and testing to the high standard required.
"Our big data team play a big part in this: as a rule, if you designed something you shouldn't be the one to test it. So our data team do their best to break what the algorithm and software teams produce.
"We purposefully work with challenging data and challenging subjects to ensure our algorithms are robust against whatever people can throw at it, and this really shows when we present our technology to our customers.
"We've had quite a number of instances where companies have wheeled out someone who 'no-one can get an ECG signal from", only for HeartKey's Signal Conditioning to accurately extract their information and give them all sorts of vital signs information that was previously locked away from them."
Focus on Quality
We purposefully work with challenging data and challenging subjects to ensure our algorithms are robust against whatever people can throw at it, and this really shows when we present our technology to our customers.
Working with clients is a big part of what you do, to understand their requirements and support with any queries. What creates strong client relationships?
"I would say our more successful partnerships have come from developing a strong relationship with the engineers and business development managers we work with on a daily basis.
"Trust plays a large part in this and when we present our technology we spend time to establish our credibility through benchmarking and independent validation so that our partners know they can rely on us.
"Thankfully, this is quite straightforward, since we have a fantastic team to shout about!
"Part of my job is to try and distill exactly what the customer needs.
"Open communication is incredibly important and keeping customers aware of how the development is progressing helps reassure them and increase the trust. Even if something does delay, by being open and presenting solutions we can work with our customers to ensure successful delivery of the project."
World-Class Signal Conditioning
We've had quite a number of instances where companies have wheeled out someone who 'no-one can get an ECG signal from", only for HeartKey's Signal Conditioning to accurately extract their information and give them all sorts of vital signs information that was previously locked away from them.
HeartKey is B-Secur's premier product offering. Can you share more about it?
"HeartKey is our suite of ECG algorithms that enables our customers to create a huge array of products that can deliver secure health and wellness insights.
"We talked before about quality, and at the foundation of HeartKey is our world class Signal Conditioning algorithm.
"We’ve invested a lot of time and effort in developing this foundation, ensuring accurate ECG detection on which we can build our more advanced algorithms.
"Our algorithms can be grouped into three main categories:
- User ID, for the identification of users and protection of their data through their ECG.
- Health, including Heart Rate Variability and our (in development) Atrial Fibrillation algorithms.
- Wellness, incorporating algorithms like Stress and Fatigue.
"We validate all our algorithms, and work with external organisations like NIBEC, CSIT and NPL to ensure HeartKey delivers the high quality algorithms our customers require.
"The key property of HeartKey is that the algorithms work in real time - the data is processed immediately and information extracted continuously.
'This means the memory footprint of HeartKey is extremely low (since we don’t have to buffer up large amounts of data or stream it to a more powerful processor), meaning our customers can be very flexible in where they can deploy this technology.
What have been your personal highlights on the B-Secur journey?
"A massive moment for me was CES in Jan 2019, when we launched HeartKey.
"The reception we got from all the people who saw the technology and loved it was incredible, and really validated the amount of work our teams poured into our HeartKey product."B-Secur at CES
"I was lucky enough to join B-Secur when we were still relatively small, so seeing the company grow has been a real privilege. I've been really fortunate to be supported with my own progression to Head of Product.
"I think it says a lot about our team that we spend a lot of time with each other outside of work - our company’s success is built on our people and I’m really grateful to be able to work with everyone.
"Lastly, I think beating CCO Ben Carter in our bake off competition is something I’ll treasure forever!"
You're a local lad...how have you seen the Belfast tech landscape grow and evolve over the past few years?
"There’s been an incredible change in Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole in the last few years.
"People are slowly coming to realise what an incredible place this is, and you can see that in the investment large companies are making in opening up offices here.
"The pool of engineering excellence here is starting to be recognised, and I think we ourselves are realising that we have the talent here to compete on the global stage.
"As a company, we’re very lucky to be able to have two strong local universities on our doorstep, producing high quality and keen graduates.
"Honestly, it's a great time to be an engineer in Northern Ireland, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the country grows over the next few years."
What is your advice for anyone who wants to move into product development?
"Learn what everyone is doing! To develop a product, you need to be able to draw on lots of different disciplines and you can’t do that if you don’t have an appreciation for what the teams bring to the table, and the challenges they have.
"Empathy is a really important skill, to get the best from such a diverse range of skills and personalities.
"Overall, the best thing you can do is get stuck in - take the initiative to work with people in that product development role and develop those skills on the job!"