The use of intelligent agents to automate various functions is an area that I am personally very interested in. This conversation dives into the specific area of Intelligent Sales Assistants.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some introduction about Conversica and yourself.
Alex Terry: I’m the CEO of Conversica. We’re a private equity and venture capital-backed technology startup here in the Bay Area. Our headquarters is in Foster City although we have our development office up in Washington. We also have a large sales team in Kansas, Missouri. We’re a little bit spread out. We’ve built an artificial intelligence-based sales assistant that helps any organization improve their sales and also their marketing and sales alignment. I can go into more detail on what that means later on. At the high level, we have an AI-powered sales assistant that operates at the top of that sales funnel. It engages and qualifies inbound leads and helps sift out the good leads and elevate them for immediate sales attention. It can also sift out the time-waiting leads and does it in a fully automated way so that it doesn’t waste the time of the sales people. >>>
Pat Donnellan: In the UK, there is a directive issued by the Bank of England which stipulates that on an annual basis, each licensed financial service organization operating in the UK is subject to a cyber analytics audit where a live malware is injected into the network of the financial services organization. The audit was determined on how that organization responds to that particular live threat. We operationalize how the financial services organization deals with that. There are pending legislations that stipulate an extension of what the UK is planning where enormous buying is being proposed for financial services organization who do not have, in essence, control over their network and are unable to effectively respond to malware threats.
Sramana Mitra: Talk to me about the industry in general. You’ve already started talking to some extent about the industry in general. Talk to me about what are the open problems. Where do you encourage entrepreneurs to look for problems to solve in the cyber security space? More specifically, in the areas you monitor more closely than others. >>>
John McDonald: Think about all the data points in the car example that have to be correlated to be able to make that work. You have to have situational awareness, positional awareness, data about customer preferences, knowledge of how to interface with the store’s ordering system, and many other data points to infer that you need a cup of coffee. I would encourage folks that are looking to get into the Internet of Things space to look very hard at that issue and say, “Where’s the value coming from?”
Yes, it’s coming from those pieces of data, but more value is coming from correlating those particular pieces of data into an inference that you need coffee. There’s very few companies right now that grasp what I just said. Ultimately, the ability to subscribe to different streams of data and help companies infer the need for products and services based on what that data is telling you is a very interesting and largely unexplored area of Internet of Things. This may ultimately be the best way to monetize the opportunity around IoT.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting. I saw that you are located in Indianapolis. What is it like to do this business out of Indianapolis? >>>
Pat Donnellan: The third part, which is a subset of the real-time product, is that we have built a Hadoop engine that enables the storage of what we’re gathering so that if there is an event – an incident response required – around a particular time, a particular network, a particular region, and a particular set of IP addresses, we can enable you to forensically zone back prior policy of storage to that particular set of circumstances. Again, looking at the real-time movements over a specific period of time.
More recently, we’ve added the capability of taking the threat intelligence libraries of known bad actors and being able to test in conjunction with our product in real-time whether or not your enterprise is now exposed to a particular bad actor. Whether you have within your organization a functioning device that has been zombied, that is the third strand of what we do. We crawl the network akin to how Google crawls across a multitude of databases to gather information. We crawl recursively, right out to the edge of the network and beyond, if required, to enable you to continuously understand your network. We make sense of that. We enable you to prioritize with our Hadoop engine the five things that are priority policy. >>>
Sramana Mitra: If you were to point to some open problems that you see out there that you think entrepreneurs should be digging into, where would you point them?
John McDonald: To answer that question, I will first tell you what I wouldn’t look to do. What I would not look to do is form yet another company that is trying to, in some way, provide what I would call a widget to the marketplace. What do I mean by that? Perhaps a piece of software, perhaps a chip or component where the hope is that if we form a company or project around building or prototyping that component, we can sell millions of them and monetize our company through the creation of widgets. I would say to you right now that the marketplace is flooded with companies that are trying to do that. >>>
A different snapshot into the Cyber Security world… can the vulnerability management providers actually see the entire network?
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Lumeta.
Pat Donnellan: First of all, let me introduce Lumeta. Lumeta is a New Jersey-based company in the cyber security space. The software was originally conceived within the environment of Bell Labs to facilitate the US government DOD to understand, at that point, the Internet. It was originally conceived as a scanning and mapping tool to identify devices and IP addresses on a worldwide basis. That was the original concept. It evolved when a number of investors that put a lot of money into it to build it out. I, along with a number of other individual investors, bought the business just over two years ago. In essence, we bought it on the premise that the future of cyber security centered on real-time as opposed to continuous.
There’s a big distinction there. Real-time network situational awareness – meaning in enterprises and government agencies, the basic premise of Lumeta is without our product, you do not understand your network. You have a 15% to 20% visibility gap in devices, networks, IP addresses, and >>>
Sramana Mitra: These platforms that you’ve described so far, besides the customer example that we went over, do each of these platforms have other customers?
John McDonald: In both cases, there are other companies that we’re working with and have been working with to implement an extremely similar kind of environment. For instance, we also work with a competitor of Panasonic in the marketplace and even though they are competitors, both use CloudOne in a very similar way. We’re working with several other customers for which the core issue is the data collection and analytics platform that they need for IoT. Obviously, we draw in the expertise that we have but we don’t share anything that’s proprietary or unique to Cummins with other customers. We definitely know and understand from our experience how to replicate success for other companies too.
Sramana Mitra: How many customers do you have in total? >>>
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