The current situation with so many people working from home has highlighted potential security concerns with many of our collaboration solutions. Adeya says they have the answer, offering simple and Swiss collaboration on a military scale.
I met François Rodriguez from Adeya’s management team to discuss what makes Adeya both simple and safe, as well as the offer. By the way, it’s more than a video conference. It is a well-developed and tested collaboration suite that has been used by the Swiss military and others for years. Listen and discover Adeya.
As usual, the audio streaming is immediately below, followed by the transcription of our conversation.
Alan Shimel: Hi everyone, it’s Alan Shimel for DevOps.com. You are listening to another DevOps discussion. We have a new company to present to you on DevOps Chat today, and the company name is Adeya. I hope I did not pronounce it wrong, but my guest will give us the correct pronunciation. I would like to introduce François Rodriguez, he is the Director of Growth at Adeya. François, welcome.
François Rodriguez: Thank you for your hospitality.
Shimel: Thank you. So, François, did I get the right name?
Rodriguez: Yeah, that’s it. The pronunciation is correct. Americans tend to say Adeya, but yes, Adeya is right. [Laughter]
Shimel: Okay. Well, you know, I always thought I had a little French accent. [Laughter] But I’m glad I understood correctly, then. So let’s start with the obvious, François. Our audience may not know Adeya. Why, if you don’t mind, give us some context?
Rodriguez: Yes, the business background is as follows. It is therefore a spin-off from EPFL. EPFL is one of the five best technological universities in the world, based in Lausanne, so next door. So, for those who don’t know where Lausanne is, it’s next to Geneva. And from this spin-off, the request was to encrypt the voice communications of the Swiss army at the time, using a Symbian operating system. Back then, Nokia was the primary operating system for mobile phones, and it was the foundation of the business.
With the advent of smartphones, the application has been enhanced with messaging, then the mobile application also becomes a desktop application, a tablet application, also allowing file sharing, instant messaging and we are also introducing videoconference calls. , encrypted from start to finish. So, this is the most important element of the suite is the encryption layer, initially deployed and developed for the Swiss army, so we use the highest level of encryption, called military grade. And we also offer this technology to businesses and small organizations.
Shimel: Excellent. So the Swiss army is already a client, isn’t it?
Rodriguez: He is the historical customer.
Shimel: Okay. And then, at this stage, has the company raised venture capital? Is it self-funded? What is the situation?
Rodriguez: Yes, it is venture capital, which is important in this type of business. You must have heard the news from the cryptogate who had ties to governments. So, these days, it is very important, when providing this type of technology, not to have chains with an organization belonging to a state or having no backdoor.
Shimel: Sure. Of course, I mean, everyone is worried about it. And, you know, too – well, before we get into this more, François, what about your personal journey, your journey? How did you come to be the revenue manager – excuse me, growth manager at Adeya?
Rodriguez: So I started my career in telecoms. At that time, I was in charge of developing multimedia content for young people and students. Before the advent of smartphones, multimedia was games, ringtones. I don’t know if you remember those days.
Shimel: Of course I do.
Rodriguez: And then we developed the musical content, the first days of .mp3s. And to move forward, I professionalized my expertise in multimedia, transforming the application into more professional applications. With the arrival of tablets, we are developing more and more professional applications for companies, then I joined a brand new spin-off from Airbus Enceda to provide connectivity on aircraft. The company was previously called OnAir.
Rodriguez: You have Gogo in the United States, so it’s a similar company, which provides connectivity to passengers, multimedia and content for passengers, but also a professional application for cabin crew, electronic flags for pilots and, more recently, IUTs that connect landing gear, engines, and all data generated by the aircraft.
Shimel: Sure. Fantastic.
Rodriguez: I joined Adeya in 2016.
Shimel: Also, how long has Adeya been in existence? I didn’t realize it. When was Adeya founded?
Shimel: Oh really? So it was – so it’s not a fly at night, the company started yesterday. You have been there for a long time.
Rodriguez: Yes exactly. Yes, brand awareness is really recent, because the typical client of Adeya was governments shy enough to do marketing, and it was really when I joined the company that we started blocking and business product.
Shimel: You know, in some ways it reminds me – so I’m a little older than you. [Laughter] But, you know, back when we had the AOL message rooms or chat rooms, whatever – they might have called them meeting rooms before that. It was a pretty innocent time on the Internet when people didn’t realize that you couldn’t let your kids go online and just enter a chat room with people you don’t know and what can be go there. And of course we have seen horror stories of what people wrote in publicized or misused chat rooms or predators, you know, attacking women and children and the like. And because – well, that’s the reason we can’t have nice things, right? There are always bad people trying to take advantage of things.
And then, as a result of that, you know, we saw a lock, if you will, a little bit, of a lot of this type of technology. But then, I guess it’s just human nature, people want to communicate, right? People want to communicate – even, God knows now, when we’re all locked in our homes, right, people always want to communicate. Being alone and isolated is just a little foreign to the human condition.
Rodriguez: Yes you are right. So I used an app on my daughter’s phone to lock the phone after an hour. Nowadays we have up to three hours because, you know, they need to communicate. They no longer go to school, so they must be connected to friends, they must chat, they must send photos, send videos, make video calls. Video calls are very important to young people these days. I’m generally not a big fan of video calling, but they are, so these are …
Shimel: No, they are native. They originate from that, right? For us, we’re looking at it and – actually, I had this conversation with my chief operating officer this morning, talking about: we both have kids who are in high school, in college now, and at school. ‘university.
Shimel: And, you know, these are net natives who, the idea of making video calls, the idea of listening to podcasts and so on, that’s how they used to consume, no ? And [Cross talk].
Rodriguez: They are used to technology, they are used to technology and they are also very knowledgeable in terms of the features and functions that these tools can bring, and they are very, very, I would say, picky about what tools they will use. And we have seen that in some companies there is a kind of step back when they offer traditional tools that are awkward, quite difficult to use, very slow you need to set up the VPN and all these traditional or traditional tools have been rejected by the young population of workers.
Rodriguez: And even more so now with these days of remote workers where you have, you know, a layer of Bring Your Own Device on top, where people install their own favorite apps. It is very difficult to control. It is very difficult to put security in place when you do not have a clear policy on what is allowed, what is not, and even more when you do not bring options. People are starting to download their favorite tools online. Obviously, security is not their top priority, it aims to make their work quick and easy and to provide agility to the organization. So it’s a real problem.
Shimel: I agree. And you know, I mean, but it’s a classic security conundrum, that is, if we just think we’re going to lie on the slopes and say, “Stop!” the train crushes us, right? We can’t stop this, so what we have to do is, instead of being the people who say no, we have to be the people to say, “Yes, you can, but here’s a safe way to do it that n ‘may not be’ not too heavy, too expensive, and still allows them to do what they need and want to do from a communications perspective. “
And I guess that’s really what this is about in Adeya, huh, you want video or make voice calls or, you know, send messages, you can always do it, and we understand that is important. But here’s a safer way to do it.
Rodriguez: Yes, security is important, but what we put at the heart of development is the user experience. Because there are a lot of tools in the security space on the market, but very few of them really offer a transparent experience for users, and even more when they are not computer scientists. Because the IT people will always tell you, “It’s very simple, you go to Settings, you configure it, and you put the VPN around and it works,” when in fact nobody knows how to do it.
So, what we did was bring a unique app, I call the Adeya like a swiss army knife. In one tool, you have different features. You don’t have to have, you know, a recovery. You do not need to have any configuration. The security layers are ___, you install it in your device and you start triggering the functionality you want to use.
Shimel: Absolutely. François, if you could share with our audience, you know, how easy it is and how much it costs if you wanted to use the Adeya solution? Say, listen, I’m a little worried about our use of Slack and / or Zoom for corporate communications; you want to use what you want to use with your kids or whatever, it’s one thing. What does it take to keep Adeya upright?
Rodriguez: So we have four packages, depending on the security layer you want to activate. So the starting price is $ 4, the $ 4 is already, you know, the starter package that provides you with one-on-one video calling, voice over IP security, instant messaging, and also, you know , all Dropboxes and Lockboxes where you can store certain documents.
If you want to have video conferencing with multiple users, you have an additional option, and if you want to install everything on site in your own data center, and that’s what we do for governments, there is an additional cost for deploy the system, but it’s your whole system, okay? You have no back doors, no cloud to open your data center to strangers, and you have everything in your home. So this is the model we make.
So we start with a very easy to install cloud solution based in Switzerland and we use the strength of the cloud infrastructure in Switzerland with data sovereignty, and we go upstairs to deploy your own system on site.
Shimel: Really, okay. So there is some sort of cloud based system, if you want, SaaS or cloud based, then you have the choice on site. Because I know that in many government situations, as you mentioned, they don’t want to share public infrastructure, right?
Shimel: And so, it is a real requirement. So, François, I have to ask you, I mean, it seems that the Adeya system would find very fertile ground in the current environment with what is happening with COVID, with people working from home and everything else – how does that did it affect or how did Adeya react? What do you see on the market recently, just in the past two weeks, following the pandemic?
Rodriguez: So what we see is a variety of requests from historic customers who are government agencies that are really expanding the fleet. It’s not, you know, just to secure a certain special project, but it’s really to provide everyone with the tool to work from home and in the most important layers of security. Because, as soon as you leave government institutions, you have to be connected with that, with high level security, because then you are taking training outside of typical firewalls, and that is what governments fear.
Now, the diversity we see is that we are starting to have – hello?
Shimel: No, no, it’s okay. People are blogging, I have an upcoming meeting.
Rodriguez: Okay, that’s understandable. What we see is that companies now come to equip their entire organization and not only the senior executives who traveled a lot or went to countries where they had to protect their communications, but also to protect their messaging, to protect their e-mail, to protect the documents they send, by avoiding sending them by e-mail because even if the e-mail has been encrypted for several years, it is very difficult to make the IP work because the systems do not work not together, depending on the operator you are using. If one side uses Gmail, the other side uses Microsoft, you don’t have encryption interoperability, for example.
Rodriguez: This is the – we try to facilitate the experience with this type of situation. What we are seeing now is also the teleworkers, the employees themselves contacting us for: “Hey, I heard about your solution. Give me documents that I can bring to my IT people. “
Shimel: Well, that’s how it always comes in. You know, it’s almost that open source mentality, but very good.
Rodriguez: Exactly. So that’s the number …
Shimel: François, as I mentioned to you when we started, time flies here. I’m sorry, but we are well over 15 minutes.
Shimel: I want to thank you for introducing Adeya to our audience. I wish you in these uncertain times, both personally and with the company. And as I told you, maybe we could do a video interview for our TechStrong TV …
Rodriguez: Yes of course.
Shimel: And did you join us. Maybe we could even use a day or record the video over there or something, show it to people in action.
Rodriguez: Yeah. Okay.
Shimel: Sounds good?
Rodriguez: Yeah, perfect. Looking forward to.
Shimel: We will work on it. Good.
Rodriguez: Thanks Alan.
Shimel: Thank you.
Rodriguez: Nice to meet you. [Cross talk]
Shimel: Adeya’s growth director, Francois Rodriguez, here on DevOps Chat, this is Alan Shimel, and you’ve just listened to another DevOps Chat.