Interview: Julian Critchlow, Extreme Networks ANZ
In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk AI, IoT and security with Extreme Networks’ Julian Critchlow.
Which technologies do you think will be game changers in 2020?
IoT devices have now reached a critical mass worldwide, and we are starting to see their widespread adoption here in Australia. While the devices themselves are transforming the way organisations operate, it’s the data they generate and the way that data is being used, particularly using AI to drive automation, that’s going to be the real game changer in 2020.
How are AI, IoT and cyber threats changing your industry sector?
With the rise of IoT, the number of connected devices and the sheer amount of data being generated has made it increasingly difficult for organisations to manage and protect their corporate networks manually. Malicious agents are taking advantage of the broader attack surface and exploiting vulnerabilities in edge devices to gain access to corporate systems and data. As a business, Extreme Networks has developed the concept of the Autonomous Enterprise, building AI and machine learning capabilities into our solutions to automate a lot of the network and security configuration, management, detection and protection, as well as supporting IT decision-makers with predictive analytics, alerts and reporting.
Which innovations or disruptions are your customers most concerned about in the year ahead?
There are definitely concerns around an escalating cybersecurity arms race. We’re moving into an era of machine-to-machine cyber attacks, so it’s critical that organisations continue to build an automated network and also their analytics capabilities to stay one step ahead. We are still seeing a lot of serious breaches using known vulnerabilities, simply because routine network maintenance and upgrade processes are not effective enough. That shouldn’t be happening today.
What will be the biggest growth opportunities for your company in 2020?
Extreme Networks is focusing its research and development investments squarely on software, AI and machine learning, and building out its cloud network management capabilities. Through the cloud, we can provide incredible scale and processing capabilities, and aggregate the data we are receiving from networks globally to feed into our AI, ML and analytics engines. All of this creates very powerful, automated network and security management tools for our end-user organisations.
What’s on your tech wish list for 2020?
We still need to get a lot better around the management, use and protection of data. There’s an exponential amount of data being created, stored and used every day. Society is centred around digital government services strategies, open banking and other commercial data sharing programs, social media, digital surveillance and other sensor-generated data — so the challenge for regulators and the technology industry is how to ensure privacy and protect critical personal and financial information, but still deliver on the promise of digital transformation to improve lives and the way businesses operate.
Will 2020 see the smart city concept move from rhetoric to implementation?
We are definitely seeing the smart city vision being realised. Globally and locally, Extreme Networks is providing the high-performance and secure interconnecting infrastructure required to enable smart city initiatives to be rolled out. This is leading to digital transformation projects including resident safety and crime prevention, traffic flow management and public transport optimisation. The big issue, however, with so many projects underway from a lot of different solution providers, is establishing interoperability standards to ensure systems can work together and data can be shared.
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