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‘We are Trying to Create Carrier Class Experience through Wi-Fi’
Mojo Networks defines the technological trends in the field of wireless Internet and cloud computing storage. The company that was funded from ventures in the United States have made contributions in providing secured Wi-Fi networks globally to organizations operating on large scales including government organizations in the United States of America and India. Pravin Bhagwat, CTO & Co-Founder, Mojo Networks talks about contributions in the field of cyber security, carrier class technology and graphical troubleshooting in an interview with BW BusinessWorld.
Pravin Bhagwat, CTO & Co-Founder, Mojo Networks
BW: What does the Indian market require with respect to wireless technology?
Pravin Bhagwat: We are at the leading edge of innovating around the Wi-Fi technology and Internet access is becoming an important utility right now. There is huge demand for Internet in the country, especially at a low cost. Hence a very cost effective, high-speed and secure Internet access is the requirement everywhere.
Devices like laptops and mobile phones do not possess an Ethernet jack, which means that Internet can be accessed on these devices through two paths: Either through Wi-Fi or a licensed data carrier. But when you’re in an enterprise setting, there is always a need for central manageability of that entire infrastructure. Wi-Fi is also a commodity-based technology -- hence from an IT perspective, making sure that the entire deployment is secured, is absolutely critical to prevent hacking of any of these devices.
Building a secure, high-performing centrally manageable, cost effective large scale Wi-Fi network is absolutely required. We are developing that not only for the Indian markets but also globally. Indian organisations have been hacked through Wi-Fi multiple times. There are local regulations coming from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, from Ministry of Home Affairs and from regulators like RBI (Reserve Bank of India) -- that mandate certain hygiene for wireless security. That is the area where we provide best in class technology; being the inventors of that technology we can regulate the best form of secured wireless networks following Indian regulations.
BW: What is the business strategy of Mojo Networks? Which verticals are your targeting?
Pravin Bhagwat: We went to the U.S. to gain funding initially, and found some funding through our network. We raised a $10 million round, but until then we were funding the company ourselves. Our technology applies to everyone where the market is pretty big to provide secured Wi-Fi connections. If we take particular markets into consideration, then in the U.S. we are picking up higher education and large enterprises. We have also been into retail, where there is a large distributed enterprise deployment.
If we see India in that geography, then we have made a huge impact in the BFSI industry. The manufacturing sector is a thriving sector in India and there are infrastructures in the country which are from multinational companies. People who contributed to the digital public Wi-Fi (network) last year are engaging with us to take a big share of our deployment in the next three years, ranging between rural Wi-Fi, hotspots or any form of public wireless network. Our vision is that Wi-Fi is not limited to providing Internet access, and we can do much more with it in the field of data accumulation and transmission. Wi-Fi is going to continue to evolve in terms of speed and sooner or later large amounts of data can be downloaded with one click of the mouse.
BW: How secure is cloud storage and are these data servers less vulnerable to cyber-attacks?
Pravin Bhagwat: We operate on cloud while providing data accessibility. That gives us the advantage to oversee and troubleshoot any errors without sending any person on site, while transmitting wireless Internet to other servers. This translates into humongous amounts of cost savings and speed of resolution. We can resolve problems proactively because we are cloud massive scale and we can pinpoint errors.
Operations through cloud is a perception in a way, because the management is in the cloud. The enterprises we distribute to can operate with the help of their system administrators, who have the right to access it. We only host software servers in a cloud. The second thing is, because we operate on such a massive scale, the level of compliance requirement and security is much higher than what a single organisation will deploy at their scale. Hence at this point, the concern around cloud is mainly a perception issue in the Indian market compared to the U.S. market, where even the federal government operates on cloud. Fundamentally, cloud is a superior technology and people will get comfortable with it eventually.
BW: What is a carrier class, multi-tenant cloud storage? What are your contributions in delivering carrier class experience?
Pravin Bhagwat: If someone uses a mobile phone he will expect it to work the whole time. Even a downtime of five minutes in a year is unacceptable with this kind of technology. This is known as a carrier class service. If we take user surveys and ask people their experience of using Wi-Fi in public places, they will mostly say that they have trouble with the connectivity and sometimes the (download) speed.
Clearly, that is not a carrier class service and we are trying to create carrier class experience through Wi-Fi. Cloud architecture is an important part of it and at the management level we are aggregating things in the cloud. We are using a lot of artificial intelligence for diagnosis and we are moving a lot of intelligence into the end devices. In the old architecture the devices were dumb and the intelligence was in the hands of the controllers. In our architecture the intelligence is in the devices for maintaining the continuity of functions even if the link to the cloud fails. That is known as carrier class multi tenant storage and we are working towards carrier class innovations in our technology.
BW: How does graphical troubleshooting help in analyzing and detecting problems in wireless networks?
Pravin Bhagwat: It is the state-of-the-art for troubleshooting. When there’s an error in the function of any network it calls for an operator to manually fix the problem. A network administrator has to physically visit the place where the probes of the network are studied; he has to capture the traffic which is all binary, along with network protocol analysers that requires enormous amount of time. Due to graphical troubleshooting, we can take all the data and visualise it, and identify that blip in that massive amount of data. Hence we took the human intelligence part of it and took some machine learning to translate it into a visual interface, which makes it easy to detect a problem and work towards it. Troubleshooting is one area where Mojo Networks has done huge amounts of innovation.
Visualization is a transformation which is taking place in the Wi-Fi world, and predicting the problem, which is even more interesting. This has been very useful for very large deployments. This makes us think about scenarios like digitisation that is taking place in India, and the current state of Wi-Fi in the country, if scaled. Features like graphical troubleshooting can prove to be very useful.
BW: What are the contributions of Mojo Networks in the field of artificial intelligence and how has the company made use of it?
Pravin Bhagwat: We have launched a new suite of capabilities under name of cognitive Wi-Fi. Cognitive Wi-Fi feature set is an application of artificial intelligence as applied to large scale Wi-Fi network monitoring and troubleshooting. It’s an area apt for AI because you are using massive amounts of data and when you take the scale a million times bigger, humans cannot absorb information at that scale. People who contributed to AI built the techniques towards it. The core algorithms haven’t changed much and these things existed for a long time. Following the application programming interface, I don’t have to build an entire artificial intelligence stack and use the existing model. It’s only the computing powers that have changed, where you can receive data very quickly so that it is applicable for a larger section of problems. Making Wi-Fi networks an absolutely reliable network requires an extremely fast all diagnosis and response and that is where we at Mojo Networks have applied artificial intelligence.
BW: With the increase of cybercrime, what are the ways to tackle these situations in large organizations?
Pravin Bhagwat: Technology components, end user awareness and regulation compliance angle -- if these are combined together, it can essentially provide the protection from cybercrimes. In a larger cyber security scenario, the mindset of someone trying to break in would be to find the weakest link to breach a system. (Hackers) will try to not be noticed and they will make sure that they can get past the obstruction to reach in. In larger systems the wireless connections and end user devices are mechanisms to get through, breaking viruses and threats. A mechanism where all of these are plugged in is very important because the regulation is required to make sure that everyone complies with a minimum security; India is one of the top five countries for any cybercrime. No security is eventually good till the operators practice it themselves, and that is where a lot of work needs to be done. There is a need for proper network monitoring and it becomes far more important the moment everything switches to a wireless network.
BW: What is unique about the devices at Mojo Networks to prevent cybercrimes and security breaches?
Pravin Bhagwat: One thing unique in our devices is that there is a radio that is assigned to doing continuous traffic monitoring and inspection. We are always staying ahead of the hackers in estimating the next set of attacks which are going take place. Hence we provide a hack proof Wi-Fi in a box. We are launching capabilities which are fundamentally superior. The areas in which we have contributed for secured connectivity and cloud computing makes us the only players in the market for that sector. The innovations in the areas of bringing artificial intelligence in making the technology carrier grade has already put us ahead of our competitors.
BW: How has Mojo Networks contributed in strengthening the government security systems?
Pravin Bhagwat: We are supplying a lot of secured technology to the U.S. government. In order to qualify to be able to provide the technology, there are well defined sets of standards and certifications to meet those standards. Our technology has gone through the Federal Information Processing Standards, common criteria certification which inspects technology at a higher level of scrutiny. The highest amount of security, sensitivity and caution government organizations want to create in an environment, is to make sure they don’t have any radio over there. That is one challenge where we create and block any radio frequencies coming from outside and portray a no-network zone.
BW: How do you see the company in the next 5 years?
Pravin Bhagwat: We are taking one step at a time and building the business globally. To excel at a global level, we need to be competitive at a global level, as well and in the product space we saw that there is no example of an Indian company gaining that success. Hence the ambition behind the company was to see if we can build, innovate and create a company that can build a global brand. Today 90 per cent of our revenue comes from around the world. The measure of success is that Mojo Networks will be counted as one of the top three players in that industry providing Wi-Fi. We think that this goal can be achieved with the rate at which we are acquiring our customers and making our competitors take notice. We want to provide all these contributions and gain the success while operating in India.