If you’re working in the tech industry, you would’ve probably heard all the buzz around PALO IT’s new initiative — the PALO IT Lab. Launched early this year, the Lab is a huge and portentous stepping stone towards creating a positive impact with the work we do through technology.
It’s a place outside client servicing, where our Palowans build stronger capabilities around exponential technologies, and also a creative hub where amorphous ideas begin to take shape.
To gain more insight into what really goes on in the Lab, I recently sat down with Dimitri Baikrich, PALO IT’s Chief Technology Officer, who was kind enough to answer some of our questions, while also lifting the veil on some of the cool projects they’re currently working on.
Hi Dimitri, could you start by sharing with us the thought process behind the launch of the PALO IT Lab? What are you hoping to achieve with the Lab?
Firstly, it was to increase engagement with our Palowans, to open up the opportunity to research, discover and try new tech that we do not usually work with on the client side. We are also hoping to foster a POC and innovation mindset, instead of a project where you actually have to deliver something.
Most importantly, our vision has, and will always be, harnessing the power of technology for the greater good. This is the heart of the Lab — to create a positive and lasting impression on the world through purpose-driven projects that reinforce the values of PALO IT.
How do you go about choosing the individuals who are going to be a part of the Lab?
Our Palowans can share their ideas and express interest, giving ownership to them in that aspect, followed by a certain criteria of how long you’ve spent in PALO IT. There’s also your current skills and the ones you’re going to develop.
Could you share with us some of the projects that you’ve outlined?
We have a project called Secured Cloud-Based OS that is meant to simplify technology for people who might have difficulties with computers. Security is a huge concern for the elderly generation who are generally less tech-savvy, making them easy targets for hackers who might want to access their personal data.
To avoid that, we’re developing a solution that uses a thumbdrive that requires fingerprint authentication. Upon insertion, a web connection software allows the OS to run on Cloud instead of locally. Through constant updates and scans, this next-gen security system will ensure there is never any malware. The OS has also been customised, simplified, and will have a credentials management system.
We’re also working on developing pseudo-drivers, building on top of some existing open-source tech, that will allow peripheral devices on a local machine, such as a webcam or mic, to remotely and securely connect to another machine hosted on the Cloud. Our goal is to use the secure cloudOS to run a video chat program for instance, or to use a voice chatbot for help.
Our next project will be on SSI, Self-Sovereign Identity, likely relying on the Sovrin Network. We would like to simplify digital ID and self-sovereign identity management.
On top of these projects, we’re constantly having back-and-forth sessions with our Palowans to contribute ideas that will help tackle our modern society’s problems and challenges.
What were the risks involved with the PALO IT Lab? Is there a definition of failure?
When you do research, there’s a big possibility that you are going to prove that something is not working, or that you’re not going to find anything. For example, when you look at research in a pharmaceutical company, they spend a lot of time before they actually find something. It can be years before they finally have a breakthrough.
However, this is perfectly fine. The goal of the Lab is not commercially-driven. We’ve known that when we invest in the Lab, we’re investing in our Palowans that are part of the Lab. We’re giving them a safe environment to take risks.We know that the journey itself is the goal. If we can produce something, it’s great, but the journey itself is more important.
In what ways do you think we can potentially collaborate with our ecosystem partners? Are there opportunities for our partners to work with us at the PALO IT Lab?
Definitely — the Lab serves as a place where we can test and integrate our partners’ technologies. We’ve had all types of discussions with financial institutions, global service providers and other corporate entities. If they have problem statements or challenges we think the Lab can help look into, we’ll always keen on exploring and sharing our ideas with them.
What’s the final outcome you’re hoping to achieve with the PALO IT Lab?
If possible, most of what we’re going to do is going to be open-sourced. And the biggest outcome I would say is to learn as much as possible, and find a way to put the blocks together to make something interesting.
To end off our chat, list down three things you’re most excited about.
Sharing our findings with our Palowans in the company, getting good engagement with the public through knowledge sharing, and having a working prototype in the end.
Thank you Dimitri. On behalf of everyone at PALO IT, I echo the excitement of finding out what the future of the Lab has in store for us! P.S. I want a hoverboard.
PALO IT Lab
The vision of the PALO IT Lab is to create more ‘Tech for Good’ solutions that are readily accessible by everyone, and to encourage open innovation and collaboration. This is in line with PALO IT’s vision — to do work that will eventually transcend lives, help individuals become better human beings, and produce tangible outputs that will benefit the world.