How Did The Idea to Start AKTEK and Build AKTEK IO Come to Be?
My co-founder Giorgio Saad and I met in Lebanon back in 2014 on a UK/US-funded counter-ISIS project supporting the Ministry of Defence’s fight to contain the terrorist threat coming from across their border. To prevent terrible outcomes for the country, they needed to understand it better first so they could respond with the right actions at the right time. They needed to streamline, accelerate and secure information flows from the border outposts to HQ.
As such, we built them a system to collect, store and analyse relevant data to monitor, understand and counter the threat. It wasn’t easy but the fact that what they set out to monitor and track didn’t follow any regular patterns and evolved every day made it extremely difficult. We’d gather requirements, translate that painstakingly into software form and deploy it for them to use. By the time we’d deploy, everything had changed. The enemy adopted different tactics, they as an institution had to adapt. We found ourselves going back and forth between them and the source code. Not only was it resource-intensive and expensive, it felt like the system would constantly be out of sync with what it sought to measure, with us being a critical piece of the problem as the middleman between their ideas and their systems. We felt there had to be a better way. We wanted to find a way to take us out of the equation and empower the very smart people on the frontline of this fight to design and iterate the mission-critical data systems they use every day, themselves.
That’s where AKTEK IO was born, a “no-code” end-to-end data management platform facilitating the input of data from multiple sources and the output of insights to different targets, accelerating critical information flows from the ground to the top with utmost security along the way. Today, organisations big and small, public and private are using AKTEK IO to design their own data systems, empowering intelligent operations in the face of some of the world’s most complex and fluid challenges.
How Has AKTEK Evolved Since Then?
We began exclusively servicing the public and NGO sectors, working with institutions in emerging and frontier markets traditionally overlooked and forgotten by blue chip software companies. Our no-code approach enabled us to deploy game-changing technology in a cost-efficient way in support of heroes tracking war crimes and human rights violations in Ethiopia, defending coastlines and sea shipping routes from pirates in Somaliland, countering extremists and terrorists in Kenya, monitoring ceasefire violations in Ukraine and responding to violent protests and the Covid-19 pandemic in Colombia. In each one of those many cases, our users themselves built mission-critical systems on top of AKTEK IO, all in minutes and without having to write a single line of code. It’s been inspiring and humbling to see it take a life of its own and serve so many different kinds of public good.
As our technology gained more exposure to different use cases, we looked to diversify and began working with a variety of private companies delivering critical products and services, from energy to financial services. We spent the last five years working in close collaboration with risk, security, sustainability, compliance, health & safety, environmental impact, legal and operations leaders across the private sector and we still uncover new ways for our product to help streamline critical information flows whether it’s to minimise security incidents, root out corruption, fraud or theft, track down illicit activities, or process sensitive stakeholder requests.
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Why Do You Consider “Efficient” Data Management is More Critical Now?
The world was very different just a year and a half ago. Digital transformation is no longer a nice side project, it’s mission-critical for nearly every organisation out there. The world is also more unpredictable. Organisations and teams that want to succeed or continue to succeed need to be more flexible and agile than ever before to stay relevant and competitive. You want to control this destiny and not be at the mercy of external software engineers or an IT department that don’t speak your language, share your ontology or understand your day to day. It’s important to be able to count on the support of flexible data systems that you can not only operate but architect and iterate yourself over time to fit your purpose, whatever it might be today, tomorrow, next quarter or next year.
What Can We Expect From AKTEK in the Future?
At AKTEK we’re about enabling intelligent operations. For operations to be intelligent, they have to be data-driven. Data on metrics and issues of interest needs to travel from where it is generated or observed to where it needs to go quickly and securely so the right decisions can be taken at the right time.
Security is at the heart of everything we do given our foundation servicing national security clients. The future for us is increasingly mobile as we continue to look for ways to accelerate moving from observation to insight to decision to action. That said, achieving a holistic, real-time picture of operations and operational context comes from smart data fusion. We are currently investing in data partnerships and data integration mechanisms to allow our users to seamlessly ingest third party data from public and private sources to supplement their own internal data. Whether it’s digital media, satellite imagery, anonymous mobility patterns, weather sensing and forecasting or other IoT sensor data, we want our heroes on the frontline to have access to it all so they can make the best decision every time and make our world better and safer regardless of the challenge they’re taking on.