A New Autonomous World

Episode 55

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A New Autonomous World

Vijay Doradla of SparkCognition joins the podcast to discuss how AI is being used to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

“We want to push the envelope of the science.” — Vijay Doradla of @SparkCognition #ITVisionaries

Show Notes

At SparkCognition, Vijay Doradla (LinkedIn) is part of the team that is trying to solve the world’s most challenging problems by using artificial intelligence.

As the Chief Business Officer, Vijay brings his experience in engineering, technology, research and investing to catapulting SparkCognition to new and exciting industries and innovations. In this episode, Vijay and Ian discuss everything from how and why to invest, and the exciting projects SparkCognition is working on including autonomous everything from planes to powerplants and more.

Topics Discussed: AI, investing, market strategy, autonomous vehicles, innovation

Introducing Vijay and SparkCognition— (1:15)

  • Artificial intelligence company trying to solve one of the toughest problems in the world
  • SparkCognition has been working with a number of partners in the industrial market

How SparkCognition is establishing itself as a global AI leader — (2:30)

  • The go-to-market strategy around AI so far has been taking a small piece of tech and applying it to a narrow use case.
  • The vision was to solve one of the hardest problems in the world using artificial intelligence, which happened to be in the industrial sector.
  • By solving hard problems, you should be able to take the technology and apply it to broad-based use cases.

Vijay’s many roles — (6:04)

  • Your mindset is different when you’re trying to get a check versus when you’re writing one.
  • Vijay has been an investor and a founder, so he has been on both ends of the spectrum.
  • “It’s very hard to raise capital and it comes with a completely different kind of skillsets when you’re selling a deal as opposed to buying a deal.”
  • “Since I’ve done both, I can get ahead of the curve when our investors are looking to invest in a company.”
  • Vijay was responsible for closing the first round of funding for SparkCognition and it was a very stressful period of time for him.


Working at Verizon Ventures — (12:10)

  • Corporate venture capital has been around for decades and has been through many bubbles.
  • There is a lifecycle of investing and at Verizon Ventures, Vijay was looking to be at the beginning of the cycle investing in AI, next-generation transportation, networking, security, and blockchain.
  • For CIOs who don’t have a corporate venture arm, Vijay would recommend they build their partnerships with venture capitalists.
  • “Start-ups are always looking to get in front of a CIO to talk about their products and services.”
  • “I was constantly looking for the next big trend.”
  • Everybody has a demo day and it’s impossible to attend all of them.


What SparkCognition is working on — (29:20)

  • There is constant tinkering being done in the SparkCognition labs
  • “We have a deep technical team who are constantly thinking outside the box to build impactful tech in different verticals.”
  • SparkCognition has a new partnership with Boeing and they are working on applying AI into the fabric of Boeing’s infrastructure  
  • Autonomous planes are not that far away. SparkCognition is focusing their energy and innovation in creating autonomous aerial vehicles.
  • The question is how do you fly an autonomous vehicle from point A to Point B without a pilot? We’re building that technology as we speak.”
  • SparkCognition also wants to operate autonomous power plants The vision is having a power plant where the power generation facility is fully optimized. There are thousands of people monitoring traditional power plants 24/7. How do you reduce the human power needed or increase the efficiency of humans with AI?
  • “We want to push the envelope of the science.”
  • “We have foundational technologies and we’ve been able to apply them to other areas and verticals.”
  • SparkCognition is pushing a product called Deep Armor, which they built with AI at the forefront. They flipped the script on cybersecurity by putting AI first.
  • AI will be building a lot of our products in the future.


Lightning Round — (42:00)

  • Google Maps is Vijay’s favorite app
  • Slack and Gmail’s use of auto-reply has come a long way
  • “Artificial intelligence has the potential to fundamentally change human life moving forward. In the next decade, we won’t even talk about artificial intelligence because it will be in every aspect of our life.”

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Vijay Doradla of Sparkcognition joins the podcast to discuss how AI is being used to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

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