WHO’S NGI? IÑAKI EGUIA EXPLORES US COLLABORATION WITH VES

Iñaki Eguia benefitted from an NGI Explorer mission to the US to collaborate on VES: an integrated system that includes digital security and physical security. VES intelligently monitors and predicts events and attacks, as well as reducing recovery time (MttR) from 20 to 30 percent in critical infrastructures.

What’s your background?

Cyber-physical systems have become my latest research area in which cyber-security – a discipline I have always worked on – intersects with other fundamental aspects such as functional safety or physical security in a system or product. After more than 15 years dedicated to industrial cybersecurity (OT), I’m now the CTO of a company called RKL Integral and we engineered the convergence of all these security concept elements to develop a unique product called VES.

What’s the idea?

The Virtual Ecosystem for Safety and Security (VES) is a platform for the digital transformation of integral safety and security management models. Our expertise covers diverse areas of business and industry – particularly industry 4.0. Our framework reduces risks, automates processes and gives an overview of security and safety targeting energy operators, data centers, health systems, transportation, administration, financial firms, water resource facilities, logistics and supply chain managers, communications operators and industrial chemical plants.

VES a new ‘Governance, Risk, Compliance’ solution, with some differentiating attributes: on the one hand, it is dynamic and therefore the integrated risk of a system can be measured in real time, and on the other hand, it is a system that is totally open to innovation.

The road to the USA via NGI

In the area of open innovation, the NGI Explorers programme emerged as a great opportunity for RKL Integral as a startup and for myself as an “NGI Explorer”.

At the start of 2019, RKL Integral had initial contact with the Veoci company from New Haven in Connecticut, USA. We were in touch with the Sales Vice President, Naiara Azpiri and it turned out that, as well as a shared interest in cybersecurity, we had something remarkable in common. Both of our families are passionate about a sport called Jai Alai. My uncle was a record-breaking Jai Alai player in the ‘80s at the Hartford Jai Alai, near New Haven. It was a nice coincidence and here we were, the next generation, back in the same area, 40 years later.

In early 2019, Veoci was developing, implementing, and operating an EMN (Emergency Management and Notification) solution in the North American market with great success, converging directly on a technical and business level with RKL interests. The relationship grew between both entities. RKL learned about the existence of the NGI community through Incibe (the Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute) where RKL was conducting a Startup Acceleration Program. I applied to be an NGI Explorer to give a boost to the alliance that was being forged between RKL and Veoci.

Convergence = WIN

Our project aims to impact on the Critical Infrastructure market. The great innovative nature of the project, called “VES-VEOCI: How two innovative products converge successfully” meant our proposal was successful and I became an NGI Explorer. In January 2020 I traveled to New England with three objectives:

  • Establish the degree of technical integration between VES and Veoci
  • Define the joint sales model
  • Generate a final partnership agreement

After months of intense technical work, certifications, go-to-market definitions and comings and goings between lawyers, at the beginning of June 2020, we signed a final agreement between both entities with a defined business model to exploit the products both in Europe and USA.  By this stage, I was already back in Europe due to COVID-19.

Without a doubt, it is a win-win collaboration where the first opportunities are already materializing. In Europe, we have a contract in the audiovisual media sector and a PoC in a railway sector critical infrastructure. In the US, in the state of Massachusetts, we have interest from two large companies to invest in VES.

In the coming months, we will see how relations progress between our two companies, possibly with the support of NGI Atlantic, as well as the VES-Veoci impact on the Critical Infrastructure market. We’re optimistic for commercial success in the not-too-distant future.

Learn more about the project:

VES: https://rklintegral.com/en/safety-security/soluciones/

Veoci: https://veoci.com/