Balaji Tamirisa recently joined Dedrone as our Chief Technology Officer, focused on expanding and enhancing our suite of solutions and continuing to ensure Dedrone remains the top choice for airspace security. Since he came on board, Balaji has been working hard to expand our engineering team, hiring for multiple open positions, including software, RF, DSP, and hardware engineers.

    Balaji brings the Dedrone team more than 20 years of experience in engineering, program management, and telecommunications, most recently as the VP of R&D at utilities management company, Itron. His deep experience in building groundbreaking solutions, including an unparalleled understanding of AI, machine learning, and RF technology, as well as industry-leading software expertise, made him the perfect fit for Dedrone.

    As our CEO, AD said, "I am truly impressed by the scale and impact of the products Balaji has built in his career. His deep knowledge, applied to the problem of drone detection and mitigation, promises to take our product capability to new heights. His ability to scale engineering organizations from small teams to multi hundreds of engineers globally, is exactly what we need at Dedrone, and we're lucky to have him with us helping to define the next generation of airspace safety."

    It's been a busy time for Balaji, but we caught up with him to learn a little more about his background, what excites him about Dedrone, and what he's looking forward to in the months ahead.

     

    Tell us a bit about what you did before you joined the Dedrone team?

    I've built my career in hardware and software solution development and helped various companies from the early stages of concept through to go-to-market delivery, including founding the startup SKY MobileMedia. Prior to Dedrone, I was the VP of R&D at Itron, where we launched new solutions for industrial IoT devices. I oversaw a team of 400 people across four continents and worked to create an organizational environment that was based on Innovation, Rock Solid Firmware, Zero Defect Software, and "Power to Express." My favorite: "Power to Express", created a transparent environment for engineers at all levels. They were able to make their views heard on any topic related to the direction, innovation, development process, and adoption of technologies.

    The solutions we launched globally helped Itron win customer confidence of IoT devices and be recognized as the 'Public Safety Solution of the Year' by "IoT Breakthrough" both in 2018 and 2020. I found that articulating a clear vision and mission and staying focused on achieving those goals is what helped us to be successful. Dedrone is setting a new mission for the CTO Organization to prioritize, Solutions, Reliability, Quality and Innovation.

     

    What excites you about your new role at Dedrone?

    From a very early age, I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. My father had a thick, hardcover book about planes, and I would read that book and dream about working in the field. Back in the day, however, studying aerospace engineering was limited, and there were few opportunities. I decided to do electrical engineering and have thoroughly enjoyed my career. However, the chance to work in airspace security with Dedrone spoke to the child in me who always dreamed about the skies.

    Today, drones play a significant role in our daily lives and this trend is only growing. Drones are being used for everything from commercial endeavors to civil experiences and in local and national government affairs. For drones to safely integrate with society, we must put a system in place that protects people, property, and information from nefarious drones. The challenge with drones is that we need to develop solutions to manage the airspace at lower heights. These challenges are not insignificant—we must consider airspace amid commercial buildings, hills, unknown terrains, and more. The unpredictable RF environment at lower airspace calls for innovative advances in intelligent RF technologies with improved smaller form factor hardware devices with software that is highly reliable. It's the challenges that most excite me and why working at Dedrone is an ideal fit.

     

    What trends are particularly interesting to you right now, and any predictions for the year ahead?

    Various topics ranging from Climate Change and Moral Capitalism to NFTs interest me. My background in IoT means that I keep a close eye on the 'smart' industry, and it's exciting to see how technology can make devices more intelligent and better able to deliver real value. I am incredibly excited by the advancements being made in robots and automation across a wide variety of sectors. I look forward to Dedrone solutions enabling the safe use of productive drones as the industry continues to boom.

    As I look ahead in the coming months, I think we're going to see geopolitical tensions increase as the war in Ukraine continues; the assertions in the Indo-Pacific region and smart airspace security will be mission critical for not only government entities but organizations all over the world that need to ensure the protection of people, property, and information.

     

    How do you spend your time outside of Dedrone?

    I sit on the Board at California State University, Chico Cybersecurity for Executive Program Advisory Council, preserving and enhancing the reputation and quality of the Chico Cybersecurity for Executive Program. I get to contribute to the strategic review of offerings to the community, as well as help to build our value to the business community. I get a chance to interact with faculty and students through classroom visits, forums, and conferences. I feel it's important to link the industry with academia to help the business community.

    In my free time, I enjoy creating and mixing music using Logic Pro X and adding video clips to synchronize songs to enhance the user experience for listening to and watching music videos. I also play league cricket in San Diego and make vegan deserts on important holidays.

     

    Mary-Lou Smulders

    About the author

    Mary-Lou Smulders is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dedrone, where she leads Dedrone's global marketing and communications team.

    Originally published Jul 27, 2022, updated Sep 25, 2022