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Women in Security Feature: Arathi Ajay, Intel

Women in Security Feature: Arathi Ajay, Intel

Arathi Ajay

YARMOUTH, Maine—As part of Security Systems News’ and the Security Industry Association (SIA) Women in Security Forum’s (WISF’s) continuing series highlighting the contributions of women in security, this month’s feature is on Arathi Ajay, Field Sales Engineer at Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group, based out of Toronto, Canada. Ajay’s role involves “working with strategic OEM and ISV customers who develop products and solutions in the Video, Safety & Security, Broadcast & Pro AV, and Industrial Imaging segments,” she told SSN.

Ajay joined Intel as a Graduate Field Application Engineer in 2015 and has worked as a Solutions Architect and Technical Sales Specialist in IoT and embedded segments in the past, working with customers in North America and the Middle East & Africa markets. She was instrumental in establishing IoT business in the Middle East and enabling growth through scale engines like Intel IoT Ignition Labs across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She successfully developed AI at the edge business in Canada, and established ISV ecosystems for Intel in Canada.

Her areas of expertise include driving strategic initiatives to create disruptive products with partners in AI at the edge and IoT, building strong IoT ecosystems in the market, solution selling, business development and driving revenue in niche markets.

The following is an exclusive Q&A with Ajay:

SSN: What is your current position and what is your role and responsibilities? 

AJAY: I am a Field Sales Engineer, and I work with customers in the Security, Video & Broadcast industry who lead the industry forward with their expertise by building products and solutions leveraging Intel’s thought leadership and technology innovation. To put it in simple terms, I work with cool companies who create cool technologies using Intel’s hyper-cool semiconductors :)

SSN: How did you get into and what inspired you to stay in the security industry?

AJAY: As clichéd as it may sound, I did not plan for it. I have always been passionate about IoT and AI and worked in those domains. When I was presented with the opportunity to work with customers in the Video, Safety and Security industry who leverage AI, I got intrigued by the fact that video is the most scalable horizontal technology that can add value to any vertical industry. The engineer in me discovered the intricacy of the complexity involved and has never looked back ever since. Every day, my customers teach me more, and I am still in awe of how much more, as humans, we can accomplish through technology, preparing the world for a smarter and safer tomorrow.

SSN: What has your journey been like in a primarily male-dominated and historically non-diverse security industry? 

AJAY: I studied in a girls’ school and coming from India, which is the second most populous country in the world, very early on in life I got comfortable being competitive and carving out my own path with a “survival of the fittest” mindset. In all honesty, it was never a pleasure to my eyes when I happened to be the only female around the table, but I have always used it to my advantage to be the most impactful voice at the table.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of challenges. The diversity dial will take some time to turn a complete 360, so it is about time we accept it and move forward empowering each other, channelizing our energy into a powerful force of competitiveness, take bigger risks and grab every opportunity that will help us grow and make an impact. I am sure this will set a great example for our future generations, encouraging them to turn the dial faster for a more diverse landscape. Take control of your destiny and build a stronger and unstoppable force within YOU.

SSN: What have you found most challenging working in the security industry and how did you overcome it?

AJAY: My lack of experience and network in the industry were my biggest challenges. Having come with horizontal technology experience, the safety and security vertical was alien to me, so it was a sharp learning curve ahead of me. I was fortunate to work with and learn from an exemplary team at Intel, who helped me ramp up as well as guide me as I maneuvered myself through this industry. Industry events like ISC West and organizations like the Women in Security Forum have been great platforms to expand my knowledge, familiarize with industry trends, ecosystem, and technologies, as well as grow my network in the industry.

SSN: Have you had any role models who have helped you out along the way that you would like to mention? 

AJAY: Going with the cliched answer, my parents! They are both strong and resilient personalities who built successful careers from scratch, invested in education at different stages of life, and continue to live with utmost humility and gratitude. Keep your head high, hard work and gratefulness are the values they live by every day.

I have been fortunate to have a great support system of mentors in my professional life, too many to name, they know who they are :)

SSN: What advice would you give other women thinking about getting into the industry or just starting out in the industry? 

AJAY: The security industry will always stay relevant as long as life continues to exist. The world is becoming more complex by the day, with security being more vulnerable. The opportunity at hand to make an impact is huge, so if you are up for a challenge in a rapidly changing industry, this one is for you.

Believe in yourself and grab every opportunity to learn. Keep a continued effort to upskill yourself, build your network within the industry, create your own army of support in the form of mentors and coaches, leverage every opportunity that comes your way and put yourself out there. You will be not just fine, but GREAT!

SSN: What are your views on the industry moving forward, both from a diversity perspective and a technology and business perspective during these unpredictable times? 

AJAY: From a diversity perspective, organizations like WISF are already making huge impact by paving the way for women to lead the industry, develop skills, expand their network, and recognize and acknowledge their exemplary contributions. Scaling the reach and impact of such organizations to broader geographies will be key.

From a technology and business perspective, the world is changing more rapidly than ever, and problems are becoming more complex than ever. We don’t know what problems will arise tomorrow. Hence technology innovations need to remain agile, and technology companies have a collective responsibility to develop and deliver nimble technologies to make the world smarter and safer.

SSN: What do you feel are the top trends, issues or challenges facing the security industry today?

AJAY: AI remains the buzz word, but with increasing vulnerabilities, areas like Federated Learning, Ethical AI, and Blockchain/Web3 need to take better form and shape with stronger regulations and standards globally. Fragmentation of industry due to distinctive roles of ecosystem players are limiting the possibilities of innovation and synergy at a large scale. Industry alliances like the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) can bridge this gap leading to a sense of community, thus leading to a cooperative approach amongst technology providers and end-users to addressing problems, finding solutions and building resiliency.


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