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Join us as we chat with Credersi’s CEO, Andy Lord, to talk about…

🎙 Their RDK-B certification course
🎙 The shift to lightning, and the importance of training in it
🎙 The education metaverse, and using it to train engineers

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Jamie 0:39
Hello, and welcome to the RDK podcast. I’m your host, Jamie Walker. And today I’ll be chatting with Andy Lord, the chief executive at Credersi. Andy, how are you?

Andy Lord 0:51
Do you know… other than I’m looking outside and it’s pouring with rain, because that’s Manchester for you, I’m great, thank you.

Jamie 0:58
Well, it’s the same down here in Bristol today, but it’s good to have you on the show. Um, I guess, Andy, let’s start with, tell us a little bit about your own journey in tech and how you started to get into the video technology space.

Andy Lord 1:13
Okay. We say staffing now you still say recruitment, right? I say staffing because people don’t like recruiters so much these days. I started in I started in recruitment, I started in staffing. As one of the founders of kind of a global recruitment business. I’m still a shareholder, but I am not connected in any way to the business. So recruitment and tech recruitment was my background. I got frustrated with it. I had this old adage that when I got a company big enough that there were too many people in it that I wouldn’t let meet my mom, it was time for me to go. And I think that’s where I got to right? I kind of just stopped it’s not for me anymore.

Andy Lord 1:53
But I’m a big lover of tech. And I’m a big lover of the idea that changing people’s lives as sycophantic as that might sound, it’s true, y’know changing people’s lives by giving them new careers. Recruitment does that. And I think those that celebrate that are to be applauded. When I took some time out of recruitment, I still wanted to get involved in tech, and how do we push people forward? I’m a bit of a fighter for the underdog. And so training people who should have an opportunity, but for various reasons, whether that’s kind of the you know, the that’s been done to death, I won’t do it, but for various reasons, didn’t get the opportunity that they should have, yeah, is where I wanted to start.

Andy Lord 2:39
So I built a training company. Having never done that before. Teaching people to be software developers, that’s kind of my first entrance into the training world. We focused entirely on JavaScript, because I think it probably still is the most commonly used language in the world. We set about it from a community point of view, a definitely an overused word, everyone who has that in some way will no doubt talk about the RDK community today. But what I did was tap into the Manchester business community to start with to say, I want to educate people, and I’m not a teacher, I want to teach people technology, and I’m not a technologist. Why don’t we just get all of the businesses that are around that are struggling to hire, which is every tech company probably on the planet? Why don’t you come and do some of the teaching with us? Why don’t you help us put together a curriculum that is real and right now and necessary and wanted. And the results were overwhelming. We built a national business really quickly. And I totally loved it. We were training people from all walks of life, giving people opportunities that they would perhaps never have had. And I think the tech community is like no other. They embrace the idea of knowledge share. And that’s kind of important for the industry. They also embrace the idea of the stereotypical techie, or whatever you might think that is they were very keen to break down barriers to said, you know why it doesn’t look like you think and it’s not not always someone with a degree in computer science from Oxbridge. So that’s how that’s how I started.

Andy Lord 4:14
COVID happened and I – it’s kind of well documented if anyone wants to read it – I had to take some time off. Spent some time travelling and riding my motorbike, being a do gooder doing charity work, studying a bit of Buddhism and all that lovely stuff. And then I had some unfinished business and we started Credersi. Credersi means believing yourself in Italian. My Italian friends would say doesn’t quite mean that but it’s close enough. So it’s close enough for me because I’m from Rossendale. And so in Rossendale, that’s pure Italian, right. We wanted to carry on doing kind of tech training, but I’d sort of done software development to death and I don’t mean that I’d finished it – I hadn’t. I’d started something and it became a movement. And there are lots of people who took the that business and probably made it better, have improved it. And then you look around – what’s happening? What was the convergence of technology? I mean, there’s loads of subjects. But broadcast video, the technology that runs a smart TV and all of the interconnected devices, IoT that is in all our houses was fascinating. So that was the catalyst. And then we were really lucky. I had a number of conversations with the management team at RDK and told them about what we wanted to do. And they said, there is a niche and a gap in the market. It’s about adoption and deployment. So that was a long answer. You probably weren’t expecting all of that. But kind of that’s the journey that got has here.

Jamie 5:49
Well, I think it’s an important aspect, right? The fact that you started, saw the gap in the market for developing JavaScript talent, as you know, tech advances so quickly now. And for developers and engineers to keep up to date, it’s important to have a factor like this in the market. And as we move on to the topic of RDK, right, how quickly RDK has advanced over the last five to seven years as well. It’s paramount to companies and developers that something like this is in place. So obviously, Credersi our global RDK trading partner. One of your main focuses is obviously training engineers in RDK-B, specifically, but also lightning which we’ll touch on but tell us about the the the training aspect you offer for RDK-B.

Andy Lord 6:44
RDK-B, RDK-V, soon to be RDK-C and lightning, right? None of which any of my team had touched in anger, really right in anger, but we knew kind of component parts of it. But it’s a very complex product set. RDK-B slightly simpler if I can say that than RDK-V. We started by doing loads of workshops to with the the developer community, the RDK community to say, if you need to be up to speed and quickly, what are the things that you need to learn? What do you what do you want to learn? I took my learnings from our previous kind of foray into training, which is rather than tell people what they should learn, why don’t we ask them what they want to learn. And if we get a general consensus, then that feels like the right thing. We were really lucky we held about six or seven workshops, we had them in America and Europe, wider Asia, people were really gracious with their time and said I as an individual, or actually more importantly, probably me as a business to go and do some interesting deployments. These are the core bits, the core foundations that we need to learn.

Andy Lord 8:05
We did it in a slightly different way, because we also built a certification, there is an exam and you can become a qualified RDK-B engineer and an RDK-V engineer. We worked with another organisation to help build that. It was their brainchild, I have to say having a certification or a qualification. But you can’t have a qualification without a training course. Right? You need to be able to people to be able to sit it and pass it so that they become skilled and qualified. And that’s when you get really into the nuts and bolts of what does a training course look like? So okay, RDK B, specifically. But to be a great RDK-B engineer, what are the other things that you need to learn? And it was quite surprising, um, maybe not right? Maybe not surprising, but you need to be good with Linux, you need to you need to know open systems, right? Not for every bit of it. And we’ve had some engineers who said, I never get involved in that. But to be a well rounded engineers, to be qualified, you need to have Linux, you need to have Yocto. You need to….

Jamie 9:12
Yeah, have like a good understanding of the system in general, right?

Andy Lord 9:18
Yeah. And so when you strip it away, when you strip the component parts, you don’t get somebody who just does RDK-B, that bit, without them having the knowledge of the other bits. And to make that last bit easier, the RDK-B specific. If you’ve got a great understanding of C or C++, you’ve got Linux, you’ve got Yocto, you’ve got embedded systems and software… You’ve got Wi Fi networks, so you kind of understand how connectivity is going to work. Then the final bit the final piece of the puzzle suddenly makes a bit more sense. So we came at it from a, if you like an educational background, rather than just saying, download the device drivers, have a play and see what you can build. Yeah, it’s been it’s been really interesting. And we’ve, we’ve had a number of people now take the courses we’re not we’re not famous enough yet. And we’re alright with that for now. Hopefully this will help.

Jamie 10:11
That’s it, I’ve been obviously watching your journey, and it’s been quite incredible for you. And I think one of the big components of the business that have been successful for you recently as well is the lightning course that you do, as well. Right? Obviously, you provide training within that as well. But from your perspective, what is the significance of lightning in the industry? And why does there need to be a focus on training for that as well?

Andy Lord 10:41
Okay, great question, right? I’m sure like me, you followed some of the RDK summits, you might have seen Fraser Sterling, stand up and say Sky is going all in on lightning, I think that was his phrase. It kind of should be a t-shirt, right? Or a meme, ‘we’re going all in on lightning’. So why would they? Why would they go all in on lightning? Well, a number of things. But here’s my best educated guess. Right? So kind of don’t shoot the messenger. But here’s my best educated guess. We are so used to as consumers, taking content through whatever device is in front of us. So if you’ve got your iPad, you’ve got your iPhone, you’ve got your Macs, you’ve got whatever, right, we’re just so used to just consuming content. And the de facto has been, I’m a Mac user. So I go to the App Store. And I kind of trust that whatever’s in the App Store has been through a great robust testing process so that when I don’t when I download it, I don’t need to worry about its security, I don’t need to worry that it’s going to run properly, as probably check all of the ratings that I get. And you see it’s a bit buggy, and so on and so forth. But on the whole, it’s kind of it kind of lives in a safe place.

Andy Lord 11:54
My daughter, who’s 23, watches all of her TV through her laptop, right? She watches the old all through one device. I’m a bit older than her. So at home, I’ve got smart TVs everywhere they’ve become our de facto to play everything. The next movement is being able to consume content that isn’t just TV channels – although they’re important or broadcast channels – your weather app, your whatever it might be, you take them through a TV now. What lightning does, without getting too tech-y; it’s a framework, it uses JavaScript, and it’s a framework. And in essence, what it does is allows you to create TV apps, stuff that you can consume through your TV, that take the smallest amount of processing power. So your TV as smart as it might be, they don’t have massive amounts of processing power, your phone has probably got 10 times more 100 times more. So you need to create an app that as a user isn’t clunky, is visually brilliant, is easy for me to consume. And the chosen tool to build TV apps is lightning.

Andy Lord 13:08
So when you’re dealing with one of the biggest broadcasters in the world, who kind of own the industry from one end to the other in one way or another, it makes sense if that if you are a producer of an app, whatever that might mean – so whether that’s Netflix or it might be the Weather app, right? – you’re going to want it to run beautifully and feel like it’s aligned. And to do that you’ve got to learn lightning. And we’ve got the global training agreement to be lightning trainer. So we’re obviously really excited about that. It feels to me that whilst RDK-B and RDK-V are really important that it’s quite heavy stuff, right? That’s probably for systems integrators and contractors – for lightning, it’s a bit more accessible to those big corporates as well, but perhaps some smaller dev teams. So yeah, lightning, we’ve got a course running on, well depends when this goes out, we’ve got a course running on a Monday in the future.

Jamie 14:03
That’s it, right. And I, I agree with you, I think the importance of having that as a consumer and having the trust in the brand is important. Now, for me sitting in on my side of the business, the popularity of lightning is increasing at a very rapid pace. Over the last six months alone, it’s really, really taken off. How big do you think lightning is going to become in the whole industry in general?

Andy Lord 14:35
Well, all I can do is compare it to kind of other industry standards. And that’s the point right? There isn’t an industry standard yet. There are standards by product owners and people like Comcast. So Metrological were the godfathers or the originators of lightning. And they’re now part of the Comcast family. You don’t make an acquisition or a merger – I don’t know the details of the deal – but you don’t you don’t bring somebody into the family, unless you’re going to put a lot of your chips to say this is where we see the future. And they’ve got an enormous brand and an enormous reach. They’ll do great things. Lightning is a great product. We’ve seen it, you know, our guys have become really proficient, before we teach it obviously. You can just see how slick this is, and the the journey. So if it becomes the industry standard, it will be a globally recognised product. Whilst it’s on the journey to it, it’s like, do you remember the days of VHS and Betamax and all of those kind of parallels that people have, the video versus Netflix, all of that… There’s going to be a time when there’s going to be options and choices. But you kind of feel with the backing that Comcast, Metro, RDK will give it, it will eventually become the industry standard, and the idea that you can become a qualified or certified lightning engineer. from a commercial point of view, if you were a contractor kind of looking to get into that world, or you are a systems integrator, looking to kind of take a leap. It would make sense to me that you became proficient in lightning.

Jamie 16:21
Absolutely, completely agree with you on that. I want to touch on a fact or a point as well. Credersi were on ITV News recently talking about your involvement in the metaverse, right? I saw it, I watched it. It was great. Do you think there could be scope for a training facility for lightning and RDK within the metaverse?

Andy Lord 16:48
There’s one coming in about two weeks, actually. So, if I just if I just tell you the journey, first of all, you can probably see because I can’t sit still right… My mom calls me a fidget, those who know better say I’ve got ADHD, right. And so somewhere between the two is probably the truth. I always found learning difficult, because my attention span kind of wanes. And I know from experience, you teach people through teams, or zoom or whatever, you know, whatever the platform of choice is, it starts off in the morning, and people are really enthusiastic, the same as you right? You do this all day, by the end of the day, it’s hard work, right? It’s hard yards. The challenge is to keep people interested enough, so they stay focused, and they stay focused day after day after day after day.

Andy Lord 17:40
I can’t, and therefore I’ve had to try and look at how do I do something that would help somebody like me, and I don’t mean I’m odd or weird, although I’m definitely both of those things. I mean, I just have a quick brain and I needed stimulating. And that’s kind of how Credersi was born, it was born out of how do we deliver brilliant training. But more importantly, how can we build a platform or have a platform built? That is right here right now super engaging, super interesting that people will be fascinated with and keep them interested. That was my dream when I had that time off work. That’s what I was trying to explore. How do you make that work? You fast forward, two things happen in parallel. We work with some great guys called Pixel Max. They’re tech devs, who build virtual worlds, right? And they build them on the Unreal gaming engine. And for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the engine that Fortnite is built onto. The stuff you see on Fortnite, you’ll be able to see on our platform. They don’t build education platforms, but I went to pitch them and said, ‘would you be interested in building something that looked like a virtual training compass?’, that we could have trading rooms and science rooms that we could have theatres in that we could do really cool things that would allow people to be engaged, and then they had the education, and then they could go back into the platform. They could meet a mate in our virtual cafeteria. They could go and have a chat and a walk around. And is that the metaverse? Well, you know what, nobody really knows yet, do they?

Andy Lord 19:16
So we were doing that. And it was always about building a campus that we could try and get a sense of community again. For people who are sat at home coding in their Bermuda shorts or whatever, right? How would you get them to feel like they’re part of something rather than just on their own? That’s kind of what I wanted to create. Then Zuckerberg said, we’re changing everything and we’re gonna keep talking about the metaverse and I think by good luck, serendipity, I had registered the URL, theeducationmetaverse.com. So I’m not even beginning to dream that I’m pretending that I was ahead of Zuckerberg. Nobody is, right? The guy’s a maniac and a genius. I’m sure I’m allowed to say that. I don’t care actually.

Andy Lord 20:01
But what what happened was, we’ve said, ours isn’t quite the metaverse, you don’t need goggles, people don’t like wearing them, right? That’s kind of…it’s still a bit of a gimmick. People don’t like wearing them. Apple put back their augmented reality glasses again for a year because the technology isn’t quite good enough. The stuff that you can do in VR is mind blowing. But in terms of listening to a lecture about how can you become an RDK-B engineer, you kind of don’t need to, right? You don’t need to be there so our platform, I think, is a stepping stone towards what we think the metaverse will be, without telling you that you’re going to live in cyberspace and you never have to leave your bedroom again.

Andy Lord 20:47
And then ITV picked it up, they picked it up through kind of some of the stuff that we don’t and some of the stories that are released, and they came and they actually couldn’t believe that this was a real thing. So will there be a Metaverse training business? Yeah, because actually, we’ve got the RDK classroom, it’s built, you will come on to our trading course. And you will go to the RDK classroom. And when you get teleported from the door into the virtual classroom, you’re in an amphitheatre, overlooking a mountain, it’s mind blowing, right? It’s really cool. And then you’ll sit and there’s a screen, and then you’ll do your education, you’ll be able to have an avatar. So you and I can wander around as giraffes or whatever we decide to be Jamie.

Andy Lord 21:35
And then we can go meet in the cafeteria where we’ve actually got permission to have a Sky Glass TV in there. So you’re going to our 3D cafeteria, you’ll see a Sky Glass TV, it’s playing there. Welcome to Sky glass. And from that we’re broadcasting yoga, guest speakers, lecturers. So a community place where other people can go, and you don’t have to just listen to your lecture. If you’re anything like me. I got bored halfway through and I wanted to do something else. And we thought there’s going to be plenty of people who, even though they pay to go on a course, might need to just do something else for an hour. So we’ve created it.

Jamie 22:15
For me when the metaverse was announced, it blew my mind, right? I resonate with you, I’m very fidgety, I’ve got a short attention span. So when it comes for me learning, it has to be engaging. I was in the armed forces, right, and after my initial basic training, we had trade training. And I used to call it nine months of death by PowerPoint. Nine hours a day go from one lecture to another, sitting through a 40 slide deck and just taking down notes. And I couldn’t engage, I couldn’t be I got to lunchtime, and it was just blowing my mind. I was done for the day. And I think aspects like this, you know, everybody’s different. Everybody learns different, they take on board information different and it’s tapping into another social aspect of learning, as well. So I’m really excited to see how that’s going to develop and grow for you as well. But as you’re talking about sort of development and training and the connected world nowadays, do you see this being the future for training? Do you see everything going into the metaverse? Or do you still think there’ll be a physical element to it?

Andy Lord 23:29
I think there are some things that being in a room learning together can never replace, right? Even if we can put you in a virtual room with your virtual avatar, the reality of life is you’re kind of not there, are you? At Credersi we’ve been trialling having a teams link or a zoom link open all day, every day, right? On a separate device. So that when people are working from home, instead of making an appointment, which is what we do, right, I’ll see you at 2:15, and here’s an agenda and we’ve got till three o’clock, right? Well, you lose spontaneity, you lose the idea that you can just have a thought and ask somebody; that in learning is very powerful. You know, when when we did classroom learning in my previous organisation, we started off with one instructor and 20 delegates, and by the end of it, we probably have 21 instructors, because the idea of being in a room and discussing and what do you think and I’ve tried this and have you done that, and the other day I did this and… we need that as human beings. I think we need that stimulation both of kind of physically we like to be with people but also mentally, I think the best ideas come from an idea that you weren’t thinking about 30 seconds ago. So it will always be hybrid.

Andy Lord 24:50
I think COVID is has changed everybody’s perception on everything, right? So from a safety point of view, we couldn’t be together which I totally respect. And then from a, from a do you know what? We’ve broken all of the social rules, we don’t need to travel in and out of a city and waste two, three hours commuting. We’re more effective from home. So it’s a big movement of everybody working from home, right? Nobody ever wants to go in an office again. And I’m sure it’s the same in Bristol as it is in Manchester, what I see is a 50/50 mix. I see some of the offices where we are sometimes has got one person in a huge expanse of space, which must feel a bit weird. Sometimes there’s nobody in it, and sometimes it’s full. And I think that kind of is how training will always be. Our job is to be able to say, if you can only access training remotely, what we’ll give you is a very stimulating experience. But at the same time, you know, one of our offers with lightning, is if you’re in Europe, and there’s 20 of you, I’ll send an instructor because they’d love a little trip to Holland, or to Germany or whatever, we’ll send somebody out there. Because we know that you’ll probably get 10% more if you’re actually in the room, because of the reasons I said earlier.

Jamie 26:07
It’s that is that social engagement sometimes drives it that that that little bit further, right. But as you said, if you haven’t got the opportunity to go to that physical training session, this is the next best thing for it. And I’m super excited to see how it advances. Super excited to see how it grows for you. And you never know, maybe we can have a follow up episode next year, but in the metaverse instead. So we’ll actually sit here in our avatars, that’d be great.

Andy Lord 26:38
Well, one of the things I was going to say to you, right, to reciprocate is when we’re doing our guest lectures, and our guest speakers, we like you need content, right? We need people who’ve got an interesting story to tell, why would we not get you to do the reverse? And so that people who are in our training courses in their lunchtime can come and listen to, you know, whatever we decide that is. And so you can be a real live recipient of that. I’d love that. I’d welcome that if you would.

Jamie 27:09
Yeah, I think that’d be great Andy, I’d really enjoy that. But it’s, it’s been great having you on the podcast today. Really, thank you for your time giving us an insight into your journey, the birth of Credersi, and what the future may hold for it. Just for all of our listeners, where can they find you online Andy?

Andy Lord 27:30
Okay, so credersi.com is the easy one. I’m a prolific LinkedIn user. Be aware, if you connect with me on LinkedIn, then I’ll fill up your feed. And it’s sometimes pictures of me with a face mask on smiling and laughing to myself. And sometimes it’s kind of about the news. I’m a big believer in being a communicator. So I’d love anyone who’s kind of listened to this who doesn’t know me to jump on LinkedIn first of all, or you can do the Andy.Lord@credersi.com or any other way they can get my number from you, I’m sure now.

Jamie 28:05
Perfect. Andy, thank you so much for your time today. It’s been a pleasure. And I look forward to catching up again with you soon.

Andy Lord 28:11
Thank you so much.

 

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