AWS Wickr’s Head of Product, Arvind Muthukrishnan, and UNCOMN’s COO, Nick Powers, presented at re:Invent on how Wickr’s secure communications solutions aided the US military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Read the transcript of the presentation below:
Arvind: Hey everyone, how’s it going? Happy Thursday and sorry, it’s Wednesday. Good morning. It’s been that kind of a week everyone. My name is Arvind. I head up product for Wickr and we launched an amazing native service on Monday, and I also have Nick with me from UNCOMN. Nick, why don’t you introduce yourself?
Nick: Yeah. I’m Nick Powers, the COO of UNCOMN LLC out of St. Louis. So I’m happy to be here. Excited. Reinvent 2022. It’s been a great week so far. So we’re looking forward to telling you a little bit more about Wickr and our work.
Arvind: Yeah, Nick’s been an amazing partner. Some of the stories that Nick is going to tell today is going to blow your mind in terms of the work that they’re doing.
So, to get started, I wanted to touch base on how we always work backwards from our customers needs. So when we. When AWS acquired Wickr back in June 21 we went ahead and worked with our customers to understand what kind of a need they have for a communication service like Wickr. And the answer was like, there are a lot of collaboration tools out there.
Obviously the security postures differ based on which communication tool we use. Customers express the need for a tool with advanced security. Very mission critical situations and to transfer sensitive data from one place to another place. Customers also expressed that they want flexible controls to manage their organizations, to control how users come in and go out of the network to control who they can collaborate with externally in terms of partners and vendors, which gives them more control over how their data is being transferred, secured, and communicated.
And this is important because in many scenarios, our customers, because of the need of advanced security which is end to an encryption, they ended up using consumer great products and that put them in hot waters because consumer great products are great for getting started. However, they don’t, they do not give you control over who has access to the data.
They do not give you control. Who your employees kind of chat with because you know, they can chat with anyone and share data with anyone and you have no control over it. So a lot of regulatory bodies started talking to our customers and, you know, they were some hot waters with respect to the regulations that they couldn’t meet, which brings us to the next point where they expressed that security is great, controls is great, but I want a tool that will help me.
All of the auditory and regulatory requirements that I have. This includes if you are from the financial industry, if you are in the public sector, FOIA requests and eDiscovery litigation hold and all that stuff. The customers explicitly said they want the ability to retain data selectively so that they can produce that data for auditing and regulatory.
all of this is great, but we need a fully functional product, which is extremely easy to use. At the heart of it, no matter how we think about it, it’s a messaging product. It’s a chat product. So you need in terms of capabilities and extremely easy way to, you know, chat with people who a very simply experience to kind of share stuff start audio video calls.
So we focused a lot on improving our user experience so that, you know, Security doesn’t compromise the ability for people to actually talk to each other.
So we launched Wickr on AWS on Monday. And you know, Wickr is an enterprise service that actually meets all of the needs that I kind of just spoke about. So it’s an enterprise service with a sort of collaboration features. And this includes messaging, audio, video, calling file transfer, ability to talk to external people, like it’s basically a very functional messaging app.
Everything that we do in Wickr is end-to-end encrypted. It’s multi-device mobile desktop. In fact, more than 80% of our usage is actually from the mobile devices. So we are a mobile first product and we have a pretty good desktop experience, but our mobile experience is really, really good. And yeah, we do offer flexible and ground controls to manage your organization.
And again in order to meet the data retention requirements for our customers, we have built a unique customer controlled data retention model. I will touch more upon this in the coming sites but it’s probably one of the very innovative things that we did in the last one year in order to differentiate ourselves in the market with respect to our very secure way to, you know, provide data attention.
And we also have flexible deployment models. We understand that customers would prefer a SaaS product that, you know AWS manages and hosts all of the infrastructure and gets customers scale, but we also understand some customers would want more control over their deployment. So we also provide a self-hosted version where customers can completely control their infrastructure, not just from a data standpoint, but also from a messaging, routing and calling standpoint as well.
So let’s take a look at how it works. Obviously it all starts with organizations creating a network, what we call a network. And once they create a network and add users into it, users can message one on one rooms, group chat they can call. There’s screen sharing, file sharing, and you know there is federation with other companies’ partners.
We do understand that it’s important for cross organizational collaboration and everything is extensible in the sense that you can automate workflows and everything you automate within Wickr is also encrypted. And you can extend all of this through the workflows and you can actually extend all the communication that happens within Wickr to a configurable data store to retain data as well.
So let’s talk about encryption. When we say everything is end-to-end encrypted I want to take a step back and explain like what that. In a traditional encryption world you’ve got kind to server encryption, which is, you know, its and, and all that stuff. However, end-to-end encryption means that everything is encrypted.
On the endpoints, there is no middle party that, you know, exchanges data between each other, which means if I send a message to Nick over here, it’s encrypted on my device, and it gets delivered to Nick, and he’s got the keys to decrypted what this means. Let’s say Nick and I are in a room having a private one-on-one chat.
Physically we are sure that there’s no one around us. Nobody can hear us. We are trying to replicate the same behavior into a messaging product. So, you know it’s just between Nick and me. No one can understand it because, you know, no one has the keys to understand it. They don’t have access to those conversations.
And when I say no one has access to those conversations, this is important because even AWS, as a service provider, we do not have access to the data that our customers create as well. If you look at traditional, you know, communication products that are not end-to-end encrypted, typically data is stored in a cloud that’s hosted somewhere, and that’s usually hosted by the service provider.
In our world, there is no data that’s hosted in the cloud, it’s just directly delivered to the endpoint. So even if we want to, AWS cannot access the content, which gives customer complete control over the data. And because there’s no middle party, it significantly reduces the risk for adversary-in-the-middle attacks.
You know we all know that once the world moved to a hybrid cloud and hybrid collaboration environment, you could see a lot of people trying to hack the communications and all that stuff, which is why end-to-end encryption. I picked up a lot in the last, last year or so. This is all great, but what good is security if it can’t be used?
You know, it’s got to be a good, seamless experience. Like, I want to just show you how collaboration experience works. This is desktop, obviously. You can see rooms, you can see direct messages, and this is a room, and you can go to the room details and you can add more members. We can see who’s in the room.
You can make more people as moderators. What’s important to note here is it’s a very, it’s a simple experience that puts people in the center. It’s a people first experience that we have built. Everything is around the people. We do have you know, pretty advanced security features. If you notice you will see you know, once I go to edit, you will see expiration timers and burn-on-read.
So that is, we have ephemeral messages. So what this means is you can configure in a particular room and you’re having sensitive conversations. That you want the conversation to expire after five days, seven days, and your organization can set this too, but you as an end user, depending on context, can set it for the particular room as well.
And you also have burn-on-read, which means that if a message is delivered, and if somebody reads the message, you can determine when that message has to be deleted so that you know it’s safe and secure.
And this is the profile. Obviously, you know, you can have a good profile photo so that it’s relatable. We have app mentions. We’ve got, you know, all the bells and whistles that come with a regular communication app.
Now let’s talk about data retention. And this is something that we have spent a lot of time understanding what the customers would want. And we have actually took a very unique approach to building. But before that I want to address the elephant in the room, which is, wait, I thought everything was encrypted.
Like what do you mean by organizations can retain data? This is a conversation between me and Nick. How can my organization know what’s going on? Right? Yes. Conversations are still end-to-end encrypted and can only be accessed on end points. We do not compromise on that security posture. However, like I said, organizations have a need to retain data.
What we have done is we have actually built… I’ll explain this in this flow, when Anna sends a message to John, like I mentioned, it’s encrypted on Anna’s device and it gets decrypted on John’s device. Now this is what happens with Wickr by default. When organizations go and enable the feature, what we call data attention, we give organizations the ability.
To host retention bot within their network. And when I say bot I wanna be extremely clear. Bot is another user in their network. It’s just a ghost user in the sense that, but it’s not deployed within an AWS environment. It’s actually deployed within the customer’s environment. And because a customer wants the bot, like as a service provider, we do not know what’s going on within the bot.
We provide the technology to the customer to run the bot to update. But the actual endpoint itself is owned by the customer. Just like how another end user in the organization also, you know, belongs to that particular customer. So now when retention is enabled, when a conversation happens between Anna and John, the bot receives a conversation too.
Think of the bot as a stenographer in the room that kind of, you know, types what’s going on. But, but the key thing. The stenographer has to be present in the room. In this case, the bot has to be present in the network. The bot is encrypted, so the bot has the right symmetric keys to kind of decrypt the conversation.
And if anything happens with the bot with respect to the wrong keys or anything like that, we notify the administrators and we stop retaining information too, so that the data is always protected. And customers also can configure a data store off their choice. You know, obviously out of the box we have S3 and KMS integrations.
So you can easily configure an S3 bucket. And this is important because we understand that customers have very unique data residency needs. What I mean by that is, you know, some of our customers have their teams working out of us, working out of Europe, working out of Asia, and they have come to us with requirements saying, I want my US conversations to not give the US boundary.
I want my European employee conversations to not give the European. So what customers can do, what we have enabled customers to do is to set up S3 buckets or any data store of their choice in their local regions and route data to that particular region so that you know when data is addressed, it’s within the boundary that they want it to be.
And the most important thing being both the bot and the data server is completely within the customer’s control. They can silo it, they can put that in AWS. It’s completely the customer’s choice and because they own this, I’m emphasizing again that we do not have access to that conversation. Let’s go to the demo of how simple it is to actually set up this.
I mean, this all sounds great but we want to make sure that we build an experience that’s easy for customers to set this up. So on the left, I’ve got AWS console, so I’m going to access Wickr on the right. I have got the desktop app, which end users will use, and down below is a command center where I can install a Docker container. At the end of the day, retention bot is nothing but a Docker container that contains a bot.
So I’m going to go to the admin console, I’m going to hit data retention, and I’m going to, you know, copy the container. The container has, the bot has a key. And you know, you get to copy the key, and if you can pay attention to the command line you’ll be seeing. Once we activate the container, the green check mark happens in the console, and once I enable retention, you’ll see the green in the admin console.
It turns active and once it turns active, all the checks are done. And immediately the server sends a notification to the client indicating their organization’s settings have changed. So from that moment on, end users are informed that their organization have enabled data retention, and it’s something that, you know, we want end users to be aware of.
And now I’m going to just send a couple of messages and you will see in the command guide the keys getting rotated for every single message. And see how the encryption kind of goes through seamlessly for every message.
I’m just typing. Sorry. That’s just to me, me typing that.
Now the message I sent you saw the keys getting rotated. Now I’m going to go, I’ve obviously configured an S3 bucket to retain this data. So now I go to my S3 bucket. I’ve got multiple, now I get into the ones that I want to retain information. Both the messages are there and you can, customers can choose to have a bucket spun up in US East region, any region of your choice.
Customers can also choose to encrypt data. Using KMS you know, using an encrypted S3 bucket technically. So this is all the coolness that we have built. I mean, it, the key approach that we have taken is that being an end-to-end encrypted product, we wanted to make sure that customers have that advanced security that they need while ensuring that they have complete control over the data.
So that, you know, even if we get a request to, you know, get some customer data and submit it for legal reasons. We have had some requests in the past. We just cannot because, you know, we don’t have access to the data. So we, you know, send them to the customer, send out, send whoever is requesting the data to the customer to work with them directly.
So with this I’m going to hand the mic over to Nick to talk about, you know, what UNCOMN does. Over to you, Nick.
Nick: So, I get the awesome opportunity to not necessarily get super technical with you today, but to talk a little bit about a really great story about one of the biggest companies of the world, AWS, Amazon, coming together with one of the smallest companies of the world, UNCOMN of St. Louis, Missouri, to work with a nonprofit to help them do some big things.
And it starts with my company, UNCOMN. We’ve been around for about 12 years. We’ve been an AWS partner for about six. We’ve fully embraced the cloud. We, we love working with Amazon. We love working with all these, all sorts of different customers, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of work with the Department of Defense, and we’ve learned a lot about the missions and supported wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And a big part of who we are is we’re, we’re a veteran, you know, we have a lot of retired veterans. We have 25% of our force is retired military veterans. But we combine those folks with, with great young talent and people that are passionate about, you know, coming up with solutions. And those solutions typically revolve around secure cloud cyber operations and trusted data solutions.
And as one of the owner operators of the company, I have this awesome privilege to decide how we spend our money, and sometimes I get to spend our money on charitable endeavors, and that’s where this kind of comes together. And so as you may or may not be aware of, the United States was at war with our NATO allies in Afghanistan for roughly the last 20 years.
It was an incredible situation. Required a lot of cooperation by local nationals in order for us to help you know, root out terrorism as well as rebuild a country after a war. 20 years is a very, very long time. That’s a generation, right? There were kids born after the United States and its allies landed in Afghanistan that never really understood what the previous regime was.
And so after 20 years, the United States decided in summer of last year that it was time to go. It was time to allow the Afghan people to kind of get back into the way that they want to run their country. And as a result of that obviously different political opinions and things like that, I won’t get into it, but there was a significant amount of people that had spent a lot of time support.
The US and its NATO allies, and as a result of that, they were in danger. And so in August of last year the United States military and government spent 31 days evacuating as many assets, people and local nationals out of Afghanistan as possible. It was chaos, absolute chaos. And it just, that’s just the, the nature of the beast when you’re in a situation like that.
And as a result of that chaos, a lot of Afghan, what I would say, allies were left behind and those allies number, in some estimates as high as a hundred thousand people. And so, you know, essentially United States is out of the country. On September 1st, the Taliban takeover and potentially a hundred thousand people now are at risk for the support they provided.
To the US and its allies that’s a huge hole to fill. That’s a huge opportunity for, for someone to slide into to try to provide support. And so one of those organizations that slid into support is a, is an operation called Operation Recovery out of Florida. John Colette had been working for a number of years in support of different military charities.
He decided this was something that he couldn’t live with and he had a lot of connections and friends that were able to help him stand up a ground operation to actually help evacuate Afghan nationals out of country. As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing. And so there’s a lot of parts and pieces to this and I can’t get into every single beat piece of it.
But what I can say, we had to stand up. They had to stand up a case management system. They have operatives on the ground in Afghanistan that are actively working with families and, and different people that supported the US and its allies over those 20 years, identifying them for potential evacuation.
Trying to work with operation Recovery back in Florida to arrange for visas and private charters out of the airports potentially ground transportation, out of country. So there’s just a lot of logistics here. And then you have a very, very big time difference. And so we have volunteers in the United States trying to coordinate all this through the State Department and through all different organizations.
So there’s a lot of moving pieces here, and as a result of the chaos and trying to stand this up as fast as possible there was some things that were missed, and as you can see here, what we, what they stood up was they actually stood up a network of what they call shepherds in Afghanistan. Those shepherds would identify opportunities and send that information via email, text message, or other communications back to the United States.
A case would be opened and in a case management. And then coordination would occur. And that coordination required information being shared back and forth between Afghanistan and United States. A lot of times that was personal identifiable information. That was pictures, that was information required to gain people visas.
And so it was very critical information. Information that identified where they lived in Afghanistan, information that identified who they were. And as you can imagine, you don’t want that stuff getting out. You don’t. The Taliban to find out that you’re trying to leave the country. Well, unfortunately, as a result of, like I said, a misstep all of this communication was going back and forth unencrypted.
And as the Taliban gained more and more control over the country, September, October, November you started seeing the Taliban intercepting emails. You started seeing them get on devices at checkpoints and figuring out who these people were getting access to inform. That we didn’t want them to have access to.
And this was a huge, huge issue for Operation Recovery. It put a lot of lives in danger, not just the family members, but the operatives on the ground, the shepherds that were working very, very hard tirelessly night and day to make this happen. Their lives were at risk. And in some cases, unfortunately there were several instances of folks being hunted and pursued by the Taliban.
So, I had the great opportunity presented to me in September of ‘21 by Wickr, and they came to me and we, we had a good conversation. They said, look, you’re a great Amazon partner. We have this amazing new service that we purchased in the summer of ‘21. And it does great very easy to implement, end-to-end communication encryption.
And we have a potential opportunity working with Operation Recovery. Are you interested? Are you, can you help? They need help. This is immediate need. Is there anything you can do? And as I mentioned earlier, this really falls into what we at UNCOMN do. This is falls right into our value system. We love to give back.
We love to contribute. It just so happened that this ties together with like a military mission that we had been working on. And so we were more than happy to jump with both feet to try to figure this out. Had I ever seen Wickr? No. Did I know how hard it was going to be to implement? Not at all. But did I have a great partner and a great team at the Wickr side of the house that said that they would do whatever it takes to train us and get us in a position to make this a reality? Yes.
And so I was all in, you know, so we had a challenge in front of us. We had to find a way of encrypting all of the traffic between the shepherds in Afghanistan and the US operations of the nonprofit, we needed to make sure we protected these folks and their information. We needed to do this very, very quickly.
As I mentioned, people were being hunted at the time that I was engaged, and so this was, the timing was at the utmost importance, right? But you have to do it right. You can’t sacrifice corners. You have to make sure that when you put a solution in, and you tell people that you’re protecting their information, you want to make sure you’re doing it right and you do it right the first time.
So as I mentioned, Wickr was our solution, and Wickr made no doubt about it that they were going to go in hand, in hand with us and work very hard to get us up to speed. Why, why does Wickr make sense? I mean, just kind of walked you through, did a lot of my work for me, telling you why Wickr is an amazing product.
It’s very easy to use. And so we were very excited about the possibility of, of putting this in place. We needed to encrypt and migrate all that case management, system traffic. And so they actually had a case management system called apri. And we had to basically ensure that burner phones and other things could quickly bring, be brought up to speed on the Wickr network.
So there’s Wickr mobile apps that are incredibly easy to install. You can run it through VPNs or not, but we were able to, you know, identify that we could get these apps on the mobile phones, the burners and things like that within minutes. And so that was critical. You know, we had to have a solution.
We could stand up very quickly and that was accessible in Afghanistan. And so this was a tremendous opportunity and we, we jumped in with both feet. And what ended up happening was, you know, we took that original situation, right? You have a shepherd on the ground. They’re identifying folks to move, they’re working to get them visas.
They’re working through all this all these steps to get them out of country. And so we basically said, you know, there is a way for us to tie in with Wickr’s APIs and we stood up a Wickr server inside of AWS and we were able to actually plug in Wickr email addresses that are given to you when you stand up a Wickr app login, and use that to kind of hijack the notification systems inside of the case management system.
This allowed us to plug in immediately, and so as communications moved back and. We shuffled, we moved all those communications over to the Wickr Network. What did this do? Well, this made sure that all those communications were encrypted and by, by pushing all of the Afghan shepherds over to the Wickr mobile app, we were able then to guarantee that when they sent communications from their mobile application, it traveled across an encrypted channel back to the Operation Recovery operators in.
There’s a few steps that go into this. Obviously, you know, we, we had to use some lambdas to make this happen. It’s very straightforward. Wickr has a lot of templates that we, we were able to grab, pull over, and use and implement. And so, like I said, it was a very straightforward solution that ended up making sure that it didn’t matter if it was a mobile device, didn’t matter if it was a desktop.
We were able to encrypt all of those communications back and forth to and from Afghanistan. So what did that really mean at the end of the day? So obviously we encrypted the traffic and we were very happy about that, but we also identified another issue and that was the time difference. The time difference was creating problems for operatives on the ground who needed information right away so they could make a decision on the people that they were supporting.
And in some cases, because this is a volunteer non-profit organization, they did their best to staff it as well as they could overnight. But in some cases, you would see hours go by before an operative, a shepherd, could actually get information they needed to do their job. And so what we were able to do is say, you know what?
Not only have we been able to encrypt all the traffic, but Wickr provides this opportunity to use bots, Wickr bots, and you can inject those into the chat stream and evaluate specific questions. And so we worked with the volunteer group to identify the types of questions that were coming in from the ground, and we created Wickr bot.
That actually were allowing them to submit a question such as, you know, what is the status of a visa for a specific individual or family? And that bot would actually go into the case management system, pull that data out and send it back almost instantaneously, right? It was just really the cost of how long it took that Lambda to evaluate the situation and send that data back over the encrypted channel.
So what does that do? Well, that means you’ve moved things that took maybe four hours, six hours, eight hours, and you made it into something that gets them a return response under a minute. I mean, you could imagine the impact that has on the operations for this organization when you’re providing that data back to these shepherds as fast as you can.
And so this was a tremendous impact on top of what we had already done, which was encrypt all the traffic to prevent Taliban interception. This was a great, you know, all around kind of solution that was put together. And it all came together because of the collaboration across the teams. And you’re probably sitting there going, well, Nick, this probably took you a year to implement.
I mean, that’s probably why you’re standing in front of me in November. You took a year to do it, you know, I mean, how many people’s lives were lost while you were doing that? Well, here’s the best part about it. We did all of that in three. Right. Stood up an entire environment, stood up our Wickr server, stood up and migrated all the data.
Got the users in Afghanistan on the mobile applications, got their logins tied into the case management system. Built Wickr bots to respond to specific operational questions, you know, reducing response times by upwards of 50% all in three months. It’s quite an achievement. Very, very proud of our team and UNCOMN, very, very proud of the team of Wickr. Arvind’s team and what we are able to do for Operation Recovery which is something that we have to do.
We had to do it. It’s our duty to help these people. I’ll throw out a couple of things before I hand it back to Arvind. You know, I have a screenshot here. Operation Recovery. This is an ongoing mission. There’s still roughly 90,000 people that need evacuation from Afghanistan. The sad part about this is Afghanistan has not been given or declared a humanitarian situation by the UN, and so the folks in Afghanistan are not officially refugees.
What this means is they don’t get funding, they don’t get support from the UN like you would in other areas such as the Ukraine. Which obviously Ukraine is a terrible disaster as well, and there’s a ton of outpouring of support and funding that is available for Ukrainian refugees that is not necessarily available for the Afghan people.
And so what I would like to encourage you to do is if you, if you want to make a donation, I know John and his team would very much appreciate it. Their mission is ongoing and, and as you can see, they’ve already evacuated over 3,500 people through private charters or private ground transportation. You know, this is not an easy task that they’re doing and, and it’s God’s work and we appreciate everything they’re doing and would appreciate you guys helping support the mission.
So I’ll hand it back to Arvind now.
Arvind: Thanks Nick. I think this is probably the 10th time I’ve heard the story. I mean, we’ve obviously been working closely, but it just fascinates me every single time, like, thank you for, you know, making the world a better place to give. We actually work with a lot of NGOs.
That’s digging with humanitarian issues in many places. And I should say that, you know, one of the theme things that our team is very excited about is to have built a product that, you know, helps save people’s lives at the end of the day. And the feeling is incredible when we hear stories like this.
So thank you Nick. Nick walked us through how UNCOMN helped you know, Operation Recovery in, you know, aiding Afghan refugees. One of the things that he touched upon was how UNCOMN automated some work for us using bots. So I wanted to kind of take that thread and explain how any organization can do work for automation within Wickr.
So we have what we call Wickr bots. You know, we have an SDK. It, it allows developers to easily build, you know, custom purpose chat bots. The great thing about this SDK is that, you know, like I mentioned before, we spoke about a data retention. This is this, you can create a bot like data retention bot that serves any purpose that, that you would need.
And the key thing about this is that all bots, including the data retention bot is, is encrypted at the end of the day. So what this means is you’re able to bring in data from a system of record within Wickr, and you are able to allow people to make decisions and encrypted decisions and encrypted actions within Wickr, and you can take the data back to the system of record and update.
In UNCOMNs example, they were able to customize responses and directly take data from the case management system to provide responses and take, take the data back to the case management system based on what users kind of update in terms of what their status is. So that’s what Wickr Bots does and you know, bots can also be self-hosted.
Nick spoke about how they kind of integrated with Lambda. Imagine if you’re in an environment where you would need the bot to be self-hosted as well, because you know you need maximum security for the bot as well. We, we do prefer that option and we also understand that we want to offer many, as many teams as possible to build bots because in a big organization, you’re going to have multiple use cases that needs automation.
You need to empower your team to actually go build bots and work, automate the work. So we have created a specific admins for bots who will just have the ability to manage the bots that they create and not have access to other administrative controls. That way you can ensure that your organization’s super admins have full control over the network and you have bot admins that can, you know, you can compartmentalize bot development that will help all of your organization to efficiently you know, automate work.
Now let’s take a look at how bots actually work. This is a broadcast bot. So this is used by a lot of our company, a lot of our customers, to broadcast messages and get responses, right? So this is obviously our iOS canvas. And this video shows the manifestation of a broadcast bot for an end user.
And as you can see, we have slash commands. You hit start, the bot kind of, you know, kicks off a particular workflow. And now it’s asking me, how do you want to send this broadcast message? You know, is it based on a security group or, you know, you want to pick users? And you can also see the small bubbles that show up.
It will show up in a minute again, so I’m just going to send a broadcast message.
So the bot understands that I’ve already picked a list of people and I want to know their location. And you can see Yes, No, Cancel. Those are preconfigured responses for every single workflow, and you can configure them. As you can see now, it’s Confirm and Cancel based on the action that the user has taken.
So I confirm. And you know, because it’s going to go, we are asking for double confirmation. Customers can configure double acknowledgement, triple acknowledgement, however they want. So now I want to hit status and obviously it’s sent to 134 users. You know, the total users are 134. It’s reached 131.
And you can, you can also see the list of people by just hitting a backslash command, and it’ll give you a manifestation of the location of all those people. And you can configure it to, you know, hit a Google API and build a map that will show, you know, all of it. So like the possibilities are endless in the sense that you’re able to bring in data from wherever you want.
You’re able to pre-configure responses based on your workflows, and you’re able to kind of take data to wherever you want and all the responses are captured and recorded. You are able to use those responses. To build dashboards or map use or however you want. So, I mean, this is just a simple manifestation.
We have customers that use these workflows in missions on the field where time is of the essence where you cannot wait for someone to, you know, call someone and get help. They have immediate instructions, immediate kind of SOPs in place that will help them with evacuation machines with many other workflows.
So that’s Wickr bots. We also recently announced Wickr ATAC again in our journey to kind of ensure that, you know, we are one of the most secure, you know, collaboration tools in the market. We understood that a lot of our customers, especially public sector customers, use a product called TAC and for missions.
So let me just explain what. So TAC is Team Awareness Kit and A is Android Team Awareness Kit. So you’ve got a lot of you know firefighters, emergency responders, people who are deployed on missions use TAC. So what’s the benefit of TAC? Its a map based solution. So when you’re on the field you don’t want to be distracted with a lot of different things and you work pretty closely with your crew to get missions accomplished.
And the most important thing there is to know where your team is, right? You should know where your team is. You should be able to reach them easily. You should be able to get to where they are. So like the location becomes the central piece of your mission. And TAC enables, you know, location based missions to be very efficient.
So what did we do? So a lot of customers kind of came back – TAC is fantastic. We are able to message each other with respect to our missions, but the messaging is text message. At the end of the day, it’s unencrypted. So people, snooping traffic will be able to find out who you are, where you are, what kind of message you’re sending, which might compromise the mission.
So what we did was we integrated Wickr with TAC. So within the TAC environment, especially on an Android device, when you’re on. You are able to use Wickr to communicate with your crew in an encrypted way, not just messaging, but you’re also able to call them not over a telephonic call because as you know, telephonic networks can also be spoofed, especially when you’re working in environments which are very sensitive.
Like, you know, Afghanistan for example. You know that, you know, certain governments will have the ability to monitor traffic over telephonic networks. So Wickr provides security that this mission needs to be more effective. Now let’s take a look at how this works. So this is how, this is a TAK view. As you can see, all the pink pins are actually people that you work with and you’re on a mission.
And the flywheel is what all the TAK users use for different actions. And on the top middle of the flywheel, there’s a Wickr icon. It’s kind of very minuscule. So that’s the integration that we have built. So what you can do is you can easily pick a person in this view, and you can hit Wickr and you can have different options.
In this case, I hit the messaging option. Now I’m directly able to send an encrypted message to my team member right from the Wickr interface. The most important thing is I’m still within the TAK interface, so I’m focused on my mission and the tasks that I have.
And again, I can also hit another person and call them. And this is something that they cannot do today they would not be able to do before that Wickr integration in the sense that they’re able to actually encrypt in an encrypted way, place a call, talk to a team member saying, Hey, where are you? I want to get to you, or I need some help, and get the help required very efficiently.
A lot of customers express delight in this integration primarily because it just not only increases the security posture it also enables their the people on the mission to effectively be able to communicate with features that were not possible before. Every single messaging modality works in this particular way you want.
It can leave a voice memo so that, you know, people can if you’re working with someone across borders and you don’t understand their language, you know you have a translator with you. Imagine them not being able to type and share information with you. So they can leave a voice memo in their local language.
And the translator can help you translate all through the TAC environment. And imagine if you want to automate a workflow and you, you’re able to automate workflows now. And push that on to ATAK interface for missions that need efficient responses. So the possibilities are out here. So this is one of the really cool things that the team worked on for the past six months or so, and we are extremely happy that, you know, we bring this value to a lot of customers.
Now I also want to talk about one more advanced feature that we have built. So, Nick mentioned that you know, in Afghanistan a lot of people stop traffic, right? We need encryption because, you know, we want to make sure that it’s secure. Even then you have a lot of a lot of different situations where in sensitive missions people monitor networks, for example, all the traffic passes from some domains.
And if we know for a fact that certain consumer apps that are widely used for communications governments can track and monitor that. And, you know, it’s easy to kind of know which product they use and what, you know, how the product kind of, you know takes the traffic through the internet pipe.
So what we built was we built something called Wickr Open Access. So when you enable Wickr Open Access, what that does is it allows your users to actually obfuscate traffic. So we have a series of proxies around the world that will kind of, you know, bounce the traffic and it’s very hard for someone to monitor how the traffic is being kind of, you know, traffic is being taken through.
So we also have flexible options to enable. If at an organization you have your administrators can enable this for every single employee in your network. Or end users can pick and choose and say I’m right now on a sensitive mission, I want to enable this.
So we have another session this evening which talks about how another non-profit Freedom Shield Foundation helps fight against human trafficking. They use Wickr Open Access in the sense that, you know, like when they’re in sensitive missions rescuing people against trafficking, you know, for a fact that their mission is compromised if people know how they’re communicating.
So they use Open Access to ensure that, you know, nobody can monitor and spoof the traffic. And this provides flexibility in terms of how they want to execute their missions.
So to recap, we are pretty much at the end. Every conversation in Wickr is end-to-end encrypted. We have flexible controls to manage in organizations and we have built a unique customer-controlled approach for data retention.
And we’ve got a lot of advanced, you know, secure communication features, you know, burn-on-read, ephemeral messages, Wickr Open Access. And with all of this we make sure that, you know, security doesn’t compromise user experience. So we built a very intuitive and simple to use messaging experience. And if you want to try Wickr, sign up. You can go to AWS and, you know, search for Wickr and we would love to hear more about how we can help you secure your collaboration.
And if you have any kind of features or ideas that we can build, we would love to partner with you as well. So thank you. Thank you, Nick.