Sometimes we forget the humans behind the tech in our ever busy world. DSF is fortunate enough to know some incredible tech leaders across the world and has the privilege of hearing them present at our events. That being said, our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini interview below!

About John

John is a consultant in the fields of Digital Signal Processing, Machine Learning and embedded systems. John has worked as a pioneering DSP Engineer since the early 1980s in applications such as digital and mobile communications, control, automotive, IoT and AI, for companies such as Loughborough Sound Images, Blue Wave Systems, Motorola, Picochip Designs and XMOS Semiconductors. Since 1993 he has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Oxford and presents the Digital Signal Processing course as part of the annual Engineering Program for Industry. John is a member of the IET, IEEE and regular contributor at international DSP conferences. Connect with John on LinkedIn.

How did you start out in your tech career?

I was always interested in Electronics and contacted a local company that was based in the garage behind the village pub. I would work Saturdays and school holidays soldering boards. The company manufactured analogue modems in the early 1980s and grew to be an international company just as digital was becoming the norm so I was introduced to Digital Signal Processors, by accident really, at the very start of the explosion of this field.

What are the signs of success in your field?

Making the customer product a success and this leads to success for my employer.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

I love working with customers to find solutions to problems and I also enjoy travel and making new friends. I have been fortunate to be able to travel the world with my career. Work/life balance is always a challenge.

What can you advise someone just starting out to be successful?

Always keep learning. Neural Networks have always been a background fringe field but developments in the modern field of AI were unimaginable 20 years ago. This has required me to learn a whole new skill set, which I am enjoying immensely.

How do you switch off?

Mountain biking, white water canoeing and I play guitar in a local rock band.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Life is too short so embrace all of the opportunities that life gives you.

What is next for you?

Integrating DSP and ML is a very exciting field and new developments are happening all the time, particularly to reduce cost. I think this will open up many new markets and applications.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

Carry on doing what I’m doing.

What are your predictions in tech for the next 5 years?

There will be an explosion in the field of smart sensors that are ultra low power – an order of magnitude smarter and lower power than today’s solutions.

Watch John’s session at the Data Science Festival here.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our Speaker Spotlight!

Want to become a DSF Speaker? Apply here!