The Team – Matthew Shorten, Chief Technology Officer
Welcome to our interview with Matthew Shorten, Chief Technology Officer.
In the world of technology and software development, experience and expertise often define success. Matthew Shorten, with over 30 years in the industry, has been a key player in this journey. As the Head of Technology at Little Green Button, he has been instrumental in its growth. In this interview, we explore Matthew’s role, the technology behind Little Green Button, and his vision for its future. It provides insights into the individual shaping the company’s technological landscape.
Matthew, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve worked with computers and software for all my career, some 30+ years now. I’ve worked in many sectors and been a part of some superb teams along the way. Over a decade ago I helped develop Little Green Button and much of what we see in the solution today can be traced back to those early days.
As the Head of Technology, what is your role in driving the technical vision and roadmap for Little Green Button ? How do you align technology initiatives with the overall business objectives?
In my role, I oversee the solution’s technical vision. That sounds grand, but essentially it means coordinating how we evolve and maintain the solution. We must meet the needs of customers and adapt the offering within the changing technology landscape.
Could you explain the technology behind Little Green Button ? What sets it apart from other panic alarm software solutions?
The beauty of Little Green Button has always been that it leverages robust, tried and tested technologies that already exist at the customer’s premises. For example, it borrows a tiny bit of the organisation’s TCP/IP protocol stack for its communications, whereas traditional (at the time) panic alarms required dedicated cabling or expensive, proprietary telephony systems. These days it uses both on-premise networks and the Internet to offer a blend of reliability, fast response and reach.
What is the company’s technology roadmap? Are there any upcoming developments or enhancements that you can share??
Near-term the roadmap includes reporting and an open connectivity approach. Reporting delivers insight into how the solution is used within an organisation, giving customers a clear vision of how the users under their care benefit. New connectivity capabilities will allow us and our partners to integrate Little Green Button with an expanding set of devices meaning Little Green Button is always available when users need it most.
Can you discuss the technology stack and architecture employed by Little Green Button ? How do these technologies support the scalability, reliability, and security of the platform?
As I mentioned earlier, Little Green Button leverages a fraction of the on-premise network and (if needed) uses the Internet to extend reach to other premises. In itself, this semi-distributed approach achieves many of our reliability, IG and scalability aims. Where data transits outside the organisational boundaries it is always encrypted using industry standards. Bottlenecks are avoided by a scaling cloud platform. Little Green Button is already Cyber Essentials Plus accredited and soon to achieve ISO 9001 and ISO 27001.
Little Green Button serves a global customer base. How do you ensure that the technology infrastructure and systems can accommodate the needs of customers in different regions and time zones?
Actually – that’s straightforward. The solution is deployed primarily to the customer’s own network. Well, OK that bit is straightforward 🙂 Fortunately, the foundations to deliver a regionally relevant software solution have existed for a long time and the team don’t take shortcuts!
How do you foster a culture of innovation and technical excellence within the technology team at Little Green Button ? What strategies do you employ to encourage creativity and continuous learning?
Our Engineering Values are at the heart of what we do. These guide not only our day-to-day decisions, but also our strategy, processes, architecture choices and everything we design. Our team have individual budgets to support their continual professional development. And we structure project teams to contain a mix of both experienced hands and fresh ideas. When there are choices to be made, I like to talk through the available options with my colleagues to hear their perspectives – rarely does one brain in isolation have the answer! I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
Can you discuss any recent technology advancements or enhancements implemented at Little Green Button ? How have these advancements contributed to improving the overall product and customer experience?
In addition to reporting capabilities and laying tracks towards an open connectivity approach there has been a great deal of work behind the scenes. Work that doesn’t share the same limelight as new features but is nonetheless 100% necessary. These include replacing long-in-service components with modern, cloud native functions. Keeping everything up to date enhances security, improves efficiency and keeps a lid on operational expense. It’s essential but not glamorous. Dedicating a proportion of our resources this way keeps Little Green Button relevant now and long into the future.
Little Green Button operates in the safety and security industry. How do you address data privacy, security, and regulatory compliance requirements within the technology solutions provided by the company?
Yeah, that’s so important. Again it comes back to our Engineering Values. Number one on that list is Safety First. So in our team that means understanding the risks of every change, starting right from the design phase all the way through to deployment.
Governing this are the team’s processes which themselves are subject to ongoing, continuous improvement. And these will shortly be ISO accredited too.