Today we are talking to John Callahan, the CTO of Veridium. And we discuss ubiquitous computing and what that means for personal devices, why biometrics are the bridge to making the computer invisible and the efforts to put control of data back in the hands of the individual.

All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast!

Dr. John Callahan is responsible for the development of the company’s world class enterprise-ready biometric solutions, leading a global team of software developers, computer vision scientists and sales engineers.

He has previously served as the Associate Director for Information Dominance at the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research Global, London UK office, via an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. John completed his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park.


  • Works from home, but flies to New York and Boston offices often
  • Veridium is a biometric authentication platform
  • Biometrics used to be science fiction
  • Worked at Xerox in the 80’s Star work station worked 40k dollars
  • Ubiquitous computing – computing will meld into the background – Print melded in to the background. Working to realize that dream
  • Loves computer tech – it’s as fundamental as writing
  • Always looking towards the next challenge
  • Sept 1991 edition of Scientific American.  The computer of the 21st century – Mark Wiser
  • Biometrics are the bridge to making the computer invisible
  • The concept of the personal device was an anathema to how mark was think.  Time is valuable
  • Second factor and multi-factor authentication
  • Was approached by Veridium several years ago.  Had a couple of questions IEEE 2410 biometric standard
  • Has about 45 in engineering – biometric team and mobile and server team
  • Technology advances exponentially
  • How does Alexa identify us? Phone uses face ID – Explicit authentication session
  • Behavior biometrics – allows you to conduct longer authenticated sessions without having to fall back to explicit authentication
  • Even more value to be brought through your data
  • 3rd choice for where you keep your biometric data – Self Sovereign identity – ability for you to control your own data.  Context of Data Breach – how do you not keep data on a silo database
  • Decentralized identity foundation – putting people back in control of their data
  • Efforts to work for self sovereign identity – Buzz Word How trust is established – check another party that can be offline
  • Part of an organization called SOVRIN
  • Using Digital credentials that you have to supply
  • The subject providing the digital credential is best done through biometrics
  • Problem with bitcoin and crypto is how do you control the private keys and how do you manage them properly
  • What if you lose the keys? Recovery – Grant Dasher got up at a conference – google strong authentication work.
  • In the end we have ourselves to present.  Biometric recovery and the ability to use it to reestablish key pairs.
  • How do you handle identical twins?  All biometrics are not created equal. Face is one of the weaker biometrics.  FaceID apple has put very fancy hardware – up the scale is fingerprint 90% – Iris is above that – DNA above that.  Iris is different across identical twins. Most except fingerprint require special hardware. Veridiums solution is for fingerprint acquisition
  • Enables convenience – Reached a breaking point
  • We live in a password world but in 10 years or less it will be biometrics
  • Greg Egan – Transporting consciousness
  • Worked on a sliver of the Cassini project at NASA
  • Take the offer of employee 13 at adobe instead of going to graduate school – JOKING
  • Advice to previous self? Have Confidence and stay in it.  Communicate more – evangelize. Jump in to open source projects

Joel Beasley

Joel Beasley founded the Modern CTO Podcast in 2017 while writing his book, the Modern CTO book, with the goal of interviewing CTOs and sharing their experiences with others in the tech community.

Joel’s conversational style and insightful questions quickly gained traction, attracting high-profile guests such as Microsoft’s CTO, Kevin Scott, and T-Mobile’s CIO, Cody Stanford. With each episode, the podcast’s popularity continued to grow, and soon, Joel found himself with a waiting list of future guests.

Today, the Modern CTO Podcast has become the number one leadership and tech podcast in the world, with over 150k active listeners, including CTOs, lead developers, and rising tech leaders. Joel’s commitment to creating a conversational atmosphere for his guests to share their experiences has inspired a new generation of leaders and innovators.

As the success of the podcast grew, Joel founded ProSeries Media, a podcast production company that helps companies worldwide create their own podcasts. With a team of producers, content creators, and podcast bookers, ProSeries Media produces over ten shows, providing a platform for companies to connect with their audience and share their expertise.

Through his work on the Modern CTO Podcast and ProSeries Media, Joel Beasley has become a respected voice in the tech industry, inspiring others to share their knowledge and insights with the wider community. His passion for creating engaging content that informs, inspires, and entertains has made him a sought-after speaker and advisor on all things tech.

Read more about Joel

Reach out to Joel

If Joel can be helpful to you, send him a message
or schedule a meeting.

Send Message Schedule Meeting
Fresh CTO Content 24/7

Fresh CTO Content 24/7

Join our mailing list to receive relevant content hot off the press.

You have Successfully Subscribed!