Kiwi shapes video surveillance future in Silicon Valley

The opportunities in the US are huge if you're prepared to work hard, says expat

Growing up in Hamilton, Scott Bain always dreamed of going to work in Silicon Valley.

Today he is the product manager of Cisco Systems’ converged secure infrastructure business unit in San Jose, California.

“If you are in IT, Silicon Valley is the place to be,” he told Computerworld when visiting New Zealand recently. “I just love to be surrounded by all the great companies you hear about.”

Bain started at Cisco New Zealand seven years ago but soon moved to the company’s London office. He spent five years in Europe before relocating to San Jose. He is thoroughly enjoying working and living in the US, he says. You are expected to work hard and living costs are high, but there is tremendous opportunity to do really well if you are prepared to put in the hours in the US, he says.

While in the UK, Bain found British culture to be very different from Kiwi culture. But the Americans’ attitude to work is similar to the Kiwi “can do-attitude”, he says. While American employees are usually quite specialised, the broad skills of New Zealanders are often seen as a novelty in the US, he says.

Bain and his family will probably return to New Zealand in the future, he says.

“I grew up thinking that the rest of the world was much better, much smarter and much more exciting than New Zealand, but now, when I’m flying around the world and I have worked in seven different countries, New Zealand looks better to me every day!” he says.

“We tend not to give ourselves enough credit for what we achieve here in New Zealand,” he adds.

Video surveillance is Bain’s main area. In the next three to five years, video surveillance will move from CCTV (closed-circuit television) to IP-based technology, he says. The transition from analogue to digital video will enable users to view and record video live from anywhere, on any device, he says. Video analytics, such as facial recognition, people counting and crowd control, will become mainstream, he says. Video surveillance systems will increasingly be integrated with other systems, for example physical access control system, eftpos or point-of-sale systems. The move to digital video also makes it much easier to store video.

“We are just at the beginning,” he says. “It is very exciting working in San Jose, because in a way I get to help shape the future.”

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