Solving hard problems to give customers a competitive advantage
I work in the Data Vision team as a Principal Research Engineer where my work has included computer vision and data science. In my earlier career I worked on cryptology systems analysis and design, design and construction of microsatellites, digital communications theory, stochastic optimisation and microwave reflectometers.
Computer Vision is about understanding the world in 3D, enabling computers to identify, measure and understand objects, people and scenes in images or videos. I know that nothing worthwhile is ever achieved alone. I almost burst with pride at our team's achievements when a recognised serial entrepreneur and founder of high tech start-ups said: "This is the closest thing to magic I've ever seen" (echoing Arthur C Clarke's famous law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic").
My satisfaction is highest when we are solving a hard technical problem which gives a customer of ours a competitive edge to succeed in a global niche. It's no good unless one sweats a bit. My view is that we should let other people do the easy stuff.
Working in this field makes me realise that Sir Paul Callaghan said it best: “We can raise New Zealand's standard of living by getting really good at the weird stuff.” And that’s what I enjoy doing every day.