published: January 7, 2020
This week, we sat down with Kaveh Malakuti, Senior Product Manager of Video Infrastructure, to learn how he contributes to quality at Avigilon.
How did you find yourself in the video security industry, and at Avigilon, specifically?
In high school, I became acquainted with basic electronics and built my first walkie-talkie using a kit that I’d bought from a store. It was exciting, and sent me down a path to learn more about electronics. I earned my bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering with a focus on electrical systems and by the time I graduated, I’d found a new field that was exciting to me: image processing. So I pursued a master’s degree in nuclear engineering with a focus on imaging, followed by another master’s program at the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia, Canada. It was there that I joined forces with a professor and founded the Applied Computer Vision Algorithms lab at UVic in 2007 where we developed systems that use computer vision to solve data processing and visualization problems.
After graduating, I started my first company, buying used servers on eBay and refurbishing them at home before I’d install them at a datacenter and provision them for service. Eventually, I joined a lighting controls manufacturer as an application engineer and then moved to research and development, led the quality department, and managed manufacturing engineering and new product programs before excitedly joining Avigilon in 2015.
Tell us a bit about your role at Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions company, and what you like about it.
My job is to understand our market as best as I can — I look for gaps, for opportunities to address pressing market problems through the use of technology, business model changes, or both when applicable. My team focuses on long-term strategic plans that build a portfolio of solutions for important problems that our end-users face. We find markets, understand their problems, realize the value of such market problems, prioritize them according to overall business strategy, build solutions that address the market problems and eventually communicate and deliver the value of our solutions to customers. Our team is comprised of professionals from various fields, and the diversity of the team and the wealth of knowledge that they bring creates an environment where there is always something to be learned. I love how we learn from each other and how over time we have grown and become stronger as a team.
I also love being based in Vancouver, Canada, and the vibrant nature of its downtown where our office is located. Options for food, drinks, social events, music venues are great, but it is the awesome team we have at this location that energizes me day after day. The occasional after-hours music jams in the basement, the after-work social events with colleagues from different departments, and our company social events really add a community feeling to our workplace. Plus, the Pacific Northwest is home to many adventure seekers, including me. Living in Vancouver means you can bike to work year-round, go skiing after work in the winter and go to the beach straight after a hike in the mountains in April. It’s quite unique and I feel lucky to be able to live here.
What aspect of your work are you most proud of?
I decided to move to Avigilon when I learned about its video analytics solutions and realized how much better they were at solving real-world problems than almost anything else that was out there at the time. It resonated with me, with my academic and research background. I wanted to be at the leading edge of technology. When I joined Avigilon, we were the only company in the world that had the technology to build a 30MP IP camera and efficiently process and use all the data it generates. I was proud to join a pioneer organization.
With Motorola Solutions, I take pride in working for a company that is known and respected worldwide for its rich history of innovation; one that has helped build the infrastructure that has enabled us all to live in a much safer society; and one that is relentless in adding means and services that benefit public safety with every product and every service.
Speaking of quality, how do you deliver quality to customers in your role, specifically?
It starts with empathy. You may ask what empathy has to do with product quality, but as a product manager or marketer, one can achieve a far better understanding of the market problem through empathy with one’s customers. And by customers, I mean every person that interacts or transacts with us or our products at some point. When you can feel the pain points, you can also comprehend the value of the solution better and subsequently build a better solution. You feel the problem, so you can articulate it better, therefore your marketing message resonates better with those who share the same problem.
In my role, through the lifecycle of a product, I think about the end-user using the product as much as I consider the installer, the person who finds this solution in our catalog at a tradeshow, the person who receives it at a warehouse and even down to packaging materials used to ensure as little waste as possible. We may not solve all the problems for all people involved but we need to at least know them, understand them and empathize.
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Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions company, designs, develops and manufactures solutions in video analytics, cloud, security cameras, video management software and hardware, and access control. Avigilon is an industry leader and, together with Motorola Solutions, provides integrated solutions for video security, access control and critical communications. To learn more about Avigilon, visit avigilon.com.