Last week, AOptix, a California-based developer of biometric identity and wireless communications solutions, announced that it is reorganizing the company into two distinct business units; Identity Solutions and Communications.
According to Chuck Yort, vice president and general manager of the new Identity Solutions group, though the AOptix’s products share a common technology, they actually serve the needs of different customer bases and the company saw a growth opportunity in creating these new, more narrowly-focused business units.
"The intent and the benefit was to allow the two businesses to focus on their unique opportunities from a go-to-market, product development and a partnership perspective," he explained. "I think in the prior organization or the functional organization, it was more a swivel head, if you will, for the executive team and now there’s clear focus and ownership."
Yort, who has an extensive leadership background having served in executive positions at Minerva Networks, Plantronics, Palm, Inc., 3COM and HP, said having gone through similar transitions at other organizations that one of the challenges is how to move people and resources around. However, he said that AOptix was already well ahead of the curve on this front when joined the company five weeks ago.
"When I joined, I was already impressed with the amount of work that had been done in that area. There were already virtual P&Ls, there already were different people wearing different hats and actually very little overlap in shared resources," Yort said.
AOptix has experienced growth in each of its core businesses and recently announced that it closed a deal earlier this year which will provide the company with $42 million in funding. Amanda North, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications, said that this funding will help the company bring new products to the market. "We’ve been largely in the research and development arena with both product areas for some time and we’re in the process of commercializing those," she said.
North added that reorganization of AOptix will allow the company to simplify and focus from each business unit’s perspective.
"We’re a very complicated business. We’re global, we sell through resellers and systems integrators to customers all over the world," she said. "It will allow us to accelerate (growth) as we work even more closely with our partners and customers."
Despite many of the challenges that biometric solutions have experienced in gaining widespread commercial adoption through the years, Yort believes that the quality of AOptix’s image capture for iris recognition and facial recognition, as well as the ease-of-use provided by their products for both end-users and installers differentiates the company from its competitors. In fact, the company’s products have already gained traction in the Middle East market with recent deployments in Dubai and Qatar.
The State of Qatar has been using more than 80 AOptix iris-based identity verification systems at immigration points across the country including sea ports, its land border crossing with Saudi Arabia and Doha airport since July of last year to screen travelers. According to North, Qatar is the first country to deploy iris technology at all of their immigration checkpoints.
"Each deployment is very separate and unique. It’s still a new enough technology that we’re finding a lot of creativity in how a lot of our customers are applying the technology," Yort said. "But it is a great case example of an early adopter getting in there and becoming incredibly efficient in how they flow traffic. I spoke with the people running the (checkpoint) booths and they talked about how seamless and easy it was for everyone to use the system."
Dubai is installing the company’s automated iris and face recognition system at 100 immigration smart counters and smart gates at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, which is one of the largest airport terminals in the world.