Agilence hires tech vet Hawkins as CEO

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.--Agilence, a video analytics manufacturer largely serving the retail market, announced it has hired J. Russell Hawkins as chief executive officer, with a charge of growing the company and managing daily operations.
Hawkins said he has a background in technology companies, including those serving the telecom industry and providing datacenter networking, but "what my expertise is in is helping technology companies with strong engineering teams to make the transition from the development stage to a scaled-up revenue company with lots of new customers."
Hawkins said he did about a month of due diligence before accepting the new role, in which he's served for about three weeks now, and he liked what he saw in Agilence at both the macro and micro levels. First, "video is becoming an important part of not strictly security, but the way that companies manage their businesses and assets," he said, which is important for Agilence's pitch to retailers for reducing shrink and analyzing POS data in real-time against video images. "We've sort of conquered the mining of information from structured data, files and such, and one of the big frontiers now is mining business information out of unstructured data."
He also referred to comments made by IBM's Julie Donohue and others at the Securing New Ground conference last week that, "we're at a point where [convergence is] actually happening," and end users are taking it for granted that security systems will be integrated with their IT networks.
As for Agilence particularly, he feels the company is well positioned in the analytics market because of the granularity of the data Agilence can use to structure digital video, its ability to offer end users auditing data on a real time basis, and the company's ability to offer loss-prevention expertise and auditing on an out-sourced basis.
In the future, Hawkins said to look for Agilence to roughly triple its current three dozen or so retail chain customers in the next three or four years, to increase its intellectual property through licensing or acquisition, and to begin to productize its analytics so that they can be sold by smaller integrators into smaller retail chains or even "mom and pop-type" stores.
Some of this will be financed with funding received from NextStage Capital this past summer (search "Agilence" at