Talk about addressing of “pain points.” WISER Systems, a Raleigh startup, is helping people and companies improve inventory tracking with wireless Internet of Things technology.
And it all started when CEO and founder Dr. Elaine Rideout, a professor at NCSU and serial entrepreneur, got tired of constantly misplacing her reading glasses.
“Find your stuff, find your people …” – that’s the WISER pitch. And the pitch is gaining real-world traction.
WISER, which launched a decade ago and has developed proprietary technology and is based at NCSU’s Centennial Campus, is making the IoT real as clearly demonstrated in two recent events:
- WISER took home first place in the Internet of Things World Pitch Contest for Industrial IoT
- And WISER showed its prowess at the LiveWorx 2017 tech tradeshow.
More big news could be coming soon. Boostrapped to date and funded in part by federal grants as well as Daugherty Endowment support at NCSU, WISER currently has seven employees. But there may be more hiring soon, the company says.
To get an update on WISER as its technology matures and the IoT moves closer to reality than hype, The Skinny chatted with Stephen Taylor, the emerging company’s communications manager.
“We have a portfolio of patents filed and pending, plus trade secrets and trademarks,” Taylor explains. IP and its protection are almost always key points in the eyes of potential investors.
So, what sets WISER apart? We asked …
- What are the pain points being addressed?
Internet of Things (IoT) sensor platforms work well for static sensors that are fixed in locations that never move, but sensor data is useless if it demands action while the location of the sensor is unknown. WISER brings the X, Y, and Z to the IoT where conventional localization solutions fail.
For example, GPS does not work for indoor tracking and locating. Cameras are expensive and require human monitors, light, and line-of-sight. Barcode and RFID scanning only give momentary locating. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other asset tracking solutions are inaccurate and unreliable and require expensive fixed infrastructure (wiring, portals, calibration cabling, laser measurements, etc.).
WISER is the only real-time locating solution (RTLS) that solves all of these problems—providing always-on, always-accurate autonomous asset management in any setting (manufacturing, distribution, health care, retail, etc.).
- What sets you apart as a company?
Our best-in-class product line, our technical expertise and exceptional team, as well as our innovative business model all set us apart. Our organizational model allows us to deliver on large projects while still maintaining the accessibility, flexibility, and team environment of a small company.
- What sets WISER apart in its technology?
Our mesh network Redundant Radio Localization Technology (RRLT) is a new approach to an old and big problem. Our solution is uniquely flexible and easy to install (no electricians needed), while also offering best-in-class accuracy and performance. It’s infinitely scalable and operates outside company firewalls, yet is highly secure.
We are well positioned in the market, which is just beginning to understand that Wi-Fi tracking solutions are not only inadequate, they can’t scale to tens of thousands of assets without bogging down existing networks.
Dr. Rideout has teamed with Dr. Seth Hollar, the chief technology officer who also teaches at NCSU, to create the foundations for WISER. To understand WISER, one must know more about its leaders.
- What is background/work experience of your top execs?
Dr. Elaine C. Rideout has served as WISER’s CEO since founding the company in 2007. Her career as a project manager and entrepreneur has included more than 25 years of experience moving ideas from the beginning stages of R&D through to execution.
She has led and supported dozens of startup businesses, five nonprofits, and two public entities, and has raised over $100 million to support these ventures.
Rideout spent 16 years as founding President of Economic Investment Strategies (EIS) Associates, an innovation deployment consulting firm, and served as founding executive of the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees and the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. She holds a PhD in Psychology and Entrepreneurship from North Carolina State University.
Dr. Hollar has overseen the technical development of WISER’s hardware and software since the company’s inception. He led WISER to overcome the problem of intractable reflectivity in indoor tracking, oversaw the development of proprietary algorithms and firmware, and has led the company to obtain FCC and UL certifications.
Hollar has been the Associate Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program at North Carolina State University since 2008. Since 2005, he has served as President and an Engineering Consultant in the SeventhDigit corporation, a consulting company that specializes in engineering and product development.
Hollar also spent two years as a Fellow at the Toshiba Research & Development Center, working on projects in micro-electromechanical systems and nanotechnology. Prior to that, he was an aerospace engineer for Lockheed Martin Astronautics, working on attitude control systems for unmanned space exploration missions, including the Mars Orbiter and Stardust platforms. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.