“The Works” Participant #1: RDI Technologies Inc.

The Works Demo Day(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles profiling the teams participating in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s inaugural “The Works” accelerator. The teams will pitch their ideas on September 21 during a “Demo Day” at Scripps Networks Interactive. For more details, click here. Registration deadline is September 16.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We’re working hard and making a lot of progress,” Bob Wilson, President of RDI Technologies Inc., says of the start-up company we profiled about a year ago in this article.

At the time, RDI was focused on using its non-contact optical detection system, developed by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hay, in three different sectors – infrastructure, machines and humans. The latter was as a unique baby monitor.

“We decided the consumer space was pretty difficult for a start-up to penetrate,” Jenna Johns, RDI’s Chief Operating Officer, says of the baby monitor sector. “We licensed it to an established player that will be launching a new product in early 2017.”

That decision left RDI with two sectors – one established (machinery), the other (critical infrastructure) immature but holding great promise. With some further improvements in the software platform, the start-up is generating revenue in both industries with a product that is now being offered under the Motion AmplificationTM brand.

“We’re a new tool to attack problems in a different way,” Wilson says of the machinery market. It has more established players without the technology advantage that RDI provides.

By comparison, Wilson sees significant growth and opportunity in the infrastructure monitoring space that is not utilizing advanced technology for condition assessment like is being done for machinery.

“They have not traditionally monitored the condition of bridges using technology,” he explains, adding, “Infrastructure monitoring programs are primarily where the machinery market was 30 years ago.”

The software improvement that RDI has made also caused a shift in focus – from a services strategy to a product company.

As described in our September 2015 article, RDI combined its proprietary software algorithms with off-the-shelf camera technology to detect deflection, displacement, movement and vibration applicable to inspections of plant machinery and infrastructure like bridges.

“The production of motion amplification videos required post-processing which could take 24 to 48 hours,” Wilson said. The new software product provides real-time conversion, amplified videos, and analysis which were user requested improvements.

RDI released the updated software to early adopters and Beta testers in late June and has done a much broader release this month. In addition, the company has added a multi-day training program that concludes with individuals being certified to use the product.

“We’re pretty excited about the progress we have made,” Johns says. She is also the RDI team member who was most involved in “The Works” accelerator. She praised the introductions and connections that were made and the weekly exchange of ideas.

“We had access to extra people with a lot of experience who helped us with decision making through critical transition periods for our company,” Johns explained.

Wilson added the significance of industry experts that the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center brought to the table such as Terry Douglass and John McNeely.

Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

eNews & Updates

Sign up to receive posts via email.

Connect With Us

Upcoming Events

  • Feb 19 2019 "Rise and Grind" Session 2: “A Survey of Capital Sources, Timing, and Costs”
    Room 402 of the Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 20 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Session #4
    TOPIC: “Entrepreneurial Crowdfunding.” Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 21 2019 Fairview Technology Center Open House
    11020 Solway Road, Knoxville
  • Feb 23 2019 Tennessee Inventors Association Monthly Meeting
    LMU Cedar Bluff Campus, 421 Park 40 North Boulevard, Knoxville
  • Feb 26 2019 Bunker Labs Knoxville Meet-up
    Awaken Coffee, 125 West Jackson Avenue, Knoxville
  • Feb 27 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Session #5
    TOPIC: “What’s YOUR Story?” Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville
  • Feb 28 2019 Session 5: Maryville College "Scots Innovation Challenge" Pitch Competition
    Lambert Recital Hall at the Clayton Center for the Performing Arts
  • Mar 02 2019 Knoxville City Hackathon
    Pyxl, 625 South Gay Street
  • Mar 03 2019 "What's the Big Idea 48-Hour Launch" Pitch Finale
    Scruffy City Hall, Market Square
  • Mar 03 2019 Knoxville City Hackathon Pitch Finale
    Scruffy City Hall, Market Square
  • Mar 05 2019 Knoxville Mayoral Candidate Forum
    Relix Theatre, 1208 North Central Street, Knoxville
  • Mar 06 2019 "Vol Court Speaker Series & Pitch Competition" Finale
    TOPIC: The pitch competition. Room 104, Haslam Business Building, UT Knoxville

Links to Partners