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July 10, 2014 | Tom Ballard

Resource IO’s technology listens, then provides real-time feedback

Resource IOBy Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

“Our technology listens to equipment and provides real-time communications regarding the status of these critical systems from anywhere in the world” Karl Dittrich, the Founder and President of Resource IO, says.

The six-year old company, located in the University of Tennessee (UT) Business Incubator, was a finalist in the recent “Tennessee Venture Challenge” sponsored by the UT Research Foundation (UTRF).

In a 2012 post, we discussed the evolution of Resource IO and its core technology, something called the RIO Sentry. The product evolved from a system Dittrich developed to ensure high quality and continuous power service for the 2008 Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) Championship in Detroit.

When we sat down recently with Dittrich and William Milam, the company’s part-time Vice President of Engineering, we learned that Resource IO has maintained its same focus – helping enterprises remotely monitor the performance of their equipment.

“Our software gives you advance warning when your equipment needs attention, so that you can avoid interruptions in crucial services, equipment down-time, and expensive repairs,” Dittrich says.

Resource IO’s approach is collaborative and totally interactive.

“Our customers provide rules they have learned over the years,” he says, meaning the customers establish the performance parameters for the monitored equipment. Those parameters are programmed into the RIO Sentry, a device provided to each customer at each monitored location.

“The RIO Sentry collects data continuously from each piece of equipment and sends the traffic back to our central computing system,” Dittrich explained. If the performance is outside the parameters established by the client, an alert is issued.

The RIO Sentry technology serves companies whose maintenance teams are spread too thin as well as the larger maintenance departments that manage multiple pieces of equipment remotely and want an advantage of early detection.

Resource IO believes these early warnings allow customers to foresee potential issues before they become problems.

While a typical customer for the RIO Sentry is a distributor of industrial equipment, Resource IO is exploring new sectors such as agriculture which was the focus of Milam’s presentation at the “Tennessee Venture Challenge.”

The AG Sentry version of the core technology is targeted at greenhouse owners who need to ensure optimal performance during their growing season.

In addition to exploring new markets, Dittrich and Milam say that Resource IO is updating its technology. A second generation RIO Sentry should be introduced into the market this summer.

“It will reduce the cost of implementing our system.” Dittrich says. “We have received enthusiastic feedback from our customers and prospects about the new streamlined pricing.”

Resource IO has also executed a partnership with a telecommunications company to provide a communications system that does not use the Internet.

“We provide our own cellular network.” Dittrich said. “This decreases the security risk and management costs for our clients by not having to expose their internal network.”

Resource IO’s executive team prides itself on being Knoxville-based. “All manufacturing is being sourced locally in Knoxville or Oak Ridge,” Milam explained.

Both Dittrich and Milam are no strangers to the local technology and entrepreneurial communities. The former started his career with SpinLab, later joined Bandit Lites, and launched Result Group prior to founding Resource IO. Milam has been part of several start-ups including Telesensors and SensorMed.

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