We are talking about tracking rats with a beacon backpack, tools in fighter jets, assets inside nuclear power plants and baseball stadiums with WISER Systems this week on the Mr. Beacon Podcast.
WISER Systems has an approach to Ultra-Wide Band locating technology that minimizes the cost compared to traditional UWB tags and readers, while still delivering on industry leading location accuracy. To get very high accuracy their Ultra-Wide Band implementation takes time based measurements for location (instead of the angle of arrival): Time of Arrival (ToA) and Time of Transmission (ToT). WISER Systems believes that their approach saves time and money by showing where your assets are even when a clear line of sight isn’t available. We sit down to talk to CEO, Elaine Rideout, and Solutions Engineer, Logan Maxwell, to get an in-depth look at how Ultra-Wide Band solutions have evolved in the last few years, how the technology is different than other location solutions on the market, and what gives WISER Systems a competitive edge.
The Mr. Beacon Podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, scaling IoT with battery free Bluetooth.
Steve Statler 00:16
So welcome to this week's episode of The Mr. Beacon Podcast. I am very pleased to have two members from the WISER Systems team. Elaine Rideout CEO, co founder. Thanks for joining us. And Logan Maxwell, and you're a director at the company Logan, translating between technology and, and playing common English is kind of how I interpret what you do. So thank you both for joining us.
Elaine Rideout 00:49
Steve Statler 00:50
Well, um, so we're going to be talking about ultra wideband. Really an update on we've had some podcasts where we talked about it in the handsets, so it's definitely getting a lot more visibility, I'm sure you're enjoying that. And we'll talk about ultra wideband. What's changed and what you're doing with it, which, you know, last time I looked at ultra wideband really closely was with my friend and colleague, john Moran ski from NGK and what you guys were doing this is a few years ago. And it seemed to me that either ultra wideband was super expensive, but really cool. All it was there was like some very interesting things on the horizon. And you were the guys that were doing some of that work, but it's just a little early. And now we're a few years on. And so I'm really looking forward to hearing the latest from you about where the technologies that were where, where it's resonating where the use cases are and helping us pause a bit about you know, what some of these technical acronyms mean. But before we do that, maybe, Elaine, we should start with you. And can you explain a bit about who WISER Systems are? Where are you based? You're on the East Coast?
Elaine Rideout 02:10
Yes, we are. We're in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Steve Statler 02:13
And you know what's what are things like in Raleigh at the moment? I this is the first time I've been back into the office for months. And I did it because I wanted better on a audio quality less dogs and teenagers in the background. So is everyone still working from home with you guys? How are you doing?
Elaine Rideout 02:32
Yeah, we're we're all pretty much still working from home. Um, Logan is currently in the office however. And so we still are, you know, serving our customers just as we always have, when we have to do demonstrations of our network that are building his network. And so we do that from the office and you know, one person at a time kind of thing, but yeah, we're so our governor still has us in phase one, I believe.
Steve Statler 03:02
And you, your customers allowing you on site at the moment or not?
Logan Maxwell 03:08
Yeah, no, for the most part, no, our defense because ORS are, but most of the commercial is kind of a site by site basis, and most are not.
Steve Statler 03:19
Okay, well, we should probably send to this and go back to what is why is a systems do like, Can you introduce us to the company?
Elaine Rideout 03:28
Absolutely. So, so we are in the business of being able to do micro location. So we work in environments where GPS and other location systems typically don't work really well. So we can we can locate within a few inches and track you know, basically Logan explain it that technology a little better, but we were like GPS, except we work indoors but we have instead of little satellites that we placed around your building. Um, you know, we have little small antennas. And so we can just mesh out a space and then anything that has our little tag on it, I have a tag show you something that has a little tag on it. Yeah, you know, right where it is usually you know, within something like this we work really well around metal so raw metal might be something more like this but um, but we work with Bluetooth systems and you know, typically don't work really well. They can get area accuracy. A lot of systems are pretty much only devices how close to the nearest beacon. We are more like GPS will give you the latitude the longitude and the Z access as well.
Steve Statler 04:46
Yeah, that's that's great XY and Z and the receivers, what do they look like the things that are used to locate those tags do you have? Do you have one that you can show us? I actually find
Elaine Rideout 05:01
It's very small time. Yeah. Yeah, you place these up on walls. Yeah. And you can hang them or you can set them on a, you know, on a table. I can. I can do that right now. So yeah.
Steve Statler 05:15
And that's it looks like you got a USB connector on that. So it's typically how so you have how many of those would I need in order to get X, Y, and Z and in a, in a kind of a boutique store? If I'm like a sunglasses store or something like that? How many of those? Do I need to get down to that
Elaine Rideout 05:39
Logan, I'll let you answer that.
Logan Maxwell 05:42
Well, I've been in I've been in some of those stores. So our system because it's kind of like a GPS, it uses triangulation to find the tax, right. And so in any given store, you'll need a minimum of three, to start getting a Z axis, you'll need a minimum of four, we usually recommend putting one in each corner, it is non line of sight triangulation, which is helpful to differentiate, right. So in a typical, maybe sunglasses boutique, there might be times where the tag is behind something or something, that's okay, you can still just have four in the corner of that given space. If there's a larger space, say your office is a great example, where there's some glass walls and other things behind you. It might be that you still only need four, depending on that wall construction and thickness,
Steve Statler 06:30
that non line of sight thing that you mentioned, I'm sure no accident because, you know, I think your closest competitor is the Bluetooth angle of arrival, which was kind of a lot better than the signal strength based stuff. There's just really kind of very zone level accuracy, as he said, align, right. But how is it that with your ultra implementation of ultra wideband, you don't need the line of sight, which you typically do need with? In my experience, you do need it with angle of arrival. Why don't you need it?
Logan Maxwell 07:05
Right? So there's, there's two reasons. One is that we're using kind of a redundant radio look, Agent technology, we like to call that rlt, where we're taking multiple measurements, right. And so we're not relying on a single source of information in that case. But the second and more important aspect of that is that we have algorithms that are trimming and they're very intelligent in the sense of being able to read very low signal to noise ratios, through walls and through obstructions and still count that as true signal. Okay, so there's we're just very well attuned to reading a poor signal.
Steve Statler 07:46
And the way that trial triangulation is being done is not your your readers are not giving you an angle, unlike angle of arrival your your you're not getting Oh, this is we think this is it. three degrees, what are you getting back? what it what are you seeing you you're getting an ID, but what's the information that allows you to do that triangulation?
Logan Maxwell 08:10
all time based information.
Steve Statler 08:13
Okay. So and what's what's the acronym that you would used to capture that? So?
Logan Maxwell 08:20
So we use a combination of a few, but mainly it's to F and to a are the main ones? And what do they stand for? So that's a time difference of arrival and time of flight. Okay, so we don't use space differentiation, or any of that so
Steve Statler 08:33
and so how does that work? How do you What does that mean? And how does that work? Right? Because essentially, what it's doing is giving you a distance, isn't it? It gives you a right, if you can measure the time that is being taken, you have the distance, and then you're essentially drawing intersecting circles. And that's kind of gives you where the thing is, but I, you know, where is the timing being measured? Is it being measured on the tag? Is it being measured on a server is it just give us the next level?
Logan Maxwell 09:05
Yes, so the time is being measured both on the tag and the antenna, the system is configurable, so that you can operate it where the timing is just configured on the antenna. And basically, that we can run it any which way we want. But it can be configured. So it's either way, and you got to just write essentially using we are assuming that signal travels at a constant rate of Time, time equals distance, our algorithms are just very intelligent in being able to tell the difference of what is a true signal versus a reflected signal versus an attenuated signal through an obstacle barrier wall.
Steve Statler 09:41
Okay, so the fact that the simplest board in the way or a bit of wood, then the signal may get through that it's going to be attenuated, it's going to reduce, but the timings not going to change much. It's like
Logan Maxwell 09:55
yeah, it there's a little wiggle room there exactly, but their timing was changed.
Steve Statler 10:00
Okay, so as long as the signal gets through, you're good and and what sort of bands? Are you broadcasting the signals that because that's one of the other things that impacts the how these things work the frequencies? What do you use?
Logan Maxwell 10:15
Yes. So we can operate on a few different channels in the US, we typically operate in Channel Four ultra wide man. So it's a 900 mega word Mega 900 megahertz wide band centered at around four gigs. And in channel five, it's actually a 500 megahertz wide band centered around 6.25 gigs,
Steve Statler 10:37
okay. And so the significance of that is, this is a lower band, then Bluetooth, which is, you know, a couple of whatever, three or four times, or three times higher at 2.4. And so you have better propagation, you're able to, you have a better chance of getting through the signal, because you're not going like that you're kind of going through the things is, that's my take on it. Now, the time, you know, ultra wideband has been around for a long time as a bunch of ultra wideband systems and stall that BMW and you know, if you're making a car that costs 100,000 bucks, then you can afford a lot of infrastructure and big chunky tags, that tag look pretty small that you are holding a line of so I'm interested in, you know, what are the approximate approximate costs of this? I don't need to give me a quote, but just order of magnitude, how can you unscared us about the incredible cost of because typically, you know, the tanks were expensive, the readers were expensive, the infrastructure, you know, getting the infrastructure in was super expensive. And because the volumes was small, then you know, just the service is expensive as well, what what are we talking about in terms of economics these days with this,
Elaine Rideout 12:04
our total cost of operating is really the lowest in the business. And volume are tax cost about the same as the BLE, Bluetooth, but when you include the installation, you don't need electricians, I mean, this whole thing is extremely lightweight. Even even as a computer program, it's lightweight. When you include the maintenance, the upgrades lifetime, the fact that we can scale up to any size, you know, any millions of square feet, any 10s of thousands of tags, it actually is the highest value at the lowest cost. And part of that is because our solution, the battery life is programmable, your battery could last up to 10 years, our tags are reusable also. And they can last however long, you can replace the batteries. And you know, just if you're done having one asset tag for this tag, use the same tag for something else. So when you look at the whole thing, we're actually very, very competitive with everything else out there. And we're actually more accurate, we think we provide and reportable so you can actually take the whole thing down and move to a new location if you need to, are moving around if you rearrange your factory, so there's a whole lot of pluses there on the cost side.
Steve Statler 13:26
So yeah, and the ROI is it's not it's not it's not based on one price point, of course, you know, if you want more accuracy with a Bluetooth solution, then you end up having to have more locators. So I'm gonna kind of posit some things, you can challenge them. Obviously, there's a lot of Bluetooth chips being sold out there. And I think you get what, where do you get your chips from who makes ultra wideband chips? So we make our own tags, right. But you don't make your own chips?
Elaine Rideout 13:59
No. And I let Logan respond.
Logan Maxwell 14:02
Yeah. Yeah, so Currently, we are decorating customer. Okay. And as you know, they were acquired, they're still producing the chips. But yeah, we use the dw 1000.
Steve Statler 14:14
So I'm assuming that that chip is probably more expensive than a typical Bluetooth chip. But I think the the counter argument to that is, well, if you really need that accuracy, and you are going to have to be, you know, the cost of the reader is probably just a small component that if I have to have 10 readers to get the accuracy that I could get with four readers from from an ultra wideband solution, then then then, you know, the economics becomes something that just you can't just compare the cost of a tag versus a tag a reader versus a reader. It's, it's more of a consulting exercise to add that. add that up, but I do Remember, you know, it used to be that the cost was massive for those readers and the infrastructure? What is it that changed that reduced the price to decawave? Just cut the price. So what changed? No.
Logan Maxwell 15:16
So we've been able to create a very inexpensive flexible reader that doesn't include a lot of other components or logic. So we're still having to purchase the decorative chip, the decorative chip is still unfortunately, a large component of the bottom of both of our tagging or antenna. We know we can get competitive at high volumes with our tax, but it does take high volumes to get there. Yeah. So with the beaters, what we've done, is tried to make them very, very, very simple. So they really are just kind of collecting information, and then sending it down to the next reader. And we've made it so they can wirelessly communicate and share information. So they don't have to be wired up and synchronized and all of these complex ways. So in order to eliminate that wire synchronization, if you eliminate that part of it, that's enduring. Yeah, you're able to create a lot cheaper reader. And so we can put up a cheaper and more inexpensive reader around the space have less of them that, in essence, do more.
Steve Statler 16:28
Yeah. And I think that was one of the so when we were looking at sort of the the guys that had been around doing ultra wideband for a long time, they were talking about laying carpet as a sort of a dedicated coaxial network between the readers. And that was like, Oh, my God, this is gonna be a nightmare. But But clearly, but with that wireless communication between the readers, you're able to reduce that reduce that cost. What what are the boundaries? Elaine? Maybe you can speak to this, what are the boundaries of the solution that you make? Are you making kind of a full stack solution? Or you you have the the tags, you have the readers and this presumably some software that gives you that? Where the dots are that correspond to these tags? Do you go much above that? Or what what's the software aspect of what you do?
Elaine Rideout 17:16
So yeah, so we have a very as, as long as said, it's very lean. So what we try to do, as we try to offer the basics that everyone can use, well we don't do is we don't specialize our solution for, you know, tracking cats in your house, specifically, your you know, we actually have a customer tracking rats in the lab, tracking horses, out of track, we have some really cool things happening with our tech. So we want to be that we want to be that that base, and then have those customized solutions built on top of ours. So um, so really what, what we did is I spent a lot of time just early on going out into the market and trying to find out, what does the market really want that the markets not getting. And so we limit our offering to that. And it turns out that the industry and manufacturers are very leery of cloud offerings. what's what's going on in the factory floor is some of their most valuable IP. And unlike many of our competitors, we give them the ability to create all their zones, scrape their rules, and import their our data, their data data, because we don't own it directly into their in house crps. So we let them use their existing dashboards. No clouds, if they don't want it, it's all on prem, if that's what they want, and we don't own or even access their data. And so we work a couple of different ways. Some of our customers actually want the dashboard that we have many, many partners who offer that that fit their industry. So we bring that partner in other partners are just or our other customers, usually very, very large multinational corporations. So like we have SAP, we just want to get your stuff into our SAP. That's all we want. And we work directly with them. Oh, that can also address this this topic. Because it's been a fascinating thing to see what they really want. We try to radically address what they really want.
Steve Statler 19:23
Okay, but I hear I'm here, I hear you. It's horizontal, it can be on premise. It's kind of primarily API based for integration with these big manufacturing execution systems, supply chain systems and so forth. What what are the main? What are you seeing Logan? As far as the main systems that you end up integrating with? What what are you plugged into most?
Logan Maxwell 19:52
Yeah, so it's as Atlanta to kind of a mix of we're either going into a partner system That's aggregating all sorts of different sensor data also tying into an ER p or W, something else, or we're going direct into a client's platform. So in those cases, there's typically an asset management barcoding system, or warehouse management system already running. And it already has barcode scanning in place. And so if we provide our tag with a barcode on it, basically, that tag can be scanned in in into that system. And since we're providing our coordinate data, very precise precision coordinate data, we can just update that legacy information, right. So they have a legacy barcoding system that's already in place, instead of scanning an asset, every time it moves to a new table, WISER reads that it's moving and has moved to the new table, and we send all that information to that database. So we actually typically are just linking to databases, and then that legacy system is pulling from that database. Does that help answer your question? Or
Steve Statler 21:01
it does? Yeah, I want to go back and drill down into this battery life thing, because again, that's another area the historically ultrawideband systems have been kind of weak on, you've need some, in some cases, I remember seeing this presentation from this very different ultra wide company. And we're like, oh, this is just amazing. And the batteries are rechargeable. And how long do they last? Oh, about a day. Oh, my God, that's like a nightmare. If you're going to be tagging thousands of assets. You said that your your tags can last years? Give me a bit of a sense of what the knobs and dials are? Because there's no such thing as a free lunch. So how, how long? What, what are the kind of service levels response times refresh rates that are going to give me these different lifetimes for the batteries?
Logan Maxwell 22:01
Sure, yeah. And so it makes a great point. And so in that particular case, where you're talking about a rechargeable one day battery, that's likely the inverse of the system we've built, right. So we're we're doing triangulation with timestamps of arrival, it's the opposite for that system. So they have basically a reader that's moving around, and kind of tags that are on the wall. So So kind of just a reverse of what's what's happened. So our antennas are low, require power and need to be charged every day. So we use a CR 2032, coin cell battery, right? on that cr 2032. There are two different chirper bits on your tag. So there's an emotion chirp rate. And then there's a not emotion chirp rate, both are configurable, right there also, the time to move from the active to the resting is also configured, let's typically just 10 seconds or so. So to start your calculations, I have moving eight hours a day. So I'm in motion on let's say, a singular shift eight hours, and I'm chirping once a second, while I'm in motion, my resting chirp rate is from a factor of 10 slower than that we last about a year and nine months in those conditions. So it's, we've really put a lot of just standard blood, sweat and tears engineering on limiting any power that's happening when the tag is asleep. Right. So just if the tag is at rest, it needs to be as battery efficient as possible. So that's really where a lot of that work went into, there's really not a lot of tricks we pulled. And if you're chirping, half of that rate, a third of that rate of four, that rate, you're going to get up to, you know, beyond the shelf life of the CR 2032 pretty quickly. We do have the ability to chirp at 12 hertz. And most folks don't don't use that. But if you were you have the ability to
Steve Statler 24:00
Yeah, if you're tracking an athlete or someone's someone where that precision landing, then obviously you're gonna, presumably it's going to be proportionate, depending on the number of hours and that you want to last other any other variables is like does accuracy if I want like super accurate, does that consume more battery or not?
Logan Maxwell 24:23
So there's, there's no other kind of way to get more accuracy. Now what you can do is if you you can up your chirp rate and then filter those points, right. So that's a way to kind of artificially get more accuracy, but our accuracy is really coming from the algorithms core to the system. So we don't, we don't have to artificially inflate the chirp rates to to filter them down. There is a mode that is more battery consumptive, and that is to track in three dimensions. Right? So and that then has an additional more calls and responses to the tag right? Because you're doing more regulation and from that you are more battery consumptive to a factor of two to three x even
Steve Statler 25:05
more. But yeah, I think, I mean, the default use case in manufacturing in my mind is you're tracking pallets. And in that case, pallets probably spend 99% of their time not moving. And so you guys are in very good shape for that. What's this? What are what are you tracking? You mentioned rats. Elaine, I literally have one of those things around the neck of the rats, or is it? I'm assuming it's on the cage. So you don't actually have it as a big fashion? on the right.
Elaine Rideout 25:38
On the right, yes, it's in a little backpack? It's very cute. Picture.
Logan Maxwell 25:44
I have to send you I'm not sure I'm allowed to share the picture. But it is it is quick. It's a little backpack. A 3d 3d printed it. Yeah.
Steve Statler 25:53
Amazing. Why would I want to know where auratus see a high degree of precision. Okay, you know, let's talk about that.
Logan Maxwell 26:01
It's, you know, I, I can't talk directly as to exactly what they're doing. But it is a research study with a research university. So I'm sure it has something to do with their their poking and prodding and seeing how that changes the behavior.
Steve Statler 26:16
Okay, so literally running along mazes, and you want to know where they are in the maze. And these mazes are pretty fine grain. We're talking about centimeter level accuracy for something like that.
Logan Maxwell 26:29
For them, that's for them as possible, because they can put four antennas really close in it's all perfect line of sight. So and Yep, it works. Well, in that case,
Steve Statler 26:40
just the accuracy, how does the accuracy change with distance from the between the tag and the antenna? How does that work?
Logan Maxwell 26:49
It's, it's all a function of getting that signal to noise ratio. So with more distance comes more attenuation, which makes it more difficult to get proper signal over noise. So you do eventually are going to have a more difficult time hearing that signal. And it's really the algorithms are designed to try to minimize that as much as possible. So you shouldn't see much of a drop off. But eventually, instead of seeing a decrease in accuracy, you'll start seeing misreads where you're not getting any points at all in distance.
Steve Statler 27:25
And do you do you have to sometimes like turn up the gain on the tag in order? So yeah, if I've got like, if I'm in a big box retail store where the antennas might be way up, then would I have to turn up the the transmission signal strength still with that or not. So
Logan Maxwell 27:46
the FCC is very clear on the amount of power that's able to be put into Channel Four, channel five and other ultra wideband bands, so you can't really up the gain any, what's nice about our system is the radios are pretty pretty far. So if we're looking at a retail environment, like a grocery store, if you were able to put the antennas in the rafters, say that's what 40 feet 50 feet, you might be able to get away with something like a 100 foot grid of readers. So that's one reader every hundred feet, kind of in a grid, that depends on the shelf height, right. And what we're trying to get there is the signal out of those shells and up into the rafters and the readers. So in an open line of sight, outdoor condition, you can have a to ftu a system running at 200 foot distances. So you can have a wireless mesh sport for your for your arms. Yeah, and of course, I would never sell an instance like that. But you know, that's if you have kind of laboratory conditions outside. You can't run it at those distances, if not much more.
Steve Statler 28:56
And for the geeks, what is the signal strength? How many DBZ broadcasting? do you have? I
Logan Maxwell 29:04
don't, I couldn't I'm sorry. I'm sorry, if I can get it for you that
Steve Statler 29:09
okay. Well, I don't think doesn't matter. So that's great. So let's go back in. So rats is one thing that's probably not your biggest market what's what what is the what are the trends that are driving consumption of your product.
Elaine Rideout 29:26
So really, where for the most part and I like them, I suppose we were really good at tracking large metal things. Like for example, the tools used to fix fighter jets. So you cannot have that wrench left and the wing. I think a B two went down once when that happened. So we literally are able to track all those two tools in real time. know it's very difficult to track around a great giant hunk of metal like you know, a jet, a jet airplane, not to mention inside of it. So So, um, so we do we work on assembly lines, and heavy manufacturing. But we also have some other applications. And I'll let Logan talk a little more specifically about this because he's the one inside on on these plants. He's He's tested us everywhere from nuclear power plants, where we actually work, believe it or not, even though we're RF to, you know, I mean, we're, we were in a, we're in a baseball stadium. So, excuse me. So we also have some yard management solutions, tracking vehicles. Um, you know, we've done a lot of tracking of time motion studies, people in postal type of packaging places. So Logan, why why don't you give it a few more specific examples of some of the things that you set up some of the places where you set this up? Sure. So what we're doing
Logan Maxwell 31:02
in terms of market, you know, we don't really have the, the luxury of being able to kind of pick and choose what markets we're going into. So we're kind of letting the market come through us. And we're kind of responding. And we do have a lot of interest. And we have pilots with a, I believe, 10 of the Fortune 100 companies. So it's getting there. It's exciting. The main things that people track, the use cases that have come to us that we're pursuing, can fall into a few different categories. One of them is people, right? And and in tracking people to dive in there, it can be for a variety of reasons. Mostly, it's for time and motion purposes. So automating time and motion studies, you can now get quantifiable metrics on the way people move around machinery or on a shop floor, and then rearrange and redesign processes to make them more efficient, right. And you'll see that we also have forklifts, but that's on people. We also enter a site where we're actually clocking in and clocking out and measuring time on and off a machine for people and also able to mandate those breaks. So a little bit of a kind of an Orwellian use case of tracking your workers in that sense. But it is the the union voted for it. So they're excited to have it as well is it does cut both ways, right? You can mandate your breaks are 15 minutes long, and that you're switching machines. We do switch machines, right? We're also
Steve Statler 32:31
that is interesting that, yeah, I'm fascinated by this progression that we're making from these manufacturing systems, which Yeah, they have robots, but basically, people still losing things to an environment where eventually everything is tracked every two person, work in progress, raw material, finished goods. You know, that's, that's where we're headed, in my mind. But I think there's a ways to get there. And one of the challenges is this union thing. But actually, I've had several, many examples where that actually has not been an obstacle, because there's benefits in terms of safety. And that's
Logan Maxwell 33:16
wasn't in this case. But I have another, I have some other sites that are a little more tentative on doing such that we're in talks with currently. So yeah, in this case, they voted for it. They said, Hey, this will help us mandate the brakes and help us mandate that time on machine is you're shifting, you know, you can't do a repetitive task for too long. So. So in this case, they they wanted to have that data as well. So
Elaine Rideout 33:43
and then also, I think it's important to point out, they had a lot of other solutions that they that the unions looked at, and they really liked the fact that they did not have to give their employer access to their personal cell phones. Also, we are a very circumscribed solution, we're, you know, micro location mesh, so they have some saying, Where is this mesh going to be set up, we don't want it set up in the bathrooms, we don't want it set up in the break rooms. And so literally, they knew that when they left the perimeter of that mesh, there was no more tracking going on. They knew if they even if they have their badge on and they walked outside the building or even outside their specific workspace, there's specific grid, they were no longer being tracked. So they didn't have to worry about you know, big brother tracking them outside the workplace. And they also had a lot of say, and exactly, you know, the times and spaces where they would be tracked.
Steve Statler 34:42
And it was, in what sense is the WISER solution and mesh is it a mesh in that you've got kind of coverage of readings everywhere or are the signals being is the information being relayed from one node to the other.
Logan Maxwell 34:58
So, today Go back to my earlier point with wireless synchronization requires that it be a mesh. Okay, so each antenna has to speak to the antennas around it to keep that synchronization.
Steve Statler 35:13
Okay. So the the mesh is the the timing information, the synchronization information from, from that perspective, it's not the the tag readings that are being relayed, it's just kind of that coordination of what time is it? And everyone has to have exactly that view at the time. Right, I see it. Okay, this is good. I just want to make some final comments on where you guys are on your your journey. It sounds like you're well into production now. Can you say a little bit on your size? And where you see the the market growth and opportunity? Any comments there? Really?
Elaine Rideout 35:57
Yeah, no, absolutely. So yes, we still are relatively small. Um, we are right now about 13 people total. And, although we are looking to hire, where we're pretty much poised to enter a very rapid growth phase, we do have very big customers, and they take some time to, you know, conduct first their demos, and then their pilot tests, and then actually start to go plant by plant by plant. And so we're right on the cusp of, of start of moving in that direction. But we already have a couple of, you know, GRP customers who are actually scaling this solution. So So the big challenge, of course, at the very beginning was can this thing scale, and that's what every other company was facing as well. And I believe we have a head start in that area, we can scale, any number of tags, any number, any, any size of facility, any number of floors, that kind of thing. And so I think once we've really only been in the market for maybe two years with this with our production solution. And so once the word gets out, and it's just starting to, I think, this guy's aluna, I think we're gonna be really rapidly moving forward and growing very quickly.
Steve Statler 37:18
What do you see in that ramp up time? I think for anyone that's starting up a business, and I know you've you've studied startups and entrepreneurship for a long time, that time to ramp is such a key element to the equation, can you pass on a few pearls of wisdom, what you've learned in terms of how long it takes different companies to go through this prototype? proof of concept pilot production ramp?
Elaine Rideout 37:49
Well, I tell you, we are one of the slowest tortoises out there. I mean, from from the time I had this idea, and we had a couple engineering teams that just didn't work out, they couldn't actually realize it to the time actually got my current CTO with him is just brilliant ideas, I was able to get the funding for those. So we're really talking 2011 was when we actually started. And but the issue is, it's not just like we're making little widget, we actually had to make an entire system. And not too many other folks were going at it from that direction. Most most of of you know most of the others who are working in this world was like, Well, what infrastructure already exists in these plants that we can, you know, tag on to. But we realized that the existing infrastructure, the Wi Fi systems that were out there, would not be able to do the Internet of Things in real time with 10s of thousands of things if their commission communications data was also on those same networks. So we literally had to start from scratch, we had to develop an entire system, network network protocols, hardware software, it has been a very long journey, to be able to do all that. But that's really what you have to do to get the performance that we were looking for. And so I've just been delighted how everything is worked out and have it, you know, how our early customers have been? The feedback we're getting is really positive. We're, we're really, I'm really proud of my team.
Steve Statler 39:25
And what are you seeing in terms of the time it takes the customers to onboard this, you know, how long what's like the typical timeline, you have some innovation team from a major company and they say, we've looked at everyone, congratulations. We really love the demo. We've checked your references, we want to move forward. How long does it take the these fortune 500 companies to actually deploy AI and I know that a lot of this has actually nothing to do with you. It's just the way they move, but I'm in I'm very interested in what you're saying.
Elaine Rideout 40:02
Well, we have one that still three years later hasn't really got themselves together. But then again, we have another one that's just rolling us out and city after city. And that was only about a year Logan, wasn't it that they were naps in the transit sector.
Steve Statler 40:21
tracker in the transit sector? What does that mean?
Logan Maxwell 40:24
Yeah, so this is a, this is a, an interesting use case, and not something we thought we would really get picked up in. And like I said earlier, there's, we're kind of just Hey, if you're going to track it, we're not going to complain. So they're actually putting tags on buses and trains. And so when the buses and trains come into the yard, or they're tracking GPS, while they're driving around, when they come into the yard, they're automatically discovered, and then they can automate washing, maintenance and parking schedules and diagrams. So we can say, hey, as the bus comes in, hey, you need to go to the parking space, you know, our dash 13. And he knows right where to go.
Steve Statler 41:05
Wonderful. Well, I could pick your brains forever. This is really fascinating. Congratulations on that this journey, Elaine and Logan. And I wish you guys at WISER Systems. All the best.
Elaine Rideout 41:19
Thank you so much. We appreciate it. Yeah.
Steve Statler 41:30
I got to ask you guys, for three songs that you would be interested in taking to Mars as there's two of you, I guess you get six. So who would like to go first? I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna ask Elaine first cuz she's had time to think about this, as I put the question to her a few weeks ago when we first spoke. So what are your favorite three songs? Like?
Elaine Rideout 41:57
Oh, we're both musicians, just to just to let you know, um, I would have to say something. I love so many different genres. So this is a really hard question for me. But, um, something that would be like, you know, represent the achievements of humanity, maybe. So that would have to be like, you know, Beethoven's Fifth or some wonderful Symphony.
Steve Statler 42:17
Okay. Let's do
Elaine Rideout 42:20
something that would remind me of the planet. And so that would have to be bagpipes, of course, and maybe bagpipes and fiddles, which would bring a family into it. My sister happens to be very famous Scottish musician. So I would take anything of hers and have fiddles and bagpipes.
Steve Statler 42:40
Okay, what's her name? Bonnie right out. Bonnie Reuter. Okay, that that is that's a great celebratory name. I can see the album covers now. So is there a particular song of bunny right out that you choose?
Elaine Rideout 42:55
We branch because that's the fight fidles together. And yeah, she's uh, she was America's national Scottish fiddling champion. So she's, yeah, she has quite a few albums out there. And then finally, I would have to be rock and roll. I'm guess. I guess I would have to pick something I could sing along. And there's only one song you can sing to and never get tired up. And that would have to be the Bohemian Rhapsody. The other reason I picked that is because Logan and I sang that together. at one of our trade shows, we had a karaoke booth next to us. And so we just had a blast. And that was something
Steve Statler 43:40
fantastic. So you're both musicians of you. Other than singing Bohemian Rhapsody at a trade show. Have you done any other anything else musically together? Do you have like company? rock out? Thanks.
Logan Maxwell 43:54
That would be a good idea. Yeah. Yeah, that's a good idea. No, no, we never
Steve Statler 43:58
have no. What instruments do you play?
Elaine Rideout 44:01
Yeah, no, for me, classical mostly. What about you, Logan?
Logan Maxwell 44:06
Ah, it's definitely my my biggest hobby out of work. So I play a kind of in order of my ability, I guess, would probably be saxophone, bass and guitar and piano and a little bit of drums and a few other things. But mostly kind of the stringed instruments and saxophone are kind of my main Good one.
Steve Statler 44:30
So are you one of these people that like makes music and records everything, you know, multitrack says and records everything yourself.
Logan Maxwell 44:37
I always thought I would be that person. But I am a social collaborator. So although I have the some of the technical ability to do that, I really don't feel as creative and motivated unless I'm playing with other people. That is kind of a social thing for me.
Steve Statler 44:53
I saw Paul Simon perform live and was reminded that He, you know, when he records his albums, he plays everything. And then but then you see him live and he has like the best musicians on everything. And it's just an awesome thing. So, so what would be your three songs slogan?
Logan Maxwell 45:17
If I, if I'm torn here, because if I answer honestly, I'm probably going to throw out some very obscure pieces here. So I, if people want to Google, that's fine. But is this gonna so I would say in terms of my classical piece, yo, yo Ma, the cello player has the fifth movement of the Quartet for the end of time, two very, very beautiful, haunting piece, where essentially the the person that wrote it was in, in a prison camp in Germany during World War Two, as a Jewish composer. And so he was taken in. And so he wrote it during that timeframe for the only instruments that he had the ability to write for. So there was four instruments in the camp. And so he wrote for those four, and they actually performed it for the first time in that camp. And he lived, thankfully to a happy ending. But that is just one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces. So I it struck me the first time I heard it, I kept it in my rotation ever since. So, fifth movement, and the Quartet at the end of time would be my first piece. I have a very weird penchant for Indian classical music. It's kind of out there, but it's very peaceful to me, I don't know why I like it. So there's a certain performer that plays the sitar that I like his name's nickeil bannerjee. And he has a certain rod called Berlusconi toady that I like so there's a certain recording there, which again, super obscure, I know, no one's gonna know what I'm talking about. But feel free to Google it. It's greatmusic.
Steve Statler 46:50
Yeah. And we try and play that. So if we're, if we're lucky, people are hearing a fragment of that now.
Logan Maxwell 46:57
Okay. Sure. Yeah, it's, it's that one in particular is pretty foreign for the western year, but it's really, really peaceful if you get used to it. Yeah. And then, for the third, I probably do something from classic rock, I'd have to, let's see. I probably like echoes from Pink Floyd or something, one of their v sides. There was like that. So yeah, that's off the cuff. I didn't have a lot of time for. Those are the ones that would be currently.
Steve Statler 47:27
Oh, yeah, I'm listening to the wall at the moment. I mark Marin as one of my favorite podcasters. And he's has a recent interview with one of the guitar players that that toured with Pink Floyd on the wall tour. And so I'm gonna be going back in time. Well, that's wonderful. I love, love hearing those great, great examples. Thanks. Thanks very much.