| Follow Us:

Innovation & Job News

Remote tracking firm Zia Systems sets sites on infrastructure rehab market

Zia Systems says it has a better way to keep track of inventory and equipment. And now, it's using its patented technology to tap into what it says is an $8 billion to $10 billion pipeline rehabilitation industry.

Zia, which has an office at the National Environmental Technology Incubator at Central State University near Springfield, is the outgrowth of efforts that began in 1997 when equipment was stolen from Zia CEO and co-founder Jack Conte's construction company.

Conte asked two remote monitoring experts -- brothers Larry and Gary Rapp (Zia's chief technology officer and chief operating officer, respectively) -- to investigate ways to devise a security system around the construction site.

The first application was built on existing GPS and cellular technology, Gary Rapp says, and allowed Conte to track trucks and equipment on job sites. Later, the technology was extended to government contractor Washington Group International, which was moving equipment for construction in Iraq.

"We said there is a market out there for GPS tracking devices," Gary says. "But the market had so many players, that's really something we didn't necessarily want to stay in, and we thought 'can we build our own system that's unique.'?"

The result was a patented system using tracking tags and sensors to keep track of just about anything within a defined area, like a building, warehouse or field. If a tagged object is moved, sensors can send an alert to a smart phone, or a call center or a computer.

While the technology has a number of applications, Zia's target market today is the infrastructure rehabilitation industry -- specifically, storm water and sewer pipelines that rely on resin liners that are cured with heat. Zia technology can measure temperatures every 10 to 20 feet, rather than just at the manholes, which is where temperature readings have typically been taken.

While the technology for now is being applied to locate specific temperatures along a liner, Conte says the next step is to provide sensors to track the exact position of the liners.

The five-person company recently landed its first order for pipeline sensors -- 10,000 lineal feet of product.

Sources: Jack Conte, Gary Rapp and Larry Rapp, Zia Systems
Writer: Gene Monteith

Share this page