After two years of development, Dartmouth-based Rimot.io last week launched its Internet-of-Things product for monitoring remote infrastructure, like communications transmitters.
At the International Wireless Communications Expo in Orlando, the company launched RimotRF, which monitors remote phone transmitters, like those in the middle of a forest, to ensure the equipment is working when it’s needed.
CEO Andrew Boswell said in an interview the company has been beta-testing RimotRF with six or seven parties for the past year, and last week in Orlando it met with about 20 prospective clients.
“There are hundreds of thousands of wireless transmitters across North America that are not monitored in real time that provide important voice and data communications for business and government,” said Boswell in a statement. “We are excited to be one of the first companies to launch an easy-to-use remote monitoring service for these unmonitored transmitter sites that provides continuous insight about the remote site, transmitters, weather and lightning.”
A former Chair of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Boswell spent 14 years as the President of Nova Communications, a specialist in integrating wireless communications systems. During that time, he noticed that phone transmitters (not cell phone towers but transmitters commonly used by emergency services) in remote locations go unmonitored because it takes time and money to send people out to inspect them regularly. The only way the operator knows there’s a problem is that people who need them report that their phones aren’t working.
Boswell said Rimot CTO James Craig understood the problem and devised a solution that can fix it. They describe RimotRF as a turnkey solution, meaning that it can bolt on to any remote transmitter and work seamlessly with existing communication equipment.
RimotRF constantly collects information about the transmitter and site, combining it with weather data to give a complete picture of what is happening in the field. It can, for example, tell the user if lightning is in the area. RimotRF users receive this information and the analytics on the mobile device of their choice. The system can set up alerts that can be sent by email or texts when certain thresholds are exceeded.
The monitoring service is an example of the growing global adoption of predictive maintenance and smarter remote asset management solutions. According to MarketandMarkets, the predictive maintenance market is growing at 25.7 percent annually from 2016 to 2021.
Boswell said the team is initially targeting the market for cell phone transmitters – a market he estimates to be worth more than $1 billion in Canada and the U.S. alone. Eventually, Rimot hopes to expand to other remote infrastructure, such as power generators.
Rimot, which has five full-time employees, has been funded so far by the founders, and received $25,000 from Innovacorp’s CleanTech program. The priority now is to record sales, and Boswell feels sure the beta-testers and some of the people he met in Orlando, will soon become paying clients. Once the revenue starts to increase, the company will consider seeking outside funding, preferably with a partner with experience in the IoT space -- especially the Industrial Internet of Things.
Right now, Boswell is enjoying the buzz of being in the early stages of growing a company again.
“It’s a fresh challenge and there’s a lot to learn,” he said. “And I’m really looking forward to the revenue piece.”