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Published December 21, 2004
Volume 12, Number 12



Modius Merges IT and Device Management

Modius
(L-R) Michael Manowski, Jay Hartley, Ph.D., and CEO Craig Compiano
have played key roles in developing Modius' first product.



By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK



Most enterprises are aware that technology now plays a key role in keeping up to date in today’s marketplace. What many enterprises fail to address, however, is the fact that technology is not limited to computers and networks, but also to devices that are monitored by, controlled by, or support them, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), cooling systems, lighting, security systems, and even elevators. Modius Inc., at 4637 Chabot Drive, is a software company that has developed a software product that gives users access to information gathered from these—and many other—different types of physical devices and systems.

“Our goal is to bring the type of widespread standards that are used in the information technology (IT) industry into the area of system control,” says Craig Compiano, CEO of Modius Inc. “The problem today is that a lot of disparity exists between the types of devices used in an enterprise and the technology that controls and monitors them. That makes it very inefficient to integrate control across devices built by multiple manufacturers or to get a single view of their activity. By using IT standards, it’s possible to turn building and industrial automation into a true enterprise-class system.”

Applications such as email servers and customer-relationship management (CRM) systems tend to operate enterprise-wide, often across multiple physical locations, while control systems tend to be more site-specific. With Modius’ OpenData product, the company is bringing the type of enterprise-wide integration of those IT applications to what it calls Enterprise Device Management (EDM). Using EDM, all of the devices in an enterprise can be monitored from anywhere regardless of their physical location.

OpenData comprises three components to communicate information gathered from a single device or thousands of them. The OpenData Communicator is the gateway to the device data. Deployed in close proximity to the device via serial processors that connect the devices to a network in a manner similar to the way a printer is connected to a computer, this software component translates the data from any manufacturer’s equipment into standard formats to be compiled into a single view of all connected devices. The OpenData Director manages the flow of events in an environment (heating, cooling, or lighting, for example) and can reside on any existing network server without the need for additional hardware. The OpenData Dashboard provides a unified display of all of the devices within an enterprise and can be installed on any desktop PC, PDA, or console.

“The power of our approach to control is that it moves the intelligence all the way down to the device. Once data is transformed from a device-specific view to a standard format, it moves upstream to any one of a number of systems and can be viewed by multiple users concurrently,” Compiano says. “Right now, a number of control systems might exist in an organization. We want to give our customers a single point of reference for monitoring and controlling every piece of equipment they use.” Modius was founded in 2003 and has currently has 14 employees. The company also has sales offices in Chicago and Connecticut.

 

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