Asset tracking & AI | Waymo in Pittsburgh | IoT for everyday use
August 5, 2021
"In Silicon Valley and New York, funders are starting to recognize the possibilities in the middle of the country." — Eric Wagner, executive vice president, government programs, Ubihere
Turning university tech into products
Durham prepares students for agbiotech
Waymo opens office in Pittsburgh
IoT for everyday use
Moving and securing data with blockchain
Dayton is an emerging tech hub
Fueling the Future
Name that Flyover City!
August 5, 2021
A CHAT WITH AN INNOVATOR
Turning university tech into products
Eric Wagner, executive vice president of government programs, Ubihere
Eric Wagner worked at The Ohio State University (OSU), where he oversaw commercialization of new innovations and supported the launch of over 22 technology startups.
One of those startups was Ubihere, a software company located in Hilliard, Ohio, that develops next-generation real-time location systems. Ubihere's patented artificial intelligence (AI) technology is the next-generation standard for asset tracking across an array of industries including health care, warehousing and manufacturing.
Ubihere has received more than $11 million in research and development at OSU in support of the “Return to the Moon” and “Mission to Mars” programs. Recently, the company was awarded a six-month, $150,000 contract from the U.S. Air Force to apply its patented technology, Ubivision, to drones.
Flyover Future spoke with Wagner, who is now the executive vice president of government programs at Ubihere, about the company and the tech behind it.
What is Ubivision?
Wagner: It’s a patented process and method for geospatial awareness and recognition — how to find things in a 3D space. The starting premise was, ‘how do we recognize where things are in relative position to each other without GPS or other stimulus?’ The technology is based on video processing technology created by Dr. Alper Yilmas, who has a nationally recognized geospatial analytics lab at OSU.
How did Ubihere start?
Wagner: My partner and I met Dr. Yilmas when we were building the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), a 60,000-square-foot innovation center at Ohio State. We were helping university professors get their technologies out there as products. Ubihere was one [technology] that we paid special attention to because we knew its potential valuation.
In 2016, Dr. Yilmas decided to spin his company out. Like a lot of university research spinouts, it didn’t necessarily move that fast. Rev1 Ventures was trying to incubate and mature that technology. They contacted me at Converge Ventures when we were starting and asked us to take a substantial role in the company to mature it. We agreed and launched the company in the spring of 2018. From there, we’ve been taking that patent and turning it into a suite of products.
What kind of products?
Wagner: We’re focusing on a suite of intelligent tag systems that we call UB Tracks. It’s a relatively low infrastructure footprint for indoor/outdoor tracking of assets, people, equipment or whatever it may be.
“The starting premise was, ‘how do we recognize where things are in relative position to each other without GPS or other stimulus?’"
— Eric Wagner, Ubihere
There are a number of real-time location systems (RTL) out there trying to accomplish indoor tracking, making it easy for large, multi-facility and water-building facilities like health care campuses, to track their assets across an entire campus. Those solutions were falling short. For instance, they promised two years of battery life but were dying in six weeks. They promised they would be super accurate, but they spent too much time trying to find the things that they had tagged to know exactly where they were. They just weren’t getting there.
That’s when we started our first product line. It was initially funded internally, and then the U.S. Air Force funded about $1.2 million of further development of the technology.
Is the tech in use right now?
Wagner: We are currently at Dyess Air Force Base, tracking aerospace ground equipment for the 7th Bomb Wing assigned to the Global Strike Command Eighth Air Force. They are already lining up funding for the next two bases to start tracking assets across those bases.
Who is the customer for this tech?
Wagner: Health care systems, big industrial manufacturing facilities…those types of things. Our product is also used in the retail sector to monitor product display effectiveness and interaction, as well as store operations and process flow.
What are the advantages of having a startup in Ohio?
Wagner: In Silicon Valley and New York, funders are starting to recognize the possibilities in the middle of the country. They’re starting to do more funding, and I think it's going to open up more.
Gain tech insight and network with industry experts
at Techfest Louisville, August 26-27
Join the Technology Association of Louisville (TALK) on August 26 and 27 for Techfest Louisville. You will learn from expert panels in the areas of edge computing, 5G & broadband, cybersecurity and how to combat social isolation with technology. This year’s Techfest will be at Noble Funk Brew Co., (922 S. Second St. in Louisville). TALK's TechFest Louisville is a biennial summit designed to bring together technology professionals for learning and networking.
2PM: “The Techfest 2021 Zero Trust Panel.” Moderator: Da-Wyone Haynes, Cyber Product Owner, Aegon Global Technology Operations. Panelists: Colin Glover, Cybersecurity Advisor, CISA; Jay Rollins, Founder, CloudNexus IT.
3PM: A Candid Conversation: “Cloud & Edge Computing Virtues & Angst”— Speakers: Arvin Singh, Managing Director of 5G & Edge innovation, Verizon & Tyler Smith, Cloud Solutions Consultant of RapidScale.
4PM: “A Look At Broadband & 5G in Kentucky: Issues, Solutions, & Progress.” Moderator: Dawn Yankeelov, CEO of TALK and President of Aspectx. Panelists: Tom Ferree, CEO of Connected Nation; Phillip Brown, Government Affairs Mgr., Crown Castle; and Bryan Eugene, Channel Sales Manager, Spectrum.
1PM: University of Louisville Trager Institute Panel: “Combatting Social Isolation: Tech Solutions Underway.” Moderator: Dr. Anna Faul, Ph.D. Executive Director, UofL Trager Institute, PhD. The Institute’s Panelists: Dr. Joseph D’Ambrosio, PhD: Dr. Pam Yankeelov, PhD; Barbara Gordon, Community Engagement.
DURHAM, NC—A new training program at the Durham Technical Community College will prepare students for good-paying, entry-level jobs in North Carolina’s growing agricultural biotechnology industry. Agriculture is the state’s largest industry, with an annual economic impact of about $96 billion across food, fiber and forestry production.
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN—Purdue University engineer Ramses Martinez has been hard at work, making IoT more practical for everyday use. His inventions include a way to change the volume of your music by touching your clothes and disposable smart bandages that can monitor a wound for you. Martinez is an expert in cyberphysical interaction and an assistant professor of industrial engineering and biomedical engineering.
DAYTON, OH—A new report from real estate firm CBRE designates Dayton as a top “emerging” technology hub. According to the report, the Dayton metro area’s tech employment in 2020 was 18,930, with growth in technology jobs in the past five years pegged at 31% and tech wages at just over $90,000.
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FUELING THE FUTURE
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
CARY, NC—Quantum computing firm Atom Computing closed on a $15 million round, and has named Rob Hays, Lenovo's former chief strategy officer, as its new CEO who will open the company in Cary. The firm chose the location for its close proximity to potential partners, as well as the quantum-versed talent at nearby IBM, Microsoft, and North Carolina State University.
DURHAM, NC—Solid-state cooling and heating technology firm Phononic has secured a $50 million infusion from Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-focused fund to support the global demand for sustainable innovations that address climate change.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Software scale-up Greenlight Guru inked a deal with JMI Equity for $120 million — the largest single investment ever in an Indiana tech company. Greenlight Guru is known for pioneering a new category of quality management software specifically designed to boost the success of medical devices.
PITTSBURGH, PA—Argo AI and Ford announced plans to launch at least 1,000 self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s ride-hailing network in a number of cities over the next five years. Lyft users will be able to make reservations for Ford L4 autonomous vehicles in designated areas through the app. The car model used will be the Ford Escape Hybrid, which will be equipped with human safety operators.
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NAME THAT FLYOVER CITY!
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
Here are the questions:
In what U.S. city would you find the first international vehicular tunnel in the world?
In what city was the pop-up toaster invented?
This city has a song with the same name that has the lyrics “On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine.”