Welcome to Stella Yoon's world. As CEO of cStar Technologies Inc., a
small Toronto-based, high-tech company with a big vision, Yoon is
tapping into a market that is bigger than the Internet; and a market
that needs a low-cost, effective way to manage its remote assets and
operations. She calls it "Wave III" of the Internet revolution and her
company is leading the way.
Using a unique technology her team developed
and patented, cStar is connecting non-IT devices, which are not
primarily designed for remote data communication, to an IT world,
through wireless WAN, LAN, or power lines, eliminating the need to
install cables or phone lines. And cStar is starting with vending
"Now the vending market is opening. It has been waiting a long time for an
affordable, extremely fast, secure, two-way data exchange," explained
Yoon. "We can offer remote data communication at a very low cost and
that is due to the scalability of our products." And that is the
cornerstone of Yoon's philosophy - to make sure technology is affordable
and accessible to everyone.
"Monitoring systems have been around for ten
years but it was too early," she added. "Technology was not robust and
the price was humongous so it didn't make financial sense then." But
that has changed with the introduction of cStar's SkyGate® and
DirectGate®, a wireless telemetry system bundled with software.
Take an ordinary snack or beverage machine. Sit a small antenna on top of the
machine and have it transmit data, through wireless LAN, WAN or power
lines, to a console sitting in a company's main office. The information
gathered will help that company increase its sales and decrease its
costs by effectively monitoring each machine. The system checks on the
amount of product available in each slot, the amount of money in the
cash box, the temperature inside the machine and alerts the operator of
any repair problems or vandalism.
"How many times have vending
professionals stopped at a location only to find they didn't have to go
there that day? They are completely in the dark," explained Yoon. "Now
they can know in an instant what they need for each machine and can plan
The biggest challenge for the vending industry, according to
Yoon, is finding cost-effective ways of stocking and servicing machines
in the field. cStar's technology can network all the vending machines
in a building or complex to one wireless device, via low-cost PLC (Power
Line Carrier) or a wireless LAN device, which sends data from all the
machines, to handheld devices, laptops, desktops and servers using a
variety of protocols and connection methods.
But cStar's technology is
not only for large vending operations. The company has solutions for
smaller operators at affordable prices. cStar is opening the market with
Computer Associates (CA, www.ca.com), a leader in eBusiness management
solutions to offer monitoring services through CA's Optimal Vending
Solution (OVS) powered by Unicenter.
For more information on cStar's
monitoring solutions call Thomas Flynn at 416-739-8484, ext. 216 or
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Shown here are vending machines with cStar's
MVC-600 & MVC-800 Power Line Carrier series
(PLC) nodes, tandem connected, point-to-point
and cluster connected point-to-multipoint
configurations, between vending machine lead
controller boards. The nodes send and receive
data along building, electrical wiring, enabling
two machines in tandem, or more, to operate as