cStar's Route Manager can capture information remotely from any machines equipped with their wireless telemetry

It Focus on Manufacturing & Retail, Vol. 3, Issue 7 - September 2002, page 9.

cStar aids remote data access


Real-time transfer of testing data in the auto industry, machine diagnostics and monitoring of any remote equipment, and drive-by metre reading for the utility and energy sectors are some examples of where the wireless telemetry technology developed by cStar Technologies Inc. of Toronto could be deployed, suggests Solbyung (Stella) Yoon.

Enabling machine to machine or machine to human communication for the computer processors not already connected to the Internet is a key ambition for the Toronto-based company. As president and CEO, Yoon hopes her company's patented technology will play a major role in providing a communication link to what she estimates as the 98 per cent - numbering perhaps as many as 60 billion - of the world's computers that are not linked to the Internet.

"cStar has the competitive advantage because we have wireless WAN, wireless LAN and power line communication device. And we cover satellite connectivity, too. We are the only one in the world integrating all these," she boasts.

CStar developed the technology behind cell-phone vending-machine transactions where customers use their phones in place of loose change to make purchases at vending machines. Costs are debited to the user's cell phone bill.

The "intelligent vending" technology cStar deploys is also a wireless inventory/sales data capture and inventory management solution, according to cStar's publicist Ken Chiu. He notes that a vending machine can be networked via wireless LAN, WAN or even using the phone line to transfer data. The supply chain can be adjusted accordingly.

A vending operator en route to restock vending machines is now armed with timely sales data, knowing which machines require priority and which ones can wait another day. The delivery person can use a wireless-networked PDA to retrieve real-time inventory data to know exactly what is required in each machine before setting foot inside the building housing the machines.

The operator avoids bringing great quantities of each product flavour only to find one flavour requiring restocking. Vending machines automatically transmit warnings of problems, or allow head office to remotely adjust prices, Chiu explains.

cStar's SkyGate and DirectGate integrate with Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG vending solution to provide a management solution for non-IT devices that would otherwise be difficult to network - such as utility metres, courier drop boxes, ATMs, traffic lights, pipelines, freight and forestry controls, according to cStar. Thus machines are networked to transmit data using Internet protocols.

cStar's technology sends signals along the electrical power lines in a building. The authorized operator can retrieve the data from any Internet-connected computer whether in the building or from a specially equipped vehicle as it is driven within range. Yoon points out that automating processes saves time and labour costs. She adds that using a wireless LAN environment eliminates the cost of wireless airtime.

cStar's website can be reached at www.cstartech.com.

cStar's applications such as Route Manager can capture information remotely from any machines equipped with their wireless telemetry