Emerging Wilmington company makes waves in video monitoring
Apr 25, 2010 (Star-News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
An emerging Wilmington company makes it possible for a longtime Wilmington businessman to surf the warm waters of Nicaragua and keep an eye on the store at the same time -- and in real time.
The product of the same company lets a Raleigh man monitor his boat in Wrightsville Beach from his computer -- or cell phone -- at home or from anywhere Internet service is available.
It's services such as these that Rogo LLC, 620 Market St., hopes will propel it into a nationwide force in video monitoring as a service, or VMaaS, said Cyrus Chipman, chief technical officer of Rogo and designer of the software used in its products.
A patent is pending on the Rogo monitoring system, a use of existing technologies -- USB, IP and wireless cameras, for instance -- "that are easy and not expensive to use," said Rogo CEO David Shucavage as he headed to Pinehurst last week to seek $2.5 million in capital. "It will allow the company to open up VMaaS to the masses," he said.
Though Rogo now is offering its system directly to businesses and consumers -- customers include Sweetwater Surf Shop and Port City Java cafes -- its big hope for a very profitable future lies in a deal it recently closed with Hargray Communications, the cable/Internet/cell phone provider for Hilton Head, S.C.
The Rogo system is licensed to Hargray, and "They are actually selling it under their brand name, MySight," Shucavage said.
"A cable or Internet provider could sell this to all their existing customers," Shucavage said. "Many companies are selling VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), and now you can add video monitoring."
Rogo makes its money through licensing and per-user fees, he said.
"As a business we're hoping that Time Warner would carry it to their customers," he said.
Rogo is pushing further with its telecom vision right now. "We're talking with regional and national telecommunications leaders," Chipman said, though the company would not name them.
Rogo, which the Greater Wilmington Business Journal has selected as best emerging company of the year, will be presenting to the Rocket Pitch Event Wednesday at the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, which attracts local angel investors looking for good opportunities.
Though Rogo is emerging as a company, it leaves a trail of sand that stretches back to the beaches of Nicaragua.
Retailer/surfer Jim Mincher has owned the Two Wheeler Dealer bike shop at 4408 Wrightsville Ave. for 35 years.
As he spoke in his shop with Rogo's Chipman, he brought up his surfing trip to the Central American country.
Mincher said that while there he could head to the nearest cafe with Internet access and see his business running.
But he said he likes the Rogo product "for the history.
"I wish we would have had it during the break-in," he recalled. The action, the time and the burglar would have been caught on video, Mincher added. And the video can be saved for days for review later.
Rogo's leadership is optimistic about short- and long-term growth -- the next generation of service that will allow homeowners or others to not only have visual monitoring but to remotely operate systems such as lights and thermostats, as well, said Chipman, who's from Upstate New York but has lived in Wilmington for 20 years.
"We have a huge potential to create a lot of jobs here, and expand the tech sector here," Chipman said. "I see a glass building beside PPD."
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