Wireless Applications

ZigBee Printing Device Management Application Developed

February 21, 2007

First ZigBee application for printing device management is developed by Tendril and METERCONTROL, Inc., enables remote monitoring and management of copiers and printers for companies, institutions.


DENVER, CO /PRNewswire/ -- Tendril, the leader in network operating platform software for building, deploying and managing ZigBee wireless sensor networks, has collaborated with METERCONTROL, Inc. to develop and begin deploying a first-of-its-kind remote monitoring application that utilizes a ZigBee network to wirelessly monitor and manage printing devices. The application that Tendril and METERCONTROL have collaborated on streamlines and automates the process of remotely monitoring and managing copiers and printers in large-campus environments such as corporate facilities and educational institutions. Burnsville, MN-based METERCONTROL, which was founded three years ago solely for the development of a remote meter access solution, has collaborated with Tendril on this project through a customer agreement that allows METERCONTROL to leverage Tendril's technology and development services.

In large-campus environments, the high number of printing devices and their disparate locations create numerous challenges for those responsible for labor-intensive administrative tasks such as measuring usage, monitoring device health and responding to malfunctions. The Tendril/METERCONTROL application will simplify those administrative and technical management functions by using a ZigBee network to bridge the gap between those printing devices and an enterprise's traditional computing systems.

The application will utilize a ZigBee network that allows end users to wirelessly monitor and manage copier and printer usage by reading signals delivered by a small ZigBee device attached to each copier or printer. Additional functionality will include monitoring health-related data such as temperature, toner level, paper jams and other indicators. This information will allow end users to be proactive in identifying and responding to issues that affect the performance and availability of these devices.

"This is a pioneering application of ZigBee that leverages Web services to extend the Web out to everyday objects that have never before been integrated with enterprise computing systems. Remote monitoring is an exciting application area for ZigBee because low-power wireless networks are ideal for streamlining the process of monitoring and managing usage, system health and maintenance," said Adrian Tuck, CEO of Tendril. "A ZigBee application provides a secure way of achieving this by providing an overlay network and associated application that allows remote monitoring and service of devices that are interconnected using ZigBee/802.15.4 sensors and actuators. We are happy to be collaborating with METERCONTROL to bring this first-of-its-kind solution to market, and we look forward to doing more pioneering work in the ZigBee deployment field."

METERCONTROL will bring the remote monitoring solution to market by working with end-user customers to implement custom deployments of the remote monitoring application.

"Tendril's technology and its expertise in rapid building and deployment of ZigBee applications has been a great asset to us," said Jim Braje, CEO of METERCONTROL. "This wireless application will address a significant pain point for office machine vendors who distribute printing devices in large organizations, and it does so in a way that is cost-effective, secure and easy to manage. The feedback we have gotten from prospective customers is very positive, and we believe that there will be strong market demand for wireless monitoring solutions with the foundational operating capabilities that Tendril has integrated into this application."

The remote monitoring application creates an Ethernet-to-ZigBee-to- Ethernet bridge that enables a single host PC to poll large numbers of copiers and printers for usage information. The host computer is able to perform this function wirelessly and securely without being connected to the same LAN as the printing device. A key element of the application is the Tendril Access wireless gateway, a user-friendly, flexible access point designed specifically as a gateway between wired networks and ZigBee networks. Additional development work will enable the application to create an Ethernet- to-ZigBee-to-Serial bridge, which will support remote monitoring of an even broader array of devices.

Adrian Tuck added: "Tendril is able to support customers in a variety of ways to ensure the success of their ZigBee deployments. Tendril's network operating platform dramatically simplifies the process of building, commissioning, provisioning, securing, monitoring and managing ZigBee networks. And Tendril's professional services give customers like METERCONTROL access to one of the most experienced teams in the wireless sensor network industry -- which speeds time to market for applications of ZigBee technology."

The Tendril network operating platform allows organizations to fully leverage the power of ZigBee implementations that integrate different types of low-power sensors/actuators with traditionally networked computing systems. The distributed platform provides an integrated server and device-side "agent," along with associated network bridging software, for monitoring, managing, and integrating ZigBee networks. This approach allows OEMs to integrate wireless networking capabilities into their products in less than a week and provides system integrators with the ability to quickly add well- monitored ZigBee applications to deployments in the field.

For more information about METERCONTROL's wireless remote monitoring application, please visit the company's Web site.

About METERCONTROL, Inc.
METERCONTROL, Inc. is a new organization formed by entrepreneurs with over 50 years of experience in the engineering and technical areas encompassed within the office automation environment. When ZigBee networks made their appearance three years ago, the group foresaw a long awaited solution to the meter capture issues faced by office machine dealers.


About Tendril
Tendril is uniquely positioned to catapult the "Internet of Things" economy to critical mass by assimilating everyday electrical things into the enterprise computing environment. Our focus is on network operations and deployment -- the next big stage of the Wireless Sensor and Control Network industry. We make software that allows companies to build, deploy and manage these networks. With this approach, Tendril can address the macro trends of energy efficiency, security, life expectance and connectedness that will generate new revenue streams for companies in the industrial and building automation, physical security and home automation industries. For more information about Tendril visit the company's Web site.

ZigBee: Wireless Control That Simply Works
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost effective, low-power, wirelessly networked, monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance membership comprises technology providers and original equipment manufacturers worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found here.

Tendril, Tendril Access and Network Operating Platform are trademarks of Tendril Networks. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Rich Miller, +1-303-539-6933, rmiller@trippecompany.com, for Tendril.


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