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July 10, 2017 Focus: Bioscience

Upward Hartford's international appeal

HBJ PHOTO | John Stearns Boaz Zilberman, CEO of Tel Aviv-based Project Ray, demonstrates the company's software application that allows blind and visually impaired people to operate smartphones.

Meidad Vaknin, owner, CEO and chief technology officer of AMnetpro, a Bogotá, Colombia-based company, plans to lease office space in Upward Hartford, initially for three engineers and hopefully grow from there. He said he's drawn, in part, by the region's student-talent pipeline.

His company developed a telemetry system using low-energy circuits for remote monitoring of different variables and processes for myriad industries.

The system reports only when there's an issue or to provide status updates, which consumes less electromagnetic spectrum and energy than constant reporting of data, he said.

Vaknin likened his system to patients calling medics only when they have a problem, not calling every day to say they're OK.

AMnetpro develops electronic circuits for the Internet of Things, machine to machine, telemetry and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). Its InBeeBox, a remote terminal unit, can receive and transmit performance information and uses artificial intelligence to become an extension of engineers, Vaknin said.

Using operational models and virtual intelligence, InBeeBox can perform real-time analysis and provide operators the best course of action, or take actions and only inform the operator about them, he said.

Meantime, AMnetpro's cloud application, SCADACenter, stores performance information in the cloud, allowing operators anywhere to analyze the data as it flows and reduce operating costs.

In coming to Hartford, Vaknin sees a pipeline of young talent in the region, engineering students with open minds who haven't been “contaminated” by process and procedure.

“They apply mathematics, they don't apply experience,” and are sponges willing to investigate, learn and teach, he said.

While cities like Boston may be better known for their universities, Vaknin believes smaller towns produce good workers.

AMnetpro's Hartford office will be its second sister office, following another in Israel.

The company has worked in a similar collaborative environment in Israel and likes its network of professionals.

“What we find in Hartford is exactly that, it's a place where you have the university, and young people that want to learn, and environment where you can have many companies that can contribute one to another moving forward,” he said.

Boaz Zilberman, CEO and co-founder of Tel Aviv-based Project Ray, had already discovered the networking benefit of Upward Hartford during a visit June 15-16. Project Ray has a software application that allows blind and visually impaired people to operate smartphones and social apps.

He met a public relations person who introduced him to Hartford city officials who deal with the visually impaired and who refreshed his contact with the Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS), a Windsor-based broadcast station that provides audio access to print information for people who are blind.

“A few seconds and you got the connection that you need because of sharing the experience and working in the same world,” said Zilberman, who plans to hire an employee for Upward Hartford this fall.

Boston or New York would be too big to offer that kind of access, he said, but Hartford is close enough to serve his company's work in those areas.

“So it ended up to be quite an interesting place, less expensive, with a benefit of a small environment,” making it easier to meet stakeholders and government and social agencies, he said.

Collaborative work environments are common in Israel and Zilberman knows their value, having worked in them and having started four companies.

“It's unbelievable how important this networking and this relation with other people is for a startup company,” he said.

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