Last of the Old School Startups -- Ignoring Conventional Wisdom, a New Technology Company Builds Computer Hardware Products by Hand in Founder’s Garage

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Disgusted by the high stress and often poorly managed Seattle area software industry, Zan Oliphant left corporate America in September of 2003 to form a new company called Zanware – a play on his name. The company was founded to create a line of products that provide a low cost, generic, and simple interface to remotely located computers running the Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems. Zanware is currently seeking funding for volume production of its products.

Disgusted by the high stress and often poorly managed Seattle area software industry, Zan Oliphant left corporate America in September of 2003 to form a new company called Zanware – a play on his name.

“I wanted to create a line of hybrid products – products that require both hardware and software development, and that use TCP/IP to communicate between the two,” said Oliphant. “Fellow engineers in the industry warned me that the days of hand crafting hardware in the garage are over, and new technology required massive amounts of capital just to get started,” he added.

By April of 2004 Zanware released it’s first product, the Zanware PC Controller, a powerful, yet low cost remote TCP/IP controller for your personal computer. Each controller mounts in a standard UL 3-gang box, and is powered through the Cat5 Ethernet cable. Just like any networked computer, the controller has an IP address, and communicates through the TCP protocol to your networked Windows (soon Linux and Macintosh) computer.

These wall-mounted controllers receive user input from an optical encoder with attached knob, an infrared receiver with included remote control, a temperature sensor, and a light sensor. Input is immediately packaged and sent to the PC server for processing. For output, or information for the user, the controller provides a 128 by 64 pixel graphical LCD, status LED, and small beeper.

“Think of these controllers as terminals to your personal computer. Through TCP/IP, the controller talks to server software running on your PC. Our server software, through the use of XML, provides a powerful menu system, that lets you control a variety of local media, Internet based media, home automation, and other such tasks,” explained Oliphant.

Through the use of XML and Jscript modules, the Zanware server software allows users to easily add and change features. Currently shipping with the product is support for Internet Radio, Internet TV, Media Player, Internet Explorer for web browsing, digital pictures, Power Point presentations, HomeSeer home automation, RSS feeds, and animated GIFs. The server software leverages the power of Microsoft Windows Graphic Device Interface (GDI), and builds each LCD screen first in a small 128 by 64 pixel window. Once the screen is built, it’s shipped out to the network for display on the controller’s LCD. This all happens within milliseconds.

The road ahead for Zanware will be challenging. Now that the company’s first product is on the market, it’s time to re-engineer that product with an eye towards mass production. In addition, Zanware has two more products in the pipeline that are due for release in the next few quarters. The company is currently seeking investors to help fund volume production runs for the entire product line.

“We are proud of the progress that we have made with very little money. Bootstrapping a hardware company with today’s highly integrated technology is difficult,” said Oliphant. “However, with the current investor climate, we feel that creating the product first was the right thing – it’s almost impossible to sell only a business plan to investors these days.”

For additional information, contact Zanware by visiting our web site below.

About Zanware

Zanware was founded in September of 2003 to create a line of products that provide a low cost, generic, and simple interface to remotely located computers. Its founder, Zan Oliphant, now solely owns the company. The company is currently seeking funding for volume production of its products.

Contact Information:

Zan Oliphant, President

Zanware

425.814.5987

http://www.zanware.com

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Zan Oliphant
Zanware
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