Software eases work out in the field
Daily Mail staff
Friday June 22, 2007
Software developed by a Charleston entrepreneur is now being used in the United Kingdom.
Kent Milholland and his company, NeoNexus Corp., have developed a software meant to work in smartphones – modern phones that do the work of personal computers. The software is tailored to help engineers and other workers enter data from worksites.
As a blog on the company’s Web site says, “Imagine eliminating writing anything on paper when you are traveling to work locations so you can load your work directly into software when you return to the office. We can help you move into the 21st century with remote data collection.”
Milholland, 39, founded NeoNexus in 2005. The full-service Web technology firm has grown to offer a broad range of services.
Right now, the innovation that Milholland is glowing about is Pocket HiveMind, a personal assistant software named for the traits he says are shared by honeybees and businesses. “Big projects are kind of like a beehive with everyone working together,” Milholland said. At $1,200, the software allows a worker to send field data directly from the phone to home office computers.
His first application is designed to collect and configure chemistry and geology data for WindowsMicrosoft-based smartphones. Popular versions of smartphones are BlackBerry and Palm.
The Pocket HiveMind offers technicians who work in wet and dirty environments such as construction sites a more efficient way to capture data than a laptop or pen and paper, Milholland said.
“Even though they have great software to use in the office, guys in field are still writing stuff on paper,” Milholland said.
The company recently made a sale of the software to a British company called Environmental Simulations. The company became interested in Pocket HiveMind after having the kind of problems that are common with laptops on the job site. They get overheated, get dropped and get stolen, Milholland said.
“Our product has revolutionized the way that engineering firm works,” Milholland said. “Now technicians just clip smartphones to their belts, enter data on site, e-mail it to their project managers and move on to the next job. The reports get written before the field team even returns to the office.”
Milholland and his firm plan to customize the smartphone software for other industries closer to home, like real estate and construction companies.
Milholland says NeoNexus has sold two copies of the smartphone software so far, one in the United States and one in England. In addition, four U.S. companies are currently testing it for free.
His English client is so impressed with increased efficiency, the company is considering becoming a provider for the software in the European market, he said.
“So far, everyone has been excited that someone knows how to do this,” Milholland said.
The idea for the software came to Milholland when he observed most owners of smartphones using the devices only for phone or e-mail functions.
When he developed Pocket HiveMind software, Milholland attempted to display the broad computer-like capabilities and encourage further usage of the smartphones.
Developing the convenient software was not an easy feat, Milholland said. The project took 12 months longer than expected, he said. Milholland went through several companies before a New York-based company, Soft Incubator, was able to write an efficient code and complete the program in nine months. “We pulled many long days and consumed lots of caffeine to get this software to market, but the results are worth it,” Milholland said.
Milholland says “Pocket HiveMind,” like most technology, has minor glitches. “Because it uses airwaves to connect with Internet if you’re moving a lot of data, it’s a little slower,” Milholland said. “Same as with a computer, Windows will have to be reset every once in while.”
Milholland moved from Houston, Texas, to work for Columbia Gas in 1991. He now lives in Kanawha City with his wife, Jeannie, and their son, Michael, who is almost 4.
Milholland said the company has served the Web design needs of 20 local businesses. The company has four employees. NeoNexus’s corporate headquarters is located at 3501 MacCorkle Ave. in Charleston. The company also has an office in Wilmington, N.C.
Contact writer Elaine McMillion at firstname.lastname@example.org or 348- 4872.