Aethon wins grand prize in Cisco Growing with Technology Awards 2007

Pittsburgh 10 October 2007Aethon Inc. has been recognized by Cisco for its innovative use of networking technology to redefine hospital supply chain logistics, winning the grand prize in the Operational Excellence category in the Cisco Growing with Technology Awards 2007. Winners were announced October 9 during a ceremony in Redwood Shores, California. Aethon's core product, the TUG mobile robot, eliminates a major bottleneck in the delivery of health care - it roams autonomously throughout hospitals, delivering goods and supplies from point-to-point without a person pushing the cart. TUG is used in more than 100 hospitals by central supply, dietary units, laboratories, laundry rooms, mail rooms, materials management, medical records, nursing, pharmacy and other departments.


Every aspect of Aethon's automated delivery system relies on the Internet and networking technologies. Virtual private networks (VPNs), servers, and a wireless client on the robot allow interaction with the customer; unmanned utilization of elevators, traffic and intersection planning; and remote recovery and help desk support. Aethon utilizes the Cisco PIX Firewall and Adaptive Security Appliance to manage VPN traffic. The company also uses the Cisco Aironet wireless adapters in the robots, and has been able to authenticate to the diverse array of wireless protocols used by its customers.

Customers launch the robot via a touch screen, which communicates the routes wirelessly. The robot communicates back position updates, live pictures, and even battery readings. The robot also signals elevators wirelessly and roams throughout the facility using a revolutionary navigational system that enables mobile robotic applications using nothing more than the building's existing structure. Aethon's internal operations depend on the remote connections to each customer over the VPN, and the wireless connection over access points and controllers to the wireless adapter on the robot. This allows Aethon's help desk to have real-time monitoring and control of the robots.

The Cisco Growing with Technology Awards programme was created to recognize small and midsize organisations from across the United States and Canada that use networking technology in innovative ways to improve sales and marketing, expand and deliver superior service to customers, improve operational efficiencies, or outpace their competition. The winners of the programme represent their industries and constituencies as role models, showcasing best practices on the use of technology to address business challenges, compete more effectively and fuel success. A panel of 10 judges selected 15 winners in five categories from more than 570 applications.

"This award is a significant achievement for Aethon because it validates our unique approach to redefining hospital supply chain logistics", stated Aldo Zini, CEO of Aethon. "Thanks to the Cisco networking technologies, Aethon's customers are at ease knowing that the company can monitor and recover their TUG robots remotely at any time. Help desk calls are resolved on average within two minutes, with most of the questions and inquiries being addressed immediately. This allows Aethon to provide the highest level of support to maintain excellent customer relationships."

"The Cisco Growing with Technology Awards programme celebrates the entrepreneurial approach that leading small and midsized businesses are taking towards the adoption of technology. This year's winners exemplify the Cisco Smart Business approach to technology adoption", stated Peter Alexander, vice president of Business Marketing at Cisco. "Being a 'smart business' means using technology to improve internal business processes: working smarter instead of harder. As one of this year's winners, Aethon is ahead of its peers in terms of being a smart business. We hope other organisations will be inspired by Aethon's creative and resourceful approach to harnessing the Internet and networking technology to set itself apart from its peers."

This year's panel of judges comprises a diverse cross-section of experts in the field of small and medium business operations. Members include Ken Bast, vice president, Ingram Micro; Ray Boggs, vice president of small and medium business research, IDC; Deb Mielke, president and managing director, Treillage Network Strategies; Joslyn Faust, principal research analyst, Gartner; Lisa Buksbaum, CEO and founder, Soaringwords; Mika Krammer, director of Windows Client Mobility Marketing, Microsoft Corporation; David Morgan, president, D.W. Morgan; Elspeth Jane Murray, assistant professor, Queen's School of Business in Canada; Joni Podolsky, director of community programmes, Entrepreneurs Foundation; and Joe Diodati, senior director, Global Field Marketing Integration, Cisco.

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Aethon is an expert in affordable autonomous mobile robots for practical business applications. In health care, the company's automated technology platform is redefining hospital supply chain logistics by automating the location, delivery and recovery of key assets. The net result of Aethon's low-cost, easy-to-install RFID-based asset utilization solution is improved caregiver efficiency and satisfaction, increased asset utilization, decreased equipment rentals, increased patient safety and satisfaction, and improved regulatory compliance. More than 100 hospitals nationwide have deployed Aethon's robots. Aethon is a privately held, venture backed company. It has raised $22,5 million from Innovation Works, Draper Triangle Ventures, Salix Ventures, Ascension Health Ventures and Pacific Venture Group, among others.

Leslie Versweyveld

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