Kinesix Software''s Russ Jamerson and KX EDGE Featured in eWeek Podcast
May 18, 2006 (Houston, TX.) - Houston-based Kinesix Software, an HTC Client, was featured in a recent eWeek Infraspectrum podcast to discuss Kinesix’s newly released KX EDGE application-development suite, a real-time graphics product based on Microsoft’s much-anticipated .NET architecture. During the podcast, which took place on April 28, eWeek technology editor Peter Coffee interviewed Kinesix CEO Russ Jamerson about the features and capabilities of KX EDGE.
The podcast is posted at http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1955278,00.asp, and the transcript has been reprinted below.
Transcript of eWeek Podcast – “eWeek Infraspectrum,” 4-28-06
In this Infraspectrum podcast, Peter Coffee examines infrastructure management on the move, discussing enterprise applications of telematics technologies based on new research from Accenture, and explores asset management and real-time decision support tools in conversations with tech leaders at SFW and Kinesix.
Peter Coffee: Welcome to eWeek Infraspectrum – this is Peter Coffee with eWeek Labs, bringing you this week’s full-spectrum scan of developments in enterprise infrastructure technology, practice, and governance. I have three perspectives to share with you this week about infrastructure issues that literally reach from the basement below your office, to earth’s orbit in space. You probably have infrastructure management challenges on your own sites that include a lot more than cables, disks, and CPUs. You also have the physical plant with its interdependent systems with electricity, plumbing, heating and cooling, and of course physical security to keep an eye on it all. Databases of repair histories, contracts describing maintenance agreements and schedules, and health or security logs that document workplace incidents are in important but quite likely separate sets of critical information.
Peter Coffee: My guest this week helps bring to reality those information-rich control rooms that you see at the center of any number of thriller movies. Russell Jamerson is the president and CEO of Kinesix Software. We spoke this week about his company’s work in enabling the in-orbit operations of Bigelow Aerospace, a private-sector firm that will soon be flight-testing inflatable space habitats. Kinesix released this week its KX EDGE real-time graphical display system development kit, a product using Microsoft’s .NET frame work, which Bigelow will be using in its critical launch and development operations.
Peter Coffee: Help me understand the kind of environment we’re going to be operating in. We’re talking about devices that are in orbit going through some dynamic configuration changes in a situation where if anything gets even slightly abnormal you need to respond pretty much instantly – is that the essence of it?
Russell Jamerson: Yes, everything is in real-time. We’ve got 200 feet that would be feeding into a control room or operations center with respect to our aerospace-type application. Those parameters are being monitored 24-7, and it’s a stream of data. Obviously it’s very hard to pick out anomalies or trends within just a stream of data in text or character form. So we want to be able to put that into some visual plot or animation that makes it easier to make a decision right then and there.
Peter Coffee: So I guess there are two aspects of this to be considered. One is the upstream side, simply the matter of getting the data through the pipe and into the facility where your decision makers are based. And then the other question is the work that I’m sure you’ve done on the whole human-factors considerations, of how best to present information so that the exceptional is quickly apparent and doesn’t get buried in the masses. Let me ask, with the questions on the upstream side, did you have to do anything in particular to ensure the prompt and reliable flow of information from orbit, or is that a pretty well solved problem?
Russell Jamerson: It kind of gets broken down into two main pieces. Pulling the stream from orbit or satellite feed is typically done by the customers that we work with; they grab that data as raw data and bring it down to a ground station. Moving it from a ground station to a control room is where we step in. We help them distribute that data. We have to make sure the data can get moved around to the machines that need it, whether it’s in a control room, to a remote user, whether it’s around the world, whether it’s to a desktop or a PDA, whatever it may be. So we have to be very careful about managing that data and making sure that it doesn’t get bottled up in any particular place.
Peter Coffee: What are the key technologies, or perhaps outside service providers, that you’re applying to meet that need?
Russell Jamerson: Well, I think there’s a number of different technologies that come into play depending on what the customer is actually looking for, but some of the new web-services technologies allow us to distribute the data fairly easily once both ends’ applications are set up – meaning the applications are sending the data and then the applications might be receiving at this point. The web services technologies through Java and Microsoft have started to make it where almost everyone connected can connect to this data.
Peter Coffee: And so the benefit then, from your point of view, is that the supply-side application and the demand-side application don’t need to be developed as a unified system, but can instead couple in a more dynamic way using standard protocols.
Russell Jamerson: Yeah, exactly. It’s a very loosely configured total solution where a back-end application – perhaps even a middleware application – that is configuring the data may be massaging and filtering it. And then the front-end data might be used as a decision making tool could be developed completely separately, just by following a few rules that are defined by these protocols.
Peter Coffee: And what are some of the insights that you’ve developed on the presentation side, of meeting the needs of rapid recognition of an emerging situation and making that information available to decision-makers?
Russell Jamerson: Over the past 10 or 12 years, Kinesix has been really focused on the human factors side. How do we present the data? How do we help the customers present the data that will help them make decisions traditionally in real-time – meaning the data’s in front of them, they don’t have to take it offline and run it through a spread sheet or some offline application, but they are able to visualize it and look at it right there on there computer, whether it’s on their desktop or in the control room. One of the obstacles that we continue to run into, that our customers run into, is the ability to build sophisticated, rich user interfaces without sacrificing all of their resources that are typically better spent on the data or the specific domain that they are used to – whether it’s aerospace telemetry, satellite command control, medical parameters, whatever it may be. So bringing in certain tools to help them develop these user interfaces very quickly, and being able to use those and distribute them, and being able to visualize that data in real-time with those applications, tends to save them a tremendous amount of time.
Peter Coffee: Are there any top-level rules that you would advance to someone that’s thinking about this kind of task? I mean, would you tell them don’t rely on audio, don’t rely on graphs and lines, look for use of color? Are there any major somatic ideas that you found to be important top-level rules for what works and doesn’t work?
Russell Jamerson: Well, it’s pretty much industry-specific. You know, each industry that we deal with has its own sets of rules, but in general there are some standards that you have to go by – such as making sure you can work without a mouse in case you’re in a mouseless environment. You can only work with a keyboard, using the keyboard to traverse the various menus or windows or displays that may be on the screen any particular time. Also, reducing the layout of a particular display so that you know it’s going to fit on a standard display. You can’t always assume that all of the users of the application are going to have a large 19” or 21” monitor.
Peter Coffee: So the standard Hollywood depiction of the situation room of the wall-size screens is still a long way from reality.
Russell Jamerson: Well, I think it’s there, but in limited use. I think when you see the control rooms on television, whether it’s NASA or whatever it may be, what you’re not seeing is that supporting those 15 or 20 or maybe 100 engineers that are in a control room are another 100 or maybe 500 in the back rooms that are doing a lot of the work, who have their own work stations who actually are concentrating on specific tasks that are relevant to them.
Peter Coffee: Thanks for joining us for this scan of enterprise infrastructure issues. We hope you’ll be back with us next week for another addition of eWeek Infraspectrum. I’m Peter Coffee with eWeek Labs.
About Kinesix Software
Kinesix Software is the developer of KX EDGE and Sammi, graphics tools used by more than 20,000 mission-command and process-control workers. Its products allow users to build custom graphical displays that animate and manage massive volumes of streaming data across dozens – or even hundreds – of workstations. With KX EDGE and Sammi, users see full-color dashboards, instead of rudimentary numeric readings or basic, conventional GUIs. While the products are often categorized as graphics products, their real value lies in their proven ability to display live data across a network of command and control systems. Kinesix is based in Houston, Tx. To learn more visit www.kinesix.com.
Houston Technology Center
Houston Technology Center (HTC) is a business accelerator that assists Houston-based emerging technology companies in key sectors such as: Energy, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Nanotechnology and NASA-originated technologies. See www.houstontech.org for more information.
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