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Pittsburgh-Based NetBeez Uses A Swarm Mentality In Helping Offices Stay Connected

Mark Nootbaar
90.5 WESA
NetBeez Co-founders Stefano Gridelli (L) and Panickos Neophytous hold the small devices that are installed at remote offices to help IT professionals monitor connectivity.

When a company grows and adds satellite offices, it can often be difficult for the main office to stay connected to its remote locations.

Pittsburgh-based company NetBeez connects each site.

“I was imagining, you know, a lot of devices that are buzzing in the network and having all these devices they work like a swarm,” NetBeez co-founder Panickos Neophytou said. “It was a network of bees, so NetBeez came to mind and that is when we adopted the name.”

The company maintains connectivity between a company’s offices through the use of a computer stationed at each location and probes that track connectivity. The computer feeds back second-by-second data that immediately alerts NetBeez if there’s loss of connection between offices or the company’s website goes down.  

“And from there you can pinpoint the root cause of a problem,” co-founder Stefano Gridelli said. “They can detect this problem before you actually suffer the consequences.”

For NetBeez customer Kingston Technology, finding the problem quickly and fixing it while it’s still small is extremely important.

“We rely heavily on getting product out the door and so if the services are off line, that obviously comes down to dollars at the end of the day,” said Kingston senior network administrator David Flores.

The California-based company has offices around the world from the U.S. to Russia. With NetBeez, Flores said he can check the health of the network at each of those remote offices. He gets an email when NetBeez sends up a red flag. Activity logs also help him track down a recurring problem or bad internet service provider.

“Maybe a job that runs is interrupted and we have to look at the historical trend for that particular location,” Flores said.

As robust as the monitoring might be, Gridelli said outages are unavoidable.

“But what you can improve is the time it takes you from the outage to reestablish your network services,” he said.

Gridelli said the swarm concept helps differentiate NetBeez from others in the business. Because they use inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware, they can afford to scatter around more probes.

“That means you have better coverage compared to proprietary hardware that really limits your options,” Gridelli said.

Flores said he sends NetBeez hardware to his offices on various continents to be installed by local staff. It’s designed so that anyone can plug a computer into a network and get the system and up and running, Neophytou said.

NetBeez was launched in 2013 and the co-founders said it has already started to turn a profit.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.