Every few weeks, Hiram College News will profile a member of our alumni community. This week, we feature Art Geigel ’05, Vice President of Development and Co-Owner of iOTOS.
Alumni from the mid-2000s who remember groundbooth.com will not be surprised that Art Geigel ’05 is being recognized in the tech start-up industry.
As a student, Geigel launched groundbooth.com, open to Hiram College students, the same month and year as Facebook, and it included similar features and functionality. Within two months, almost the entire campus was using his site.
That was just the beginning for the tech-savvy entrepreneur. His company, iOTOS, was named the Northeast Ohio Software Association’s (NEOSA) “Most Promising Start Up” earlier this year. Geigel, who received his bachelor of arts in computer science, is the vice president of development and co-owner of the small tech company.
Geigel’s company makes a wireless chip that brings Internet connectivity to things such as door locks, garage doors, coffee makers, lights, stoves, wasters/dryers, toys, etc., allowing them to then be controlled via a smartphone app.
“Receiving the award was validation and recognition by our peers in the tech community that there is value in what we are doing,” Geigel said. “There is something there, and this award motivated us to a new level.”
In the near future, iOTOS plans to hire another employee and to introduce the neo-tap to bars and hotels (a beer tap that can be controlled with the wireless chip). Further down the road, Geigel sees a greater potential in hooking their technology up to equipment, ultimately helping companies save time and money. He also believes that because of Cleveland’s connection to the medical community, there is a very real possibility of bringing medical equipment online.
Even with all of this talk of expansion and future plans, it is not hard for Geigel to reminisce about when and where it all began. That may be because the seed for iOTOS was planted just a short two years ago when Geigel and his longtime friend Chris Armenio, president and co-founder, were working on their tech hobby: building a program that tweeted when a door was opened. It wasn’t long before the duo realized that they could expand this technology to do much more. Soon, they were able to send information to a light switch, telling it to turn on and off.
“That was kind of the aha moment for both of us, when we said, this has potential to be a business and not just a fun little thing,” he said. “It’s kind of rare, but Chris and I both have entrepreneurial natures; we have always had the kind of attitudes that we wanted to start something.”
Geigel said that his own entrepreneurial spirit combined with what he learned on the technical side of things from Hiram’s computer science department, helped push him to start iOTOS.
“Those concepts that you learn over your four years, they don’t die,” he said. “The computer languages change year to year and things get updated, but the core concepts that you learn in class are applicable all the time.
Geigel said that he is especially proud to be a Hiram College graduate, representing his alma mater in Northeast Ohio.
“Traditionally, I don’t think Hiram is well-known as a tech school or for turning out technically minded individuals,” he said. “It is kind of nice for me to be out there, speaking the praises of Hiram.”
Since he graduated, the college has done a lot surrounding entrepreneurship, most notably with the introduction of the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship, which Geigel said is a great asset to the college.
“In today’s economy and with people not being guaranteed a job when they come out of school, I think it is very important that Hiram treats the entrepreneurship center as more than just a passing thought,” he said. “The center should really be highlighted as something important in the Hiram College community.”
For more information on iOTOS or its products, visit the company’s website: https://www.iotos.net/.