Emerging Prairie 

  • By George Zarebski
  • 10 Apr, 2017

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Fargo-Moorhead

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MCP Networks launches beta of home network solution - Aerez

When Marc Perea woke one night to grab a drink of water, he was greeted by a familiar melody, a faint blue glow, and the sound of fingers click-clacking on a keyboard. He followed the clues to his family’s living room, where he found his then 8-year-old son Alex playing his favorite computer game, League of Legends, at 4 a.m. on a school night. Marc scooted Alex back off to bed and, along with wife Candice, began to research parental control software.

The more the Pereas researched, the more obvious it became that no existing product would fit their family’s needs. They had four kids and 30-some devices to manage, but Candice, a software developer, was working from home two days a week and could not afford to have her network connection slowed down by constant screenings. Besides, parental control at the computer level didn’t seem to deter Alex and his siblings from accessing the depths of the Internet at all hours of the night.

“If you’ve got kids that are smart– and kids are learning this stuff pretty quick– they find ways around it,” Candice said.
At the time, Candice and Marc were working with an old friend, George Zarebski, to build a startup called MCP Networks. The Minot-based company was looking into networking for businesses, with an emphasis on redundant Internet– configuring two network connections so that even if one fails, businesses can still have access to the Internet. But Zarebski was fighting a similar battle for bandwidth with his own kids, so the team turned their attention to home networks.

And MCP Networks’ first product, Aerez, was born.

A remote control for your home network

Aerez is a mobile app and router solution which uses the cloud to let you see and improve your home’s Internet connection– or, as the Pereas like to say, it “turns your cell phone into a remote control for your home network.”

The software’s smart algorithms allow users to balance the bandwidth allocated to each device, ensuring that every member of the household gets the Internet they need– meaning that while Alex is busy battling it out on the Field of Justice, Candice can still get her work done.
Aerez also helps take the “trouble” out of troubleshooting by alerting you to problems such as congestion on your network, a device that is consuming too much bandwidth, or a lost connection to your Internet service provider. That’s right– no more “just unplug it and plug it back in!” when Game of Thrones won’t stop buffering.

The parental control function of Aerez even gives you the power to stop time– okay, not really, but it does give you the power to pause the Internet on any or all devices in the home, which is pretty much the same thing. In addition to pausing the internet, Aerēz also provides a child-friendly content filter, safe search, screen time limits, and a bedtime blocker.

As for the hardware, Aerez offers two options: a basic router ($99) and a premium router ($199), which offers faster speed and better wifi. Both routers come with a three-month trial period, after which a subscription to the service will cost $10 a month.

The Pereas have tested Aerez with local families to an overwhelmingly positive response, and will go into public beta launch on August 1. With the feedback they receive from the beta test, they hope to refine the software and take it to Kickstarter.

Learn more about Aerez at 1 Million Cups this week, and visit aerez.net to sign up to be a part of the beta launch.

This content was originally posted at  https://www.emergingprairie.com/candice-perea-aerez/  

Recent News

Aerez in The News

By George Zarebski 10 Apr, 2017
While Minot might not be silicon valley, Connect Minot used their Wednesday meeting to showcase two tech start-ups currently based in the Magic City.

First up was George Zerebski of MCP Networks who shared his application Aerez with the group that morning. “Building this has been a great experience,” said Zerebski.

Aerez is an easy-to-use app with companion router system for households with multiple internet-using devices. Their web-based solution allows one to set hack-free parental controls, manage bandwidth usage, and pause the internet for specific users and/or devices at the touch of a button. Think of it like a super-powered remote control for one’s internet.

Zerebski said working out of Minot as opposed to a technology center like Silicon Valley or Austin’s Silicon Hills hasn’t been detrimental.

“I don’t think it’s a roadblock, it’s more of a speed bump,” said Zerebski. “Overall, our goal is to keep it simple.”

The second speaker at the event was Justin Auch of Also Creative Inc. Also Creative Inc. was founded in 2010 in Grand Forks with the goal of creating a unique and exciting place where developers and designers can be inspired to build great things for great people.

Also Creative Inc. is one of a few ND-based software development companies that provides mobile development services to the Upper Midwest. They’re a team of expert UI/UX designers and Xamarin Certified Mobile Developers that specialize in developing apps using the Xamarin platform and MVVMCross to give them an edge over their competition. This allows them to more efficiently create high-quality and cost-effective cross-platform mobile applications for a variety of clients across a wide spectrum of industries.

Connect Minot is a community-based social group with a goal of connecting, educating and motivating the public in order to be successful. Meetings are once a month and involve two speakers who give advice on the current business landscape.
By George Zarebski 10 Apr, 2017
Parents in the 21st Century face the challenge of monitoring their children's internet use.

For the Pereas, their experiences led them to invent a smart phone app.

"One night we saw our kid was playing video games in the middle of the night and on a school night. We busted him and we said, 'Ya know, we gotta get better controls on stuff,'" said the Pereas, MCP Networks and Aerez co-founders and creators.

Marc and Candice, a web developer and network engineer, started working on Aerez, a smart phone application that allows you to pause the internet throughout your home with the tap of a button, set up bedtime blockers, one-click setting parental controls and more.

With the help of Innovate ND, the couple got their new company, MCP Networks off the ground-offering faster service and very soon... Aerez.

"Right now, literally today, we've got trial and Beta users that we bought on board for free and they're testing our stuff out running us through our paces," said Marc Perea.
By George Zarebski 10 Apr, 2017
Tech on the rise

National Day Calendar’s notoriety has shone a spotlight on North Dakota’s tech scene. The number of technology startups in the state is on the rise - and National Day Calendar is just one example of the state’s tech potential.

Since the start of the last biennium, 67 of the 120 companies enrolled in the Department of Commerce Innovate ND program have been tech-related, according to program manager Jared Stober.

Among them is Aerez, started by a Minot husband-and-wife team to sell routers loaded with custom software for parental control of internet access.

Candice Perea said her husband, Marc, tells the story of getting up in the middle of the night to find their 8-year-old playing online video games. They knew they needed some security controls for their family’s internet use. She said they wanted something easy to use that wouldn’t slow their access.

“We couldn’t find anything that really worked for us,” she said.

The Pereas both work in the tech industry - one is a software developer, the other a network engineer - and they decided to design a control system and share it with other parents who might be looking for something similar.

“As we started to test our parental control software with families, many were asking: Why is our internet so slow?” Candice said.

Her husband knew how to fix it by tweaking a few settings. They decided to make that an automatic feature of their product.

The next step for the Pereas would be to create a mobile phone app to make Aerez even more convenient. In the meantime, the web page is mobile-friendly.

When customers log in, they can see all devices connected to their internet to track who is using it. The program gives users the ability to pause access and filter accessible sites. This can be done on a device-by-device basis or for the whole house.

“We’ve got boys age 9 and under,” Candice said. “When we want them to come to dinner, we just pause their internet.”

The bedtime blocker, which sets a timer to pause internet access for the night and restore it in the morning, is another popular feature.

The Pereas are finishing beta testing with 50 users and plan to start selling Aerez online soon. They would eventually like to get their product onto store shelves.

By the end of this year, they hope to have five people on staff.
By George Zarebski 10 Apr, 2017
When Marc Perea woke one night to grab a drink of water, he was greeted by a familiar melody, a faint blue glow, and the sound of fingers click-clacking on a keyboard. He followed the clues to his family’s living room, where he found his then 8-year-old son Alex playing his favorite computer game, League of Legends, at 4 a.m. on a school night. Marc scooted Alex back off to bed and, along with wife Candice, began to research parental control software.

The more the Pereas researched, the more obvious it became that no existing product would fit their family’s needs. They had four kids and 30-some devices to manage, but Candice, a software developer, was working from home two days a week and could not afford to have her network connection slowed down by constant screenings. Besides, parental control at the computer level didn’t seem to deter Alex and his siblings from accessing the depths of the Internet at all hours of the night.

“If you’ve got kids that are smart– and kids are learning this stuff pretty quick– they find ways around it,” Candice said.
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