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.