On verge of product roll-out, Utah firm expects to be in the black by next year
Date: Monday, October 8 2001
Salem, Utah-based International Automated Systems (IAS) is preparing to bring its first products to market, which could put the company in the black in 2002.
Founded in 1988, the company has 15 patents issued or pending, including Order, Pay & Go and the Propulsion Turbine, according to Randale Johnson, vice president of marketing and business development.
The first product allows for payment with cash, check, credit card or proprietary store card (secured by IAS's patented automated fingerprint technology) without clerk assistance. IAS has been testing the check-out technology at U-Check supermarket, a 25,000 square foot store in Salem, where customers are able to scan and pay for any quantity of groceries without the assistance of a clerk.
Johnson said IAS has struck a deal with Pennsylvania-based Schematics to open as many as 10 fully-automated supermarkets featuring IAS's Order Pay & Go. In addition, the company is negotiating with a few nationwide fastfood franchises to beta test the technology this quarter.
Regarding its market potential, Johnson said Order Pay & Go can work "anywhere you exchange a payment" for goods and services.
IAS's second product roll-out is in a very different field: turbines. The company has developed a patent-pending new design called the Propulsion Turbine, which has been tested in both a university setting and on-site at a Utah geothermal plant, and costs one-tenth of traditional turbines.
"We utilize a technology that is based upon supersonic rocket nozzles to create the propulsion," explained Johnson. "We don't use blades. The impact of the expansion of steam is going away from our turbine."
Johnson said IAS is in discussions with a major western utility about a testing-andlicensing deal for its new, "bladeless" turbine. In tests, it has shown the potential to produce electricity at lower cost than traditional turbines in geothermal environments.
"I see it having an application in every market, anywhere where you can get a cheaper turbine that runs an efficiency that's equal or better than what they already have - it's going to go everywhere, because there's no reason to deal with the maintenance costs and the difficulty of installation, design tolerances and all the other issues that come along with the typical turbine," he said, noting "it's a market that hasn't changed in 100 years."
Johnson said IAS is in an exciting transition period, moving from more than a decade of research and development to market. While there is no income now, he said, "We project that we'll be in the black here in 2002. We want to have sales here this quarter, including beta sites."
Founded in 1988, International Automated Systems Inc., develops hightechnology products for diverse markets such as energy production, wireless communications, consumer purchasing and financial transactions. The company, founded by a former AT&T communications engineer Neldon Johnson, employs 18 people.