When Phil Sweatman joined Triverity Corp., the Chantilly company had one customer and a product that worked half the time. Its mobile "data fusion" device -- which records, stores and plays back multi-camera video, audio and vehicle information -- was the size of "Shaquille O'Neal's shoe box," Sweatman said, and weighed 15 pounds.
Sixteen months later, XtremeX3, a division of Triverity targeting the racing and extreme sports industries, has 95 customers and a product that has shrunk to the size of a paperback book, weighs two pounds and has been fine-tuned to withstand the vibration and dirt of the motor-sports environment. "It's a great test bed to develop tough technologies that can be used elsewhere," Sweatman said. Triverity is now starting to explore that "elsewhere."
Phil Sweatman, chief executive of Chantilly-based Triverity Corp.
Name: Triverity Corp.
Big idea: Makes a multimedia "data fusion" device for vehicles that records, stores and plays back video, audio and vehicle data.
Web site: www.triverity.com, www.xtremex3.com
Who's in charge: Phil Sweatman, president and chief executive; Patrick Herrity, chief financial officer and senior vice president, operations; Jonathan Haller, senior vice president, marketing and business development; and Craig Malone, chief technology officer and senior vice president, product development.
Funding: Company was funded by a private investor.
Partners: Company has revenue-sharing partnerships with customers Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy, the Mid-Ohio School, PromoSport Ontario and the Panos Racing School.
Origin of company name: "We kicked around a number of names. Triverity is 'three truths' as in audio, visual and data," Sweatman said. "XtremeX3 is a similar type of thing. We wanted to keep the extreme moniker but emphasize the fact that it was three technologies."
XtremeX3 is used by motor-sports facilities and racing schools. The device captures a driver's performance on video and audio and monitors data that include the vehicle's speed, engine revolutions, lateral G-forces and position. The multimedia results can be viewed on a computer for training or saved on a DVD and sold to the driver as a souvenir. The company plans to target other sports and activities this year, including snowmobile parks and wild rides at amusement parks.
Sweatman said his company is ready to find other uses for its technology. "It can play in 10 to 20 different types of application spaces," Sweatman said, citing possible uses in Army tanks and school buses.
The company initially explored selling its devices to law enforcement, only to find that International Business Machines Corp. and Motorola Inc. already had products in that market. "We try to look for markets where there's little to no competition, and where the market is not sophisticated from a technology standpoint," Sweatman said.
Sweatman thinks Triverity may have found its target: the commercial trucking industry. He said his company's devices could be used in commercial trucks to record accidents, track down stolen trucks and document truckers' hours of service and driving habits. "We believe whatever you observe improves," Sweatman said, adding that the video recorded by his device could be used in insurance reports and could be transmitted to a dispatch station if, for example, a truck's air bags deployed.
Federal regulators are considering making electronic onboard recorders mandatory for commercial trucking, but unions representing truck drivers have objected that the devices could violate the drivers' privacy, and some trucking companies have expressed concern about the cost.
Priced at $2,400 to more than $4,000 each, Triverity's product is not yet ready for broad consumer use, but Sweatman predicted that his company will be able to make more affordable products as the cost of hard disk storage and high-speed bandwidth decreases.
For now, Triverity is focusing on partnering with commercial trucking companies and driving schools. Sweatman said he hopes to have 50 customers in the commercial trucking business by mid-year. With 24 million commercial trucks and about 600 commercial driving schools in the United States, he said, Triverity has a big space to explore.