ROI, Precidia Partner on AS/400 TCP/IP Ethernet Solution

Shifting gears a bit, AS/400 e-transaction middleware provider ROI Corp. (Woodstock, Geor.) has teamed up with Precidia Technologies, Inc. (Ottawa) to launch EtherSockets—a solution for AS/400 TCP/IP Ethernet users.

ROI software links the hardware to the AS/400 as Precidia converts asynch ASCII devices to Ethernet TCP/IP.
A plug-and-play solution, EtherSockets connects an unlimited number of incremental serial devices to an AS/400 over an Ethernet network. Fully integrated and bundled, it is a combination of software from ROI and hardware from Precidia. The two companies are touting this new solution as a response to the AS/400 industry requirement for real-time, high performance communication using standard BSD TCP/IP sockets.

“One of the difficulties on the AS/400 is you have to do a lot of programming when it comes to connectivity,” says Charlie Pecchio, president and CEO of ROI. “By putting this package together, we’re enabling customers to do quick implementations.”

According to Pecchio, the relationship was forged when Precidia began looking for ways to penetrate new markets. “Precidia had a desire to get into the US market. They saw the AS/400 as a great opportunity, but they needed the software to connect their boxes to the 400, so that’s where we came into play,” he says.

ROI’s Sockets software acts as a connectivity tool, linking the hardware to the AS/400. Precidia’s hardware converts serial asynchronous ASCII devices or systems to Ethernet TCP/IP. The hardware consists of a family of serial port converters that take up to four RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 connections on one side, and convert the data stream to TCP/IP out the other. “This combined solution gives people the ability to implement basically any protocol on the AS/400,” says Pecchio.

The launch of EtherSockets represents somewhat of a new focus for ROI in the AS/400 market. “It’s a new market for us, but it still fits into our overall strategy of connectivity,” says Pecchio, adding that the main emphasis will be on attracting new customers, not pre-existing ROI users.

Pecchio says there was no hesitation in the decision to join forces with Precidia in developing EtherSockets. “There’s really a big need. With the expansion of ERP and supply chain, more and more devices have to be connected to the AS/400 in real-time and we’re answering that need,” he says. “Plus, as far as we know, there’s no total packaged solution out there.”

Although it is a joint product, ROI will be the one selling and marketing EtherSockets. A typical base box (one connection) from Precidia will cost about $395, while the ROI software will cost $7,995.

EtherSockets is just the tip of the iceberg. “There’s a lot of synergy between our two companies,” says Pecchio. “This is the first in a series of new connectivity products that we will be working with Precidia on.”

For Precidia, a manufacturer and designer of IP enabling technology, the announcement marks its first foray into the AS/400 market. “Precidia’s partnership with ROI has resulted in a fully integrated product which is optimized for the AS/400,” says Precidia president Deepak Wanner. “We are pleased to have the ability to offer this cost-effective network management solution to our customers; ROI’s expertise in developing e-transaction middleware has been integral to the success of this new bundled product.”

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