Professional people, genuine passion, dedicated support, and all about making cool products
PRICOM was founded in 1981 by Robert Scheffler and was located in Wheaton, IL. We started out designing little widgets for a few friends and family customers, including Trivial Pursuit timers, model rocket launchers, hotel wakeup callers, model railroading controllers, theatrical lighting controllers, etc.
By 1983 we had taken on computer repairs by offering a repair depot service for 5 local computer stores just before the successful IBM PC had really grown. We averaged about 25 Kaypro computer repairs per week with a total of 6 employees. Once the IBM PC (and clones as they were called in those days) had caught on, the service business shifted from the hobbyist to the professional, which meant field repairs, inventory, and certified service centers. This was not a direction we wanted to pursue as our roots were in electronics design, not swapping boards.
In 1984 we landed a good design services contract with Magic Music Cassette Company. Under this contract we designed a custom cassette compilation system. This system created a custom cassette from a library of 100,000 songs, based on the customers song-list. Several patents were awarded, which amazing enough look just like the modern day music download services with an MP3 player!
In 1988 our work then shifted to Duplitronics, designing and building a high-speed cassette production "Digital Bin". The DM-400 as we called it, was essentially 1GigaByte of DRAM in a 9U rackmount chassis. Keep in mind that we are talking 1988, so it took 8,192 chips to get a GigaByte, the very new chip by Toshiba held 1 Megabit, which was advanced for 1988. That DRAM fed into 4 high-speed D/A converters at 850 MegaBytes/Second to record cassette tapes at up to 180X real-time. That 850MB/sec was the fastest transfer-rate we knew of, faster than a Cray Computer! Our DAC design was heralded as the best sounding DAC in the duplication industry with careful attention towards jitter and the low-pass filters. Many of these systems are still in operation today!
By 1995 we were involved in web hosting, data-center design, building servers, and writing lots of software. Clients included Leading Golf Courses of America, American Airlines, NanoSoft, and NanoTech.
In 1999 Bob co-founded a company called Broadbus Technologies to bring the concept of a DRAM based server to the Cable TV Video On Demand (VOD) market. With the bubble burst, it proved to be a difficult time to raise venture capitol money and took nearly 3 years to complete, but in the end we persevered by raising over $50MM from tier-one V.C.'s. Bob relocated to Boston to work with Broadbus. After two years, Broadbus was headed in a good direction, and Bob was free to go back to PRICOM.
In 2004 we relocated PRICOM near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Dream Player and DCC Tester were created in this phase of the PRICOM history.
In 2005 Bob was brought back to Broadbus to build Television On Demand, a complete software solution to ingest and streaming of live content. A giant TiVo in the Cloud on Steroids" where the content providers could schedule and control the distribution of their content to cable customers.
In 2006 Motorola acquired Broadbus, and Bob became a Motorola employee. For the next 6 years, he ran an advanced development team inside Motorola Labs to create NextGenTV. This time period created many friendships, many new ideas, and many patents for Motorola. The team made a lateral move and created Network DVR solutions for Comcast, Charter, Suddenlink, and Rogers in Canada.
In 2011 Google acquired Motorola Mobility, and Bob became a Google employee for a short while. At that time, Android was just starting to become the second mobile smart phone platform. We did a lot of work on putting video onto mobile devices within the former Motorola Labs team.
In 2013 Arris acquired the Cable Infrastructure part of Motorola Mobility, after a few months at Arris, Bob left Arris and finally resumed PRICOM activities full-time. The second wave of Dream Players and Layout Lighting was created in this phase.
In 2014 Bob joined the startup Layer3TV in Denver. Layer3 was creating a new cable company from scratch, and he joined as an early member of the founding team. Bob created the back-office software architecture, then hired 80+ engineers in Denver and Boston to implement the solution over the next two years. As the company grew, Bob's focus moved to the in-home archtiecure and devices. His team conceived and developed Set Top Boxes, Set Back Boxes, HDMI Dongles, WiFi Routers, BLE Remote Controls, and IoT Solutions. Bob also attended all high-profile demos for Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Content Providers, and the financial backers of the company.
In 2018 T-Mobile acquired Layer3TV. Bob continued working on in-home solutions for the Home and Entertainment business unit within T-Mobile. He left T-Mobile in 2018 to again return to PRICOM and resume development of our new line of lighting controllers focused on the worship market.
We are still providing product design services for large companies, as well building and selling products related to our own personal passions: High-End Audio and Theatre Lighting!