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07/31/2003 - Lumen Software Lights Up in Triangle

Lumen Software's EzThin thin client server allows users to take old machines and empower them to use a full suite of state-of-the-art software. "EzThin provides backbone for much of today's business environment and functions with virtually all platforms," according to Mike Francisco, Business Director. "Using EzThin, an impossibly obsolete 486 can function as if it were a brand new computer." Lumen's hosting servers and software applications are all Linux based and cross platform. All the thin client machine needs is a mother board, 16 Meg RAM, a 16-bit video card, and a NIC (Network Interface Card). It's like packing the power of all of Charlie's Angels into the anorexic body of Ally McBeal.

Lumen Software is a joint venture between the Terabyte Triangle's Class 101, and Missouri based GeKL Technologies, Inc. Doing business as Lumen Software, the company is just a couple of months old. Lumen's thin client products include both hardware and Linux-based software negating the need for expensive licenses. Patent-pending technology developed by the Missouri-based partner is combined with carefully selected open source community software applications to provide enterprise solutions. All of the packaging, sales, marketing, and business development are based at Lumen's headquarters in the Spokane Computer Building at 915 W 2nd Ave. "We believe the time is right," says Francisco, "businesses are trying to be more efficient, more productive, and have more IT efficiency."

Schools have been Lumen's first focus for its EzThin Server Solutions. In today's tough economic climate, both the re-use of older hardware and use of new minimal hardware are appealing. IBM, Gateway, and Toshiba are hardware partners with Lumen. The hardware bundled with Lumen software is carefully selected to optimize performance and user experience. EzThin allows users to access their applications and files from their intranet or through Internet connectivity. Essentially, the networked system runs off of a Web Browser. A student can log into their account on the EzThin server from any browser equipped computer anywhere and have full access to the files and applications they have at their school. According to Francisco, the system is thin but robust and can handle up to thirty student users concurrently and has facility for 1200 individual user accounts. Lakeland schools are the first local adopter of the EzThin system.

The EzThin server is loaded with a full range of pre-configured, open source software, as well as proprietary applications for user and application management. Software includes graphics packages, edutainment and games, an e-mail client, an image viewer, and an office suite that includes a word processor, spread sheets and calculators, and a presentation manager in the manner of Power Point. EzThin totally eliminates the need to have any software loaded on the desktop -- providing access via a network or from a browser -- in this case the open source Mozilla browser or Internet Explorer. This is the attribute that allows utilization of older computers and extends their functionality for up to five years. Add to that the need for minimal maintenance and enhanced security, and the price of $6,500 for server hardware and bundled software makes a 'new' school computer lab affordable.

While EzThin is only offered as a bundled solution, Lumen's software is available as free-standing products unbundled from the server hardware. "Our software is 'plug & play'," says Francisco, "we are trying to make Linux popular by making it easy to use." Lumen's software has names like Lumenation and LightBulb. They also have content management solutions and Lumen modules. All are "truly thin."

Lumenation" is a cross-platform middleware system that can manage an entire enterprise. Lumenation's features include user management, user application and attributes management, and user data access management. The software manages database access and generates queries and reports. Lumenation is cross-platform and can use all major database engines.

The LightBulb Suite provides a comprehensive PHP Web development environment. LightBulb makes it possible to create Web-enabled applications that are thin and cross-platform. It also enables anyone to use the resources of PHP "without needing any Linux training or prior PHP knowledge," according to Francisco. Applications created using LightBulb inherit all security, user management, GUI, and many other attributes from Lumenation --- eliminating the need to recreate this framework.

Data management solutions allows the client to access data and create reports and manage Web page content. Included in the LightBulb suite, data management solutions provides a 'data dictionary', query builder, and report builder. The Web content manager allows the client to build a professional looking and dynamic Web site or portal without knowing HTML.

Lumen Modules include a calendar -- including the ability to create your own calendar. There is a complete, comprehensive customer relations manager. One module is a help desk manager that is rules based and allows an organization to define all aspects of the system. Finally there is WeBSET, a data base oriented document management system originally created to help schools mange their special education IEP processes.

For more information about Lumen Software, go to:

Billie Moreland
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