Zia Systems was launched in 1997 at the National Technology Incubator at Central State University near Springfield. The idea for the company sprang from an equipment theft from Zia CEO and co-founder Jack Conte's construction company. Conte asked two remote monitoring experts -- brothers Larry and Gary Rapp (Zia's chief technology officer and chief operating officer, respectively) -- to investigate ways to devise a security system around the construction site. The ultimate result was a patented system using tracking tags and sensors to keep track of just about anything within a defined area, like a building, warehouse or field. If a tagged object is moved, sensors can send an alert to a smart phone, or a call center or a computer. The technology can locate people and things within 3 meters (almost 10 feet) and works like a more expensive GPS device, in that defined area, at less cost. The five-person company, whose technology has been used in other applications, recently landed its first order for pipeline sensors -- 10,000 lineal feet of product.