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Hitcents founders Chris and Clinton Mills started their technology careers early in life. As children in Arlington, Texas, Chris and Clinton had a knack for taking apart their toys and analyzing them. They had more of a desire to see how things worked than to actually play with them.
- In 1994 while in the fifth grade, they received their first computer. The twins began to learn the internal workings as well as the programming side of a basic computer. They started programming in GW Basic - an early command-line programming language.
- In 1995, Chris and Clinton moved from Arlington to Bowling Green, Kentucky when their father was transferred. Chris and Clinton happened to move in next door to an electrical engineer (Mike Doro) who helped guide their constant pursuit to learn more about technology.
- In 1996 and in seventh grade, they went to work at a company designing Visual Basic programs to monitor machinery with optic eye systems and conveyor belts. That year, they also created their first web page working with Perl, a web programming language that is still one of the languages Hitcents uses today.
- As high school sophomores, Chris and Clinton started Hitcents, which at the time was a company focused in internet advertising. When the company first began, Hitcents paid clients on a cents-per-hit basis, hence the company name. Hitcents was acquired by Houchens Industries in 2003. Since 2004, Hitcents has grown from three employees to 50, and it occupies 10,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of office space in Western Kentucky University’s Center for Research and Development.
- To adjust to the ever-changing technology market, Hitcents has been reinvented several times to best meet the needs of their clients and to stay current in the technology industry. Hitcents is well known for their website development services in their home town. The scope of the business includes solutions for ecommerce, technology, marketing, creative design, software development, production, automation, self-service checkout, enterprise resource planning and much more.
EyeOn Automation creates automation solutions for homes and businesses. EyeOn Automation features a fully functioning self-contained intelligence system for homes and businesses. The system integrates sophisticated video and audio distribution, touch screen technology, customized security and surveillance equipment along with specialized devices and Infrared programming.
EyeOn Automation originated when Ed Mills, a partner and founding member of Hitcents began building a new luxury home. Mr. Mills wanted his new home to embrace the high-end technology savvy[clarification needed] of the company. The engineers at Hitcents seized the opportunity to create a fully functioning residential and commercial automation system.
Omniprise ERP Software
Omniprise is a full-service, customizable software suite for enterprise resource planning. Information gathered in a single central repository is available to every part of an enterprise for use in all applications from simple data mining to mission-critical decision making.
Utopia Self-Service Checkout
Hitcents partnered with Pan-Oston, a manufacturer of checkout lanes, for the creation of the Utopia Self-Service Checkout system.
Utopia was patented as the first convertible checkout unit, allowing a traditional cashier lane to be converted into a self-checkout unit and vice versa in minutes. Utopia can be connected to existing checkout lanes in a store, and therefore doesn't impact a store's layout.
Utopia also utilizes biometric authentication for store attendant access and customer loyalty programs. The thumb scanner eliminates the need for keys or cards to access the system. Mobile Attendant Stations allow self-checkout attendants to approve purchases or reset problems that arise with a mobile handheld device. Utopia allows for upgrades for future technology and capabilities; customers just add a module instead of buying a whole new product.
VPN services allow facilities to share data between remote locations. This allows for a high level of security while providing convenience to facilities. This also limits geographical barriers and decreases fixed costs for many different applications.
Each computer can be on the network no matter the location. If a company has a central office in one location and branches or smaller stores in other places, Hitcents sets up and maintains a VPN network at all locations and provides instant broadband access.
Encompassing all design aspects such as logos, print and web, Hitcents creates brand images that influence and generate value for customers.
- 1999: Hitcents is created.
- 2000: Hitcents has 10,000 member websites delivering over three million banner impressions a day for online advertisers.
- 2001: In response to the dot-com crash, Hitcents develops a proprietary line of products to run ads on their existing member websites.
- 2001: Develops an online web marketing tracking system that would monitor clients’ ROI in real-time.
- 2002: Introduces web department services, leading to the development of over 40 functional websites by 2004.
- 2002: Begins developing technical infrastructures and software development initiatives for many local and national corporations.
- 2002: In December, Hitcents has its ribbon cutting as the first company to renovate space in Western Kentucky University’s Center for Research and Development.
- 2003: Houchens Industries, a two billion dollar corporation and the largest ESOP in the world, acquires Hitcents, bringing a technology firm into their family of companies.
- 2004: March: Hitcents hires its first employee.
- 2004: November: Hitcents office expands to make room for 11 employees.
- 2005: Hitcents now has 21 employees, 5,500 square feet (510 m2) of office space and continues to grow.
- 2005 August: Hitcents presents EyeOn Automation, an intelligence system for homes and businesses.
- 2006 April: Hitcents starts self-service checkout initiative, partnering with Pan-Oston and bringing the total employee count to 32. Hitcents expands office to 9,000 square feet (800 m2) to allow for more space to grow.
- 2006 July: Hitcents launches Utopia product with Pan-Oston, the next generation of self-checkout lanes.
- 2006 August: Hitcents launches Omniprise ERP software division, offering complete software and hardware solutions for all larger business needs. Hitcents reaches 50 employees and expands to 10,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of space.
- 2006 September: Hitcents launches Ticket Kiosk program with Western Kentucky University.
- 2007 June: Hitcents launches BlueCotton.com, a Flash website for designing and ordering t-shirts on the web. BlueCotton.com is recognized as Adobe's Site of the Day.
- 2007 August: Hitcents is listed 191 of the 500 fastest growing companies by Inc. magazine. Chris and Clinton Mills are also named fifth in the top CEO’s under 30 years old by Inc.
- 2007 November: Hitcents' EyeOn Automation division was called upon by ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to assist with installing special voice activated electronic features for the Hughes Family of Louisville, Kentucky.
- 2007 November: The first Utopia self-checkout convenience store unit was installed in a Jr. Food store in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
- 2008 February: Hitcents' Omniprise website is launched to showcase the innovate enterprise resource planning software.
- 2008 May: Utopia self-checkout units were installed at Strack & Van Til supermarkets in the Chicago area.
- 2008 October: Hitcents enterprise resource planning software Omniprise is launched. Omniprise is deployed for checkout counter manufacturer Pan-Oston and Ford's Furniture.