iPulse Systems

Winner of the Innovation Concept award for 2018, category for small enterprises

Biometrics that’s user-friendly yet a state of the art

Picture the scene: You’re at the airport waiting to board an overseas flight when a frantic call comes in from the office. The server you run for your biggest and most important client needs urgent attention but the only people who have access to the server room, yourself included, are out of the office. Your customer service team is panicking.

You whip out your laptop and, right there in the airport coffee shop, grant your trouble-shooters one-time, time-limited access to the server room. Emergency defused, you head for the boarding gate.

“As long as you have an internet connection, you can manage your access control from an airport coffee shop, a hotel room, your home – from anywhere in the world,” says Francois van Loggerenberg, Lead Developer and Project Manager at iPulse Systems, designers and makers of biometrics systems.  

“Our systems give clients the most granular level of control,” he says. “You can decide exactly who, when, where, for how long and for what reason a person should have access to a particular space. If someone who does not have authority attempts to enter that area, the system will deny them access and report the attempt.”

While protecting clients from intrusions, the systems also protect the privacy of the people whose fingerprints it records. “People rightly want the assurance that their fingerprint is protected and won’t be shared with someone else,” says Francois. “So we do not store the image of the fingerprint and only extract the identifying data.”

iPulse’s systems are of course smart enough to verify that the fingerprint matches the person’s identity, using an encrypted connection and application programming interfaces (APIs) to request validation from either their own product, BIOVAULT, or from Home Affairs for high level security requirements.

State of the art all this certainly is, but it’s also extremely user-friendly, Francois says. “Users are mostly receptionists and security officers with little software experience, so we have cut down on the processes that can cause complications and taken the user experience to the simplest level.”

For example, the fingerprint imaging device automatically interacts with the user to get the best possible image, guarding against blurry images and smudged fingerprints.

It’s clear as day why this small South African enterprise has succeeded in stamping its name so firmly on the fiercely competitive biometrics market. It’s going places where others can’t.

MobeeWash

Winner of the Innovation Concept award for 2018, category for emerging enterprises

Maybee what SA needs are more ideas like MobeeWash

Talk about an incredible business and job creation opportunity, and little or no competition to worry about. There are 14 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in South Africa’s 10 major cities, a serious shortage of professional car-cleaning garages and an abundance of unemployed or unemployable people who could be trained in “detailing” (the proper term to describe top-notch car cleaners).

It’s a market just begging to be disrupted and that’s what MobeeWash has in mind.

“Instead of queueing to have your car washed, you book a time via the MobeeWash app and either arrive and find us waiting for you, or we come to you. I’m still tickled pink when my doorbell rings and its MobeeWash,” says Sean O’Connell, founder of MobeeWash and group CEO of its parent company, Bumblebee Consulting.

Other vehicle owners like to drop off their cars while they go to the gym or a quick meeting, knowing that their pride and joy will be gleaming and spotless within an hour. (Note that only waterless, eco-friendly products and steam are used, so there’s no water wasted or messy runoff.)

It has taken MobeeWash less than two years to attract 5 000 users in Cape Town, and now to enter the Gauteng market, Roodepoort having recently become the first city in the province to have a MobeeWash operator.

The part that probably makes Sean and his business partners proudest is that so far, MobeeWash has created jobs for 60 people who were unemployed and in some cases unemployable, whether through lack of skills, illiteracy or age.

“MobeeWash was born out of a dream to get South Africa working by embracing the concepts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and disruptive business philosophies,” he says, explaining that it uses NGOs and youth programmes to find the most suitable candidates – all unemployed or unemployable. 

“We provide full training and mentoring and an initial three-month contract. If a person performs, they become permanent.” Background checks are done on all candidates before joining the MobeeWash family.

As for the MobeeWash app, which is downloadable from the Google and Apple stores, Sean says: “I can’t claim to be completely unique because Uber and AirBnB thought of it first. But we believe there are massive opportunities in car wash markets locally and internationally. It would take 58 000 teams 30 days to wash every car in South Africa. Were we to seek to address just 3% of this market initially, we would create employment for 10 500 people.”

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