Netstar were the tt100 2018 winner of the Excellence in the Management of Technology award, for large enterprises.

Our adjudicator Ann Naicker shares with us their experience of Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron.

Pressing the accelerator on innovation-led business 

Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race. To survive in today’s highly competitive environment, organisations need to be more agile and innovative. A key driver in boosting such a culture is fuelled by a willingness to invest in research and development, as well as the ability to learn from previous wins and potholes along the way.

For many years, Netstar’s basic business has been stolen vehicle recovery, and a solid business it is. Today it is also a driving force in Asset Tracking and Insurance Telematics.  

“Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron, delivers innovation that matters”, says Pierre Bruwer, Group Managing Director for Netstar. “One of our key strategic objectives is to grow our market share within the IoT and Data Analytics space. With Netstar’s Insurance Telematics, insurance companies can now perform accurate driver behaviour analysis allowing them to manage their risk more effectively. Both solutions rely on our IoT and Data Analytics platforms”, he continued.

 The automotive industry is multi-layered and offers an array of business opportunities.

“Netstar provides protection to over 700 000 vehicles and have recovered in excess of 80 000 stolen and hijacked vehicles,” says Quintin de Kok, cloud solutions architect at Netstar. “Every day, our devices stream between 250 million and 300 million messages to our insurance clients – some of whom base their whole insurance model on the data we provide.”

Usage-based insurance is one of the fastest-growing data-driven trends. This is where drivers are rewarded or penalised according to their driving behaviour.

Giving drivers incentives to drive better

“According to an analysis we did for one large company, the behaviour score of drivers who were incentivised improved by 4% to 5% on average, and 17% more had a 100% score,” Quintin says. “Incentivised drivers drove better than those who knew their score but were not incentivised and those who did not know their score and were not incentivised.”

Netstar has been making major inroads into the user-based insurance market on the strength of a combination of factors including: the huge number of Netstar devices installed in South African cars, its highly scalable technology platform, the ability to attract and retain top technology skills and their strong investment in R&D.

“We are constantly investing in new technology, spending 3.6% of our annual turnover on Research and Development,” Pierre says. “Our technology strategy is tied to our business strategy of improving revenue growth, profitability and customer experience, as well as employee excellence. To this end, we have entered into new markets in terms of our local technology offering and global presence. Our Asset Tracking solutions allow our customers to monitor more than just vehicles, but their high value possessions as well.”

Cycling is a growing sport in South Africa with cyclists on expensive bicycles becoming easy targets for criminals.  To help foil them, Netstar has partnered with CycleSense to offer cyclists a tracking and recovery solution for their bicycles. A first in the South African market. 

Further to local technology growth, Netstar recently entered the Indian car market.

“As stated in McKinsey’s July 2018 report profiling India’s passenger-vehicle market, the country is predicted to become the world’s third-largest passenger-vehicle market by 2021; and we intend on maximizing this opportunity from both a consumer and commercial perspective.”, Pierre concludes. There’s little chance that Netstar will be pressing the brakes any time soon.