Tech­nol­ogy im­prov­ing all the time

Finweek English Edition - - Fleet management and financing -

SOUTH AFRICA’S TRACK­ING tech­nol­ogy is one of the most ad­vanced in the world. In some cases it’s even set a trend. This tech­nol­ogy en­ables the track­ing in­dus­try – which in­cludes well­known names such as Al­tech Nets­tar, Ma­trix Ve­hi­cle Track­ing, Tracker, Orbtech (with its Buddi Track) and Digi­core – to in­creas­ingly im­prove its ef­fi­ciency.

Ve­hi­cle theft and hi­jack­ing are in­creas­ing at an alarm­ing rate. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Ve­hi­cle Crime Fo­rum (NVCF), ve­hi­cles stolen in SA – es­pe­cially by crime syn­di­cates – have been found as far away as Tan­za­nia, Mau­ri­tius and Pak­istan. That’s why fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions are in­sist­ing on ve­hi­cles be­ing fit­ted with tech­nol­ogy be­fore fi­nanc­ing is made avail­able, es­pe­cially for more ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cles.

Al­tech Nets­tar was the first com­pany in SA that iden­ti­fied the need for track­ing stolen ve­hi­cles. That was about 13 years ago. It took two years of de­vel­op­ment be­fore the ser­vice was in­tro­duced. Later, it was the first tracker to use he­li­copters. Cur­rently it’s still an in­dus­try leader, with more than 400 000 ve­hi­cles in SA al­ready fit­ted with its tech­nol­ogy. Over the years, Nets­tar has helped re­cover around 30 000 stolen ve­hi­cles.

Al­tech Nets­tar also op­er­ates in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries Namibia, Botswana, Swazi­land and Zam­bia. It has five prod­ucts in its range, from its en­try-level Nets­tar Sleuth to the ad­vanced Nets­tar Vigil, which uses a com­bi­na­tion of satel­lite and other tech­nolo­gies to rapidly track and re­cover ve­hi­cles.

Tracker, which has helped the po­lice to un­cover hun­dreds of “chop shops” and crime syn­di­cates, also claims to have re­cov­ered more than 30 000 stolen ve­hi­cles.

Ma­trix Ve­hi­cle Track­ing, an­other of the lead­ers, re­cently cel­e­brated its 11th birth­day.

It’s re­cov­ered thou­sands of ve­hi­cles since be­ing founded in the Nineties.

How­ever, as is of­ten the case in an in­dus­try that grows quickly, there have been some that gave the in­dus­try a bad name and dis­ap­peared along the way.

It’s there­fore im­por­tant to choose wisely and to look not only at costs when se­lect­ing a com­pany.

In or­der to as­sist ve­hi­cle own­ers with that choice – while at the same time in­creas­ing in­dus­try stan­dards – the Ve­hi­cle Se­cu­rity As­so­ci­a­tion (Vesa) was formed about 20 years ago. While it ini­tially only laid down stan­dards for the in­dus­try, it now does a lot more: var­i­ous com­mit­tees en­sure that the in­dus­try pro­vides qual­ity ser­vice for items such as elec­tronic prod­ucts (alarms and im­mo­bilis­ers), track­ing prod­ucts and me­chan­i­cal se­cu­rity prod­ucts (such as gear locks).

More in­for­ma­tion about the in­dus­try and its role play­ers can be ob­tained at www.vesa.co.za, oth­ers be­ing www. ma­trix.co.za, www.mtrack.co.za and www.pow­er­pro­tect.co.za

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