At the height of the wave of terror attacks that scared tourists away from Kenya and left investors worried, Mr Edwin Ranji saw a business opportunity.
He made a quick decision to diversify his business from just motor vehicle dealership to include provision of technology-based security services which he hoped would help mitigate the security risks.
Terrorism is not the only cause for worry in Kenya. Carjacking, kidnapping, armed robbery, and theft of goods in transit have become rife. This is what prompted Mr Ranji to venture into the safety-enhancement business.
“It was a case of necessity. As a Kenyan, I saw the need to do something to help my fellow countrymen deal with increasing security challenges,” Mr Ranji said in an interview.
Until early last year, his company, Mobilemart Services Limited, largely specialised in motor vehicle sales, business process management, and provision of information technology support for local enterprises.
Today, while the company still conducts this trade, the focus has turned to provision of security services such as CCTV surveillance systems, management and monitoring of assets, as well as personal security.
One of his company’s products is a device that individuals wear as a wrist watch with a button to press when trouble strikes.
Upon pressing the distress button, the GPS-enabled gadget sends an alert to the company’s support desk and five persons pre-selected by the individual.
ROUND THE CLOCK
The alert contains details of the customer’s exact location, nearby physical features, and the closest police station.
The company’s support desk, which operates round-the-clock, gets in touch with your contact persons and the police for quick response.
“At the press of a button, your prescribed respondents and we will be aware of it and together will act to rescue you,” Mr Ranji said.
The firm also has a watch-lock — a digital padlock — that sends a message to pre-selected phone numbers when it is opened, locked, or broken.
The message contains the time it was opened and the exact location. “This one has received very positive uptake, especially by businessmen who run shops or those ferrying cargo.
“We also have digital GPS camera alarms which, when triggered, send alerts on phone and email besides taking a photo of the intruder. The camera triggers a call to the owner’s phone for one to listen in to the happenings.
“The owner can send a command from the phone for the camera to record a video of the attack as well,” the 38-year-old entrepreneur said.
That is not all: Mobilemart Services also trades in car and motorbike tracking systems besides devices which parents can use to track the movement of their children.
The children hang a gadget around their neck while going to school or playing and the parents can tell their location through their mobile phones real-time.
The cost of the devices range between Sh10,000 and Sh50,000. Mr Ranji started the company in 2009 when he was working in the IT department of a local company.
His venture has a turnover of over Sh12 million and is the local agent for global technology firms, Coban Technologies and Concox.
Mobilemart Services also does implementation for IT projects and business process outsourcing. “We have been recording 35 per cent growth year-on-year and our future is bright,” Mr Ranji said.