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Pointer Africa boss thinks big

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 24 – If you live in Kenya or follow news about the country, you must have heard of a company that was accused of swindling motorists by claiming to have installed car tracking devices.

With its collapse similar firms were faced with the uphill task of marketing their services as genuine. Some are already showing signs of success, like Pointer Africa. Capital Business had a chat with Chief Executive Officer Albert Attias on what solutions his company has to fill this gap.

Q: When did you start your operations in Kenya?
A: Pointer Africa is a subsidiary of Fuelomat which started its operations here in Kenya in 1994. Our area of specialty is fleet tracking and management solutions. Since then, we have been offering stationary and mobile asset tracking solutions only.

In 2008, we had to come up with a new initiative and launch Pointer Africa to render services for stolen vehicle recovery. We started full operations in March 2009, offering our services for stolen vehicle recovery on one platform one device solution and options of stationary and mobile assets tracking over digital maps.

We track all vehicles, motorbikes, heavy equipment; it can be any asset that is mobile driving on its own or any stationary asset such as generators and so on.

Q: You are coming at a time when the public has lost confidence. How do you hope to address such mistrust?

A: We had to be very careful of what we are offering to the public and not just by offering our wealth of knowledge and experience in the technology but also expertise in security and recovery.

We have taken an affiliate company for the stolen vehicle recovery response KK Security who have operated in Kenya since 1967 and have the capability and capacity to cover the country and East Africa with their knowledge. They have 280 vehicles to respond with over 60 in Nairobi.

This is what we offer the public; our capability to respond as fast as possible to an emergency call.

Q: What advantages do you accrue from partnering with the two companies?
A: We not only give our customers more than recovery response or road rescue services but we have concluded by a medical response company AAR who will move with us in Kenya and in the region.

So this is what we are offering; strong technology, assurance that we have been there since 1994 and we will continue to be there, a venture among three giant companies that have capacity to backup the technology and offer the services.

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With this we hope that the public will regain the trust and confident they’ve lost in other services. Our services are good for corporates and individuals.

Q: How is the uptake of car tracking services locally? Are the numbers of people who want their cars installed with the tracking devices growing?
A: This is a period of challenges but it is good because they have helped us to expose us and our business.  It’s important that there be some regulation. The public do not have the tools to really scrutinise the service provider. So there’s a need for some involvement by the market players such as insurance companies who are the strongest organizations to scrutinize the types of services offered.

Let there also be additional government regulation that will let business run but not limit it. I believe a new dimension of scrutiny has started here. Insurance companies and the banks are on high alert, it’s not easy to be approved at the moment but I think it’s a step in the right direction.

I see this number growing because insurance companies are likely to start demanding that vehicles of certain value will have to install vehicle protection systems and tracking systems.

Q: What in your opinion is the future of the business?
A: We deal with sensitive types of services and the future also remains delicate. There must be a high level of professionalism to render this type of services with no compromise.  This is the only way such a business can survive. I have two or three competitors but only the strongest and most trusted companies will survive.

Q: What’s your market share and how do you plan to grow it?
A:  We have come to the market with our unique strategy and unique services and solutions all under one platform and going forward we believe that we will expand more and grow our market share.

Q: There are other players in the market, so what unique thing are you bringing into the market?
A: Our product is based on the latest advanced technology; we are looking at adding more capabilities that protects the assets from being stolen and we also have the capacity of immobilization.

Besides that, our support capability comprises of three control centers in Kenya. One in Pointer Africa which renders technical and back up support to our customers on fleet management and our other affiliate companies.

Another control center that is dedicated only to stolen vehicle recovery resides in KK Security premises. Similar control center is at AAR and all these are also backed up two other centers for data security in Israel and Europe. This enables us to be online all the time with full back up to be able to render our support services on reel time as much as possible.

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The other advantage is our product cost which is Sh23, 400 for the whole security and tracking system. The recurrent service that one needs to pay is Sh1100 per month. I believe that these prices are really affordable and not restrictive for one to protect himself and his assets.


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