The convergence of digital information with voice and computer technology recieved a major boost with the commercialisation of the GPS satelite system.Sempres International Holdings (Sempres)has been forged from the merger of a number of businesses which are problem solvers in the fields of asset managment and security .It has powerful credentials and is backed by major shareholders such as KEB International,itself a multinational front front runner in the field of technology .Sempres interated the individual business components into a streamlined and focussed business.
Sempres was conceived from the observation by Sempres Chief Executive Officer, Cornel Rich, and Chief Operating Officer, Dawie Spangenberg, that wherever separate information systems, communications systems and terminals were combined within a single system, the various parties tended to point fingers at each other when systems failure occurred.
Sempres' key strategy is to fully integrate both media, voice and data, into a single holistic system, enabling it to accept full ownership of the solution. In the event of any systems failure, responsibility is placed squarely with Sempres.
"It is in this environment that Sempres was developed as a global asset management and protection services organisation, offering the market place end-to-end solutions as well as a comprehensive package of tailored one-stop security services," says Rich. "Our state-of-the-art technology is multifaceted, but has particular implications for the security industry."
Sempres has a market value in excess of R300 million, and proposes to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the near future.
It has already established a radio transmission network analogous to the cellular GSM network covering 80% of the country. Its technology combines voice and data communication with computer-based call centres and in-house software applications.
The major applications of Sempres' technology platform are in vehicle tracking and fleet management, building management and asset protection in the widest sense for the domestic, commercial and industrial market sectors. An almost infinite range of services can be spun off from these core applications, and to date the following have been established: medical assistance, roadside assistance, house alarms, armed reaction and vehicle tracking. A call to a single number prompts a response in any one of these emergencies. Sempres already provides advanced vehicle communication/management system for the police and vehicle recovery organisations, among others.
"Our primary application is asset utilisation, with one such example being scheduling fleets of trucks for just-in-time delivery to industrial concerns. Industry is moving in this direction, and it requires the most exact management to ensure delivery is just in time. Our system enables them to accurately locate, plan and schedule resources effectively," says Rich. Apart from asset management, Sempres focuses on the high tech application of its systems to security.
High-tech security systems
"Clearly the system has massive scope for security, and we are able to provide a monitoring service at a fraction of the cost currently charged in the domestic market. We have established a national control centre and propose to establish a network of community-based regional sub-centres as our infrastructure expands. We are offering security firms the opportunity to piggy-back on our system by becoming franchise operations. We are revolutionising domestic and commercial security in South Africa," says Spangenberg, "by setting a new benchmark in pricing and technology".
Today, there are as many as 3000 security firms and considerable savings are possible on their infrastructure. Because the industry is so fragmented, each company operates its own control centre with expensive radio equipment, round-the-clock operators and maintenance for its limited client base. These assets are typically under-utilised. With Sempres' innovative products and national network, the cost can be reduced to a tenth of traditional monitoring services.
"By combining all the services within a franchise network, this means that Sempres can offer enormous savings by firstly replacing expensive and inefficient technology with our superior system and, secondly, by utilising the infra structural assets better," says Spangenberg. Having fully utilised assets means Sempres can offer the finest levels of monitoring and reaction in the industry.
"Where we differ from traditional security companies is that our system is much more than just a monitoring system, but permits two-way communication of both data and voice."
Sensors placed at critical points either on premises or a vehicle can trigger a message when a certain event occurs. The data is captured by the Sempres computer system and transported to the control centre. The system is independent of the Telkom public network, travelling on a failsafe radio communications system. When the data is received, it can either be immediately acted on or responded to by voice communication.
In the case of a security-monitoring plan, it would immediately trigger an armed response via one of the franchise service operators.
"Though security is a fragmented industry, it is fast consolidating through buyouts by a handful of major companies. But this consolidation has not been to the benefit of the consumer, " says Spangenberg. "We believe the formation of huge national security firms has been at the expense of customer service. Security has become impersonal and distant from their clients. These mega-security firms are losing much of the client base that they are buying through acquisitions".
The route of franchising
"We therefore selected the route of franchising to keep local operators service orientated, entrepreneurial and nimble. The original entrepreneurs remain the owners with the benefit of our superior technology and supported by a national network. The advantage for our franchisees is that it broadens their focus by enabling them to sell not just protection services, but all of our services."
The concept is both new and revolutionary. Sempres already operates franchises for its 'Security World' retail security shops in six major centres. The first pilot franchise with community involvement has just commenced business offering the full range of services - the Centurion Community Protection Association is a section 21 company which signed up as a franchisee earlier this year and will provide a comprehensive range of community protection services. Sempres provides franchisees with branding, systems and training.
"Because of the economies of our system, we are able to introduce security to areas which have not traditionally been able to afford it. Areas such as Soweto are being opened up to our franchise concept. Although our network is national, we're initially focussing our efforts on Gauteng to consolidate infrastructure," says Spangenberg.
The system is far more multifunctional than simply a monitoring system. The facility for two way communication opens up a host of applications that go beyond monitoring and management of assets.
"Our system offers remote management of assets. The largest cost in any business today is labour, and our system permits more productive use of manpower in this regard," says Rich.
"For instance, a bulk commodity supplier could place sensors in each silo which would trigger a re-order message to the supplier without need of human intervention. The system finds its greatest application in fleet management and building maintenance. In the case of buildings, sensors can trigger emergency calls in the case of fire or flood risks, read electricity, water and gas consumption, and signal leakage. It enables the complete monitoring of a building without wastage of expensive human resources. It has particular application in instances where a vacant central business district building still requires constant vigilance to protect the asset," says Rich.
"We are able to offer an integrated end-to-end answer to asset management needs," he says.
For details contact Tersia Nortje of Sempres on tel: (011) 734 4485/784 6736 or e-mail: email@example.com
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