Sunday 19 January 2020

Irish man leads way in 'affordable' tracking cover of your car

Focus on security

Kabzy founder and owner Michael Flanagan.
Kabzy founder and owner Michael Flanagan.
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

A Dublin man is leading the way in 'affordable' tracking of vehicles - including 'millisecond' details of what happens if you have a crash.

Michael Flanagan (pictured), from Harold's Cross, has won official public-funds backing for his project and is already taking in orders.

His Kabzy device is simple. It is a small black box that can be fitted, usually behind the dashboard, and with an app on your phone (there's a web system too) you can track your car from anywhere in the world - thanks to GPS and a SIM card.

It uses only the same power as a car's clock so there is no drain on the battery.

If your vehicle is stolen you can press a disable button that will, remotely and safely, bring it to a halt as soon as it slows to under 10kmph for 20 seconds.

And if your vehicle is in a collision, Kabzy automatically sends an alert to a designated contact or to emergency services.

After undergoing rigorous tests for viability Mr Flanagan's company is now deemed a HPSU - high potential start-up - with Enterprise Ireland. Michael (33) got €50,000 as part of the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) and he already has an early-stage investor. The company is now looking to raise more money.

So what makes Kabzy different? After all there are several tracking systems out there and there have been for a long time.

Its big-selling points, the experts have adjudged, are its ease-of-use and low-cost.

Lots of other products are for high-end and expensive cars and tend to be UK made.

This costs €395 for the first year for the hardware and software.

After that it is €150 a year for the software.

Michael, a civil servant for 10 years, developed the software himself - that is the critical part really. He told 'Independent Motors' how he had learned so much from mistakes with previous ventures.

This project began life as a safety device for taxi drivers. That's why it's called Kabzy ( "It was a bit like eircom phone watch for taxis," he says.

But there wasn't such a take-up of it among cab drivers so he adapted it for private-car customers.

Critically, along with its other elements, it tracks driver behaviour too.

And that should help explain why there are two "major insurers" genuinely interested in it at this stage as it can plot every detail of an accident.

"When a crash happens we know how the vehicle moved down to the millisecond," Michael reveals.

"We can reconstruct the accident in 3D and produce a 30-second video of exactly what happened before, during and after the collision."

And the system can show how fast the other vehicle was travelling.

He is continuing to work in that whole area with Blanchardstown IT who have a virtual reality driving simulator.

He intends garnering real-world evidence from an imminent exercise which will let him present the outcome to the insurance companies to show how it can work.

He has also spoken to US companies and reports they are "really interested".

When we say Kabzy we are really talking just Michael. He does most of the work himself though he is about to recruit a business development manager. And he reports to his adviser in Enterprise Ireland.

He has sold a number of devices already to private customers who have bought a relatively new car as well as selling to a truck/haulage company and truck/and/car fleets.

Now he is now looking at getting into the big-machinery plant-hire market. Among the benefits is the fact that: "Owners can shut down the machines safely overnight." It is all about getting into markets and convincing people of the benefits.

And Kabzy seems well equipped to do just that.

Indo Motoring

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