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New company Amber Connect makes pitch for universal security

Published:Friday | October 9, 2015 | 10:17 PMNeville Graham
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Dushyant Savadia, CEO and Co-founder of Amber Connect shows off one of his company's security devices at the AMCHAM President's Breakfast forum at Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 .

By November, a new security system will become available to Jamaicans that allows for GPS tracking, automatic distress calling, automatic system shutdown and fleet management.

Amber Connect, a company registered in the summer after a year of product testing, is rolling out several devices branded Amber Cars, Amber Fleet, Amber Kids, Amber Home and Amber My Team, each carrying a specially developed app, says CEO Dushayant Savadia, an Indian resident in Jamaica.

There has been talk for some time about the new security app and what it could do. Savadia says the Amber team spent the past year developing and testing the app and putting it on devices that had been reverse-engineered in India and Hong Kong.

"We bought a hundred devices from each of these products, broke them apart and stress-tested each of those components from different manufacturers and used the best aspects of those tests to develop our own devices by developing a blueprint of the hardware," Savadia said as he demonstrated his products at an AmCham Jamaica breakfast forum in New Kingston on Tuesday.

Asked whether he could really deliver the services as pitched in his demonstration, Savadia responded that his pitch included the actual product to be marketed, and not the idea of what it could do.

"I didn't present a concept. I presented a live application and a live demonstration," the Amber CEO said.

Savadia said the devices were developed around conditions in Jamaica, but that this market, his home market, was just his starting point.

"This is a technology that is being rolled out worldwide. I didn't build Amber just for Jamaica. I want Jamaica to provide a security solution to the whole world because we know security much better, having faced the challenges (and) experienced the losses," Savadia said.

Created for universal access

Amber's products were developed around the concept of universal access to security technology.

"You make security accessible, you make security affordable and it should be in the hands of every single car owner. Security is not for the elite. Security is also equally for everybody in this world," said Savadia.

The Amber Cars wired device should come to the market at a price under $11,000 as a one-off acquisition fee, with an annual software renewal fee of about $4,000.

"We're still tying up the distribution arrangements with our partners, but, generally, we expect the acquisition prices to be in the range of $11,000-$15,000," Savadia added, regarding the likely cost of other devices to be rolled out.

The Amber Cars/Amber Fleet device has a 'geo-fencing' alarm feature that alerts the user when a vehicle moves outside of a user-designated geographical area, as well as real-time systems to monitor performance, speed, movement, distance, and even time spent driving and time spent sitting in traffic. It also has a 'tele-cut-off' function that allows the user to shut off both fuel and electronics remotely; and a panic button for emergencies, in addition to an automatic SOS alarm on collision.

It even has a remote voice-monitoring function that allows a user to listen to voices of persons in the vehicle where the device is installed.

Careful development 

Savadia says this is the product of careful development.

"The testing has been going on for a year. We may go for a drive, and we test some more and we add in some cars, so we continue to build this app by bringing more and more features week by week - and we never stop because we want to integrate your entire mobile life into your smartphone," Savadia told the Financial Gleaner.

Savadia also showed off two devices for Amber Kids - a smartwatch with GPS; two-way calling; SOS button; and travel history so that the wearer can be monitored in real time and device removal alert; and a Safety ID Card with similar features to the watch, but it also comes with a voice monitor (listen-in mode) and geo-fencing alert.

Amber Connect Jamaica was incorporated on August 5, 2015. The CEO did not give much information when pressed on the company structure and financing.

"Amber is the coming together of a few dynamic individuals who want to serve the society. All of us have been a part of the Art of Living Foundation for the past many years," Savadia said.

Companies Office records name Monisha Shah and Dushyant Savadia as directors and Maria Lapuskina as company secretary. They also indicate that Karen Sutherland, Elon Parkinson and Snehil Raisinghani were directors up to September 28, 2015.

The Art of Living Jamaica Foundation Limited is a registered charitable organisation since October 10, 2013.

"All of us came together to build the entire company and as we go along now, we didn't even realise how big this has become in such a short time, so now we are actually structuring it," Savadia said.

The funding to develop the devices have come "mostly from contributions from many partners", he added, but declined to identify them.

"Our biggest funding was our passion to deliver something that is affordable and easy to use, where everyone can take it home to secure their families, their assets and cars, and even their home," he said.

The Amber Connect products should be on the market by next month. Savadia says he is finalising partnerships and distribution agreements for the devices ahead of the roll-out.

Pressed about the names of the likely partners, Savadia said only that they include telecoms and security companies.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com