January 13, 2017
The Delightfully Disruptive Jamaican Tech Startup I Found at CES
I saw them at CES, the annual technology trade show in Las Vegas. They were in the Eureka Park showcase area–a place for startups to display their technology to the media and to potential investors.
They stood out because they were a group of men of color; a rare sighting in Eureka Park. The tech startup founders there are from around the world, yet are overwhelmingly white and Asian.
I walked over and discovered the group hailed from Jamaica. They were eager to show their innovative technology that is poised to disrupt the fleet management business.
Fleet management is a much needed and tricky operation. It’s technology business owners use to keep track of delivery trucks, service vans, taxis, etc. Running a fleet of vehicles for a business can mean costs spiraling out of control when you take into account gasoline, service, maintenance, and making sure workers are where they need to be on time.
The Jamaican startup is named Amber Connect. Founder and CEO Dushyant Savadia and his team walked me through a demo of their product. Not only does the product offer fleet tracking for businesses, but it’s a way for parents to monitor their teens’ driving whereabouts and for vehicle owners to keep track of their cars and motorcycles.
Fleet management solutions can be complex to set up and manage. Amber Connect strives to make a user-friendly, yet powerful product. Install simply requires setting up this sensor in each vehicle to be managed:
Next, customers subscribe to the cloud-based Amber Connect platform. They can manage fleets from an iOS or Android app.
The app opens to a cloud-based portal. From the portal, a customer can view their vehicles in real-time; get data on fuel consumption; remotely shut any vehicle down; manage associated expenses; and more.
As mentioned, there is a consumer component to Amber Connect. The features offered to business fleet customers are available to consumers for their personal vehicles. Included are several anti-theft features such as Device Tamper and Anti-Theft Vibration Alerts.
Parents can receive notifications about kids’ bad driving behavior including speeding, hard braking, and sudden acceleration.
Savadia is a native of India who resides in Jamaica. His team members at CES are native Caribbean. It was a refreshing change of pace to see a startup that was not from the U.S., Asia, or Western Europe taking its place in Eureka Park.
More diversity is coming to CES. Next year, the conference organizers announced there will be an Africa Tech NowÂ exhibit to showcase the innovative technology coming from the African continent.