To solidify its growth, the Group is expanding its markets and client base.
6 August 2012
To solidify its growth, the Group is expanding its markets and client base.:
Allied Technologies (Altech) is a JSE-listed multibillion rand investment holding company that has successfully managed the economic downturn through its local and international footprint.
Altech is now working to solidify its global presence through a focused range of activities, including the development and ownership of intellectual property rights, and the provision of value-added products, services and solutions driven by convergence. In this way, the company in-tends to expand its markets, add new customers, build shareholder value and increase profits.
Altech CEO Craig Venter says he wants to grow Altech’s revenue significantly in the next three to five years. That will be achieved by continuing to deliver relevant products and services to existing and new clients.
“This is a core requirement for the sustainable growth that Altech is aiming for. In our markets, relevant offerings demand constant change, innovation and novel applications or bundled solutions. We are constantly reinventing the Altech group so as to maintain a leadership position in a fast changing technology environment , ” he says.
These sentiments are reinforced by Dr Willie Oosthuysen, Altech’s chief strategic officer and chief technology officer. He says Altech has quantified and qualified a significant growth path over the next five years. This will comprise both organic and inorganic growth that has been divided into four growth “clusters” that are aimed at leveraging various assets from Altech operations. These clusters, as seen in the diagram on the next page, are security/tracking; secure digital content delivery; payment solutions; and SMB ICT.
In addition, Altech’s growth strategy has been broken down into four work streams, the first phase of which refers to effecting efficiency and cost synergies within the organisation.
In the second strategic phase, Altech is examining ways in which it can achieve a better value proposition through joint go-to-market development. This is because there are multiple opportunities to capture benefits from a converged business model across noncustomer-facing and customer-facing operations.
The company is also looking at developing high-level cross-operation integration and enabling network architecture across the Altech group and ensuring usage of Altech operations as service providers.
In phase three Altech will identify strategic growth areas in line with its 2016 vision and growth aspirations. This will involve the qualification, quantification and prioritisation of strategic growth drivers while assessing potential investments to assist in this growth. The understanding is that Altech will require various mechanisms to achieve an aspirational target of revenue growth in three to five years. Its team has come up with a number of strategic growth areas and is determining which to prioritise in terms of affordability and doability.
In phase four Altech will develop and make use of its intellectual property portfolio to add further technological advances to existing products in addition to bringing new, hi-tech innovations to market. Some of these will apply to current and future services, creating sustainability for the next five to seven years in terms of product innovation.
The company has also bought into or partnered companies that can expand its product offerings through the convergence of technologies. For example, Altech Netstar, the stolen vehicle recovery company, is investigating a technology partnership with insurance telematics companies.
“Insurance telematics is an alternative insurance risk rating model that uses driver behaviour to determine risk. It allows for the interaction between the insurer and the insured to be redesigned by enabling a transparent exchange of driving behaviour data. This exchange provides mutual benefits, including premium discounts, improved safety and security, lower risks and costs, increased loyalty, and innovative new revenue streams,” says Venter.
The project has added advantages as existing fleet management systems, traffic management and stolen vehicle recovery services and insurance telematics can be linked. This then provides value added services such as information on hijacking hotspots, the prevention of fraud through incorrect insurance claims and Sars-approved log books. These value added services for fleet managers and individuals will be offered to Altech Netstar customers and will also create significant market expansion opportunities for Altech.
Altech Netstar’s stolen vehicle recovery and tracking services will be further enhanced through partnerships with vehicle manufacturers to manufacture-install security and tracking devices into their vehicles. Some motor manufacturers have already gone this collaborative route, signifying no installation costs to the consumer, merely activation of the system following the purchase of a new vehicle.
Also on the cards is infotainment for fleets, via original equipment manufacturers and navigation system feeds. This will again link Altech Netstar to a GPS system and will incorporate car manufacturers and a radio data service. Two-way data communications will carry both voice and data over a national network at a fixed price, using Altech’s own national network. This, together with concierge systems, will form part of the elements that fall into the second expansion cluster of secure digital content delivery.
Altech’s Telecommunications & Wireless Communications Division, comprising Altech Autopage Cellular and Altech Netstar, will be involved in further market expansion. This will cover their concierge services, which will embrace restaurant services, emergency services, car maintenance (motor plans) and navigation and traffic alerts using the back-office services of Altech Autopage Cellular and Altech Netstar.
Under the ambit of secure digital content delivery, Altech Multimedia is gearing up for SA’s imminent transition from analogue to digital tele-vision. It has already made significant progress with this in the Australian, European and Middle Eastern markets.
The manufacture of next-generation set-top boxes in SA will increase exports in terms of a contract with FetchTV Australia, where Altech Mul-timedia will supply these set-top boxes to Bahrain, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Payment solution services comprise Altech’s third expansion cluster, in which developments around payment mechanisms will take place in both the public and private sectors. This will consist of payment instruments and solutions around eWallets and the Altech NuPay micro-financing system.
Altech NuPay falls under Altech’s Information Technology Division to-gether with Altech Card Solutions and Altech Swisttech. Altech Card Solutions has integrated its Eyenza Mobile Money acquisition into its operations and Altech NuPay’s prepaid PIN-based solution is already expanding the payment solutions market. This has applications in the retail, transport, banking and electricity payment markets.
The IT cluster includes cloud computing, which will embrace mobile operators, connectivity, tracing and payment solutions. Software development for mobile devices, airline, hotel and car rental bookings and banking applications are also on the cards.
There will also be applications in advertising and education and Altech Swisttech will provide software for mo-bile devices in these applications.
There are also opportunities for applications that provide switching facilities to banks. There are further growth opportu-nities in data and information provision for the delivery of goods and services, such as applications for education and e-government.
Mobile solutions include phone pay-ment systems; e-readers; small and large pay instruments; and security. The convergence of multiple solution options sets Altech apart from many niche vendors in the market. And the group is poised to take advantage of its strengths when new technologies are introduced. Presently, m-payments for electricity are already available.
Lifestyle, gaming and other bespoke mobile applications will form further applications for mobile devices provided by Altech.
Corporate Report written by Jenny de Wet
Advertising executive: Michael Anthony