You are having fun away from home and suddenly the bell rings on your phone. Someone is in your house—a thief, the call tells you. It is not a human being calling you! It is a system created by Mr Khotso Moahloli in his days as a student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). The system is now owned by many happy customers in Maseru, Mafeteng, Thaba Tseka and Mokhotlong.
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The system keeps calling you and two others until one of you picks a call.
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It can detect motion of a thief in your house and sms and phone you and two of your friends immediately. It can ring the alarm to alert your neighbours. It can detect smoke if there is fire and then ring you. It can be used to remotely put home lighting and your geyser on or off, using your cell phone. It can notify you on your cell phone when electricity goes off in your house.
With it, you are at home away from home.
The point of departure is when Moahloli is a final year student of Electronics Engineering at the NUL. “Time comes for us to get into our fourth year projects. The emphasis is that final year projects cannot only be theoretical but also practical,” he says.
He picks a project named “Remote Control Monitoring” which will be supervised by Mr Thabo Koetje. Remote Monitoring is the ability to keep your eye on things even when you are far away from them. A mix of modern technology and the young bold minds like the ones we have here at NUL is a perfect recipe for such kinds of ventures.
Little does he know that this project will keep him busy to this day, nearly six years later.
So he starts working on this fascinating project for some time.
In the end, he realises he has something tangible to demonstrate. “I am now able to use an sms to put a lightbulb on and off. So I can communicate with a lightbulb using a cell-phone wherever I am. Also, the system is able to send me an sms when it detects motion.”
He graduates from NUL and faces the real world. However, he is still determined to improve on this project, if not to see it commercialised in the market. He joins an existing company called NobleX whose focus is mainly in the maintenance of such things as computers and printers.
He uses the salary he gets to continue his work on the security system.
In the end, NobleX ends up putting its focus on this creation and he becomes a shareholder in the company.
With enough attention given, the system is now able to do the following.
Suppose a riff-raff enters your house in your absence. It detects his motions, sends you an sms and calls you immediately. You, the owner of the house, are on the first line to receive the call. It rings you for some time and if you don’t answer, it moves to the second person whose numbers are registered. If he doesn’t pick, it moves to the third person. If that person doesn’t answer, it comes to you, again.
“In fact, it keeps circling between the three of you and it doesn’t stop unless one of you picks the call,” Moahloli said.
If you are away from home for whatever reason, you can put home lights on and off as if you were actually at home. In fact, this system gives you a peace of mind by confirming that if you put the lights on, they indeed became on by providing a feedback. It also assists with putting a geyser on and off remotely as well as detecting signs of fire by detecting smoke and ringing you and alarming neighbours.
To test it, the system is installed in one of the team members’ house and it is working perfectly well to this day, from four years ago.
It ids time now to get it to the market.
Today’s youth are no longer satisfied with “demonstration projects.”
They mean business.
As they plot the way forward, an opportunity comes by, uninvited. It is in the form of Bacha Entrepreneurship Project by Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), Standard Lesotho Bank and Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA). They apply for funding provided by this opportunity and they lose.
Next year, there is another project.
They have just licked their wounds and they give it another try. After all, who knows?
They have learned their lessons, so this time they try harder and they present better. In the end, they are a success. Not only do they win, they reach number two in the line of winners! They receive a whopping M168, 000!
The funding has made it possible for him to produce in bulk and to enter the security market. They are now in four districts of Lesotho and they hope to expand.
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