South African superstar!

South African superstar!

One of the most successful local companies within the transport industry is definitely DigiCore. Not only has the firm made its mark on the local fleet management game, but it has also celebrated success all over the world.

The story begins back in 1985, when Nick Vlok, now CEO of DigiCore Holdings, started a tiny little company in the security and fleet management field called Vepro.

Tina Monteiro, publisher of FOCUS, recalls that Vepro had extremely humble and unassuming offices in a little house in Boksburg. “Nick was even dabbling in cellphones and I purchased my first telephone from him; it looked like a brick!” she recalls with a smile. Did it look like the beginnings of a massive South African empire? “Never,” she insists. “He had great intentions and some good products, but a massive corporation – I would never have guessed…”

Most other observers would not have guessed what was to come either – but today DigiCore is a global company listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange with a turnover of many millions (R685 million in 2008 to be precise, versus 2007’s R441 million). Operating profit last year increased by 52% to R204 million from R135 million in 2007. And its advanced C-track technology is fitted to almost 430 000 vehicles operating in 36 countries across six continents!

The latest laurel in the cap of this leading South African-based fleet management and vehicle tracking company came when it was recently shortlisted for an award in the world’s foremost telematics competition, the Telematics Detroit Awards 2009.

“The annual competition recognises and celebrates the key companies that are driving the industry forward and pushing the boundaries in GPS technology,” says Precksha Saksena, managing director and editor of Telematics Update, the influential telematics publication behind the awards. “Finalists for these awards stand out in an industry where innovation is expected as the norm.”

Nominated in the “Best Aftermarket Device” category, DigiCore, with its suite of C-track products, faced some of the world’s elite telematics developers, including Hughes Telematics, Parrot and Wavecom Inc. in the finals.

“The award looks for an aftermarket device that demonstrates best practice within the telematics sector bringing measurable benefits to the end user, including lower overheads, increased productivity and reduced environmental impact,” says Vlok.

“An independent panel of industry experts from the digital, automotive, mobile and web industries analysed the submissions and individually narrowed down each category to the respective finalists,” Saksena says.

With an extensive client base spanning six continents and over 400 000 systems sold, DigiCore Holdings is already a world leader in the development, implementation and support of best-of-breed telematics systems, says Vlok: “We can service fleets of all sizes with our C-track systems which deliver real operational and business benefits to fleets by reducing fuel consumption, validating overtime claims, eliminating unauthorised out-of-hours vehicle use, achieving more jobs per employee, enhancing service levels, increasing protection against vehicle theft and supporting environmental responsibility.”

With the global recession set to worsen, fleet owners are looking increasingly at technologies that help streamline their operations and minimise operational expenses, Vlok explains: “Fleet management systems are becoming a standard business tool and DigiCore has over 15 years’ experience in implementing and supporting telematics in large fleets, both locally and overseas, and 27 years in fleet management. We literally have hundreds of thousands of vehicles fitted with C-track around the world in major fleets like BHP Billiton, Royal Mail, Thames Water and the South African Police Services. This experience has proved the merits of our products and services.”

For a telematics company wishing to showcase its abilities to the top brass of the automotive industry, the Telematics Detroit Award offers the ideal platform. Vlok adds: “The guest list was impressive and all the big name vehicle manufacturers were represented by their CEOs and other senior executives. Being shortlisted has positioned DigiCore among the leading providers of telemetry solutions globally, which will contribute to a stronger brand and raise our profile within our regions of operation.”

Now in its eighth year, the Telematics Awards offers both publicity and prestige to its winners and finalists.

“We are honoured to be recognised among so many leading companies and congratulate the joint winners in the ‘Best Aftermarket Device’ category, Autonet Mobile and Hughes Telematics. DigiCore’s presence in the finals represents a massive boost for our company and is testimony to the hard work and great team effort that is taking place across all areas of the business to develop products and services that represent real advances within the telematics sector and add value to our customers,” Vlok concludes.

The winners were recently announced at a gala dinner in the United States – we are ever so proud that a South African company was represented!

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