Epinec, a Nigerian-based technology consulting company, is developing an advanced infrastructure project monitoring application that leverages satellite data for remote oversight.
Founded in 2013, Epinec has grown its business from a small pioneering team to about 87 employees and is currently helping corporate organizations with technology solutions ranging from software services to ERP implementation, cybersecurity and general IT advisory services.
Epinec supports corporate organizations to automate processes, optimize operations and find new ways to engage with customers by helping them adopt cutting edge technologies.
The company has partnered with global IT solution providers such as Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, HP, Nimble, among others, to drive sales and provide customer support services in Nigeria.
“We have been helping Microsoft drive the digital transformation solutions to corporate organizations in Nigeria. We also provide cybersecurity solutions through our partner Palo Alto Networks based in California, which forms part of the core services we provide to our customers in Nigeria,” said Obit Ibeto.
In a recent interview with Space in Africa, Epinec CEO, Obi Ibeto, disclosed that the company is developing a new application named EPINEC Project Plus to help corporate organizations monitor infrastructure projects remotely.
Obi said his team was motivated to develop the application due to the intense competition in the IT services market in Nigeria and the need to innovate services that offer more integrated solutions.
“We decided to innovate an infrastructure project monitoring solution because we found out some of our customers have issues in overseeing their portfolio projects. With Project Plus, we shall help them solve those issues.”
The application is nearing its final development stages and will be launched as a cloud-based subscription service for businesses and development organizations to sign up and access vital information. The development team is currently integrating the billing system and satellite data from Airbus subsidiary UP42.
“According to our project timeline, the application should be able to go live by the end of September and will become commercially available. We are working to finalize the integration of satellite imageries with our technical partner and the billing system for seamless customer experience.”
Obi confirmed that they are developing the application in-house with a dedicated development team that has over 20 years of experience in building enterprise applications for large corporate organizations across financial services and oil and gas sectors.
With the Project Plus application, Epinec targets facility managers not only in construction companies but also across the mining, industrial, agriculture sectors or any company that has a portfolio of infrastructure projects to manage. Obi says that they also expect considerable traction from international development agencies that monitor portfolio projects.
The value proposition of the application, according to Obi, is to give project managers, investors, sponsors, policymakers and donors the ability to know what is happening on the ground in near-realtime without incurring the expenses of human labour, security risk or travel costs associated with on-site visits. There is also the benefit of anonymity and convenience of having a remote solution which is unavoidable with on-site visits. The application provides other project management features such as project description, cost information, vendors, partners etc.
“The information is going to be priceless for the development agencies based outside of Africa, that keeps pumping money into infrastructure projects in Africa. Those are the type of customers that we’re looking at,” Obi added. “We are also looking at corporate organizations in Nigeria and elsewhere with multiple project sites across the country. They do not have to fly somebody to see the progress of the project. They can have the information in near realtime and observe changes depending on the revisit time of the available satellite imagery.”
In terms of the geographical context of their target market, Obi expects more traction for sites in urban areas because of the majority of the infrastructural projects are located in the cities.
“The bulk of our revenue is going to come from the monitoring of sites in urban areas because the cities are where you have different constructions going on in different places and various corporate organizations that will need that level of information. We shall be focusing on the urban areas to optimize revenue opportunities out of those areas and across 54 countries in Africa.”
There is a second reason for more traction in urban areas. There seem to be limitations in capturing data from rural and less densely populated regions as human activities, devices and automobiles help to optimize data gotten from urban areas which are not the case in remote communities.
Epinec is one of the ten African startups that participated in the 2020 Africa4Future aerospace acceleration programme supported by Airbus Bizlab and GIZ Make-IT in Africa and implemented by Nigerian-based CcHUB. Obi said their participation in the Africa4Future aerospace accelerator had helped the company to refine the application and facilitated their adoption of geospatial data into the EPINEC Project Plus application.
“We are working with our technical partners from Airbus UP42 to do the necessary integrations, and they have been awesome providing us with all the support that we need to be able to go live.”