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IBM’s entrepreneur program for SA startups gains momentum

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IBM has stated that its entrepreneur program has gained impelling momentum in South Africa, boosting the country’s startup community.

According to IBM, the program has been instrumental in nurturing a first of a kind road safety concept called vehicle alert system and mobile application dubbed “Road Buddy.”

Road Buddy, which is a proactive approach to ensuring road safety, functions by transmitting warning signals from road users who are susceptible to accidents such as pedestrians, cyclists, emergency vehicles and motorists.

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Photo credit: IBM
Photo credit: IBM

Its inimitable aspect is that it facilitates send- and -receive warning system to road users anyway across the globe, reports SmileandMobile.com.

Road Buddy was conceptualised in 2006 by local entrepreneur Werner van der Westhuizen of EMEWS Vehicle Warning System.

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Speaking to CP-Africa.com, Van der Westhuizen said: “Imagine if there was a way that you could be warned that someone riding a bicycle was approaching your car or that an ambulance was approaching at a top speed. This is what Road Buddy does.”

The launch of Road Buddy is expected to promote road accident prevention. Global statistics indicate that road traffic accidents claim some 1.24 million lives each year. Between 20 and 50 million people are injured annually, making road accidents the principal killer globally. In South Africa, about 10,850 road accidents are fatal and lead to some R307 billion loss, or around 7.8 percent cost to the economy each year.

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Clayton Booysen, Ecosystem Development Manager at IBM SA, said: ‘Working with the next generation entrepreneurs we specifically look at how we can use new technologies such as cloud computing and analytics to provide solutions to critical global issues.”

“In the case of Road Ruddy, our Softlayer Cloud system enables them to get to market quickly and to prevent accidents on the Road.”

The application was designed collaboratively by engineers at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) before being developed by Cape Town based software engineers.

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