Earlier this month, newly immigrated Kamloops businessman Alejo Saavedra witnessed a car bearing the “N” symbol of a young driver passing him at what he estimates was at least 140 km/h.
“I went, ‘Wow, that’s my client.’ ”
If the young driver’s car had been equipped with hardware from Telemetriq, a Kamloops high-tech startup company, he would have heard a telltale beeping sound from inside, alerting the driver to excessive speed.
And somewhere else in Kamloops, his parents would receive instant text messages alerting them that their young driver was putting the boot to the floor.
Telemetriq’s system — developed in Kamloops with graduates of Thompson Rivers University doing the programming — alerts drivers and people concerned about them to aggressive or wasteful behaviour. The technology also allows alerts based on sudden acceleration and braking or g-forces generated from turning.
“You’re receiving that feedback,” Saavedra said of drivers hearing the warning sounds of the on-board spy. “One way or another, you’ll be a better driver.”
Providing assurances to parents is only part of the picture from the firm, which expects to garner its first customers this spring. The same technology is used to monitor commercial fleets.
Traditionally, fleet managers relied on “How’s my driving?” signs, along with toll-free numbers for reports of aggressive driving.
“A lot of people don’t call,” said Saavedra. “What we’re doing is letting owners know, even if no one calls, we can tell them what’s happening with that driver.”
Using the same technology that monitors young drivers, Telemetriq offers companies the ability to track everything from RPM, average speed and gas mileage.
Firms are sent a daily or weekly “dashboard” with graphs and tables showing fleet-wide averages, as well as individual vehicle statistics.
Drivers can be awarded “green points” to recognize habits that conserve fuel. Eventually, Saavedra expects to be able to document carbon emissions as well.
“It’s a new concept of fuel management — more visual.”
Telemetriq, which is now housed in a small office in Sahali, hopes to sign the first customers in Kamloops, what he calls “a great lab for me.
“We can talk to local companies, receive feedback and make adjustments. Then we can move to Kelowna, a bigger market. Finally, we can go to Vancouver and Calgary.”
The fact that Saavedra and his family, including a wife and four children, are here is thanks to efforts at Venture Kamloops, which hooked him with an online chat feature while he was surfing the Internet looking for potential places to relocate.
Saavedrea wanted to take his skills to either the U.S. or Canada for the sake of his family.
A former manager of a retail chain store in the state of Sonora, Mexico, Saavedra made his living there more recently in a high-technology business using GPS technology to track stolen cars.
“There’s no business here for that — a good thing,” he laughed.
Saavedra said he eventually settled on Canada. He toyed with the idea of Calgary or Vancouver, but was interested in a smaller town with the focus on family.
“I saw the Tournament Capital and I thought, ‘That’s interesting.’ ”
Eventually he chatted online with a Venture Kamloops representative and became even more impressed.
“Kamloops was a great option, a small town with city amenities. You have everything here.”