As government struggles to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay, engineers and inventors are working around the clock to find solutions that can prevent the spread.

“Our aim is to reduce the queues at the hospitals. We’ve realised that queues are increasing fast and that something must be done to manage them.”

One of those developers is Musa Nciki who is no stranger to all things ICT. Over the years, he had been instrumental in managing the invention of quite a number of innovative solutions. Recently, his company, MMS Innovation Solutions designed the “smart cabin” which will help curb the spread of the novel virus.

How did the idea come about? Nciki and his team brainstormed about how they can contribute. They looked at a host of challenges in South Africa and came up with the right solution – the smart cabin.

“We asked ourselves: Are they getting the correct data or screening the people correctly? And what are the issues around sanitising? So, I said no, let’s think of one component that can combine all in one. We took time and sat down and said, let’s design a smart solution where each person can be screened and profiled,” Nciki elucidates.

South Africa’s government requires adherence with the following Covid-19 health and safety practices when employees or visitors enter workspaces.

They must be screened daily for symptoms, submitting to symptom and temperature checks at work. There must be workplace protocols in place for disease surveillance and preventing the spread of infection.

These protocols and screenings must be documented and logged on a daily basis for each individual.

“We built a face recognition and temperature machine. Thereafter, we developed our own app through IT that is complete with all the questionnaires. Our aim is to reduce the queues at the hospitals. We’ve realised that queues are increasing fast and that something must be done to manage them. If we develop a solution that can screen patients and send the data to relevant authorities that would change the situation drastically, ” he adds.

Nciki says his company’s value proposition extends to reducing risks of spreading COVID-19. “We also assist in tracking those who have already tested positive. The same smart cabin is also used as an access control mechanism. If it picks up that there is something wrong with you, it doesn’t allow you in,” Nciki reveals.

Additionally, the system detects if your temperature is above normal. According to the World Health Organisation, normal body temperature can range from 36.1°C to 37.2°C. A temperature over 38°C most often means you have a fever caused by an infection or illness.”

People only get access after completing these steps: they should enter a smart cabin; sanitise their hands; answer a questionnaire for Covid-19 using an app embedded on the cabin; then proceed to a sanitising area where a machine sprinkles their clothes with a sanitiser, only after this process is completed the individual can leave through the exit door.

What is interesting about MMS Innovative Solution’s target market is that it is not narrowed.

“Government buildings such as hospitals, and courts need it. Banks would need it as well. It will assist them to get the right kind of data. We may publish all the stats on a daily basis but we are not sure how accurate they are. So, this is the only solution that can help you get correct capturing of information,” he says.

“We have completed the manufacturing process, and benchmarked the market. However, we haven’t sold it yet. We will be piloting one cabin to hospitals and another to a government building. We have engaged with a Tvet college as they have shown interest in it. We are also engaged with the manufacturing industry. Transnet likes our idea, our team will go and identify sites where our product will be piloted for them,” he reveals.

Nciki says it takes only one day to set up a smart cabin. However, customers have an option to take the full smart cabin or a solution and fit it to an existing structure. “When we built this system we wanted something that can work now and beyond the COVID-19 situation.”

His journey in business has left him with countless lessons that he feels privileged to have learned first hand.”

Three lessons I have learned in business: First, it is very difficult to get customer’s buy-in if they can’t see your product. Second, for each and every solution that you want to develop there are regulators. So make sure you don’t contravene their rules. Third lesson, we must not try to substitute human touch with technology, but instead balance the two,” he says.

Nciki unwinds by either watching or playing soccer. “I also like mentoring youth about careers opportunities they should pursue,” he reveals. He looks up to revolutionary leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, and Oliver Tambo. Stellenbosch Mafia is one the books that he highly recommends to readers.

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