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Tue Jan 24 17:08:14 SAST 2017

Clever app nails thieves

Farren Collins | 2016-01-25 00:05:01.0
“It is important that your alarm is serviced and in working order before you go away," advises Lew Geffen, chairman of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
Image by: iStock/BrianAJackson

A student-developed community alert system could be the solution to home safety for millions of people who cannot afford the services of private security companies.

The Jonga system, invented by three University of Cape Town students, was one of two winning concepts in the fourth annual Student Social Venture Programme, hosted by the Bertha Centre at the UCT Graduate School of Business.

Jonga was selected, along with Farmdrive, a Kenyan development that expands access to credit for small-scale farmers, to compete in a competition in London next month.

Jonga uses sensors to detect intruders in a home and alerts its users to the breach by SMS. The users can then alert neighbours and the police. It costs R800 to install.

The idea was chosen for its social impact and will go up against entrants from around the world for the $50000 (about R830000) prize money.

"The finalists we chose to go through this year are both strong ideas and we are confident they will do well." said Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre.

Previous winners include the Lumkani fire-detection system, which won in 2014.

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