IDcontrol: “There is huge demand for security services in Africa”
When a Finnish company aims to establish business abroad, it usually looks towards Europe, the United States or China. IDcontrol, which offers security and identification solutions, chose another path to expand its business.
"For a number of years, we were encouraged to establish a presence in Ghana," says IDcontrol's Managing Director Markku Raitanen.
"In 2012, we went to familiarise ourselves with the market area as part of the delegation organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. We established a subsidiary in Ghana the following year."
IDcontrol operates in Ghana under the name IDcontrol Africa Limited. The company manufactures prepaid cards which enable the use of electricity in homes and offices.
South Africa has great need of experts in security services
IDcontrol, which was originally established as an accounting firm in the 1940s, has reinvented itself numerous times. In the 1970s, the company changed owner and field of operations and ended up in the plastic card business. In 2016, the company shook up its operations once again and decided to sell its plastic card operations and focus solely on identification and security solutions.
Agility and momentum have been worthwhile:growth in identification and security products has been spectacular, approximately 20 per cent a year. Last year, the company's turnover was about EUR 2.5 million.
Having captured the Ghana market, the aim is to seek market share in South Africa.
"The need for security services in South Africa is enormous. We are talking about a market segment many times the size of that in Finland," Raitanen says.
BEAM programme boosts capture of new markets
IDcontrol has been interested in the South African market for some time now. The company plans to export the DigiOvi - Digital Doors system, which requires card or fingerprint identification, to South Africa.
"A great deal of attention is paid to access control security systems in South Africa. Along with offices and public buildings, apartments, too, have tough locks and alarm systems. In homes, the only place you can go at night without triggering an alarm may be the toilet," says Raitanen.
IDcontrol decided to participate in Tekes' BEAM programme in order to obtain new perspectives on the market area and deeper knowledge about opportunities to market and roll out its products there. The company also obtained funding from Tekes through the BEAM programme.
"We have made numerous new contacts, excellent ideas and cooperation proposals. We are currently conducting a market survey, and in December we are travelling to South Africa to meet operators and experts. In a best case scenario, we will be able to get things rolling as early as next year," Raitanen says.
Programme Manager, BEAM programme
tel. +358 2950 55743
minh.lam (at) tekes.fi
Managing Director, IDcontrol
Tel. +358 20 734 3210
markku.raitanen (at) idcontrol.fi
IDcontrol Oy is a Finnish company focusing strongly on product development and customer experience. The company's main product groups are security solutions, identification solutions and turnstiles. Besides product development work on its proprietary DigiOvi access control, IDcontrol is also involved in RFID credentials, which it designs and implements for industrial and logistics customers. DigiOvi product development and manufacturing takes place in Finland, and the company is committed to Finnish work.
Text: Kaiku Helsinki