Young Bermudian is driving force behind vehicle tracking system.

By Alex Wright

Innovators: Bermudian James Tucker (left), pictured with Canadian business partner Rob Day.

Bermudian entrepreneur James Tucker is certainly going places fast.

The 23-year-old, who is now based in Brighton, Sussex in England, is just celebrating the highly successful launch of his innovative new vehicle tracking system.

Mantissa Operations Automatic Vehicle Location solution fleetTRAQ was very well received by delegates at the three-day Tetra World Congress held in Madrid, Spain recently.

The software is the first web-based solution designed to suit service providers using some of the world’s best GPS systems and displays data through 3D interfaces such as Google Earth and Microsoft Live Earth.

Mr. Tucker, who runs the company with Canadian business partner Rob Day, admitted he was genuinely surprised by the take-up of his product so far.

“I was more successful than we ever expected — it is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “We knew we had a winning concept, but we had no idea that the industry would take to it so quickly.

“We seem to have become a reference point in AVL systems; offering secure, scalable and highly usable software creating a niche in the service provider AVL industry.” The application works by allowing the client to monitor the movement of their vehicle(s) on a map and record the places they have been and where they are now.

In Bermuda all the customer has to do is buy a GPS-enabled handset from Electronic Communications Limited (ECL) and they are able to track their vehicle on Google Earth and get PDF reports of the progress.

Mr. Tucker first spotted a niche in the market for his product while working for Telecom.

He said: “When I was working with Telecom they sold another AVL product which was called Track Manager and one of its abilities was to produce a map of Bermuda which showed the position of everything, but there was no way it could be produced the size of a wall, but our software can now display all of that.

“It has an application to be used by delivery companies to find out why something happened and when it happened, if there is an accident or something like that. It certainly speeds up any of these sort of queries.

“The applications are quite widespread and it is really a combination of the client companies realising it is possible to actually make this stuff available for customers and from Mantissa’s point of view we are doing a lot of that and we are ready to do a lot more.”

Mr. Tucker, whose family still resides in Bermuda and has good connections with the Island, started out in business at the age of 11 when he met Jamie Thain, CEO of Igility, the parent company group of Systems Business Integration (Sbi), who was so impressed with his skills he offered him a job.

He went on to work for Telecom and KPMG before enrolling to study for a degree computer science and artificial intelligence at the University of Sussex and then, ultimately, starting his own company in December last year.

He said: “After leaving university I had the option of going back to Bermuda and I considered that, but I had a lot more resources with my friends to start a company here.

“We came out of university with an awful lot of experience in the more dynamic side of design and what we have learnt there has been absolutely invaluable and it has kept our costs down in terms of what we have been able to do off our own back.

“From here really in terms of future ideas we are going to stay in the technologies area because we think the software there is very badly written and old and not particularly easy to use and we believe we can enhance that.

“We have an awful lot of ideas and really they will be completed on a demand-type basis.”

He is now looking to get Mantissa into the European, African and Asian markets through more conferences and set up an office in mainland Europe and increase his staff base.

And Mr. Tucker has a message for all young Bermudian entrepreneurs out there thinking about following in his footsteps and getting into business.

“University provided me with world-wide contacts and technical capabilities,” he said. “Together with prior business experience in Bermuda during school, I had the skills required to bring Mantissa Operations into the forefront of our market.

“I would encourage all young Bermudians to persevere in their education and local work and to seriously aim for university.

“We all know that hard work is required in order to be successful, but I would stress that university is far more than just technical capability or hard work.

“International experience, overseas friends and contacts have been absolutely invaluable throughout my career.

“I would say real world experience is absolutely imperative and it is valuable to have that on both sides of university, before and after, and really starting a business will be the hardest thing you every do, but if you approach it with the right attitude and experience it will also been the most rewarding thing you ever do.”

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