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SA company launches Linux-based telecoms solution

By   |  November 28, 2003

Telecommunications company Isis Information Systems, part of the JSE Securities Exchange listed Altech group, has launched VoucherSure – a Linux-based open source pre-paid voucher solution for the prepaid air-time recharge market in South Africa and Africa.

Ben Coetzer, new business development manager at Isis, says VoucherSure – which is 100% locally developed – allows users to manage and distribute products that can be transmitted over telecommunications networks. \”This product is well-suited to SA but it is even better-suited to Africa because it is based on open source software, meaning there are no license fees payable. With costs a big concern in African countries, this is a major plus point. In addition, it is a single box solution and can run on any network or hardware device, including all makes and types of point of sale devices, making use of PCs or POS devices. VoucherSure can also seamlessly link into any established retailer\’s network – meaning the voucher system, therefore, can run off the existing POS infrastructure. This means that for retailers and other service providers, there is no need to purchase and install additional hardware.

Coetzer says that while VoucherSure is aimed at pre-paid air-time recharge vouchers, it can be used for a host of other applications, including electricity vouchers, water vouchers and vouchers for school feeding schemes.

Coetzer says that products with a product ID, a value, a serial number and a PIN are loaded onto the VoucherSure system. Merchants who want to purchase products can be allocated credit on the VoucherSure server and can then purchase products and pay for them with their available credit. A merchant sends a purchase request by means of a POS device. VoucherSure confirms the identity of the merchant and returns a list of products that are available to them. The merchant selects the required products and the required amount. Having confirmed that credit is available to the merchant, VoucherSure securely sends the requested products to the merchant\’s POS device.

Coetzer says he believes the fact that the company\’s solution runs on Linux is a very strong \”unique selling point\”. \”One of the most important reasons why Linux is so popular is because of its low entry cost compared to traditionally licensed software. Users can install Linux on one machine and replicate their software on thousands of other systems without incurring additional costs for licenses.

Linux is going to become \”increasingly popular\” in the business world he says and this is one of the reasons why his company opted to run VoucherSure on Linux.


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