Cork tech firm eyes global market for ‘digital padlock’

Kevin Hennessy with his Boat- Warden security device.

A small Irish tech company which has developed a ‘digital padlock’ and tracker for outboard engines is eyeing global markets after landing a major contract with an engine distributor in England.

BoatWarden, based in Co Cork, will launch its new OutboardWarden marine security device at the Southampton Boat Show tomorrow with Barrus Marine.

But the Youghal-based company, which employs three people, is already in talks with a leading US engine manufacturer and with US insurance companies, and has opened an office in America. It has also been approached by agri-companies to explore potential in the agri-machinery sector.

Company founder Kevin Hennessy, an engineer and boating enthusiast who spent the last four years developing the device, said he is already planning to expand his workforce.

“All the device components, except for a printed circuit, are manufactured and assembled in Youghal. This is an Irish company and an Irish product,” he said.

No bigger than a packet of cigarettes, the device is attached to a boat engine and creates a wi-fi bond between it and the boat. It uses encrypted digital, wireless and GPS technology to monitor and report its location round-the-clock to the owner via a dedicated website and mobile app.

But once the bond is broken, the device triggers an alarm and pings its location, anywhere in the world, to an online platform also developed by the firm.

“Owners will know exactly where their engine is headed and can share that information with the appropriate authorities,” Mr Hennessy said. “It will be able to track the whole journey, increasing the chances of a successful prosecution and return of the engine.

“Insurance companies tell us claims are getting out of hand and so they expect premiums to increase unless a tracking system is in place.”

Mr Hennessy said criminal gangs are stealing engines to order, before shipping them to Eastern Europe.

Barrus Marine has placed an initial order for 500 OutboardWarden units, with plans to order 500 more before the end of the year.

The device retails for around €345, with a €12.50 monthly subscription to the online tracking platform.



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