Chibueze Ogbuagu  has a wealth of experience in engineering and  he’s the managing director,  Automated Access  Company, an organization that provides access control equipment with specialization in  automatic gates and controls. In this interview, he shared with us his passion for engineering, his challenges and more.

Excerpts.

Why did you  study engineering?

I was a science student and I wanted to study cardiology initially because my father died of heart failure. But when I saw what it takes to be a cardiologist, I decided to opt out and do something else because I realized it would take a longer time. So, engineering was the next thing. I also thought of pharmacy but I settled for engineering because I’m a physical person and very gentle.  I studied engineering because I’m passionate about it.  I have many colleagues who are bankers and I have never worked in any sector other than engineering even when I was underpaid.  The best job I ever had in my life was when I was a software developer, but  my salary was N25,000 monthly at that time in  2006 and that was when I newly got married.  So, it was the most fulfilling job I ever had because I was developing software and writing programs. I really enjoyed that job but unfortunately, the money wasn’t good enough. My wife was earning 4 times that amount. So, I quit even though that was what I wanted to do.Then, I found myself in biometrics consulting.

What’s your  specialization in engineering?

I studied computer science and engineering but I am now  into biometrics consulting. I had to do training in welding because I have a team of welders working for me. We have all the equipment. As the head of the team, I am an engineer but until lately, I have never had anything to do with welding. I will graduate as a welder come January 22nd just to enable me to be part and parcel of the process and  bring our costs down.

What was your childhood  like?

I was sent away from school like anybody else over school fees and at a point in my life, I had to live with relatives for a couple of years because my mum was carrying too much of the load. You know, if you are raised by a widow, you don’t need to finish the last food in the pot so that the next person will have some to eat.

What’s automated access about?

Automated access is a startup business and there are lots of challenges that start-ups face in Nigeria. We want people to know that there are companies that can provide our services. I will discuss each  automated service one by one. The first service that we render is access control, time and attendance. Access control equipment are quite expensive and  I need to take further steps to safeguard it like anti-theft steps for the automated gates.  You can control access to any location using biometrics and  specifically fingerprints but when  Ebola came up, people are now more interested in facial recognition. You stand in front of a terminal, you authenticate and the door opens. Apart from the government who needs biometrics to check crime, manage identity better, private people can also use biometrics for their private businesses. For instance, you can use the time and attendance device, instead of  people signing the  attendance register. You know the manual  form is usually open to a lot of fraud because people record incorrect time. We have a system that controls access and time and attendance and those are the basic features of that system.

The next one is automated gates.  I travelled to South Africa in 2008 for the first time. I did not see any security guard anywhere. Most of the residences and firms all use automated gates. I see automated gates as something that should be common in Nigeria. It took me 5 years to bring this dream to where it is today and  a company like Automated Access, can fabricate a gate from scratch, do the installation, configuration and maintain. We want to make automated gates affordable to middle class people. That’s our mission.

How affordable?

Back to the situation of this country, part of the cost of running an automated gate is providing steady power.  At least, you should be able to provide 5 to 6 hours of power supply within 48 hours average so that the system keeps running. But because of that challenge, we need to provide back-up power, so that it stays on. There is a battery that keeps it running and it  needs to be  charged. So, if we eliminate some of these overheads, it will be cheaper.  Another factor is that Nigerians like large things unlike overseas where  they use simple gates that are even see -through. So, you can actually fabricate a simple gate, automate it for or  less than N.5million. However, if you have an existing gate, it means that with half of that money you are good to go.

Moreover, on the aspect of CCTV, we will be taking CCTV to the next level and not the dome camera that everyone is used to in Nigeria. Now there are better cameras that give more coverage like the PTZ.

Source: The SUN

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