Young Jamaican entrepreneurs leading the way in Jamaica’s clean technology space
It’s beyond any doubt climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. From across the globe, we can feel its effects from an inability to access necessities such as food and water, decreased crop yields and an excess demand for energy.
Today, electricity accounts for thirty percent of energy consumption in Jamaica.
With each “Blackout” oh yes the power company puns. There is a flicker of hope that reassures us that even in the darkest of times the smallest actions or in this case devices can have a big impact on our lives for years to come.
While some products on the market allow users to monitor electricity usage through kilowatts usage, very few internationally, unknowns if any locally provides a completely automatize monitoring and control device. But, the energy monitoring invention dubbed “Plug N Pree” does exactly this, providing users real-time kilowatts usage and comprehensive monetary service providers’ rates from any electronic device anywhere in the world, while acting as a motion detecting home security system using a simple mobile app. Additionally, the device features a behavior pattern recognition component which turns household devices connected, on or off based on users habits.
Illustration of Plug ‘N’ Pree prototype, the device uses Wi-Fi and built-in motion sensing technology to allow users to control the device over distances.
This invention is the brainchild of the recently held Caribbean GreenTech Startup bootcamp in Jamaica, winning team composing of Jordan Northover, Phillip Logan, Kenneth Williams, Yekini Wallen-Bryan, Trevaun Miller, Chadwick Barclay, Kashif Ford and Ashlé Henriques.
Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with the captain and founder of team Plug ‘N’ Pree, Yekini Wallen-Bryan following his team’s victory. Wallen-Bryan stated that the bootcamp inspired the development of the Plug ‘N’ Pree device which was an earlier concept amongst his team’s inventory. The bootcamp provided a platform for them to fine-tune and display their skills as innovators.
Wallen-Bryan who considers himself as both innovator and entrepreneur has always been inclined to areas of energy and product development which resulted in his decision to major in renewable energy. With the formation of a team of likeminded peers, along with his background in electronics, team Plug ‘N’ Pree began using their skills to implement energy-related solutions.
“The most satisfying moment thus far is the progress the team has made in developing our prototype”, said Wallen-Bryan. “Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you might not feel ready for it, but it’s always best to try making the most out of the opportunities that are presented to you”.
“Many persons heard about the competition and doubted their own ability and believed they didn’t have anything to bring to the table, they couldn’t win”, said Wallen-Bryan. “But that didn’t dither neither my team nor I, win or lose, the bootcamp was a great avenue to work on our concept and get it out there and see what others were doing and creating. This was one of the greatest lessons learnt thus far and it has impacted greatly how I work and approach novel paths”, said Wallen-Bryan.
Before parting, I asked Yekini if he had any advice for individuals seeking to follow the path he and his team have chosen. And he stated, “Do not allow the feeling of doubt to get the betterment of your judgement. If you have an idea or believe something can work, give it your all even if you may come up short, the rewards received and lessons learnt will be invaluable and it will prepare you for the next step”.
The team recently competed in a robotics competition in which they placed third internationally. Currently, they are working on finalizing their prototype interface and application design for market release and the upcoming accelerator program. All while juggling finals, improving their applications and tackling other projects. “Nothing, as it is right now, would have been possible without the input of every single individual involved. Not just the team members, but our family members, friends, CCIC and everyone who’s encouraged the development of Plug & Pree, whether it is through physical or verbal support”, said Wallen-Bryan. “We are looking to form the company as soon as possible and getting legal consultations through the help of CCIC. We’ve decided on the name preeLabs”.
There are many recipes for forming a winning team. The important thing is to establish one and make building a positive culture and a winning team your top priority. Team Plug ‘N’ Pree is proof that is a reality.
For updates on Team Plug ‘N’ Pree, you can contact Yekini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all have a role to play in building a brighter future – just don’t leave your lights on
Until next time,
Caribbean Climate Innovation Center