Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Usage Technologies to roll out student-tracking software

Published:Wednesday | September 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder

 

George Henry, founder and managing director of Mandeville-based Usage Technologies Limited, has struck a deal with new equity partners, and is now looking to to roll out the software as service, or SAS, technologies developed by his two-year-old company.

His products include the flagship Tickkiz School Behaviour and Management System, designed to keep track of student behaviour and academic performance, and Happy Reply, a business-to-business application which allows companies to easily collect customer feedback through emojis.

Usage Technology, formed in 2016 and registered in 2017, seeks to provide customised IT solutions to businesses in the Caribbean.

For Tickkiz, a Ministry of Education official in the Safety and Security Unit confirmed that the product is under review for launch in 10 public schools across Jamaica under a one-year pilot.

Henry is in a better position to execute on the arrangement and other, having struck deals with two partners: David Stephens, business adviser and Managing Director of Apex Perimeter Protection Limited in the Cayman Islands, and Aldo Antonio of Mandeville-based Black Slate Holding Limited, a marketing company.

The partners will be offered up to 15 per cent in Usage in a "share for services" deal, Henry said.

With his new team, the entrepreneur and software engineer expects to finally be able to monetise his creations.

To date, spending on Tickkiz, the flagship product, has topped $4.5 million, he said.

Usage in the meantime has been earning from another revenue source the development of outsourced systems and applications by a team of five software developers, who Henry said services clients in the banking, insurance and car rental markets, among others.

Income from these sources have kept the company afloat, but Henry wants to secure the success of company-authored technologies in the SAS category. He has formed a company around Tickkiz, as a subsidiary of Usage Technologies, and hopes to use that business to transform student management across Jamaican schools.

Tickkiz aims to create "a more structured communication and reporting platform between parents, teachers, student and the school administration," its website declares.

 

DEVELOPED FROM EXPERIENCES

 

Henry said he decided to develop the software as a teacher at Troy High School in Trelawny, which he joined right after graduating from Northern Caribbean University in 2014, and noticed that misdemeanours were recorded manually and that very little would be done about their record, increasing their chances of expulsions.

"I was given a troubled class and I did not know how to manage the children's behaviour. I went to the principal, spoke with him and he said I should log the behaviour," he said.

"As a software engineer and a person who loves automated stuff, I realised there was no process. After logging, they would wait until the student was suspended or get into really serious trouble before they would search the log. From there, I started to design something to help the school," he said.

The Tickkiz Behavioural Management System can automatically assign merits and demerits linked to particular behaviours, and awards are recommended based on the point system. It also includes alerts to parents, can track a student or groups of students, and it allows students to view their academic results and point standings.

The application, which has been tested in various schools, has been refined based on community feedback, Henry said.

Under the agreement being discussed with the education ministry for the pilot, he said one of the key issues he hopes to test is the correlation between academic performance and misdemeanours.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com