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iWOW Technology (SGX Code: NXR), The Company Behind Smart Meters, TraceTogether Tokens And Electronic Ankle Tags Used On Young Offenders And Prisoners

Although you may not know its name, you may be familiar with what iWOW provides.

As the world came to a standstill amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology companies became crucial in the fight to maintain semblance. While US and Chinese big-tech giants stole the headlines, one small local tech firm rose to the challenge of identifying close contacts of COVID-19 infected persons by designing and supplying the contact tracing solution and more than 2.6 million TraceTogether Tokens by the start of 2021.

This firm is none other than iWOW Technology (short for Inspiring the World of Wireless) (SGX Code: NXR). Founded in 1999 and listed on the Catalist in April 2022, iWOW is a specialist in providing integrated wireless IoT (Internet of Things) solutions as a service.

Some of its most key products include the Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) and wireless ankle tags that monitor events of violations by young offenders and prisoners; smart metres that help households keep track of their real-time energy and water consumption; and battery-operated wireless emergency distress systems catering for the elderly in HDB flats.

With a significant presence in the business-to-government (B2G) space, iWOW looks to further leverage on potential opportunities that may arise from the government’s Smart Nation programmes by focusing on needs related to sustainability, an ageing population, and rapid urbanisation.

If you are interested in the local technology space, here are five things to know about iWOW:

iWOW is a IoT solutions provider, could you elaborate on the products and services that you provide clients?

iWOW has 2 main business segments – Smart City Solutions (SCS) and IoT-as-a-Service (IaaS). Our main products and solutions include:

Smart Metering System (SMS) – This solution helps building-owners track utility consumption in order to uncover unconscious waste, automate tenant billing and sustainability reporting processes. We use specially designed modems to transmit consumption readings in real-time to our cloud-based software, which customers can access to generate reports and get alerts when abnormal consumption patterns are detected.

Alarm Alert System (AAS) – The solution consists of wireless & battery-powered SOS buttons that seniors can activate to call for help during emergencies. The solution supports push-to-talk voice message while maintaining a battery life of up to 5 years. To date, more than 20,000 SOS buttons have been deployed.

Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) – We are the technology partner for the Ministry of Home Affairs’ EMS for almost a decade. Our solutions include specially designed IoT ankle tags that monitor the whereabouts of persons-of-interest (e.g. prisoners-on-parole or youth-at-risk).

TraceTogether Tokens – We were commissioned by the Singapore Government to develop TraceTogether tokens for contact tracing during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What do you think are some key drivers or trends in the business segments and in the market that you operate?

We identified three megatrends in our operating markets:

Environment Sustainability – Globally, the smart metering market is forecast to reach US$54.3 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% from 2021 to 2030. Similar trends are also seen in Singapore, driven by the Singapore Green Plan and Greenmark 2021. As such, we are focused on developing IoT Solutions that will help businesses uncover unconscious waste in their use of water and electricity.

Ageing Population – The Group believes that technology will play a big part in Singapore’s response to tackling aging population. For example, the government recently announced that S$18.0 million will be pumped into the Singapore Community Care Digital Transformation Plan3. Therefore, we are focused on building up our portfolio of IoT solutions to help seniors stay active and safe.

Rapid Urbanisation – By 2045, 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas4, which could pose challenges such as resource constraints and higher crime rates. Therefore, cities would require smarter solutions to maintain the quality of living. For example, the Singapore Government has announced plans to spend S$3.8 billion in ICT in 2022. As a home-grown technology company, we strive to position ourselves to seize the Smart Nation opportunities in the pipeline.

What are some of the Group’s potential catalysts that investors can be excited about in the near term of 1 to 2 years?

In the near term, Roots Communication would provide immediate earnings uplift as the acquisition was completed on 31 Jan 2023. Also, the acquisition would give us with an enlarged base of B2B clients for cross-selling opportunities.

In addition, our product offerings (eg. Electronic Monitoring System, Alert Alarm System, and Smart Metering System) are aligned well with the megatrends of rapid urbanisation, the ageing population, and sustainability. As such, we continue to see strong demand both locally and beyond.

Interest rates are expected to stay elevated for the next two years. What impact does this have on the Group’s businesses and how is it managing this risk?

While interest rates are expected to stay elevated for the next two years, the impact on our finance costs is minimal. Based on 1H2023’s financial results, the Group has generated a positive operating cash flow of S$ 4.1 million during the period. iWOW’s balance sheet remained very healthy, as we are standing at a robust net cash position of S$12.3 million. We will continue to manage our cashflows and finance costs prudently, even as we strive to expand our business.

Sustainability has increasingly been a key focus, how is iWOW committed towards sustainability?

iWOW’s vision is to build a smarter, greener and safer world through innovation in wireless technology. As such, sustainability and ESG have always been at the heart of our business. We believe that our products should not only generate profit for the business, but also serve a bigger purpose. For example, our EMS product helps ex-offenders reintegrate back into society; our AAS product keeps seniors, who live alone, safe; and our SMS product helps our customers uncover unconscious waste in water and electricity.

In recognition of our commitment to sustainability, we were selected by the United Nations Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) as the winner of the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Award in 2018. We are grateful for the recognition and will continue to strive to improve our ESG impact.

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Editor’s Note: Some answers for this article were extracted from the SGX 10 in 10 series published on 28 February 2023 and have been republished with permission. You can read more on iWOW Technology on the SGX website.