In mid-August 1997, Contour Technology (Pty) Ltd entered the outsourcing arena with the aim of providing expertise on prepayment systems, embedded software development & electronic product design. The expertise & experience of the company’s team members are deeply rooted in the design & manufacture of high volume & system products for the prepayment industry.
As such, this has influenced the existing electricity prepayment industry. Many of the specifications & systems currently implemented, both locally & internationally, have been based on products & specifications designed or drafted by engineers at Contour Technology. With the approach of the new millennium, Eskom & various municipalities within South Africa began to evaluate their risks with regard to prepayment vending equipment that was not year 2000 (Y2K) compliant. Contour Technology was approached to find a solution to this universal problem. Thereafterwhat was subsequently produced was the Contour CDU 2000 & SMS 2000, the first Windows-based Common Vending System (CVS) & Standard Transfer Specification (STS) compliant Vending & Revenue Management Systems.
Contour Technology’s success with these products drew the attention of Prism Holdings. Prism acquired a controlling interest in Contour Technology in July 1999, a few months prior to Prism’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Contour Technology became a subsidiary of Prism Holdings called Prism Prepayment Technologies (Pty) Ltd.
Over a three-year period, the relationship between Contour Technology & Prism Holdings proved mutually beneficial for both companies. However, with the emphasis of Prism’s core focus changing, Prism sold its shareholding to the founding members and the company then changed its name back to Contour Technology (Pty) Ltd. This business deal provided the flexibility and opportunity that Contour Technology required to strengthen its position in the utility prepayment market. Included in the deal was a reciprocal arrangement whereby Contour Technology became nominated technology provider for prepayment expertise to Prism. This was complemented by the acquisition of distribution rights to the Prism secure module, a product used in all STS prepayment vending machines. In addition, Contour’s credit and tariff management system (CTMS) secure module is now used in all Eskom STS Vending Systems.