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Youth Innovator: Yekini Wallen-Bryan

IN this issue of Digital Life, we continue the Jamaica Computer Society’s (JCS) Youth Innovators in Tech series with Yekini Wallen-Bryan. Yekini is the CEO of PreeLabs Limited, and though only 26 his name is already synonymous with innovation in Jamaica’s technology landscape.

The young entrepreneur prides himself on his ability to quickly solve problems by offering tested solutions, a skill he used in launching PreeLabs Limited. The company, as its website boasts, uses technology to “empower businesses and individuals by helping them manage their processes, environment, and resources more efficiently and sustainably… saving time, money, and resources”. One of its products is the PreeHub Property Management System which, among other things, helps consumers monitor and control energy use through their smartphone or computer.

Wallen-Bryan’s journey to greatness began at the university level. He pursued a double major in electronics and energy at The University of the West Indies, Mona. He was then introduced to robotics by a friend and then became captain and eventually coach of the school’s robotics team. “I had a lot of different projects where I had to lead and execute. The years gave me a lot of exposure to a wide array of technology where I had to teach myself how to use a lot of it and teach others as well. I saw a lot of opportunity through these systems and ways of doing things, and how it could apply to the Jamaican space commercially, [to] homeowners, industry and so on. I decided to go out on a limb and started my own tangible brand, PreeLabs Limited,” he said.

His company had its genesis in the physics lab at The University of the West Indies. Wallen-Bryan and a few friends put their skills and experience to use after interest in remote automation grew among homeowners and within the health care industry. The company, which is just a little over four years old, has been instrumental in Jamaica’s fight against COVID-19. As cases began to rise in the country, PreeLabs and Citizens Response Jamaica joined forces to build much-needed ventilators which were in short supply in the country. This led to Wallen-Bryan looking at other ways in which he could use technology to combat COVID-19, and the idea of printing 3D face shields was born. The two companies joined forces with Jamaica Fibreglass Products to produce over 3,000 3D face shields for the local public health centre.

Technology has also allowed Wallen-Bryan to pull a team together to create FDA-approved testing swabs, hand washing stations and medical-grade masks, as well as COVID-19 testing booths across the island. Though convinced that the JamCOVID-19 app was a great initiative, he feels that more could have been and can still be done to train individuals to use technology to combat the virus.

Asked about the future of technology on the digital landscape and PreeLab’s role, Wallen-Bryan was quite clear. “The future is digital, the future is remote, the future is automated – and these are the three things that we at PreeLabs are positioning ourselves around to ensure that people have more straightforward ways of accomplishing goals and objectives,” he said.

 

Watch the full interview with Yekini Wallen-Bryan on the Jamaica Computer Society’s social media channels: @jamaicacomputersociety @myjcs.