Space-age software company ZaiLab tasked its industrial design team with a unique project: design a futuristic space truck that can travel from Cape Town to Cairo – in just 300 days. ZaiLab CEO Nour Addine Ayyoub wanted to put his company on the map and decided to do exactly that – by building a space truck to match the futuristic offices located in Cape Town’s trendy Foreshore. He already had a military vehicle on hand, originally bought for overland travel.
It was about to set out on the journey of a lifetime. Cape Town–based ZaiLab, which specialises in a new take on staid contact centre software, has the concept of rewarding conversations at its core. This value needed to be factored into the overland adventure.
Ayyoub decided to partner the truck’s journey with his humanitarian project, Voices of Humanity, which aims to record the lived experience of a wide spectrum of people. The intention, in this inaugural journey, is to spread the message of rewarding conversations across the continent. It was a perfect match. After all, what better way to start a conversation than an 18-tonne space-age truck?
The custom-built vehicle features a repurposed military 6×6 MAN KAT chassis, while the bodywork design was inspired by futuristic vehicles from science fiction films such as Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, as well as a heavy duty V10 diesel engine. The ZaiTruck can survive even the toughest terrain, which has come in handy in its great trek across the continent. Ayyoub’s industrial design team jumped at the chance to design the futuristic vehicle. His unique approach to building his company attracted a dedicated team who share their CEO’s vision. His ideology that anything is possible is ingrained into the DNA of ZaiLab.
The expedition, which includes Ayyoub himself and ZaiLab staff members Dominique Vandenhoudt (videographer) and Roelf Mulder (industrial designer), set off from Cape Town in September. The route has thus far taken them north via Namibia and through Zambia, Tanzania and Sudan. The journey hasn’t been without its challenges, with electronic failure, flat tyres and potholes from hell causing all kinds of trouble along the way. But that didn’t stop the team from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in early October.
As the ZaiTruck rumbles its way towards its end goal, the team stop to have conversations with locals, asking 10 questions that they record for the Voices of Humanity website. And those interested in the quirky company behind the truck can check out the cutting-edge contact centre capabilities using the vehicle’s the on-board computers.
The truck, which is currently making its way across Sudan, is scheduled to arrive in Cairo in December before heading overseas to America for the Enterprise Connect Expo taking place in Orlando in March.