The Kenyan chapter on SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction) dubbed WananCHI held its first meetup at @iLabAfrica on the 26th of February 2014. This came as Samatha Merrit a visiting research fellow at iHub and doctorate scholar at the University of Indiana visited Strathmore University to train students on Participatory Design. Participatory design is an approach to design attempting to actively involve all stakeholders in the design process in order to help ensure the product designed meets their needs and is usable.
Students were exposed to various participatory design concepts and techniques including story-boarding and wire-framing. Samantha explored the origin of participatory design, the meaning of participatory design and what can be accomplished through the technology design approach. With this design concept you can produce technology that is more appropriate to the needs of the users by getting them to participate in designing the solution. The approach puts the user first and allows for their input to drive the solution design. Researchers may conduct participatory design to better understand a group of users or to allow the users to participate in the actual design of the technological solution.
The SIGCHI, Kenyan chapter aims to pioneer a culture of designing solutions that meet the actual needs of the users among Kenyan technology innovators and software developers, through participatory design.
The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction is the world’s largest association of professionals who work in the research and practice of computer-human interaction. SIGCHI is part of the ACM.
On Friday 7th February 2013, @iLabAfrica hosted Modupe Ajibola a US-based innovator and entrepreneur from Nigeria. Modupe is the CEO of OTG Playa the company behind Storm, a software and hardware technology that enables users to share and access content offline through a small internet broadcast box. He was on a mission to demonstrate how the device works to a group of digital content providers interested in working with the laptops for schools project led by ADILI Corporate Limited CEO Engineer Kara Stefano Karianjahi and software engineers at @iLabAfrica.
The device, which comes in two versions, one a little smaller than your desktop CPU and the other the size of a wireless access point acts like a Wi-Fi hotspot. Users get access by connecting to the wireless network. Content providers can share content as well as sell it through credits that can be used to purchase content. Content is encoded using special encoding that converts all content into OTG format. The device provides for advanced configuration support for network, security, encryption, payment gateways and other variables making it flexible to customize as per the users’ needs.
Storm provides great support for mobile devices, meaning any mobile with internet and Wi-Fi capabilities can access digital content through a browser or mobile application. There is extensive support for Android devices where one can download apps and a special browser that provides instant and quick access to content on OTG Playa. Support for Windows and other platforms is being developed.
“We were able to test the device and it was breathtaking to see how powerful it was. We could stream content at 600 mbps, and we are talking of huge videos and music files. We see a lot of potential in this technology for schools, universities and even commercial content providers. It solves the bandwidth problem and removes many of the constraints of relying on the internet which is still not optimally reliable in Africa” commented one of the engineers at @iLabAfrica.
@iLabAfrica is looking forward to find ways in which technology like this can be used to provide secure, easy and cost effective access to digital content in Kenya in areas with poor, constrained and expensive internet access.
@iLabAfrica is working with Navvi.com, an information-mapping platform that aggregates, filters, and connects content through location and subject. Through this collaboration, Strathmore University students are participating in a beta test for Navvi.com. More than 60 students have already tested the application at Strathmore University. The testing was coordinated by Andy Sternberg and Elizabeth Gibbs, both from Navvi.com.
In line with promoting the new platform in Kenya, two students from Strathmore University have been appointed as Navvi ambassadors. These are Robert from the Strathmore University Law School and Antony Wainaina a Telecommunications Student from the faculty of IT.
Navvi.com allows users to map, post, and share and read news that matters. It combines mapping technology with a blogging and social networking-feel to give users a unique experience in discovering topics, trends and news that matters to them in real-time. It works as a crowd sourced citizen reporting platform with a special interest in water, food, infrastructure, energy and ideology.
The platform will be launched in the first quarter of 2014 in Kenya. Kenya was chosen due to its strategic position as an emerging leader in ICT in Africa. Navvi.com is also being tested in the USA and India. The beta test users will help improve and develop new features for the platform whose aim is to provide accurate and relevant information to various groups of users in real-time.
Navvi.com is a product of BrightBox Global Inc and was founded by Natalie Spencer.
Click here to view pictures of Navvi.com Beta Testing at Strathmore University.
The past weekend of 22nd to 24th November the Startup Weekend Nairobi version was held at iLabAfrica. This is a global event that aims at bringing together programmers, developers, marketers, designers, start-up enthusiasts among other diverse groups, to form groups and develop viable business ideas in 54 hours.
The event was facilitated by Julian Ferr from South Africa. Also in attendance was Njeri Rionge, one of the founders of Wananchi Online and a globally renowned entrepreneur in Kenya. Njeri was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Africa’s most successful serial entrepreneurs. In her key note speech, Njeri noted that Investors are looking for startups with a clear business model backed by passionate people who understand product and market.
There were 25 ideas pitched during the 60 secs elevator pitch session. This required one to convince the audience on the viability of the idea. The pitches were followed by a voting session where the audience would vote for the best idea and the top seven ideas would proceed to the next round. The voting system provided by Mservey was quite effective and real time. The top seven ideas (in no particular order were):
- Local DM :- Aims at availing affordable housing in the slums areas.
- PesaApp:- Creating a mobile money transfer module that would seem money transfer between all banks and telecoms
- Tunajali:- An online platform that provides designers a marketplace to sell their stuff and at the same time supports good causes
- OverPlusSports:- An application that aims at being a one stop shop for sports news, betting and anything to do with sports
- DereMjanja:- A mobile game for kids aged 10-18yrs that helps them learn traffics rules.
- WorkPoint BPM :- Simplifying business by eliminating paper work
- SooTano:- A microjobs site where all jobs go for 500/=
The teams went ahead and built on their ideas through the weekend to Sunday and the final pitches were done on Sunday evening. Judges voted for the the top two ideas that would proceed to the next level of the competition. These two were PesaApp and SooTano . SooTano a microjobs site that connects people for accomplishing jobs and tasks at Ksh. 500 carried the day, becoming the grand winners. PesaApp took the runner up position while Local DM scooped the social award.
iBizAfrica will offer incubation to the top 5 idea of the Startup Weekend for a chance to nature them into fully-fledged businesses over the next few months.
Written by: Njuru Mwangi |Twitter: @Njurus
Health-E-Net, a social enterprise that provides patients in undeserved communities with high quality second medical opinion has won 100k USD (KShs. 8.6 M) in funding, in the Stars in Global Health Awards. The Awards are run by Grand Challenges Canada an NGO funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health.
Health-E-Net is currently incubated at the iBizAfrica business incubator. It is run by Dr. Pratap Kumar, Meghan Bruce and Kavin Otieno. Dr. Pratap is a neuroscientist and health economist with extensive experience in diverse aspects of healthcare. Bruce is graduate of Princeton University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with extensive experience in managing health interventions. Kavin is an expert on the Kenyan health system. He has worked with the healthcare system from within, as a strategist at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, and from without, as Senior Program Officer for the GIZ. He was most recently the manager of the healthcare programs offered at Strathmore Business School and is responsible for business development in health-E-net.
Mukeli Matei, a scholar in the Safaricom Academy MSc. MTI course emerged a winner in the recently concluded Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda. Mukeli was second Runner up in the most Innovative category. She was among 25 startups who exhibited their innovations from 32 countries in Africa.
Mukeli’s innovation was FISHMATE, a mobile application that connects fish farmers, fishermen, fish consumer and industry players in one market place. FISHMATE app provides a resource of aggregated location-based information on those who seek to get into fish-farming, a wealth of data and resources for those already practicing fish-farming and a market place for the public who seek to buy not from fishermen but fish-farmers near/around them.
The Transform Africa Summit is an event that aims to pool together International participants to set a new agenda for Africa to leapfrog development challenges through the use and uptake of Broadband and related services. This year’s summit was themed “Delivering the future today” which embodied the concept of having a SMART Africa.
Who is team Bud Code?
Hello, Bud Code is a team of three young Techpreneurs. My name is Sam Nujoma, I am the lead developer. I work with Lucy Wanjiru who heads Marketing and Harris Mwangi our UI/UX designer.
What is the name of your startup and what is the idea behind it?
Our startup is called Bud Code Software and we develop mobile apps to improve everyday life in our society. We are currently working on a service that helps clients to access and contact medical specialists with ease from their mobile device. We entered the application for the App Wiz challenge.
The idea came up when one of our team members, Lucy shared her difficult experience in finding a medical specialist for her problem, having seen many doctors and specialists yet the problem persisted. We discovered there was a gap in finding information about finding the right specialist. People depend on word of mouth or directory services like the yellow pages in which case you must at least know the title of the specialist. We wanted to provide an easier, faster way of accessing medical specialists.
How does the service work?
Our solution is called Find A Specialist (or Bud Doctor) and we developed an Android application that helps clients search for medical specialists through a variety of parameters. These include by ailing body part e.g foot for a podiatrist; known medical field e.g mental health for a psychiatrist; by medical specialty if it is known to the client or by the name of the specialist. Not only can you find this specialist’s exact location but also call text or email them to book an appointment or make an enquiry. The application can be downloaded from the Google play store. We also acquired the website kenyandoctors.com. Here we list various medical specialists with their contact information and other details. The site is synchonised with the Android App such that you can access the same info through your mobile phone.
How is the usage so far?
The website records an average of 4000 hits per day, with majority being from Kenya. We have 50+ download for the mobile app.
Who is your competition?
In the challenge, we have similar teams doing apps in the health category. In Kenya we have Med Africa, directory services and the yellow pages as our competition. Safaricom also have a medical service via sms and voice dial. Our Service is however geared towards connecting people in need of specialized treatment to specialists in the fastest and easiest way possible using an Android device or the web.
What has your experience been like in the app wiz competition?
Initially it was challenging. At some point we thought our idea was not strong enough for the competition! However, after talking to people about it we got more approval than discouragement. We decided to give it a shot.
We learnt a lot about what it takes to build a successful business. We also met great mentors. We hope to win in the health category and even the grand prize.
What are your future plans beyond this competition?
We intend to bring health services closer to the people. We are in the process of finalizing the registration of our business. We also intend to work with the Kenya Medical and Dentistry Board to bring more doctors on board and help in the verification of qualified doctors. For us this competition is just the beginning.
How can one get in touch with you?
You can reach us via social media: Twitter @budcode