IoT

Building IOT Solutions for Smart Cities.

Posted on

Wazi hub 2

As the world grows into a progressively intersected and technology-dependent universe, an upsurge of smart applications begin to change how we approach everyday activities.  Would you like to walk down a street and the lamp posts know it? Embedded with smart sensors, lamp posts can brighten and dim as foot traffic varies to conserve energy, forming maneuverable, safer walk paths for the inhabitants 24/7.

This was just one of the countless discussions held at the 2nd @iLabAfrica Wazihub Bootcamp  to  close of the year. The 4 days of training encompassed participants who were motivated to use the Waziup platform to develop IOT solutions for local problems.
WAZIHUB (in Swahili for Open-Hub) is an innovation project for Africa aiming to create an Open Hub of IoT (Internet of Things) and Big data cutting-edge and African-grade solutions, co-designed by African people where these solutions can then be adapted to match local service needs. Wazihub in  partnership with @iLabAfrica conduct IoT activities using the Waziup platform. @iLabAfrica runs a fully functional IoT (Internet of Things) Lab that researches, implements and tests robust and sustainable solutions in all sectors of the economy.

The first sessions  of the bootcamp enabled students to learn the basics of the hardware part of IOT, from Electronics Fundamentals to Bread boarding which were led by IOT Specialists Joseph Shitote and Stephen Ngetich from @iLabAfrica. The participants further had the opportunity of an industry visit to Liquid Telecom who have partnered with Sigfox to build and deploy a nationwide IOT network covering 85% of the Kenyan population.
Smart cities carry along infrastructure and technology to improve the quality of life of people and heighten their communications with the urban environment. Nonetheless, how can data from areas such as transportation, air quality and energy construction be unified and efficiently used? The Internet of Things (IoT), could have some of the answers. The participants were divided into 5 working groups and developed projects that were pitched on the final day.
The projects included, Smart Traffic System-Transport Chap Chap which aimed at reducing traffic congestion by providing data for informed decisions to the police department. This collected data aided them in re-routing vehicles to less congested areas. A vegetable humidifier reinforced the theme of food security by monitoring critical parameters such as temperature, humidity and air quality in storage facilities which in turn provide feedback mechanisms for quality produce.
A review of the use of smart energy systems brought the Solar Sasa team which concentrated on ensuring maximum solar radiation absorption by the solar panel at any time during the day, improving the efficiency of the solar panel. Home devices provide a sense of convenience, particularly when they’re preventing numerous accidents due to gas cylinder leakages which cause explosions. The Gaspector group outlined a smart home monitoring system implementation that provided a sensor to monitor the levels of CH4 in real-time through an application that would send notifications when the threshold exceeded.
Zima Auto held on to maximizing energy efficiency in households. They would utilize motion and light sensors to save energy in areas where domestic lighting was not required at all times.

Throughout the bootcamp project manager Margaret Njenga, took the participants through different phases the Wazihub program, and what they would expect in the next steps. Participants also had practical sessions learning about configurations and setups by IOT Engineer Marvin Ngesa from Liquid Telecom.

The workshop was closed by a judging panel that comprised of a balance of technical and business experts namely, Wandiji Ngongang an IOT Engineer from the UN Habitat, Patricia Ahau, Strathmore University and Stephen Ngetich of @iLab Africa.

The judges crowned the Traffic Chap Chap team as the winners of the 2nd Wazihub bootcamp and all participants were awarded certificates of participation and the winning team a variety of sensors.

As smart technology continues to develop and urban centers expand, both will become interconnected. By taking a step towards the future, we will advance not only how we interrelate with our general environment but how cities interrelate with us, guaranteeing that we receive the best quality options and waste fewer resources.

Wazi hub 1
Winning Team at the 2nd @iLabAfrica bootcamp.

Metathesiophobia – Innovation’s Biggest Constraint

Posted on

change.jpg

I recently came across this term “Metathesiophobia” while reading a book written by Neil Sahota and Michael Ashley titled “OWN THE A.I. REVOLUTION”. The authors of this book spend a lot of the initial chapters of the book delving into the evolution of different technologies leading to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) alongside the side of psychology and the human mind on “Learning” and the rate of adoption of change relating to technology. The authors bring out an interesting comparison of technology adoption based on knowledge. Their description of the “things we know, we know”, “things we know, we don’t know” and “things we don’t know, we don’t know” really caught my attention especially in regards to technology adoption! Metathesiophobia, as loosely put by Michael and Neil means “Fear of Change” and I thought this might just the biggest constraint of innovation.

In the wake of Internet of Things (which has become my daily life), metathesiophobia might get a lot more amplified than it already is. Simply because, Internet of Things is a collection of technologies and not just a single technology. The technologies making up this collection are constantly experiencing evolution leading to new changes almost every year driven by more innovation. This is enough to scare off a company, especially one that has a traditional setup.  At a first glance, Internet of Things (IoT) should be understood as simply as the term – “Internet of Things” where one part has “Internet” and the other part has “Things”. In this era, even a 5 – year old who will have a slow loading cartoon on YouTube, will tell you “there is no Internet” (Am not overlooking the digital divide, there are many rural places lacking Internet access so the 5 – year olds here have a different experience) which means we are all growing into having Internet access as a basic need. This definitely speaks for the numbers that know what “Internet” means. On the other hand, “Things” are just that – Things, that is: buildings, roads, land, atmosphere, vehicles, electronics, transformers, boxes, warehouses, oil pipelines, solar power plants among other numerous things. It is important to note that people, under IoT, are also things! From this get go, anyone who hears “Internet of Things” should relate to the term as its two parts and be excited to hear how everything works. It is its implementation that probably starts to breed metathesiophobia.

 

IOT.png

Looking at the diagram included here which breaks the two terms – “Internet” and “Things” into two parts and lists their technology domains perhaps can help bring out the different elements that IoT encompasses which somehow just shows how wide an IoT conversation can get within an Innovation subject. A lot of C-level individuals are happy to have it but how many are really doing it? Or how many are really ready to invest in some of these technologies just to create a paradigm shift in their existing business models? Could it be a fear of “we know, we don’t know” or “we don’t know, we don’t know” so cannot set up a separate budget to get moving on Low Power Wide Area Networks Innovation or TV White Spaces, Artificial Intelligence etc? How many startups are VC’s funding to develop solutions leveraging these kind of technologies? In Kenya, my experience of working with corporates, has got me almost getting to a conclusion that, it is the fear of change (read metathesiophobia) that is limiting the pace of innovation.

A research publication done by Dr. Ovidiu Vermesan and Dr. Peter Fries titled “Internet of Things – From Research and Innovation to Market Deployment” lists “Smart Living” as one of the applications of IoT embodying intelligent ways of shopping, efficient usage of energy and water, remote control of appliances, usage of smart home appliances, gas monitoring, safety monitoring among other sub-applications. In the 374-page document, the authors seem to converge to one objective elucidated by the Internet of Things (IoT) which is “A Smart Population”! A smart population inspired by “Internet” and “Things”.

There is a lot under the umbrella of these two terms to be implemented in order to really realise the smart population. First, the technical pieces which stretch from Things to the Internet amidst constant innovative developments. Second, a supportive Research and Development ecosystem within companies and research institutions to inspire the development of the technical components. Third, a proactive and flexible national environment that follows the development of the technologies close enough to craft the regulatory frameworks for all of these technologies to thrive for the growth of the smart population. Fourth, other reasons. The innovation happening at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM among the other tech giants exploring the technologies around IoT (as shown in the diagram) is the biggest driver for their growing revenue. New careers are also emerging within this innovation space spitting out job titles that have not existed before especially as new domains emerge. Elon Musk’s description of Tesla Inc. as a technology company is probably the reason that has kept the company staying on top of innovation consuming the technologies around “Internet” and “Things”.

If we do not rise above metathesiophobia, we will not innovate and sooner than we know it, we might have innovative startup companies buying out well established companies. metathesiophobia might limit our dream of achieving a smart population that can provide us ready markets. It might also get us holding onto the statement of “there are no jobs” when we could create more jobs through innovation. Whichever way we look at it, Metathesiophobia might limit our innovation when probably all we need is the “Internet” and “Things”!

Leornard Mabele

 

Leonard Mabele  is a Junior Research Fellow and Manager of the IoT Research Lab at iLabAfrica, Strathmore University

Startup Bootcamp is Coming to Nairobi

Posted on Updated on

smartcity

Are you an innovative Startup working on Smart City development? Are you ready to show us what you got? If  yes, we are inviting you to join us at our FastTrack in Nairobi, on the 3rd of August. You will be able know more about our Startupbootcamp SmartCity program and how to apply.

Who should apply for a FastTrack?

Startupbootcamp FastTrack sessions are open for all startups. If you are looking for targeted advice from leading Smart City experts, this is the place for you!

We are looking especially for startups specialising in:

  • IoT and Connectivity
  • Urban automation and Smart Transportation
  • Open City Data
  • Sustainable Cities and Living
  • Smart Government
  • Smart Retail
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Blockchain

Why apply for a FastTrack?

Startups joining the Nairobi FastTrack will receive immediate feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, expand your network meeting other startup founders, and meet the Startupbootcamp Smart City team.

How to apply for a FastTrack?

Simply complete this short online form to apply for the FastTrack held in Nairobi on the 3rd August, 2017. Applications close 4 days before the event, so make sure you complete your application by then!

We will be in touch shortly after applications close to notify applicants that have been selected to join. If you have any questions about FastTracks or the accelerator program.

Quick Information

  • Reserve your place at the event here.
  • If you can’t make it along on the 29th, you can apply directly to their accelerator program through the F6S platform here.
  • More information please check out their website.

 

Invitation to Participate in the Digital Radio – IoT Ideation Event

Posted on Updated on

IOT

 

 

Strathmore University – @iLabAfrica and Motorola Solutions invites students and professionals (in teams of at most 3 people) to present their Internet of Things (IoT-based) ideas under the following critical concepts:

1. Public safety (police, fire, health, security and services)

2. Utilities : Electricity distribution, water and wastewater

3. Energy, including Oil and Gas

4. Emergency Preparedness/Response: Natural disaster warning systems and

5. Wildlife.

The teams are expected to submit a write-up of an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that incorporates a prototype description of a sensing system that can remotely transmit data using different connectivity mechanisms such as two-way radio, GSM networks and Bluetooth as well as any other connectivity method. The teams will select the open platforms they feel comfortable using and transmitting the data to.

The deadline of submission of these ideas is June 13th. The teams with outstanding ideas will be selected to participate in the Digital Radio – IoT Ideation Event that will be held on June 22nd. In this event, the teams will do an oral presentation of their submitted ideas to a panel of corporates and academicians. A set of successful teams at this stage will be selected again. Tokens for participants and awards to the winning teams will be given after this event. The winning teams will then be marched with Motorola Solutions value-add-resellers to initiate a 90-day period of incubation that will see these teams’ ideas nurtured into businesses as well as trained to work with the relevant technology.

After this period, an assessment will be carried out to determine the most outstanding team(s) that will be attending Motorola Solutions’ participation in the first dedicated Mission Critical Communications Industry Event in Africa in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2017.

For Queries please contact: lmabele@strathmore.edu/fbalala@strathmore.edu

Register Here

Call for Applications: Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge

Posted on Updated on

cisco

Five hundred billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2030!

Things like wells, cars, watches, refrigerators, and more will be connected to the Internet for the first time so that they can transmit and receive information. Digitization is about connecting people and things to the Internet so that the information those connections provide can be used to improve processes and decision making.

With digitization and the Internet of Things (IoT), good ideas can make a difference more quickly than ever before by driving economic development and helping people solve some of our most

Who Should Enter?

This challenge is open to students or recent alumni from any college or university. For detailed eligibility requirements, please click here .

Areas of impact could include, but are not limited to:

  • local industry/economic development
  • critical human needs (food, water, shelter, and disaster relief)
  • healthcare
  • economic empowerment/financial inclusion
  • education
  • environment
  • connectivity

Digital Technologies that enable these innovations may include, but are not limited to:

  • connected/smart solutions (smart home, smart city, smart energy)
  • connected transportation
  • wearables
  • big data
  • analytics
  • cloud computing

We are awarding $300,000 to support Global Problem Solvers. Click here to read more about the prizes.

Application Process

  • March 30 2017: Applications Open
  • May 30 2017: Applications Close
  • June 12, 2017: Finalists announced
  • June 12,-28th 2017: Peoples Choice Voting
  • June 29: Winners Announced

Why you should participate?

  • Huge cash infusion to develop your company or solution
  • Global recognition and publicity for your company or solution
  • Looks great on a resume or in a prospectus to potential funders
  • Review by Cisco technology experts and high profile judges
  • Peer and industry validation for your solution

 Digitize. Do More Good.

To learn more and take part in this challenge,please click here.

An IoT Event Hosted by @iLabAfrica in conjunction with the University of Edinburg and Pycom.

Posted on Updated on

iot9494

Come spend the afternoon of Friday, 2nd December,2016 learning how to use the latest in IoT technology from Pycom. In this workshop, we will give an overview of the Pycom boards, talk about the magic in the socket layers and give examples of how to use the LoPy, programming it with MicroPython.

In addition, we’ll look at how to connect sensors to the LoPy, program it to act as a nano-gateway and work on examples of extended WiFi range. All of this to effectively help drive data from the field to your middleware platform and ultimately front end applications where visualisation and decision making can take place.

About IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a cluster of technologies spanning hardware devices, networking, data collection and data applications. It allows any ‘thing’ to be connected to the internet. This means that we give things a name, a job to do, and a voice. A name is some kind of unique identifier; a job will typically involve some kind of sensing of — or acting upon — the environment; a voice is a means of communicating. As an example, we could add a heat sensor to a chair so that it can report whether someone is sitting on it. If all the chairs in a given room were able to communicate this information, we could get a real-time picture of how full the room was.

To be part of the event, Register here.