technology

@iLabAfrica Receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Grant

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Nairobi, Kenya– @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University, today announced it has received a grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions.

Through the grant, @iLabAfrica will build Capacity Development on Internet of Things and Data Analytics Technologies to Rural-based Universities in Kenya.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation awards grants each year to organizations which support and advance public safety programs and technology and engineering education initiatives.
“With the help of the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants program, @iLabAfrica will help provide underrepresented and underserved students across the globe with technology and engineering learning.” Leonard Mabele- @iLabAfrica, IoT Manager.
This year, Motorola Solutions Foundation grants will support programs that help more than 2 million students, teachers, first responders and community members around the globe. There is a specific focus on providing grants to programs that impact underrepresented populations, including females, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans and others.

“We are very pleased to support the work of @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University,” said Monica Mueller, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “We believe in organizations that foster innovation and drive change, and we’re proud to be part of the positive impact they are making in the community.”
For additional information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants program, visit: motorolasolutions.com/foundation
For more information on @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University please visit www.ilabafrica.ac.ke
About @iLabAfrica

@iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation and Development at Strathmore University. The centre spearheads Research and Innovation in Information Communication Technology for the Development (ICT4D) of ecosystems towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to contribute toward Kenya’s Vision 2030. The research centre is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement and has partnered with over 800 institutions (Universities, NGOs, foundations and government) worldwide and other funding agencies.

About the Motorola Solutions FoundationThe Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions, the leading provider of mission-critical communications, software and video solutions that help build safer cities and thriving communities. The Motorola Solutions Foundation makes strategic grants, forges strong community partnerships and fosters innovation by funding programs in public safety education, disaster relief, employee giving programs, and technology education. The Motorola Solutions Foundation provides over $11 million in support to over 250 charitable organizations and universities in over 30 countries annually. For more information on 3 Motorola Solutions Corporate and Foundation giving, visit our website:
www.motorolasolutions.com/foundation

Building IOT Solutions for Smart Cities.

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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.

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Winning Team at the 2nd @iLabAfrica bootcamp.

Metathesiophobia – Innovation’s Biggest Constraint

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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.

 

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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

Strathmore Students emerge winners in Communications Authority Cybersecurity Hackathon 2019

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Florence Kithinji, Jayson Waigwa and Hilda Kiriga “CodeRed” Hackathon team.

@iLabAfrica-Strathmore University cybersecurity students emerged as the winners of this year’s Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Cybersecurity Hackathon as part of the CA National Cybersecurity Conference 2019. The theme of the conference was “Enhancing the National Cyber Readiness and Resilience”.

Communications Authority of Kenya held a National Cybersecurity Conference to engage Cybersecurity stakeholders on emerging cyber security matters. In recognition of the global cyber security month with the objective of promoting safe internet use and healthy cyber hygiene practices amongst Kenyans the conference was officially opened by Mr. Jerome Ochieng, PS, Ministry of ICT.

Part of the conference, CA held a 24 hour hackathon to examine current skill sets; stimulate cyber solutions development; provide a forum for interaction and knowledge exchange amongst cyber security enthusiasts in academia and industry; and encourage upcoming cyber experts to showcase their problem-solving skills in various cyber environments.

The Hackathon comprised of two focus areas Ethical hacking and Digital Forensics. Over 10 Kenyan universities and colleges participated in the event that saw Strathmore @iLabAfrica students win the Ethical hacking challenge.

The team known as “Code red” comprised of Jayson Waigwa – @iLabAfrica Student Associate, Florence Kithinji – BBIT 4th year, Hilda Kiriga – BBIT 4th year and Yashon Ochieng Computer Science 4th year. The students were able to show their prowess and emerged as winners in this year’s hackathon competition where they managed to ethically locate and solve an online vulnerable system in the shortest time.

“It was a great experience in general, being exposed to the real world challenges and threats in cyber security. What helped the team most was good team work since we had different skills where we are good at in solving the challenges. Speed also played a major role in solving and submitting of the flags.” Said Jayson Waigwa, @iLabAfrica Student Associate.

CA is committed to enhancing the National Cyber Readiness and Resilience in recognition of the critical role that the Internet and ICTs play in Kenya’s social economic transformation.

The Conference was attended by over 300 participants from both private and government organizations.

About @iLabAfrica Centre

@iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovation and Development at Strathmore University. The centre spearheads Research and Innovation in Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) of ecosystems towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to contribute toward Kenya’s Vision 2030. The research centre is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement and has

Women in tech – Last call

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WIN KSH 1,000,000 FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

WITStandard Chartered in partnership with @iLabAfrica has launched a search for the third cohort of women-led technology startups which will see five entrepreneurs win Sh1 million each.

The partnership seeks more diversity in technology and for more opportunities for women to develop entrepreneurial and leadership excellence.

The program combines world class startup support with local and international experience to provide Africa’s most competitive and attractive startup incubation program focusing on immersive learning, mentorship, building and growing Africa’s next iconic startups taking on the continent’s most relevant challenges and opportunities

Who are we looking for?
We are seeking to recruit the best entrepreneurial minds, women-lead startup teams leveraging on technology as a key driver of innovation in business. The applicant must:
  1. be a woman
  2. be the CEO with equal or majority ownership in the company
  3. 18 and above
  4. of Kenyan nationality
What are the the program thematic areas?
Applicants may submit applications across but not limited to the following thematic areas:
  1. Agribusiness
  2. Education
  3. ICT
  4. E-Commerce
  5. E-Health
  6. Fintech
What do Participants Get?
  1. Three months incubation at Strathmore University’s leading business and innovation incubator- @iBizAfrica
  2. Mentorship from world class mentors
  3. Coaching by top business, technology and legal professionals
  4. Immersive, world-class entrepreneurship curriculum
  5. Networking and exposure to expand your business networks
What do Winners Get?
  1. USD 10,000 or KES 1,000,000 equity-free grant seed funding for the top 5 winners
  2. 9 months ongoing support from Standard Chartered and @iBizAfrica to assist with go-to market and scale.
Terms and Conditions
  1. Participants must be physically available to attend the program over the three months incubation
  2. Participant accommodation costs are not catered for
Application  deadline 4th November 2019 

REGISTER HERE 

For more information Click here

To Apply click here

Helping Kenyan Companies fight Cybercrime

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ACPM IT Consulting Ltd. an international consulting company today announced the expansion of ACPM IT Consulting to Kenya. As part of this expansion, it shared details of a Memorandum of Understanding with @iLabAfrica Centre -Strathmore University and BCK Kenya. The overarching goal is to make it safer for Kenyans to access the internet without having their data compromised. The Strathmore ACPM SOC as a Service will provide the best way for companies to outsource their Security Monitoring by providing the benefits of 24/7 monitoring, decrease in cybersecurity threats to IT infrastructure, achieving regulatory compliance and Saving money.

The African market is experiencing significant rise in cybercrime due to fast-paced technological advances and companies are investing more in Cybersecurity experts to help prevent cyber-attacks.

Through the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya, ACPM IT is collaborating with @iLabAfrica Strathmore University and BCK to provide information and assistance to academic and commercial sector in Kenya on risk reduction and computer security incidents. This partnership will equip African students with the technical skills and certifications required to help companies prevent cybercrime and build the Kenyan economy.

@iLabAfrica- Strathmore University has built an international reputation for its world-class academic teaching, professional training, and research in technology. Working with ACPM IT and BCK, the University has already begun training students on various cyber security training programs and is providing cybersecurity services to potential clients.

@iLabAfrica, a Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation in Information Communication Technology at the University, is spearheading the rollout and students will be able to benefit from access to high-quality learning online resources, hands-on lab experiences to develop technical skills, and the opportunity to achieve industry-recognised cybersecurity certification to complement their chosen fields of study.

“We are delighted to be part of this partnership with ACPM IT and BCK to help train and equip our students and the public with the right skills to help companies in Kenya fight cybercrime. We are happy for the support from the Hungarian Embassy in Kenya for helping to facilitate this partnership from a government perspective in partnership with Academia and Media. From this collaboration we look forward to bring skills to the local workforce, provide a service to local companies and an opportunity for us to further embark on research and understand what is happening in the world of IT in Kenya.” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University.

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between ACPM IT Solutions, ILabAfrica and BCK features a historic moment as the first Foreign Direct Investment from Hungary to Kenya. This partnership will ensure the training and employment of highly-skilled cybersecurity experts to run the SOC and will save billions of Kenyan shillings for those companies that are affected by cybercrime in Kenya.,” said Mr Marton Milkos, CEO, ACPM IT.

The Partnership has come at a time when kenya is experiencing cybercrime attacks and organisations are looking for ways to safeguard their ventures.

@iLabAfrica partners with VMware International Ltd to Enhance Digital Skills in Africa

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Today at the Innovating Education In Africa Expo 2019, held in Botswana VMware international Ltd announced the expansion of the VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa programme.

As part of its expansion, VMware announced a Memorandum of Understanding between VMware International Ltd and Strathmore University – @iLabAfrica Centre, Kenya.

The overarching goal is to empower the fast-growing, young African population to enter the digital workforce with confidence and expertise, helping to address the skills gap and
supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across the continent.
Through the VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa programme, we are collaborating with key stakeholders across academia, government and industry to equip African students with the technical skills and certifications required to succeed in the digital economy.
Strathmore University in Kenya has built an international reputation for its world-class
academic teaching, professional training, and research in technology. Working with VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa, the University has already begun integrating a range of VMware developed courses into its curricula that cover topics such as virtualisation, cloud computing, AI and IoT. This is facilitated through subsidised software licenses and certification vouchers from VMware.
@iLabAfrica, a Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation in Information
Communication Technology at the University, is spearheading the rollout with 20 trainers and over 100 students at the University participating. The students will benefit from access to high-quality learning online resources, hands-on lab experiences to develop technical skills, and the opportunity to achieve industry-recognised VMware certification to complement their chosen fields of study.

“We are delighted to be part of VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa. It provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain technical skills and industry-recognised VMware certifications, helping to jumpstart their careers with the best knowledge and skills of international standards. Our shared goal with VMware is to become the VMware IT Academy regional lead for East Africa, training lecturers and students from Strathmore and other universities plus facilitating their participation in the programme. Increased access to this type of education and training for students is a critical part of Africa realising the potential of its youth and a prosperous Africa,” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University.
“Skills development is recognised as a key component for economic growth and prosperity.VMware IT Academy: Virtualize Africa helps educational institutions align curricula with the skills needed for the labour market, thereby building the right talent for Africa’s jobs of today and tomorrow. . Our discussions to form a strategic collaboration with Strathmore University is a significant milestone in this program, and will bring new skills and opportunities to its students, and in the future to many more young people in East Africa,”said Thomas MacKay, Senior Director for Global Strategic Programs, VMware.