Show N’ Tell: Samsung Electronics and the Local Tech Terrain

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  • 5 years ago
  • Posted: November 12, 2014 at 10:55 am

Samsung Electronics and i-Lab Africa have unveiled eight new apps that were developed by young talent as part of the 2nd edition of the Samsung Show N’ Tell. The mobile applications are the by-product of the ongoing partnership between Samsung Electronics East Africa and Strathmore University in a bid to support local talent. The Show N’ Tell platform brings together local App developers to show case their innovations as part of a Research and Development program run at Strathmore University i-Lab. The first edition of the Show N’ Tell was held at Strathmore University on Tuesday 18th February 2014. The event saw the release of a couple of consumer and enterprise applications completed during 2013 in league with iLab Africa.

The Chief Operating Officer of Samsung Electronics East Africa, Robert Ngeru remarked that the opportunity for mobile applications development was boundless for Kenyans interested in the venture: “Our Samsung App Store has a reach of over 500 million subscribers worldwide. This is huge and it means that there are lots of opportunities for local developers to make an impact globally.” Dr. Joseph Sevilla also spoke to the audience saying that “creating apps is fast becoming the new way to self-employment for youth in Kenya. If a Vietnamese can make $50,000 in a day through the Flappy Bird App, then the limits are endless here in Kenya.”

Samsung Electronics East Africa Director of Mobile and IT Manoj Changarampatt highlighted that a majority of developers locally just need access to resources and guidance to pursue their penchant for technology: “With the consumption of mobile apps growing daily we have identified the opportunities for Kenyan app developers to showcase to the corporate world, government and individual consumers what they are capable of.” Essentially researchers are motivated to endeavor in in-depth research as to whether their projects are feasible and then linked to crucial sources of information to help them advance their technological causes. Once they have acquired the requisite market information, the students work under the mentorship of experienced developers and faculty at iLab at Strathmore University where they benefit from skills sharing, industry access, and funding.

Each application is designed to provide pertinent information to users, relying on the databases that been constructed by local teams. The data bases are built in a way that aims put information and data in a way that enhances ‘user-bility’ by those that access the application. It was an auspicious moment considering that the smartphone penetration in Kenya stands at 67%, a whopping 4.3 million folk who have access to a myriad of mobile applications. Local developers have tremendous opportunity, thereby acting as one of the platforms for Kenya to be an ICT hub by 2030. Samsung has been in partnership with iLab Africa for the past three years and has seen the development of over 80 applications, many of which being in use and found exclusively in Samsung devices via the Samsung GALAXY Apps. Samsung is a world leader in the technology market with annual sales of over $216.7 billion and an employ base in over 80 countries amounting to 286, 000 souls. Set up in January 2011, iLab Africa is an independent centre of brilliance in Information and Technology Innovation and Development located in the Faculty of Information Technology, Strathmore University.

The main reason it was established was to see to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which complete in 2015, by the way, and to contribute towards Kenya’s development Vision of 2030. The research centre carries out interdisciplinary research, collaboration with the government and industry, students’ engagement, and other funding agencies willing to lend a hand. The Apps that were launched were just a portion of those that have been in development with more expected to be underway in the subsequent months.

The eight apps that were launched include: -National Assembly and County Assembly App- it gives the Kenya National Assembly and County Assembly the opportunity to access standing orders and order papers in mobile phones and tablets, thus ensuring continuity in in-house business and reducing costs associated with printing those documents. Here is the clincher; it allows the legislators to cast their vote on a debate, hmmm, begs the question, if there be an App to engage in ‘digital filibuster’. -App Wakili- built to ease access of legal information in Kenya; it allows users to access lawyers registered with the Law Society of Kenya, their contacts, and areas of expertise such as dispute resolution, corporate law, regional and international law, Tax law, et cetera. -Kenya Wildlife Service Guide App-it enables tourists to locate national parks, reserves, conservancies, and amenities within the park; I bet that will increase the ease of the ‘touristic flow’. –

KCA University App- obviously targeted to students at the university, meant to avail content to the student body, acquire a variety of information, perhaps an extra co-curricular activity, knowing when to put your cleats on or clasp your hockey stick. The school library system is also integrated into the application and other administratory activities such as course registration and enrolment of new students. -Laikipia Wildlife Forum App- it was designed as a complementary gesture to the already existing conservation endeavors in Laikipia. One can access information on sites and attractions, providing ease of navigation to the said sites and attractions, mapping out donor funded projects that both the local and international tourists may be interested in aiding. -Halal Kenya App- it gives a listing to the Halal-certified establishments and their locations for review purposes, it comes on the backdrop on the nascent recognition and importance of Halal certification to the Muslim community.

Additionally, it allows users to take matters into their own hands by reporting non-Halal compliant establishments that purport to be adhering to the tenets yet to the contrary reality to the Kenya Halal Bureau. -Uganda Legal App- of course geared towards law students, lawyers, judges, and magistrates, easing access to legal information in Uganda, which includes the judiciary calendar, Uganda Constitution (1995), gazette notices, and cases and rulings. -Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) App- it is meant to aid PPB inspectors to register and validate pharmacies with their employees in real time and the make the information public. It gives information on registered pharmacies in a bid to ensure that the pharmaceutical products have integrity to ensure Kenyans’ safety in using them.

Other applications showcased include the Kenya Law Report, which avails all the laws of the land such as the Kenya Traffic Act and The Kenya Constitution. The app was prompted by the reasoning that everyone in the country, local or foreign should be able to access laws at all times no matter where they are in the country, and by extension, the planet. The ‘Case Search’ option enables a user to access, whether civilian or lawyer, to access past rulings, having access to over 80, 000 cases. Consequently, it consists of a ‘Cause List’ that is a sitting schedule of all courts countrywide. There was also the Strathmore Business School App which is being utilized by graduate students at SBS. It is set to promote e-learning, know which assignments are due and timeline, ease course access and class schedules, not to mention that all case studies and copyrighted material on the SBS App are non-transferable from the device.

The Kitoweo App was a delicacy, considering that I love to cook; it basically brings culinary enthusiasts together to share their recipe secrets in one neat directory, it is a feast for the eyes, I tell you! Hipprocrates, the Greek Physician quipped that “let thy food by thy medicine and thy medicine thy food.” Extensively, the app suggests to you which local cuisines can cure mild maladies, exquisite, simply! The Michezo App was ‘sport on’, for all those enthusiasts of the sporting world. How it functions is it essentially manages content built for the android platform and completely customizable. It shows leagues, player profiles and stats, leagues, events, results and tables, and tournaments. Not to worry, it caters to a wide range of sports including the beautiful game, soccer or football, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are in, cricket (my head is bobbling now), rugby (just did a quick Samoan choreography), basketball (slum-dunking this mother), tennis (Sharapova is quite a pretty lass, aye), among many more. So, next time you are on the Samsung App Store, take a gander!

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Stefan Wolf
Article Categories:
APP REVIEWS · TECHNOLOGY