First full scale industrial lab in the continent IBM Lab Africa Research has been commended for its diversified research – Africa for its technology- that is not only applicable in Nairobi but also other cities around the world.
In the ‘Africa for its technology’ research by the Lab located in Karen, Nairobi county, the researchers are dealing with real engagement with real life problems. For example, the research has come up with up to date analytics and sensor technology being applied to understand how to drive around pot holes.
In a tour around the Research Lab, The Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, U.S. Department of Commerce, Arun Kumar,the delegation from the US and officials from the US Embassy in Nairobi were treated to a demonstration of the Transport Management solution IBM researchers developed for the Nairobi City County to track its waste disposal trucks.
Scientists from IBM Research – Africa worked on a pilot project with Nairobi City County to help manage and optimize the council’s fleet of waste collection vehicles and create a digital map of the condition of Nairobi’s streets.
The data will be used to help council officials to optimize and expand their waste collection services. In the first stage of the project, IBM scientists have fitted 10 waste collection trucks with smart devices.
The US Assistant Secretary noted: “I understand that IBM Research Lab Africa is the first full scale industrial lab in the continent. It is driving innovation and socio-economic development by developing commercially viable solutions to transform lives and enable new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation among other areas.”
IBM scientists are using big data technologies to analyse the information and draw key pieces of insight about the efficiency of the fleet as well as condition Nairobi’s streets and related urban infrastructure.
The US delegation’s visit comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Kenya next month for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
“GES is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its economic leadership and progress as well as innovative and highly entrepreneurial people on a global platform. So this is both a historic and sentimental visit by President Obama and the first time the GES, which was founded by him, will be held in sub-Saharan Africa,” Assistant Secretary Kumar said.
President Obama will lead the US delegation to join approximately 1,200 attendees including entrepreneurs, investors, educators, government officials and business representatives.
Vice President of IBM Research – Africa Kamal Bhattacharya said IBM is currently in negotiations with Nairobi City County to extend the project to all of Nairobi’s waste collection trucks and ultimately to the city’s other service vehicles.