The technology scene in Kenya has grown rapidly over the 1st half of the decade. Behind this steady growth lies the emergence of tech hubs, government support and of course the emergence of different technologies. The emergence of tech hubs and labs and institutions likemlab East Africa, iHub, Nailab, Emobilis, Growth Hub amongst many others have proved to be great initiatives in terms of accelerating growth in the ICT sector.

They do this through accelerator programs, Ideation programs, Hackathons, Incubation, Entrepreneurial/Business coaching, meetups amongst others. The education sector has also followed suite whereby institutions like Strathmore University, Nairobi University and Kenyatta University have also set up hubs within their campuses to enhance the same.

Read more: Top 10 list of most disruptive technologies in Kenya in the last 5 years


No one really knows how many “things” there are deployed today that have IoT characteristics. IDC’s 2013 estimate was about 9.1 billion, growing to about 28 billion by 2020 and over 50 billion by 2025. You can get pretty much any other number you want, but all the estimates are very large. So what are all these IoT things doing and why are they there? Here’s our attempt to map out the IoT landscape (click to enlarge).

 As you can see, there are a whole lot of possible organizational approaches to the constituent parts of IoT. We have chosen a “halo” approach, looking at how IoT principles will be applied to individual people, their surroundings (vehicles and homes), the organization of those surroundings (towns and cities and the highways and other transit systems that connect them), the range of social activities (essentially commerce, but also travel, hospitality, entertainment and leisure) that go on in those surroundings and finally the underpinnings of those activities (“industrial” including agriculture, energy and transport and logistics). We’re not claiming this is an exhaustive taxonomy (we’ve excluded all military and some law enforcement specific uses) or that this is the best way to organize things, but we think it’s a useful start and has been helpful in explaining the opportunity to the businesses we advise.

 The size of the circles aren’t important. They’re basically an indication of how far away from the individual each collection of potential IoT ideas will be implemented, but even that isn’t fully consistent – there will be interactions between people and IoT ideas in the workplace as well as in the home or in the store.

Read more: IoT mapped: The emerging landscape of smart things

The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has launched RapidPro, an open-source platform of apps that can help governments to quickly deliver important information in real time. It can also be used to connect communities to lifesaving services.

Dr. Sharad Sapra, Director of UNICEF's global Innovation Center described RaipPro as an app store for good."It gives governments and development professionals new tools they can customize to connect citizens and critical services – mainstreaming innovation and making it work for the most disadvantaged children," said Sapra.

RapidPro was developed by UNICEF's global Innovations Labs and Nyuruka software development company based in Rwanda.

Read more: UNICEF launches RapidPro open source app store

Visitors to Kenya’s capital are often horrified by the homicidal minibuses called matatu. They swerve around potholes, seldom signal and use their iffy brakes only at the last second. They are therefore an ideal subject for a video game, which is why Planet Rackus, a Nairobi start-up, released “Ma3Racer” last year.

Each player uses his mobile phone to steer a matatu down the street. The(unrealistic) goal is to avoid pedestrians. Within a month, a quarter of a million people in 169 countries had downloaded the game.

Read more: Kenya’s technology start-up scene is about to take off

Mobile Applications
Content Source: Tim Kelly, Lead ICT Policy Strategist, Infodev (World bank donor agency) Mobile already represents the largest delivery platform for development applications –e.g.
• M-Pesa in Kenya
• No adequate substitutes are available –mobiles outnumber PCs by >16:1
• Low barriers to entry –Standard-based tools are available free of charge
• Market is highly segmented and localized –industry has not yet had its “Google moment”
• High export potential
Chart showing the growth of fixed and mobile connections in Africa, 1998-2008, in millions
Source: ITU World Telecom Indicators Database

Mobile Phone Usage Chart 

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