(All photos courtesy of Njogu James, the photogenic guy as you will come to see below)
On the 21st of February 2011 I was at the *iHub_ for Mobile Monday with Microsoft. I know there are some guys who were not able to make it there and so I decided to do a small write up covering what happened. I arrived at the *iHub_ a bit late so I missed the introductory remarks made by John Wesonga who is part of the Mobile Monday Kenya team. He invited Jessica the *iHub manager to the floor. Jessica talked briefly about the *iHub and then introduced mLab and the mLab team which is comprised of John and Bernard (sorry I didn’t get their full names).
What is mLab?
The mLab will be a focal point to increase the competitiveness of innovative enterprises working in mobile content and applications. It is hosted by the consortium comprising Nairobi’s iHub, eMobilis, the World Wide Web Foundation and the University of Nairobi’s School of Computing and Informatics. Each organization augments the consortium strength as follows:
- iHub will facilitate interaction within the tech community through events and competitions and will boost the business acumen of the tech community
- eMobilis, augmented by the Web Foundation will increase the skill set of mobile applications developers through training and accreditation
- The University of Nairobi – School of Computing and Informatics will carry out various research studies regionally in the mobile niche in East Africa
(The above extract is from the *iHub site, you can read the full article here)
Unfortunately applications for the mLab are now closed so better luck next time. Jessica then gave them a chance to the mLab team to introduce themselves to the audience. John is basically in charge of the entire mLab project. Bernard is the technologist in residence. He is charged with but not limited to;
- Listening to you (the programmer) and advice you on the way forward when you face problems.
- Grow the number of developers – partnering with universities, bringing together tech groups
- Interface developers with companies.
The mLab was realized with help from infoDev. infoDev is a technology and innovation-led development finance program in the Financial and Private Sector Development (FPD) Vice Presidency of The World Bank and IFC. infoDev initiated the incubation programme. This program runs in several countries in Africa. It also ensures that the different mLabs network.
Next we had a guest talk about Pivot 25. Pivot 25 is;
Pivot 25 is an event bringing together East Africa’s top mobile entrepreneurs and startups to pitch their ideas to an audience of 400-500 people, with a chance of winning monetary prizes and increasing awareness of their work to local and global investors and businesses. In East Africa’s hot mobile market, this is a way to find out “what’s next?“. The competition is for 25 entrepreneurs/startups to pitch their best mobile apps or services, in 5 different verticals, to the audience and a panel of judges. Anyone who has a new app or service can apply, if they’re from Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda or Kenya.
(The above extract is from the *iHub site, read the entire article here).
Next on the floor was Kamal from Craft Silicon to talk about their new platform Elma. Elma is a platform that allows you to
- Create a mobile app within a minute (literally)
- Integrate the app to a payment gateway by just using the Elma API, no need to learn how to do it manually
- The app is cross platform and so you don’t have to worry about portability issues
There will be an Elma developer conference on the 2nd of March this year, been trying to get the url to register albeit with no success so if you happen to find it let me know. It is something like “elma.ez/register”.
Now it was time for the main event. John Wesonga introduced Vincent Mugambi who is the Developer & Platform Manager – Microsoft Eastern & Southern Africa. On the agenda was
- BizSpark Program – a program designed to provide software Startups all the resources they need to build successful companies and connect them with a community of experts
- Application Lifecycle Management – a continuous process of managing the life of an application through governance, development and maintenance
- Student 2 Business – is a Local Software Economy initiative designed to encourage students to activate a career in the IT
- DreamSpark – gives students professional level developer and designer tools and training at no charge. Available to any student currently enrolled at a recognized secondary or higher education institution
- Azure – a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform
- Windows Phone 7
- Imagine Cup
I am not going to go into the details of each item above but Vincent had a great power point presentation which you can grab here.
Imagine Cup 2011
The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. Every year the Imagine Cup invites students to meet a challenge around a social cause. The current Imagine Cup competition theme is Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems. It started in 2003 with 1,000 competitors, last year more than 325,000 of the world’s most influential students from over 120 countries/regions registered for the Imagine Cup. Imagine Cup has the following competitions
- Software Design
- Embedded Design
- Game Design
- Digital Media
- Open Competition (TBD)
All are under one theme: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems I am not able to write everything about Imagine Cup here. Only students are eligible to participate in this competition make sure you register for the competition. More details can be found on the power point including the price money involved. The top team from the region gets to fly to New York City, USA to compete for the top three spots. A team can have a maximum of four members.
That marked the end of the event, a very successful event. Till next time have a nice time! Before I forget, there were 48 students from JKUAT who attended the event!