what happens at the silicon savannah? what else is Kenya known for except for M-pesa? who is taking advantage of the mobile device market in Kenya?… These are some of the questions that were lingering in mind some time back. There was a very thin line between mobile innovation, start-ups and technology. Wait until iHUB came along in 2010. Their success stories in the recent past include Ushahidi (ushahidi.com)and kopokopo(kopokopo.com). These projects and their massive number of techies at their premise have enabled iHUB to be one of the leading innovation centers in East and Central Africa.
BRCK (http://www.brck.com/), which is their latest project is a bit different form the iHUB caliber. This is a state of the art hardware that interestingly looks like a small construction brick. Thus the name BRCK.
The hardware is said to be able to offer WIFI connectivity for mobile devices without requiring to be powered by electricity. Its target market, in my opinion is the tourists who come to Kenya not knowing that internet connectivity is a luxury in East Africa. The BRCK devices doubles up as a router, gateway and modem. For more specifications on the devices follow http://www.brck.com/specification/
Many African countries have already beat Kenya to chase being able to make their own mobile phone brands and tablets, even laptop brands. None of these has been innovation but a way to take advantage of the cheap production costs in China. Maybe this could be one of those products that will take the market by storm like Mobile money’s M-pesa or it would not. But the main point to put across to world is that, Kenya is not sleeping in terms of innovation.
By Neville Mugambi.
photos courtesy: brck.com and http://techpresident.com