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cow_phoneRecently I was honoured to have a paper accepted for publication in the African Journal of Information Systems. The paper was titled A Model for designing M-Agriculture Applications for Dairy Farming. The aim of the paper was to study the implementation of mobile systems in agriculture and present a model for designing such applications. The study shows that models exist for general mobile applications design and development, although none specifically suits mobile agriculture applications. A model for designing and implementing M-Agriculture applications is presented in the paper. It concentrates specifically on dairy farming and shows how various stakeholders in this sector can share a mobile platform that meets their various needs.

From the conducted research, it is evident that most of the areas with inefficiencies (e.g. access and sharing of information) can be addressed using mobile technology. The designed model can be used by software developers to create mobile applications that are focused on dairy farming and to implement the various business processes involved in that agricultural sector. The model can also be adopted by policy organizations and government agencies in their proposals on the usage of technology as a key driver towards economic growth. Moreover, researchers can use the proposed model as a basis for improvement towards existing mobile application development models and frameworks or to develop new ones. Further work may be done to test the model in other areas of agriculture, e.g. crop farming. Also, agri-business components can be added to the model to enable the participation of other agriculture stakeholders who were not included in the presented model.

Get the full paper here

Mobile AppsApps, Apps and more Apps! There seems to be a mobile app for almost anything, from entertainment, sports, business, religion, and the list is endless. The innovation of mobile apps has added the value of having a good mobile phone that can handle an installable application. With the java platform having the highest market share in installable apps platform(over 1 billion mobile phones), it brings in a good opportunity for developers to come up with apps for almost everything.

But how does these innovations come in handy for the developing world? It is a fact that there are more mobile phones than computers in any developing nation. In this case, the mobile phone becomes the ‘computing device’ of choice for any process that might require automation or efficiency using technology.

Areas such as agriculture, mining, industry, manufacturing, energy and tourism are some of the major economic sectors in developing nations. Most of these are marred with inefficiencies that could be tackled by simple mobile apps that could be almost effortless to develop by most mobile application developers. Amazingly, the stakeholders in these sectors may not be aware that it is possible to develop mobile applications that can solve some critical problems they have been facing over the decades. It is then upon to the developers to approach the stakeholders in this economic sectors and make them aware of the power of the very mobile phone they already own.

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Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl


Africa Nazarene University has started a Mobile Computing Diploma and Certificate programs to begin this May (2011). The courses are aimed at building Entrepreneurs, Academicians (researchers /trainers) and software developers who are ready to venture in mobile technology.

The course will be delivered on flexible times and the cost is relatively low for the quality of training the student will receive.

More inquiries can be sent to agichamba@anu.ac.ke

And now…the M-CHURCH!

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

Is there anything wrong with the M-CHURCH idea? Yesterday,  a local Kenyan church put a newspaper advert announcing an SMS powered service that people can use to receive help in matters such as political ambition, marriage and bearing children. The service is backed up by a help line that someone may call for more help/inquiry concerning the matter at heart.

The timing of this SMS service may not get along very well with most Kenyans, since majority would like to compare it with SMS gambling games that have been going on for a while now, and that took the country in a frenzy towards the end of 2010. Actually, almost every TV station had their SMS lottery show, with some affording to give millions in a week. So is there a relationship between the SMS lottery services and the M-CHURCH idea? To answer that, we got to observe the revenue models adopted in the two scenarios.  Notably in the M-CHURCH case, there is no car to be won, a house or even Ksh.90m to be won, just an encouraging scripture and probably a ‘follow-up’ number to call.

From my own perspective, the M-CHURCH is not really a bad idea if the intention was to spread the gospel and help people in matters of life using biblical truths and principles. Everything has a price…right? In this case, Ksh.10 is the price to pay for the M-CHURCH service.

However, there is a delicate line between the intention to make money and the desire to help Kenyans use the bible as a reference to get solutions to life’s teething issues.

To use or not to use the M-CHURCH service is a personal choice. The truth is, someone will benefit from it, someone will make money out of it, someone will criticize it, and of course another Kenyan will start another M-CHURCH!

The New Focus on Africa

Posted: November 21, 2010 in Mobile Technology

Nokia QtMobile phone manufacturers have created a new interest in Africa, because of the growing mobile developer community, especially in East Africa(Kenya leading) and southern Africa.

The endeavor has seen leading companies like Nokia and Samsung hold developer meetups and training forums, all aimed at having developers introduced to their development platforms, most of which are free to download and install. Recently, Nokia held a mobile boot camp at the University of Nairobi to train mobile developers from academic institutions, development companies and individuals.The training focused on JavaME and Qt, the development platform for symbian applications, targeting Nokia’s wide range of smartphones. It was also an opportunity to interact with members of Nokia Forum, the leading developer community forum for Nokia developers all over the world.

With the new focus on Africa, its time for mobile applications developers to pitch their ideas and take advantage of the resources which are being availed to support mobile technology growth within the continent.

Samsung is not being left behind. They held a developer workshop at ihub, and showed demo apps developed on bada, Samsung’s smartphones platform.

Currently, there are mobile apps development competitions for both Nokia and Samsung, both with December deadlines. Its time African developers focused on mobile applications development, to enable the use of a mobile phone for much more than just communication.

Mobile technology entrepreneurs in Kenya are taking technology to a whole new level by introducing products that are applicable in the mainstream economic activities of the country.

As more Africans acquire mobile phones, the best use of this gadget should be making lives better for the low income earners and enhancing business processes.

In the near future, Africa is going to set up the pace of using mobile technology to tranform social, political and economic growth of a country.

Most of these applications are being done by ambitious young people who are passionate about Changing Africa using Mobile Technology.