Mobile innovations in Africa
With the world increasingly looking at Africa as the source on new and innovative mobile phone technology, there is evident interest in the development of homegrown solutions for local problems.
All around Africa, We are seeing new innovations that are made to help solve problems encountered in their source regions/countries. Low investment in wired telecommunication infrastructure has driven increased mobile penetration, creating a user base that supports a rise in mobile innovation and increased interest in content development.
With networking hubs coming up in Kenya and Uganda, more local innovations are coming up every day. An interesting common feature in most of the innovations is that they are targeted at both the feature and smartphone categories using easy technology like USSD codes and SMS based data exchange systems.
The use of USSD and SMS systems is mainly because large percentiles of the targeted audience use feature phones. The penetration of smartphones is not deep enough to guarantee results on a smartphone based platform.
Only time will tell how fast Africa’s influence on the technological world will spread but with products such as iDRIVE.co.za, (Helping to reduce the high number of road deaths in South Africa), Whive, (a social media Platform that aims to enhance access of information to Africans including millions of mobile phone subscribers across Africa by using SMS technology to provide content in their local languages on their mobile phones), TxtAlert: (a mobile techology platform designed to improve adherence to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART). The system alerts ART patients about their next visits to the clinic.), Ushahidi, M-PESA and Mxit, it is only a matter of time before the world sees the light.
With our cultures and unique situations shaping the direction that technology takes in Africa, we are truly changing the shape of future innovations.