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How SAFE are you ONLINE? Come find out this Thursday

Tech Trend, Workshops

February 4, 2016

Internet connectivity has brought about a number of benefits. It enables us to socialise, shop, transact and do business. This brings about the aspect of sharing more and
more information online both personal and confidential. In the advent of the digital age, access to the internet is readily available due to the proliferation of smartphones and laptops. This has given rise to a cyber –savvy generation, one that communicates very frequently online.
With such great opportunities, comes great risk.
This week, TechTrend focuses on the real questions that need to be asked.

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  • Are you safe online?
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  • If not, how best can you protect yourself online?
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  • Are there any laws governing cyber security in Kenya?
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  • What is the state of cyber security locally? How good or bad is it?
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  • Can we contribute to improving the local cyber security scene?

AfricaHackon seeks to build the local cyber security industry where practitioners, enthusiast and budding professionals have a platform to interact learn, grow, share ideas and experiences. In partnership with the m:lab, AfricaHackon will undertake a rigorous cyber security training to interested individuals. Attend this event to find out more about the training.
Venue: iHUB (Bishop Magua Building, 4th Floor – Ngong Road)
Date: 11th Feb 2016
Time: 5.00 – 7.30 pm
Register on the form below:

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1517

Invitation to TechTrend: 'Local Hosting Environment' by Angani Limited

Tech Trend, Workshops

October 19, 2015

Theme: Local Hosting Environment – Is there a case for developers to embrace local Hosting; Synergies and Growth Opportunities for Local Developers.

Angani is Kenya’s first company dedicated exclusively to the provision of Public Cloud Services offering services to the entire Eastern, Central and Southern African Market. With its significant investment in infrastructure, Angani has virtualized this infrastructure and leases it out to you at a reduced rate, we take away the expense and headache of having to maintain your own IT infrastructure in-house. No more worrying about hardware procurement, power, cooling, upgrading, scheduled maintenance

Come and lets discuss:

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  • Market Overview
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  • Opportunity in Local Hosting
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  • How being part of the Angani ecosystem can help you increase your revenue.
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  • Angani’s role in helping you rapidly increase your turn around time to market
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  • How to scope and price the opportunities.
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  • Growth Opportunities for Developers
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  • Platform as a Service for Developers
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  • Pricing and volume discounts.

 
All developers are invited. Register here.
Attending participants stand a chance to win FREE VM Ware.
Date:  29th October 2015
Time: 5.15 – 7.00pm
Venue: m: lab East Africa

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2268

NFC: Can this technology be used to build a viable business in Kenya? (Part 2)

Tech Trend, Workshops

September 14, 2015

techtrend
In June this year we had part 1 of NFC technology during #TechTrend discussion centered mainly on ‘tap to pay’ and why it did not pick up well in the matatu industry in Nairobi.
We set-up part 2 of the discussion on  NFC technology application focussing in loyalty and payments beyond use in the matatus.
Big players in the industry as well as startups are continually centering their businesses around this technology. Over the past few months we have seen a few big players leveraging on the technology notably; Google: Android Pay, Apple: Apple Pay  and Samsung: Samsung Pay. You can find summarised details on the above developments on this blog.

Near field communication (NFC) is a technology that enables smartphones and other devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching the devices together or bringing them into proximity to a distance of typically 10 cm or less.

We kicked off with the question whether Africa is ready for NFC. There were several opinions to this question. First it was noted that NFC is a worldwide trend not only unique to Africa. It might kick-off in a great way once people get accustomed to its use. It’s however only accessible to cluster of people who may afford phones that are NFC enabled.  A lot of people are still skeptical about using cards. There are however trends that are arising that people use a sticker behind their phones, wristbands and other wearables.
The other obstacle to the uptake of the technology is the uptake of POS systems to include NFC technology on a wider scale. Infact one of the developers noted that whilst rolling out his solution there was the need of a NFC reader to connect to a computer which proved cumbersome to one of his clients.
The ‘developer problem’ also arose. This is where enthusiastic developers are rolling out products but they end up pushing the technology instead of solution. The potential users therefore end up scared by use of terms like “Tap to Pay”, “NFC enabled” just to name a few, which they easily argue that it’s not secure since if anyone picks their card they can easily “tap” out all the money. This is also a major reason why card payments on matatu has not picked up at large scale even though high interest rates being charged to the matatu owners was also another reason.
Card Planet Solutions (incubated at m:lab East Africa) who recently launched their product Paykind; gave their experiences over the years and advised startups to partner with banks for legal purposes and to watch out for stakeholder problems e.g  under 18’s  having ‘bank’ accounts. This was after Lipacard did their great presentation showing their cashless wallet for students for different learning institutions.
Shopofficer a Mobile CRM for SMEs (Still at beta stage) also did their presentation showing how they integrate NFC technologies to offer loyalties solution to merchants. Using NFC is a new approach compared to barcodes or QR readers. One of the challenges noted with implementing the same platform for different merchants was the different views of the value of money amongst the stakeholders. e.g When a lady spends 500 at a salon it can be equated at 5 points while the same amount might be 0.5 points at a high-end cafe.

Watch out for the last (Part 3) NFC -Technology Techtrend in November as we plan to focus on home automation.

#NFC #TechTrend in attendance @sammasinde @MuhadiRodgers @alf_deetacs @drizzentic @vic_tua @shopofficer @harunm28 @agayanoic @STLmagana @mukira_g @eriqmonte @robert_oigo @lincxrossef @mikekivuva
Posted by m:lab East Africa on Thursday, September 10, 2015

 

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5037

AfricaHackOn partners with the m:lab to provide Cyber Security Training

Training, Workshops

August 13, 2015

Internet connectivity has brought about a number of benefits. It enables us to socialize, shop, transact and do business. This brings about the aspect of sharing more and more information online both personal and confidential. In the advent of the digital age, access to the internet is readily available due to cheap and readily available smartphones and laptops. This has given rise to a cyber –savvy generation, one that communicates very frequently online.
Businesses on the other hand are moving their infrastructure online to facilitate convenience and increase productivity towards the delivery of services to the respective consumers. Through the internet businesses are able to coordinate and communicate across the world, from one remote location to the other. This aspect of inter-connectivity is what makes the internet infrastructure both appealing and a great enabler to businesses.
All the above mentioned benefits come at a price for the ill prepared in their endeavours. There are a number of risks that both the internet user and the organization is exposed to. For the regular internet user and the student, who heavily relies on the internet to access entertainment and socialize is exposed to malicious websites, crawling with malicious software that can readily infiltrate their device to steal user credentials for mail services, social network sites, online banking websites just to mention a few.
Organizations on the other hand have online services such as email, web applications, websites and portals, all of which are readily targeted and attacked due to the value of information they process, transmit or store. This makes organizations, more so in the financial sector a high value target. As this information can be either sold,used to commit fraud or facilitate unauthorized transactions.
m:lab East Africa in collaboration with AfricaHackOn will hold a one of a kind cyber security training program that targets corporates with a keen interest to strengthen Cyber Security defences in their organization’s infrastructure or, on the other hand, the individual with particular interest in personal security online.
Developed by AfricaHackOn, the program identifies the potential threats and seeks to cater to both the needs of the regular internet user and the corporate. This program will assist in bridging the gap in the lack of ­awareness, lack of requisite skill to protect oneself online, provide insight on how to utilize tools, write scripts/programs and utilize information to help safeguard their online presence and protect their critical online resources.
The main objectives of the program are:

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  1. Provide Hand­On cyber security training to equip the participants with the relevant skills and knowledge to protect themselves online.
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  3. The participants to understand how to use respective tools to ensure their safety online from theft of personal information, malicious software, websites and e­mail.
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  5. To assist organizations understand how to safeguard and defend their online infrastructure, manage insider fraud as well as how to develop strategies against cyber­crime.
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  7. Practically demonstrate how to properly conduct cyber security and penetration testing assessments.
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  9. To provide a platform to share knowledge and experiences.

Scope
The scope of the Cyber Security Program is towards all cyber citizens with a curious mind for cyber security, individuals looking for a carrier in cyber security or cyber security professionals in the corporate environment.
This program caters for our cyber­savvy generation by providing a holistic learning experience that would enable them to be smarter, safer and cautious online protecting themselves from scams and attacks or defending corporate networks against Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
Training course content

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  1. Security Strategy Development and Implementation
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  3. Emerging Technologies in Banking
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  5. GSM and Radio Frequency Security
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  7. Penetration Testing
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  9. Vulnerability Assessments
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  11. Web ­Application security
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  13. Wi­FI Security
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  15. Social Engineering
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  17. Governance and Legislation

The training will utilize an extensive hands­-on approach where participants will get to both attack and investigate assets on our cloud infrastructure. The practical sessions will be based on real­ life scenarios which one is likely to encounter when carrying out assessments on respective assets.
Cost and Duration
The classes will be conducted at the m:lab training facility (Bishop Magua Center-Ngong Road) over a 3-month period, from the 14th of September to 11th December, 2015. The training will take place every weekday, with an option for a morning class or afternoon/evening class, each two hours long. The cost per individual is Kshs 60,000.
Interested participants may register here.
Conclusion
The joint AfricaHackON and m:Lab program not only provides participants with quality hand on training but is also a platform where cyber security practitioners, enthusiast and budding professionals have a platform to interact with some of the best cyber security professionals in the continent, getting to learn, grow, exchange ideas, share experiences and build the local cyber security industry.
For any queries, kindly contact us via [email protected]

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1834

Partner with Chase Bank, m:lab and iHub to build your startup!

Workshops

August 7, 2015

 Chase Bank is at the epicentre of the entrepreneurial ecosystem offering various types of support to startups as well as empowering entrepreneurs to realise their dreams. For about a year now, Chase Bank has collaborated with iHub and m:lab to nurture the Kenyan innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. We are now looking to directly offer a unique and valuable opportunity to game-changing startups in FinTech and/or those that rely on aspects of financial inclusion. We understand that the tech environment is dynamic and that you want a partner to not only keep up but also accelerate your success.
For the next few months we endeavour to support two startups through a mutually beneficial partnership that will see Chase Bank provide the following:

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  1. Free financial consultation
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  3. Potential Integration of your innovation with Chase Bank systems

In addition, the iHub and m:lab commit to providing:

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  1. iHub membership and all its accrued benefits (6 months-1year)
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  3. Mentorship for three months
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  5. Advisory services in areas such as market research and legal.
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  7. Opportunities to attend training sessions at m:lab (For developer trainings, a subsidised rate will apply)

Criteria for selection

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  1. Your product should be in FinTech or rely on financial services/improve financial inclusion
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  3. Have at least a working prototype
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  5. The business should be registered as a legal entity

If this opportunity appeals to your start-up business, please send a brief write-up to[email protected]by August 13th 2015. The write-up should include the following information:

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  1. Business/Company Profile
    To cover:
    History/background; key personnel; etc
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  3. Solution overview
    To cover: Definition of user need/area solution covers; Description of solution; target customers; revenue models/sustainability model
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  5. Purpose for support sought
    To cover: why support is needed; what support will be used for; etc

 
This article was written by GLADYS KITONY.

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1777

Three Representatives chosen for the Slush Impact Accelerator Kenyan Event

Workshops

July 31, 2015

Slush is a technology conference for startups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives and media. In 2014, Slush brought together over 14.000 attendees and more than 3500 companies for the two-day event, with more than 750 investors. Next Slush will take place in Helsinki on November 11-12th, 2015.
One of the key cross-cutting themes of 2015 is “Slush Impact”: program for purpose ­driven startups that combine scalable business models with positive impact on the environment or society.
Impact Accelerator is co-organised with Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UNICEF and other partners, including m:lab East Africa in Kenya. The program includes pre-event mentoring, local Helsinki boot camp program from 4th to 13th of November, 2015 culminating to Slush, and post-event support.
11225420_953670394692437_2646260846832990988_o 11794073_953670674692409_7036540650771407978_o 11754594_953670771359066_5511670970282401564_o11822941_953671021359041_5522926997563208010_o
The Kenyan selection event was held at the m:lab on the 28th July 2015. Three representatives were selected by a panel of expert judges. The panel based their decision on: Composition of the team, traction, potential for measurable  positive impact on people, society, or planet,scalable and sustainability potential of the business. The three startups who have been passed to the final selection committee in Finland are:

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  • Arifu is an education marketplace where the world’s least served people can access the information and training they need from the organizations they trust on any mobile phone.
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  • Sifasafi a platform for students to find volunteering opportunities, organizations to find volunteers and from volunteers to build their volunteering profiles.
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  • eSoma, a web and mobile application for upper primary pupils, taking the Kenyan curriculum, to revise in a fun and engaging manner.

The shortlisted candidates will be contacted by the Slush Selection Committee for an interview. The final decision of the selection will be made by the Selection Committee based on the application form and interview. We wish them the best.

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1691

Apply Now To Slush Impact Accelerator

PIVOT East, Workshops

July 24, 2015

Slush is a technology conference for startups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives and media. In 2014, Slush brought together over 14.000 attendees and more than 3500 companies for the two-day event, with more than 750 investors. Next Slush will take place in Helsinki on November 11-12th, 2015. One of the key cross-cutting themes of 2015 is “Slush Impact”: program for purpose driven startups that combine scalable business models with positive impact on the environment or society.Together with Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UNICEF and other partners, including m:Lab East Africa in Kenya, Slush features Impact Accelerator program for thirty world-changing impact entrepreneurs from all over the world.
WHAT IS IMPACT ACCELERATOR?
Impact Accelerator is co-organised with Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, UNICEF and other partners, including m:Lab East Africa. Impact Accelerator will help the next world changing founders to speed up their businesses through skills workshops, networking opportunities, meeting investors and potential partners, as well as through exposure before and
in Slush conference. The program includes pre-event mentoring, local Helsinki boot camp program from 4th to 13th of November, 2015 culminating to Slush, and post-event support.
Slush
WHAT WILL THE IMPACT ACCELERATOR PARTICIPANTS RECEIVE?

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  • Participation in the Helsinki boot camp program from the 4th to 13th of November, 2015: air tickets and accommodation covered for the duration of the program*
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  • Conference pass to Slush
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  • Opportunity to be featured in Slush within Slush Impact
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  • Opportunity to attend and to be featured in UNICEF Innovation Summit
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  • Networking and meeting opportunities with impact investors, NGOs, institutions, startups, media and other stakeholders
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  • Skills workshops and capacity building
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  • Industry specific matchmaking sessions

HOW TO APPLY?
Fill in a short application form for the local competition at m:lab. The selected applicants to attend the local competition will be pitching their business in front of a local panel of judges. The judges will shortlist 2-4 candidates, who will then fill in more in-depth application form. The shortlisted candidates will be contacted by the Selection Committee for an interview. The final decision of the selection will be made by the Selection Committee based on the application form and interview.
WHAT IS THE SELECTION CRITERIA?

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  • A great team that can convince us that they have the skills and drive to succeed
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  • A business idea that has gained some traction, yet is still in early phase
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  • A business concept that will have a measurable positive impact on people, society, or planet
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  • Business concept must be highly scalable and ideally have a strong technology focus
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  • There are no limitations to in terms of sector or geographical focus.

We are now looking for the next world-changing business ideas that directly addresses global development challenges. Do you have one? Apply now to the program HERE. Entries for this close on 26th July. We are looking for only 30 applicants.

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2099

{RECAP} Can NFC technology be used to build a viable business product in Kenya?

Tech Trend, Workshops

June 2, 2015

Since the offset of NFC technology, several companies and startups have centered their businesses around this technology. We set-up this month’s #TechTrend Thursday edition to discuss NFC technology and its viability. Near field communication (NFC) is a technology that enables smartphones and other devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching the devices together or bringing them into proximity to a distance of typically 10 cm or less.

#TechTrend Thursday an m:lab East Africa initiative that focuses on technology trends in the mobile developer world and mentoring sessions for upcoming mobile developers by incubated startups, individuals or established tech companies.

Several presumptions guarded the discussion:

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  1. Why is it that most startups/companies that use NFC technology have been forced to change their business model especially in Kenya?
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  3. Does NFC technology have potential to disrupt economies like GSM or the internet; that have changed how the world does things or will just be another file sharing technology like its similar counterpart bluetooth?

Is NFC the next disruptive technology in Kenya or just a file-sharing utility? This was perhaps the most questionable presumption. Startups changing their business model; big industry players seem to struggle, was this a fair presumption or a myopic view of the capability of the technology?
In Kenya, one of the major ways people have interacted with the technology was in the introduction of cashless fare since the announcement mid last year after the partnership of the government and the matatu owners association (MOA). BebaPay (partnership with Google) was the first to get into the space followed by others like my1963, Equity Card, KCB Card among others. BebaPay however backed down a few years ago leaving the several banks and Safaricom to take-up the battle for the market share.
Its however been notable that the partnerships made between the players as well as the approach been taken involves combination of several technologies to make it work.This has been done in various ways like integration with MPESA, introduction of chipped NFC card, partnership with MasterCard and VISA for pre-paid cards including others. In my opinion however the uptake has not been as envisioned by the various players in the industry. So what went wrong?
Well, apart from file-transfer and money transactions, the technology has far more uses that have proved successful in other parts of the world other than what we seem to use it for here in Kenya. In London for example, the transport sector widely uses the technology.
Some of the universal uses of the technology include: purchase of items e.g.  Passbook on the iPhone and Google Wallet , inventory, retail, access control, smart posters, and other utility operations such as sensing and storing digital data. In attendance was a student from KEMU and Strathmore who shared how they use NFC enabled cards for access control at the gate, library or dining hall.
Different suggestions pointed out that the matatu industry, as much as the potential was great, was the wrong go-to market to introduce the technology. Some of the general factors include fear that came about with ‘tapping’ to pay; as well as different socio-economic problems like touts syphoning money from the matatu owners and corruption.
Security has also been one of the greatest challenges when it comes to uptake of the technology, but has been countered by adding layers of security through apps that allow authentication.
In regards to Kenyan startups using the technology, it was true that they have been forced to change their business models so as not to totally depend on NFC technology. Most startups however are still in the pilot stage and we can’t therefore downplay the technology as a whole.
NFC readers that can print out receipts are also quite expensive for many startups who would wish to role out on wide-scale. The startups were also challenged not to limit themselves to NFC on cards but also think of ordinary forms of things we carry daily like wristbands, keyholders and stickers e.t.c.
One of the startups also pointed out that NFC technology is not a ready-to-use technology and therefore costly to hire programmers to build a stable solution/product.

#TechTrend Thursdays May Edition attendees discussing:Can NFC technology be used to build a viable business product in Kenya?
Posted by m:lab East Africa on Friday, May 29, 2015

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1533

NFC: Can this technology be used to build a viable business in Kenya?

Tech Trend, Workshops

May 22, 2015

“Economies around the world are either factor driven, efficiency driven or innovation driven ”as derived from gmeltdown.com
Since the offset of NFC technology several companies & startups have centered their businesses around this technology in Kenya. Card PlanetGigwapi, Buymore BebaPay (exited a few months ago), my1963, including others.

Near field communication (NFC) is a set of ideas and technology that enables smartphones and other devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching the devices together or bringing them into proximity to a distance of typically 10 cm or less.

The companies & startups that have based their business model on the technology have had several challenges due to limitations of the technology as well as the Kenyan mentality regarding how the technology is being rolled out.
mlab_logo_simpleCan this technology be used to build a viable business in Kenya? Come, lets discuss this topic on the May edition of TechTrend.
Venue: mlab East Africa
Time: 5.15 – 6.30 pm
Date: 28th May 2015
Click here to register

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4797

Open discussion: PHP Raw vs PHP Frameworks

Tech Trend, Workshops

March 27, 2015

This month’s edition of #TechTrend Thursdays took a different approach where everyone was a key discussant on the topic above.
In June of 1995, Rasmus Lerdorf released the source code for PHP Tools to the public, which allowed developers to use it as they saw fit. Twenty years later, PHP has really grown to have a great market share in the web. Its used by some of the most common CMS like Joomla and WordPress, and by some of the most common frameworks.
However, there have been several debates as to whether PHP Raw/ Custom PHP is actually better than using PHP frameworks or viceversa.
 

Why Raw PHP is better than a Framework

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  • It’s faster as it doesn’t have the framework library overhead
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  • You’re not bound by someone else’s rules or concepts
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  • You can add in as many or as few 3rd party libraries as you choose
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  • You can write to your own standard
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  • You can license it as you choose
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  • You build your own philosophy of the project
Advantages of frameworks

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  • Less Duplication of Code
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  • Clear & Thorough Documentation
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  • Built-in Libraries and Helpers
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  • Easy Error Handling
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  • Security and Encryption
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  • It comes pre – loaded with different very useful classes


#TechTrend Thursdays is an m:lab East Africa initiative that focuses on technology trends in the mobile developer world and mentoring sessions for upcoming mobile developers by incubated startups, individuals or established tech companies.
 The following were the key discussion points:

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  • Frameworks have bugs and most of the time unnecessary overcomplicated, we roughly get to use only 10% – 15% of their features.
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  • It takes less time to do a project while using framework
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  • There too many frameworks and each has its own strengths hence still takes time to learn them
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  • Is anyone building on raw php actually building his own custom framework?
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  • Is it true you can’t actually claim to be a guru if you don’t know how to code raw?

 
Different lines of thought were raised by some of the best developers in the ecosystem.Two main points that came out boldly were that:

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  • Even though coding raw gives you a sense of control and code philosophy that you understand and is suited for your needs, a problem arises when someone else has to join in the project because of the learning curve involved.
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  • Even though there many frameworks, each with its own strenght and weakness; their code is contributed by the best minds in the world and hence could be way superior to a custom made framework.

We also go to know of some projects in the ecosystem that the public can use and contribute code to:
 Michael Pedersen | PesaPi – https://github.com/pluspeople/pesaPi
Kago Kagichiri | USSD – https://github.com/kulemantu/ussd-tree
 

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