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Showing posts from December, 2009

semeni - Kenya's nifty group SMS service repackaged

Aside from the unending debate of the M-PESA success in Kenya, it is interesting to note that there are other SMS based services that have been maturing into being equally innovative and relevant to the peculiar people of Kenya. I have been thinking through semeni; the group SMS service developed by  mobile planet and perhaps in conjunction with 'our Safaricom'. My chama (investment group) has used the service for at least two years now and I think it is a very convenient and practical service. Readers comments on my previous post on M-PESA ownership pointed at convenience to the populace being the significant factor for M-PESA's success. I should say then that if convenience were the only factor for the phenomenal success, then semeni (or 184 as known within my chama) should be equally successful in a few more months or years from now.

The service allows users to broadcast an SMS text to multiple selected friends, family members, co-workers and so on within the Safaricom n…

M-PESA is not a Kenyan Innovation

Many Kenyans still believe that 'their' Safaricom owns the patents to the M-PESA innovation. Some Kenyans even claim that Safaricom hijacked their idea and developed it into M-PESA - a court case was once reported on this. The reality being that the system  was 'developed' by Sagentia on behalf of Vodafone, it goes without saying that the corresponding intellectual property (IP) does not belong to Safaricom. That is also not to forget that Kenya has enough software development capacity to build such a system on a robust platform.

Safaricom is paying patent fees to Vodafone just like any other network operator who will wish to use the money transfer platform. It might help for Michael Joseph to clarify if any benefits accrue to himself or others in Safaricom specifically for accepting to be the test platform for "Vodafone's innovation". Such a clarification should of course address the opportunity cost of a more direct contribution to Kenya's knowledg…

So how do I know an IT practitioner in Kenya

The other day Dr. Bitange Ndemo - who I really respect announced that ICDL training will be used as some kind of benchmark for determining whether one is computer literate. That seems to me a very useful move for the ICT industry. It definitely very useful for the Kenya chapter of ICDL. Skeptics will say Dr. Ndemo was 'enticed' to make the public pronouncement. Let us now watch to see how the growing computer training industry responds to the implied endorsement - no more questionable computer training certificates? Whatever the case, the trend should make life easier for those IT practitioners in the area of IT service support. It should be easier to tell a fellow employee to read their ICDL notes when they ask for support to prepare some powerpoint presentation.

The next thing Dr. Ndemo should scout for is the benchmark for one to be safely called an IT expert. Some of the ladies and gentlement we call IT practitioners have the perhaps outdated IMIS diploma, ACE etc. Others …