Archive for the ‘frugal innovation’ Category

Syzygy – Release 2 – Uganda Mobile Money Cost Estimator

Syzygy is a Uganda focused utility calculator (launched by this post https://ssmusoke.com/2015/08/11/launching-syzygy-uganda-focused-utility-calculator/), this new release adds a tool not available anywhere else allowing you to estimate the costs of a mobile money transaction. Are you sending to a registered number, unregistered or trying to withdraw from an agent or ATM?

Hope this app saves you the hassle of searching for the transaction chart which is usually hanging in the agent’s booth.

Do let us know what you think of the new release.

The link to the app is http://bit.ly/syzygy-ug

A screenshot of the new calculator is below

Mobile Money Cost Estimator

Mobile Money Cost Estimator

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Alternate Approach to MTN SIM Card Registration Process & Web Tool 

MTN Uganda has finally put together an application to support the online registration of simcards. However the process as outlined in the Dignited article (http://www.dignited.com/15503/you-can-now-register-your-mtn-uganda-sim-card-online-heres-how/) requires a user to download a registration form, upload it then wait until MTN staff can get back on the registration status.
This blog post provides an alternate design and approach for an online sim-card registration tool, thanks to the team at Styx Technology Group for putting the design and mockups for the alternate solution.
The principles of the system design are as follows:
  1. A user can register more than one sim-card under their own names only after completing their profile information, which cannot be changed later (for audibility)
  2. A user can return and check their registration information later
  3. MTN staff can respond to a registration pointing out any missing or inaccurate information
  4. The user can be notified by SMS and/or email of the status of their registration, and can also login to check the status
  5. The registrations can also be downloaded and added to MTN systems (as may be required)
  6. For identification, two documents have to be provided to confirm, and because the numbers are entered, it is easy for MTN staff to verify
The mockups below tell the story of how an alternate process looks like  licensed under the Creative Commons 3
Login Screen

Login Screen

Signup Screen

Signup Screen

Dashboard

Dashboard

My Profile

My Profile

Register Number

Register Number

UPDATE – November 19, 2015: Looks like MTN updated the sim card registration process to an online form at https://www.mtnbusiness.co.ug/mtnreg/ in response to this post

Bringing Security to the heart of Uganda Consumer Applications 

A very welcome addition to Uganda technology scene are the multiple consumer facing apps, from banks, to telecommunication companies to support mobile money services, to parastatals getting closer to their customers. The newest apps that I am aware of include (in no particular order):
  1. Airtel Money
  2. My MTN
  3. NWSC Mobile
  4. NSSF Go
  5. Stanbic Bank Mobile Banking
  6. DFCU Mobile Banking
  7. Bank of Africa Mobile Wallet (BMW)
  8. Ask URA
On one hand, this is a very welcome addition to address the increasing sophistication of the Ugandan urban consumer who demands more from the corporations. However a worrying trend which needs to be addressed is the security of these applications, in collecting and managing user information. I have taken to social media to ask for more information on the security setup for these apps, but have never gotten a response.
This is hoping to the regulators, Bank of Uganda, Uganda Communications Commission and NITAU (at the moment) to provide a united front to ensure that the following areas are addressed:
  1. Excess permissions, one app wanted to access my contacts, SMS messages, WIFI, phone identity yet was not a banking app
  2. Encryption of data stored on the phone to ensure that if the phone is separated from the owner the data is safe
  3. Secure connections for communication with external servers – via HTTPS and SSL
  4. Security audits of back end infrastructure following ISO and COBIT standards (http://www.isaca.org/Journal/archives/2002/Volume-6/Pages/A-Survey-of-Application-Security-in-Current-International-Standards.aspx)
  5. Penetration, stress and load testing to ensure that aside from
  6. Software development practices that include OWASP top 10 Proactive Controls for software developers https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Proactive_Controls
What else do you see being done to improve the security of our consumer facing applications

Fundi Bots – A Relevant Alternate Approach to Science and Vocational Training in Uganda 

Today I am a proud father, when my two daughters aged 8 and 10 show me their robots, after 8 weeks with the Fundibots Robotics for Kids training program – Season II . What makes me proud is the fact that the children have gotten their hands dirty, gluing, soldering, learning and implementing mechanics to put together a walking robot and more importantly the students are having so much fun that they are not aware that they’re actually learning a lot.

With the transition of vocational colleges into universities, and the dying out of certain vocations like carpentry, car & machine repair, bricklaying, there is a general drop in the quality of core skills needed to build and maintain infrastructure such as processing plants, cottage industries, as well as factories.

Why do I think the Fundi Bots program is a necessary & relevant approach to core vocational skills building in Uganda, but Africa as a whole:

  1. The program brings together theory in multiple separate areas of mechanical engineering, electronics, software development producing firm foundation
  2. The blend of hardware and software provides a foundation for expansion into leveraging technology for other sectors like agriculture, medicine
  3. Majority of the materials used can be obtained locally, or manufactured using localized technology with a low barrier to entry
  4. The program can be run along existing education structures so can be easily adopted by different schools
  5. The technical aspects can be tailored to different levels, from upper primary school through secondary school to university level
  6. Going through the class provides a mindset change – and a new look into science through a different lens
  7. The program can be tailored to suit special interest groups, like girls, less advantaged, and even in resource constrained environments
  8. The skills are marketable globally, and can be grown to support both local and global needs

Last but not least, is the vision that Solomon King provides for growing the program, based on his own personal journey and experiences, you can see the glint in his eye as he watched over the technology seed planted in the youths through the program

The million dollar question, is what can I do?

  1. Fundibots is a non-profit organization, any support in its different activities such as supporting STEM for Girls, Science education in Uganda including 35K by 2020
  2. Do you want to develop hardware based technologies for use in Uganda/Africa – leverage Fundibots by using and grow our research & innovations lab
Fundibots Cake - Stylish and Classy

Fundibots Cake – Stylish and Classy

The troops are ready for command

The troops are ready for command

Beginner Class Platoon Ready for Inspection

Beginner Class Platoon Ready for Inspection

Arachnid Robots - Alien or Not?

Arachnid Robots – Alien or Not?

Showcase time - getting those robots ready

Showcase time – getting those robots ready

My brood #IamFundi

My brood #IamFundi

Solomon King Addressing the Season II Graduating Class

Solomon King Addressing the Season II Graduating Class

Fundibots Season II Class

Fundibots Season II Class

Robots, Cake and Drinks

Robots, Cake and Drinks

Certificates and Supplementary Materials

Certificates and Supplementary Materials

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