The UCC holds an annual event where those that have made innovations in communications can meet, share and be recognised. It is also meant to promote greater local involvement in developing products that enhance or exploit communications platforms. The second annual communications and innovations conference was held at the Serena on the 18th May.
Many of the mobile telecommunication companies had stalls, there were a number of banks and over a dozen online agencies. However it was clear that Ugandans whether big corporations or small start-ups are taking all the levels of communication to heart.
BOSCO Uganda (Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach) a faith based organisation working in Northern Uganda showcased their computer that uses less power. It can work directly on solar and battery power because it uses 12volts DC as opposed to the usual 19volts laptops. BOSCO-Uganda is using ICT to foster peace and development and challenge the community to develop their skills. These computers, that are free, are provided to various rural youth centres that are interconnected through long range wireless antennae and are linked over an intranet and to the internet.
View photos of BOSCO Uganda 12v computers in community use.
With these computers, communities can share information through forums, learn basic computer skills, as well as records and book keeping. The system has a VOIP phone connected to it so there is also free phone access for the users.
Online communication was very well represented. The web society of Uganda has created an online society for all Ugandan web users. A user can create groups and forums where information is easily exchanged.
Kawowosports news (kawowo.com)and Wallipah.com cater for Sports and music. The kawowo team reports on all sports in the country as it happens and Wallipah.com have The warp, internet radio that is free to download from their site.
Some innovations looked like child’s play at first glance but were proven to serve greater purposes. ‘Loopa’ i.e. report, is a pollution reporting and management system. Anyone with a java enabled phone can access it. So if you see any cases of dumping, send them a message and it shall be mapped. But what happens after the reporting? As Joseph Balikuddembe one of the developers explained; these areas can be targeted by the city cleaning authorities and for you who is looking for real estate in a clean area, an area littered with green balloons, symbolising pollution will be one to avoid.
This is not the only innovation that has a use in everyday life. If you think UETCL doesn’t have problems, you are one of many. The power distribution company has been plagued by thefts on the masts. Parts of the metal frames are taken off to make doors. The towers face can collapse if tampered with. Festus Kamya one of their employees has helped develop an alarm system to mitigate this.
The alarm system sends a single to the control center in Kampala, when the tower is touched or when it is being vandalised. The signal can be a vibration, a light or a siren depending. This system can also be used as a household alarm system.
Text To Change uses SMS for development. They work on various campaigns, including health and education. The texts are sent to targeted users so they are not the ones flooding your inbox with spam. It is also free to reply.
The evening was concluded with the awards;
1: No winner in the Green ICT Award
2: Local content Award: – Florence Tushabe
3: Local content Award – Large enterprise – Commendation to Monitor publications
4: Rural e-services Award (medium enterprises): – FIT Uganda
5: Rural e-services Award (NGO and Large Enterprises): – BOSCO Uganda