Calling all app developers! Africa wants you...
There aren’t too many apps out there that are designed specifically for the African market. But who better to develop one than an African consumer?
ForgetMeNot Africa's Optimiser Platform has been deployed by eight operators in six countries across Africa, and provides 60 million people across the continent with access to internet-free Facebook, email and online chat. In addition to Kenya it has been deployed in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Lesotho and Republic of the Congo.
Through this platform, aspiring app developers have the chance to see their ideas launched to millions of mobile phone users in Kenya through a competition launched by ForgetMeNot Africa, Safaricom and iHub, a developer community in Nairobi.
Entrants can develop apps that reach users of all handsets via two-way SMS and USSD, from first generation mobile phones to the latest smartphone. Developers can use any programming language for their entry.
The winners will receive seed capital to develop their ideas, an Apple iPad and, if successful, their apps will be launched to Safaricom's 15 million subscribers across Kenya, which have benefited from the Kipokezi service since May 2010. The apps will earn the developers an ongoing revenue share.
Developers must first register through the ForgetMeNot Africa site. They can then use a selection of ForgetMeNot Africa resources, which include tutorials, sample code including an example of an online calculator. This shows developers how to combine the basic features of the API to create simple 2-way SMS applications.
The app can then be tested by linking it to the Kipokezi platform using the range of test numbers provided.
“Even in the most rural areas Kenyan people are using SMS to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world, but SMS applications add a new dimension,” says Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ForgetMeNot, Jeremy George.
“Even on a basic handset, SMS applications can provide access to healthcare, travel and education information. Industry specific apps, for example an agricultural app, could provide people with agricultural techniques, weather information, market pricing, soil cultivation, cropping activities and new product and distribution information.
“The potential for apps is massive, and we hope to see developers using the ForgetMeNot Africa Optimiser Platform to use existing tools and infrastructure in smarter and more efficient ways to help improve peoples’ lives.”
Although the company expected to have received around 50 entries for the Apps Challenge by the time application closed on 23 March, George says that it is by no means the end of the road. “This competition is about inspiring developers into action, and if their idea is good enough they’re welcome to build and submit their apps after the deadline.
“While they won’t be eligible for the competition prizes, if it’s a great idea it will be considered for launch on the Safaricom network and the developer will be able to derive an ongoing revenue stream from the application.”
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New Capgemini Engineering brand fuses digital and physical
With the aim of helping the world’s largest innovators to engineers the products and services of tomorrow, Capgemini has merged its tech and software capabilities with its engineering and R&D practice, the digtial and physical to form a 52,000-strong Capgemini Engineering brand. A move that builds on its acquisition a year ago of engineering giant Altran for over $3 billion.
R&D is the new battlefield
“Today’s leading organisations understand that Engineering and R&D is fast-moving and ever-evolving,” says Aiman Ezzat, CEO, Capgemini. “As a result, an end-to-end partnership with clients is need for developing, launching, managing and modernising breakthrough products.”
Enter Capgemini Engineering. A new brand that unites a unique set of strengths from across Group, bringing together the world-class engineering and R&D capabilities of Altran with Capgemini’s own digital manufacturing expertise.
According to William Roze, CEO of Capgemini Engineering, R&D is the “battlefield” and subsdquently “must be connected and data-driven to optimise innovation and accelerate development”. In answer to this, Capgemini Engineering will offer services to address this need and to “harness the power of data to foster innovation, create new customer experiences and deliver new sources of value".
Merging the expertise of the Group
With this new endeavour, Altran’s capabilities are brought to the fore, a year on from its acquisition, perfectly complementing “the Group’s already well-established portfolio of business offerings and supporting our leadership position in intelligent industry”, says Ezzat.
In fact, just in January 2021, leading global management and strategy consulting firm Zinnov ranked Capgemini as the top of its Leadership Zone for its global Engineering, Research and Development services, pinpointing how as a Group it boasts the largest global delivery network with a presence across all major engineering hubs.
With its 52,000 engineers and scientists and a presence in all major engineering hubs worldwide, the global business line’s services cover three key domains: product and systems engineering; digital and software engineering; and industrial operations.
This is the second time Capgemini has combined various practices to form an integrated powerhouse. Capgemini Invent – a strategy and business transformation consultancy was formed in 2018 by combining Capgemini’s consulting, digital and creative units.