We are happy to say that the innovation space was inaugurated into real use yesterday evening with the Mobile Monday Dar es Salaam event being held there. Theme of the evening was Battle of Mobile Platforms.
The guest speaker Mr Rosario Arun from E-Fulusi Africa (T) Ltd gave a good presentation on the current situation in the smartphone application world and how it currently applies to Tanzania; what are the challenges and possibilities. Among many points he encouraged to stay close to services providers and platform’s official app stores, finding a mentor, going to the market quickly and listening to the users. He also highlighted the big differences of the mobile internet usage between different platforms emphasizing the market share doens’t tell everything.
Mr Anthony Kigombola followed by facilitating the discussion and giving an overview of the different platform market shares. Points that were raised in the discussion were that from Tanzania it’s still hard to approach telecoms directly and a most of the software development and r&d of service providers and manufacturers is done elsewhere. This lead to idea of using open data and community-driven approaches more here and then approaching the big players through established companies and partners. There was also discussion on the target market of different apps. For example, though BlackBerry has a small market share in Tanzania, it actually reaches the business users very well as their current platform of choice.
As a closing presentation we also introduced the TANZICT-project, Tanzania Innovation Program and the innovation space as a tool and a resource for the mobile & ICT community. We hoped to get feedback and ideas for the use of the innovation space and our program could address some of the local challenges. Already when Rosario was speaking about the app development process in his presentation, he was talking about startups, developers, investors, marketing consultants, mentors, service providers and users being close to each other, which gives a great point of reference for what the innovation space could be in a few months.
In the following general discussion there were a lot of great points and ideas that the MoMo team, us and also the members of MoMo community can take up:
- We should start to organize developer competitions like the ImagineCup locally, so the developer community would be ready to participate in East African and international competitions. There are a lot of teams from Kenya and Uganda for example but Tanzanians are under-represented.
- We should start going to universities once a month to promote interest in ICT and application development, working together to create new solutions. Universities should be encouraged and supported in taking mobile application development into their curriculum.
- Google Tech User Groups, Open Source communities and other ICT-related communities should start to meet together to share information and for example help young entrepreneurs in the pre-incubation program.
- How gaming, fun and entertainment is a very powerful tool in the use of ICT as such and for empowering and educating people.
- How can we make it easier for women to enter ICT and enterpreneurship – and MoMo events? Everyone got a challenge to bring at least one woman in ICT for the next MoMo meeting! 😉
There was also very valuable discussion on how to develop the MoMo evenings in the future. It was discussed that MoMo should maybe ‘open up’ from the mobile developer -orientation and events could have wider themes like open source & data or reporting experiences on use cases of mobiles in different sectors. It was also suggested that some MoMo meetings could be more about small group discussions and workshops, because it’s not easy for everyone to participate in front of audience with a microphone. We could also use the MoMo community before events to get suggestions on interesting speakers, and after events continue the debate and discussion online.
Finally, a good point was also raised on how we can find the ICT and mobile talents to MoMo meetings who don’t have university education and don’t follow the MoMo mailing lists? If we really want to engage the whole community, MoMo should also speak kiswahili and inform people about activities in newspapers, radio, sms, etc.; also outside Dar es Salaam.
What can we say? Wonderful feedback that really helps us and the MoMo team to develop the future activities but just to be clear, WE all need to work together to make the things above happen! 🙂
Any further thoughts, feedback and ideas for doing together are wholeheartedly welcome, you can comment with the field below or email us directly.
Next MoMo will be December 5th!
PS. All event photos available and freely downloadable under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike -licence in our Flickr gallery: