Urban Surveillance in Nairobi

Last November, the Metro Development Ministry launched the Nairobi Integrated Urban Surveillance System (IUSS) project. I’ve only recently taken a look at the RFP to get an idea of the solution’s design requirements and expectations. It’s a great start but falls short in one key area which I’ll touch on below.

First a little about the project. The idea is to add visual presence to Nairobi’s streets for safety and security purposes – particularly the crime prone areas – and to make traffic flow management smarter. The deployment will be carried out in (at least) two phases – the first involves design and implementation of a Video Surveillance solution and a Traffic Management solution, while the second adds on more “intelligence” to the platform through Facial Recognition and License Plate Recognition. Continue reading

Using Gmail to filter Craigslist scammers

Recently I put up a couple of ads on Craigslist for items I had for sale. Almost instantly, some responses hit my inbox with one-liners such as this gem:

So I’m excited, someone is interested. It would only be momentary though:

Bummer. Continue reading

In Kenya, Mobile Data is King

In fact, about 99% of all (actual) internet subscribers in the country get online via GPRS/EDGE and 3G on their mobile devices:

The distribution is lop-sided with the vast majority of these users being Safaricom subscribers, although it should be noted they did have a 7 year lead on the other mobile service providers to lay out their infrastructure and sign up eager customers:

Bharti Airtel will likely gain market share once they begin offering 3G data connectivity in March and with their Sh1/min promotional tariff offering, that’s riling up Safaricom’s chief, they’re bound to sign up quite a few new and disgruntled subscribers. Continue reading