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

Pandaladder: instant-search for jobs in Kenya

Well, we’ve had YouTube instant, twitter instant and the grand papa of them all – Google instant. You know instant job search was well on its way! Loading dynamic content on the fly is not a new concept but has only recently found fame probably not so much for the rapid speed with which search results are returned, but because Google implemented it on a grand scale. Suddenly, traditional search just doesn’t cut it.

So as a complement to what the current Kenyan job boards and blogs offer in content, this web app simply does two things: provide a single interface to search multiple job boards simultaneously, and offer real-time search. All links redirect to the boards/blogs that post them.

This project went from concept to 95% implemented in 4 days so there’s a few more things that need to be tweaked and improved along the way. If anything, it’s always better to start small, launch fast, often and fail forward.

On that note, check it out at http://pandaladder.com, comments at hello@pandaladder.com. Here’s a preview:

Secure Mobile vs. Ujanja Mobile Tracking

radar-150x150As I previously alluded, cell phone tracking seems like a great idea and that the approach taken by East African Data Handlers (EADH) with its Ujanja service needs more meat on the bones, more value for the package like providing remote data retrieval, for instance.

Turns out India-based Maverick Mobile launched Secure Mobile last Fall providing all that Ujanja has to offer and then some.

With Ujanja, once the SIM is replaced on a stolen phone, a text is sent to the preferred number(s) allowing you, the owner, to bug/irritate/aggravate the brazen thug ad nauseum. That’s pretty much as far as the comparison goes. MSM lets you do that too, but also encrypts the stored data – phonebook, images, messages – on a SIM change.

You can retrieve contacts in the phonebook and the crook’s phone log, then have them sent to the preferred number(s) via SMS. After you’ve got your data off the gizmo, you can remotely set off a siren on the phone, which by the way can only be turned off by taking out the battery, only for you to set it off again :). To boot, you can also send a short code sequence that hangs the phone rendering it inoperable.

CEO Sujit Jain at DEMO ’08:

At the very least, Ujanja needs to provide remote file retrieval because the content is perhaps more critical to (most) users than the actual phone.