iPolice Award at WSA

Hello everyone! This month will be 1 year of blogging! I remember that day of the first post with nostalgia. It was at CoCreation Hub. At that time, I was a citizen in my own country. My life was a safe predictable mess but it was safe. Away from my country has been a roller coaster. However, the only regret that I have is that I should have left 2 years ago!

Concerning regrets. This week, Disney has finally closed down LucasArts. Last year when the acquisition happened, I kind of hoped that it would lead to a new era of games. Sadly that was not to be. In this post, the nail is finally put to the coffin. There will be no more LucasArts. Its not all doom and gloom as the month begins. This week I will be talking about iPolice by Peter Ihesie. As everyone knows, Nigeria faces a huge security challenge. There aren’t too many developers in the security arena and I find it cool that I know one of the few helping to address this need.

I first met Peter Ihesie in 2011 at a training organised by Nokia. We got talking about what he was doing and how he was working on a Church Management Software at the time Church+. I took his email because I was thinking about giving him a referral to a church.

In time, he would tell me about an application he was starting at the time called iPolice which is an application designed to connect the general Nigerian population with their local security services. Then would come the invitation from World Summit Awards on applications in the mobile space. The rest would be history.

iPolice is a mobile application with the following benefits and functionality:

  1. Security tips and Education from many security experts from within and outside Nigeria, thereby improving the overall security awareness and consciousness of Nigerians.
  2. Using location capability of most phones, the app leverages on this to locate the nearest police stations  with contact details  and phone numbers of the DPO. Users can also search for any police stations given any location.
  3. iPoliceMobile provides users with a quick dial access to national and most state emergency numbers including but not limited to toll free police numbers, fire service numbers, traffic service, FRSC ,ambulance and vehicle rescue numbers, with this feature, help should be a call away.
  4. iPoliceMobile gives users insightful information about the various efforts by the security agencies to making our community safer, with this users will appreciate the work being done by our security agencies thus creating a more cordial relationship between the people and the security agencies, which will help them to report or provide more useful information to the security forces that will help them better carry out their duties.
  5. iPoliceMobile aggregates most security news into a central point , thus giving users quick and wide range of information into the security happenings and also a basis for data analysis.

In time, Peter Ihesie  has participated in the Nokia Growth Academy and has a version of his application in the Nokia Store. The 2 years of incubation that went into  iPolice have finally paid off in the form of recognition. Peter Ihesie will be the best person to ask about how it has paid of financially.

Living in Africa at this point in time is a blessing. The amount of potential is simply staggering. My advice is pick your spot and start digging! In time, you will strike gold. Happy new month!


Redefining Education

udacityHello Everyone! For the rest of this month, I will be doing product showcases for great products out there. To start with Clay.io started a game development competition. You can find the details here. The deadline for the competition is on the 5th of April.

The face of education is really changing with the web. Today MOOCs are changing the perception of education from the traditional brick and mortar academies. In the past, if you wanted to learn something, you could ask people, do it yourself or go to university.

MOOCs one the other hand are designed for a world where information is everywhere. Its a new way of learning in a networked world.

MOOCs are courses that are open, participatory and distributed. They are like any other course with facilitators, course materials, starting and ending dates. However MOOCs aren’t just schools. Neither are they just online courses. They are a way to participate in a learning experience.

I have tried out a couple of MOOCs in my life. Personally, my favorite is Udacity. I love the way courses are handled. You can pace yourself and study at your own time. Currently, I am offering 3 courses on Udacity they are the How to Build a Startup, HTML5 Game Development and Interactive 3D Graphics. The beautiful thing is that because there is no rush, I can pace myself and eventually finish. Udacity’s competitors include CourseraCodeacademyedX and Venture Lab.

The competitors bring a different flavor to the mix and to each his own! I prefer Udacity because I enjoy learning at my own pace. Yes I crawled out of the the Department of Systems Engineering at the University of Lagos but I love learning.

Love them or hate them, MOOCs will redefine the debate around conventional education. Are they a fad, only time will tell. Let me have your thoughts in the comments area below.

Worth The Wait

Planetary Alignment

Hello everyone. Happy new month! Its good to be on the home stretch. 3 more posts and I will be done for the year. On Monday the 3rd, we will be witnessing the Planetary Alignment over the Pyramids of Egypt. This event occurs once in 2,737 years. I shudder to think where technology would be now if the civilization of Egypt was allowed to continue on it march. This week, the classic game Pong turned 40! This is one game that has been made on almost every platform out there and it is still fun to play!

This week I will be looking at famo.us which is a great product that has great promise. I feel this might be the product that makes the browser the “One screen to rule them all”. It was launched at TechCrunch Disrupt this year and is currently in private beta. Public release will be sometime in first quarter of next year. For now, as a developer, this is one product you should file under research. Bookmark the website and signup for the private beta.

famo.us works by accessing the GPU of any machine it runs on! The true beauty lies in the fact that the engine allows developers this much power using JavaScript! Any device with a GPU can run  I am talking phones, tablets, gaming consoles and laptops.

What can famo.us be used for? The framework is a rendering engine that can be used to create anything developers can think of. When I first saw the demo, I thought it could be used to create presentations and then I got to know that it would be like connecting a Ferrari to a team of horses. To work with famo.us  you must use  the engine to create 3D Templates. The only condition being that you make it open-source so that others can use what you have done.

As the year comes to a close, it is really exciting to see a new product emerge in the quest for making the browser more capable of native performance. Any reader of this blog knows my current stance on HTML5 and this is one product that is proof on the growing powers of the browser.

With the launch of Windows 8, next year promises to be an interesting time for developers. For a lot of developers, retooling is ongoing and will probably stretch into the first quarter of next year. Personally, famo.us is one tool worth adding to the toolbox when it is finally made available.

Windows Reimagined!

New Coke Can

The date is April 23, 1985 and in a move to shake the competition, the Coca-Cola company would change it formula for the first time in 99 years! The goal would be to re-energize its Coca-Cola brand in its largest market at the time the United States. What no-one would envision would be the firestorm of protests from its consumers. The firestorms ended with the return of the of the original formula on July 11, 1985 putting 79 days of agony to an end.

That same year on November 20, 1985, the first version of the Windows operating system would be launched. What no-one would know at the time would be that the product would go on to change the face of computing. Now with Windows 8 officially launched, the stage is set for the battle to begin. The article that follows is my personal view on the subject of Windows 8  I do not work for Microsoft!

Last weeks post was on the Windows Roadmap I talked about how the Windows product line got to Windows 8. Personally however, I must say that Windows 8 is impressive because for the first time, Microsoft will be making hardware. The Surface Drop Test scared and thrilled me but it pointed to a bigger issue. Microsoft is in a street fight!

Someone once said that the four technology superpowers going into the future are Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. The executives at Microsoft  know that going into the future, Microsoft  will have to dent the dominance of the Great 4. This will mean entering into consumer computing. There is the need to understand that Windows 8  devices are targeting tablets. Everyone seems to agree that the next big wave will be in the tablet market.

The Great 4 seem to have an hold already on the tablet market and Microsoft wants its share. How it goes about grabbing a share will make the next 3 years very interesting. To start with, there will be developer events as the year comes to a close. The goal will be to get developers to build applications for the Windows Store.

The Windows Store is where the real story of tablet domination will be told! The total app count is less than 5000! Frankly, for developers around the world, this is where the opportunity will be! With the ease of visibility being higher than in Android and Apple stores, getting into the Windows 8 marketplace is a sure fire strategy to get visibility.

But developers don’t write code only for fame. The cake really is monetization. I am not one of the believers in the advertisement model. I believe more in freemium. That said, developing an application requires time and effort and without a way to compensate the workers, such a task is an exercise in futility.

This has been the experience in the tech space in the last 3 years! In West Africa, being a developer myself, I am yet to meet a fellow developer who has a clear monetization model; we are still searching! That said what seems to happen is that we are like a bunch of hobbyist building good products!

But funds run low and machines need changing! With Windows 8 out, some developers will be thinking of how to get new machines. This brings the issue of monetization close to heart. What I and a few of my fellow developers seemed to do was use the App Stores to gain credibility and popularity. This made us get client jobs but the apps themselves made no money.

So going forward, a lot of developers will be searching for business models to ensure their survival the same way Microsoft developed Windows 8 in order to guarantee its future. Windows 8 is beautiful because for the first time in history, developers in West Africa have the same access as their counterparts in other countries. Access to the Windows Store is for all! Microsoft will be pouring all its resources to make sure Windows 8 is a success. Like Microsoft , the year is 2012 but unlike the Coca-Cola company, there is no going back!