Google releases new app to beat slow internet speeds in Africa

Google is about to release an app in Africa that will help internet users overcome obstacles such as the lack of high-speed connectivity and the cost of data on the continent.

The release of Google Go is the U.S. technology giant’s latest attempt to extend its reach into emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa, where Facebook Inc. is also making inroads. The Alphabet Inc. unit has laid fiber-optic cable on the continent, eased access to cheaper Android phones and trained a workforce in digital skills.

The new app reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40 percent and allows previous searches to be accessed offline.

Image Source: – Map of Africa Broadband Cable

The internet giant has also adapted the voice function to work better on slow connections, and has partnered with pan-African wireless carriers MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd. to make it work on even basic 2G connections, according to Google Africa Chief Marketing Officer Mzamo Masito.

“Weak data connectivity, high data costs and low storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Google Go is built to handle these challenges.”

U.S. tech giants see Africa as a relatively untapped market for smartphones and services such as web search and social media. Younger consumers in sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly demanding quicker internet speeds and cheaper phones to go about their business, while MTN and Vodacom see the digital space as their fastest-growing market.

The new app will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and will be pre-installed on all Android Oreo devices.

The company also plans to make it available in other emerging markets, including India, Brazil and Indonesia, Masito said in an interview.

News Source: The Bloomberg


Mobile Technologies:  Driving the Next Wave of App Innovation

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The mobile app and smartphone ecosystem have grown exponentially in the last seven years, mainly driven by user experience, technology and investment. Technological advancement on mobile platforms is still in full force. We are seeing new innovation with every OS update. These innovations can be the key to making your mobile apps stand out among millions of others just like them.

  1. Voice Recognition

Once limited to Siri and Google, voice recognition capabilities have taken a huge step forward with Apple’s Speech Recognition API launch for iOS 10, giving mobile apps voice recognition and voice assistant functionality. Google has also made its speech recognition function faster and more reliable.

Voice functions can add extraordinary value to mobile apps. Customers can control certain functions while driving, take advantage of voice-based search, schedule meetings with voice commands, dictate commands and take notes. It has become easier than ever to build apps that can convert voice to text and text to voice. Soon, voice commands could control every app.

2. Biometrics

Most smartphones already include fingerprint scanning, iris scanning and even facial recognition. While not all devices support biometrics yet, you can use biometric capabilities on mobile to build nearly foolproof personal identification for secure payments, certain location access, secure file and server authentication, and identity management. This will be a boon for enterprise customers, government agencies and other security-conscious organizations that can replace external biometric hardware with smartphone biometrics to reduce costs and seamlessly integrate it across appsBluetooth 4.0/5.0

We have seen so much advancement with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 4.0) on mobile platforms. This year, BLE 5.0 will bring longer ranges, higher speed and less power consumption to the mobile ecosystem. According to Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Bluetooth audio on smartphones (which still utilize Bluetooth classic technology) will also be able to transfer to BLE. BLE advancements will allow mobile apps to control your home, cars, computers, robots, drones, sensors and other external devices with longer ranges and more reliability. Improved BLE can create more app and product opportunities in IoT, beacons and hardware devices.

3. Augmented Reality

Pokemon GO came and went in 2016, but the way it capitalized on augmented reality in mobile devices sparked a tremendous interest in AR’s potential. Augmented reality, the ability to superimpose computer images and information over real-world views, has existed for years. Pokemon GO’s immense success is inspiring new AR-based apps. AR functionality can make apps more engaging, informative, entertaining and educational. It can be used not only to increase brand awareness but to educate users about products and store locations, giving you the availability to add a third dimension to the mobile user experience.

4. Home Automation

Apple launched a much-improved HomeKit in 2016. Developers are now using that software development kit (SDK) to build apps that can control multiple smart devices in your home, such as smart lights, speakers, thermostats, detectors, electrical outlets, blinds, locks and sensors.

The HomeKit makes it easier for apps to discover devices, connect to them and control them without writing any big code. This year, we will see a variety of home automation apps that allow activity-based control. For example, if a user walks out of a room, the lights will automatically turn off. Or if all occupants leave a house, alarms, locks and other security measures will be automatically implemented. Google’s Brillo, a home-automation platform announced earlier this year, will likewise increase the ease of developing home automation and IoT device control apps.

5. Virtual Reality

Google recently launched a virtual reality platform for developers that introduced an affordable VR device called “Google Cardboard.” Apple is also rumoured to be working on a VR project. Android allows developers to build VR apps with an immersive experience that can be used in a variety of industries, including gaming, entertainment, education and tourism.

While the education industry can use it to build apps that educate students on complex subjects like Einstein’s theories, the gaming industry can use VR to build interactive sets that require physical movement. The tourism industry can provide a 3D experience of a location thousands of miles away, and the entertainment industry can use it to deliver entertainment to your doorstep. Although still under wraps, VR has the potential to make the future even brighter for mobile app development.

These mobile technologies will play a big role for startups or enterprises that want to build apps to solve a problem. As the masses have become accustomed to existing mobile apps and features, these technologies will provide the needed impetus to innovate the mobile user experience. If you are planning to build a mobile app this year, consider implementing one or more of these features.

Mobile Phone Photo via Shutterstock

Read Why some iMessage Texts are Blue and some are Green

If you own an iPhone, you may have noticed something odd in the Messages app: Some messages are blue and some are green. What’s the deal with that?

Short answer: Blue ones have been sent or received using Apple’s iMessage technology, while green ones are “traditional” text messages exchanged via Short Messaging Service, or SMS.

Does this matter? In the grand texting scheme of things, should you care whether your messages are blue or green?

The Colour Question:

Maybe yes, maybe no. Let’s start by making sure you have all the necessary information. A standard SMS text message is delivered over the same voice networks used for phone calls. Back in the bad old days, carriers charged by the message. Then they bundled a fixed number of messages into your calling plan, and now most of them offer unlimited messaging.

In the interim, Apple unveiled iMessage, which looks and acts like standard SMS but actually relies on data networks (cellular or Wi-Fi, whatever you’re connected to). That affords two benefits: freedom from carrier rates for SMS (if you’re paying extra for it or have a capped plan) and a wider set of messaging features.

Indeed, iMessage allows you to do things standard SMS can’t, like share your location, send walkie-talkie-style voice messages, check message delivery and even see if someone’s in the process of writing you back (indicated by those three little dots that appear below your last message).

With the arrival of iOS 10, Apple added even more iMessage goodies, like apps, stickers and bubble effects.

Blue FTW

Ah, but here’s the rub: You can only use iMessage with other iDevice owners. If you have an iPhone and you use the Messages app to contact an Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone user, iOS recognizes there’s no iMessage at the other end and switches (downshifts?) into SMS mode. Your indication that has happened? Green word bubbles instead of blue.

However, you may end up seeing green even if you’re corresponding with another iPhone. There are three possible causes:

 • iMessage isn’t activated on your device. (Tap Settings, Messages, then check to see if the feature is switched on. If it is, you should also activate “Send as SMS.” Note that you may need to perform a one-time sign-in using your Apple ID.)

 • iMessage isn’t activated on the recipient’s device.

 • There’s no data network available. If your phone can still connect to a voice tower, it will default back to SMS.

So, is there any reason you should disable iMessage and rely exclusively on SMS? Only if data is at a premium: Although text messages are very small, picture and video messages can consume a fair bit of data — and if your service plan offers unlimited texting but limited data, you may prefer to switch off iMessage in favor of SMS.

On the flip side, if you’re corresponding with fellow iPhone users but still seeing only green messages, ask them to enable iMessage at their end so you can enjoy the various benefits of the service. Many users have no idea iMessage is even a thing, and don’t realize it’s not enabled.

Editors’ note: This article was originally published on Feb. 24, 2015, and has since been updated. 

:  C|NET

#MACE16: Reflective Essay

“A person’s success can be measured by the amount of uncomfortable conversations they’ve had.” – Tim Ferriss

The Design Thinking for Startups Module have been very educative, challenging and interactive. But one unique lesson that I will never forget is to always put focus on the people, not the product.

The module have taught me to think and work differently, empowered me with tools needed in solving not just business related problems, discovering opportunities, and generating innovative, human-centered solutions.

From my experience during the module, creating and lunching a new product is frightening and a challenging task. But adopting a human centered perspective and an attitude of continual experimentation makes the whole task easy to manage.

One thing I have also discovered during this module is the fact there is never a one size fits all mold of how to design and launch new products into the market. Questioning things and going against the grain to understand the underlying process helps to bring any product to the market.

Below are five things I have learnt and I will apply in the near future.

1. Solve a Real Problem:

Solving business related problems involves identify the problem. Consumers or end users of any product and service will always have problems, people will always look for innovative ways or product to accomplish everyday tasks.

But as long as consumers have problems, they will always search for solutions.

Coming up with a solution does demand market testing. It’s important not to create a solution to a problem that does not really exist.

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The skill here is identifying a real problem that can be effectively solved using market tested tools and resources.

A clearly defined problem does help expedite the path to finding the right (product or service) solution.

2. The Role of Prototyping in Solving Business Problems:

The problem of finding the right modern business solutions have made prototyping a necessity in lunching new product. One effective way of presenting a conjecture of solution to the end users is through prototyping.

As stated in one of my blog post, in “ the primary purpose of rapid prototype is learning – which assumptions make sense, which ones don’t”.

Prototype helps disentangle complex business problems or need. It allows you gather feedback or opinions needed for product or service alteration. Increases and improves stakeholder engagement. Furthermore, the beauty about using prototyping as a tool for product development is the cost of prototyping is just a fraction of the solution cost.

My business group was able to implement a business idea into a wireframe prototype within two days of conceiving it due to the advice we received in class to keep the idea simple.

3. Designing for your Customer:

It very imperative to have a good knowledge and understanding of your potential customer requirements. To effectively sell to your customers it important to identify and manage their expectations at an early stage of product development process.

Engaging with consumers is also an important aspects of knowing your customers. Some of the Business trade show and exhibition organised was geared at us first, understanding the needs of our potential customers.

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It’s also essential to engage with your potential customers directly rather than basing your understanding of them on market research findings.

4. Simplicity is Key!

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” – Steve Jobs

In the words of Richard Branson, “Keep it simple, stupid!” It is important the keep the initial product design simple. Focus should always be on the core premise of the product.

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The customer should be able to know how the product works without them getting frustrated due to complicated design of your product.

5. Role of Good Value Proposition

A truly good value proposition should paint a picture of your brand. It’s should also describe the benefits customers can expect from your products and services. It literally tells your audience:

• How your product or service solves/improves problems

• What benefits customers can expect

• Why customers should buy from you over your competitors

It should also introduce you to prospective buyers and helps you make a strong first impression. Finally, a good design value proposition helps tackle the core challenge of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy.

6. Role of Personas In Design Thinking Process

Applying personas to design thinking process will help you take a step back and build empathy with users, helping you to properly listen and walk in their shoes.

Personas are “not real people or average users but user models described in detail to have the key attributes, needs, values, lifestyle, culture and personal background of the group they represent” (Giulia Piu).

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Alice Comi categorically stated that ” Personas are not specific users but rather ideal types that are built upon observation of multiple users.”

A persona shows attitude, behaviour, emotions and anything that will give more context to understand the personas behaviour.


“Personas were informally developed by Alan Cooper in the early ’80s as a way to empathize with and internalise the mindset of people who would eventually use the software he was designing.”

How Are Personas Created?

Personas can be created in a myriad of ways, This includes;

• Interview and/or observe an adequate number of people.

• Find patterns in the interviewees’ responses and actions, and use those to group similar people together.

• Create archetypical models of those groups, based on the patterns found.

• Drawing from that understanding of users and the model of that understanding, create user-centered designs.

7. Role of Finance and Pricing in Business

The ultimate goal of financed and product pricing is to achieve three benefits: business support service, lowest costs and effective control of the business environment.

Money is the lifeblood of a business and accurate profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow is needed to promote a successful business enterprise.


• Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services, Kim Goodwin

• The Essential Persona Lifecycle: Your Guide to Building and Using Personas, Tamara Adlin and John Pruitt

• The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web, Steve Mulder

• Personas and the Advantage of Designing for Yourself,” Joshua Porter

• “Personas: Practice and Theory” (PDF), John Pruitt and Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft

• The Persona Lifecycle: Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design, John Pruitt and Tamara Adlin

• “Losing Yourself in a Fictional Character Can Affect Your Real Life,” Jeff Grabmeier, Ohio State University

• “Real or Imaginary: The Effectiveness of Using Personas in Product Design,” Frank Long, Frontend

• “The Personas’ New Clothes: Methodological and Practical Arguments Against a Popular Method” (PDF), Christopher N. Chapman and Russell P. Milham, Microsoft

• “Putting Personas Under the Microscope,” Suzy Thompson, Cooper Journal

• “Quantitative Evaluation of Personas as Information” (PDF), Christopher N. Chapman

#MACE16: January 2017 Trade Fair – [Photos]

It was thrilling being part of 1st Trade fair in 2017 which took place at Kingston Business School London. This was a great chance which we displayed and get on the spot answers right away about our prototype product. It was also an opportunity to engage with potential customers.

The Trade Fair also provided us opportunity to give consumers a first-hand experience of products; team members were on hand to showcase our product experiences and more.



#MACE16: 1st Dragons’ Den Presentation

Pitching our business idea to a panel of professional judges was nerve-racking. This might be due to the fact our product was still at the prototype stage. Nevertheless, the presentation was also an opportunity to test our business idea and gather as much feedback as possible.

Furthermore, our prototype product (chopstick trainer) accurately demonstrates the key features and functionality of the final product.

The team main objective is to let the judges quickly understand what we do and be excited about it with a well thought out presentation.

George Uka
Getting ready for our presentation, rehearsing for the last time

George Uka
George Uka with his team members pitching our business proposition to a judging panel mix of successful entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.

Our product strategy from start has always been creating a product which is “simple”.

We took our time in class to work on the product value preposition. Its was imperative we clearly communicates the benefits of our product to a potential end users.  As  Chris Guillebeau once said in the $100 Startup, “a business ultimately succeeds because of the value it provides its end users, customers, or clients.”

During our presentation we were able to:

  • Describes the problems solved by our product.
  • We explain the benefits the end users will derived from our product.
  • Lastly, we categorically spell out how our product differs from the competition.



#MACE16 : The Art of Good Value Proposition Design

A truly god value proposition should paint a picture of your brand for prospects. It’s must describe the benefits customers can expect from your products and services. It literally tells your audience:

  • How your product or service solves/improves problems
  • What benefits customers can expect
  • Why customers should buy from you over your competitors
Image result for Value Proposition Design blog
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It should introduce you to prospective buyers and helps you make a strong first impression. for example, Apple is believed to have a great value proposition, one that is particularly impressive is its statement for the MacBook.

The company emphasises how lightweight its product is (its biggest differentiator), while also speaking how advanced its technology is.


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Finally,  a good design value proposition helps tackle the core challenge of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy.




#MACE16 : Rapid Prototyping Experience @ FABLAB London

George Uka and Team presenting our Sand clock prototype product to a team of experts.

How rapid is rapid prototyping? This question evokes different timelines in peoples’ minds. After attending FABLAB London prototype workshop I came out with a different perspective and a deep understanding of the role this process plays in initial  product development.

In the early phase of any product idea, the primary purpose of rapid prototype is learning – which assumptions make sense, which ones don’t. As Janja Song said during the workshop, “It is fine for a prototype to have issues and be ugly,” she says. “The goal of a prototype is to evaluate an idea”.

With a good product prototype it is easy to see if a product idea is worthwhile investing on. If it is not, it can be discard and move on to the next one.

Below are pictures from the workshop event.

fab-value-product1fablab fayy minimum-value minimum-value-protoype proto









#MACE16 : Important of Lean Canvas for Start-ups Business

Listening to Dr Richard Anson explaining how to properly implement Lean business Canvas Model.

Lean Canvas and Business Model is a process of creating more value for customers with fewer resources.

A lean organisation have a good understand of customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.

#MACE16: 3 Ways Design Thinking Aid Innovation in Business


Image-Source: Kingshuk Das


Most organisations looking to grow often find themselves caught between conventional and newer approaches to innovation. While traditional strategy calls for rigorous analysis and critical thinking, design thinking espouses ‘thinking by doing’.

As discussed in class, design thinking is a holistic approach to business that, unlike the rigid structure of business, utilises both logic and creativity.

In order to effectively combine and focus these two forces, design thinking is said to be carefully guided by three principles: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. With the help of these three principles, design thinking encourages you to recognise communities with complex problems that you can fix and fuels innovation so you can do just that.

With the help of these three principles, design thinking encourages you to recognise communities with complex problems that you can fix which ends up fuellings innovation.

Below are three Ways design thinking  aid iInnovation in business:

1. Encouraging Creativity. Unlike the traditional structure of the business that analyses the probability of failure before a project is started, design thinking allows you to explore an idea fully so you can see if the solution is effective.

Design thinking encourages you to cast the fear of failure aside and let your creativity accompany you as you brainstorm, experiment, take risks, and expand your mind.

2.Inclusive Communication. The human-centered nature of design thinking necessitates that you communicate with your community in order to thoroughly understand how the product will impact them.

This communication fuels innovation because you cannot attempt to solve a problem if you do not comprehend it. Another level to how communication fuels innovation is through the group sharing and exchanging of ideas, as design thinking encourages collective ownership.

3. Constant Change.  As experienced, design thinking implementation involves creating prototypes that must be tested quickly to measure how they will affect the end users and they must be a process in place for continuous alteration and improvement.

This environment of constant change keeps you from getting stuck on one path and in one way of thinking and instead prompts you to consistently adapt to new problems and develop new solutions.



#MACE16: A Module Like No Other

Hi everyone, welcome to my first blog post on Design Thinking for Startups module at Kingston Business School!

My name is George Uka  and am currently studying Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship MSc at the above-mentioned institution.

My professional work experience spans years in all facets of enterprise resources planning with extensive knowledge in SAP eRP implementation processes and configuration.

My interest in the role of Information Technology in business and government establishments formed the initial core of my undergraduate education (Information Systems) at Kingston University London, but my focus on the human and creative elements in business and the underlying connections with technology led me to broaden the scope of my studies.

Things you can expect from this blog includes important information about the module and practical learning outcomes, with a few random musings thrown in there. You might even get some pictures of my attempts at being creative if you’re lucky.


 “This module aims to give students the knowledge and understanding of creative and business behaviours necessary for developing a product/service and establishing an innovative multidisciplinary business enterprise. Students will work in teams to set up a business. Business mentors will be available to coach the teams”.

Course Director Dr Janja Song  #MACE16

The module Director Dr Janja Song constantly asked students to provide our thoughts and opinions during class discussions. She encourages students to make mistakes and be wrong since a certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable with creative thinking .

The module is also about bridging the gap between Business and Creativity. Establishing a solid connection between the two industry is the ultimate aim of this module.

Reflection : 

Reflecting on my first two weeks on this module, I think the three words I would use to describe it so far would be: Intense, Engaging, and Enjoyable. I remember being asked in class if we consider ourselves creative? some students (including me) found themselves unsure if they were or not.

So then, what does it actually mean to be creative? As discussed in class, creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new. The ability to generate new ideas by “combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas“.

As further explained by the module Director, “there is not a single person on earth who is not a creative being. “Creativity is  the creation of noble ideas in every domain“. People are curious about a new and innovative object.

How do we influence people with an object? How do will design Technology driven products? She said, we will learn not only what it means to be creative, but how to manifest our own creativity.

Business Idea Into Prototype Within 2 Days:

My group was able to implement a business idea into a wireframe prototype within two days of conceiving it due to the advice we received in class to keep the idea simple.

We were advised to stop wasting time on (Mr John sex orientation) but focus more on the deliverables, thereby eliminating the initial need of aiming for an absolute faultless product prototype.

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Creativity and Why is it Important?

In his TED talk video from 2006, which was played in class Ken Robinson stated, “Creativity is now as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”

Ken Robinson reiterates all of us possess everything necessary to be more creative. The problem is we’ve been trained away from our creative instincts by schools, parents, movies and workplaces.

1st Field Work : 

After watching three insightful videos in class about  ” What Makes a House a home” we were ‘drove‘ out of the class and segmented into two various groups with the aim of going around the campus asking students about ‘What makes a house a home’?

A straw poll of students surveyed threw up similar themes: ‘it holds all my favourite things and my favourite person in one place’, ‘it’s about having cool, smooth sheets but also feeling free to make a mess’, ‘it’s the place I retreat to for peace from the frenetic, bossy outside world’, ‘it’s where I can spend the whole day in my pyjamas watching Mad Men, if I so choose’.

It seems that for most of us, creating a home is less about the building itself,  or the location and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we’re able to create behind closed doors.


After taking part in this class for two weeks, I now find myself asking lots of ‘Why’ questions. This course is much different from other module’s because with every lecture I feel like I have learnt something that can be applied to real life most annoying personal obstacles.

So that was a quick overview of everything up till now if you have any questions or comments feel free to post below, and I will see you in the next post!