|Busy year for local ICT industry|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 22:56|
THIS year has been one of the busiest for the technology industry in decades due to the number of events that have been lined up since January.
Most of the events have been marketing and exposing local talent with computer software developers benefiting the most from the recent events.
One of the most significant events to be hosted was the one put together by Forget Me Not Africa in conjunction with Econet Zimbabwe.
This was an event to hunt and expose talent in computer programming. The challenge was for computer programmers to develop the most creative programme that will be used on the Econet platform.
The winning strategy was the eTXT application that would be linking basic mobile phones to internet services like email, Facebook and instant messaging.
With a mobile phone just capable of SMS and voice calls, subscribers could now effectively send emails, respond to chats and even posting via their Facebook accounts.
The eTXT platform is supposed to cost much less than the current US7 cents per message.
However, with a proposition of US5 cents per message, this is unfortunately going to be a non-event to most users as the difference will not be significant even after sending 10 SMSes.
ZOL is also lining up a sponsored event as a seed funding start up challenge with a very striking prize of
US$25 000. ZOL will be providing free internet access to those attending.
According to ZOL, the challenge is meant to motivate and reward participants who develop, innovate and original applications.
Last year ZOL hosted an event of the same magnitude, which was part of its corporate social responsibility and also gave free internet access to some primary and high schools in Harare and Bulawayo.
This year’s bar camp event date is yet to be officially announced.
Another opportunity was recently presented to programmers at an event dubbed Hackathon.
The event was an opportunity for local software developers to create a programme used for crowd sourcing as a news application tool.
Twenty-five web developers were selected for the digital application development challenge at Harare club.
The purpose of the event was to identify programmers in Zimbabwe who are interested in solving our economic challenges with some specific software.
The focus was on building mobile app to disseminate media content, compilation of daily commodity prices for both informal and formal traders and crowd sourcing apps for newsrooms.
Guest of honour Google policy manager for Sub Sahara Africa Mrs Ory Okolloh urged local coders to position themselves to benefit from unique opportunities in the sector.
At the end of the day three local developers Prince Kaguda, Shaun Benjamin and Tonderai Shamuyarira won prizes that included Samsung Galaxy Tablets and Nokia E7. The software designed was a value additional tool to capture news from online blogs and forums as people will always share and exchange topical news as they chat online.
Last Thursday, Comztech, a leading distributor of high value, consumer and business technology products and solutions throughout the African continent also held another prestigious event at Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel.
Comztek, a local technology distributor, was chosen as Microsoft’s first channel developer partner.
Microsoft enthusiasts, suppliers and customers had an opportunity to have a feel of genuine Microsoft products that were being showcased.
The biggest event yet to come is the annual ICT Africa Exhibition at HICC, which has been running for more than 10 years now.
This is an event that has been bringing Computer Suppliers Association and non-ICT stakeholders together.
This year’s event will run from September 18 to 19.
The Information Communication Technology Ministry also confirmed that it would this year be holding its own exhibition in conjunction with Africa Exchange.
The exhibition and conference will be called E-Tech Africa Expo 2012. The event is scheduled to run from October 1 to 5 this year.
Indications are that ministry will be working independently from its traditional partners, COMSA.
According to a written communiqué from Africa Exchange’s Mrs Arlene Wilson the conference will also feature an exhibition that will run from October 3 and 4.
The event will have an international feel as a number of foreign delegates are expected to be flying into Harare for the event.
Ironically, this conference and exhibition will be held exactly 11 days after the ICT Africa exhibition, which has led to speculation that there will be duplication.
It is, however, encouraging to note that both the private players and Government structures are getting involved in shaping our technological sector.
These kinds of initiatives and drive are key to the growth of Zimbabwean ICTs.
The writer is a computing specialist with http://tech.co.zw More on Facebook’s Technomag, http://facebook.com/technomagzw , twitter @technomagzw. Email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org