Here’s our top 5 Ugandan Technology Innovations of 2012

matatu-game

Last year, 2011, was an epic year for the Ugandan innovation space as we saw the Kiira EV — the first electric in whole East and Central African region by Makerere University (MUK) students test the road for the first time. However, we still don’t know whether the Kiira EV was just a proof of concept or it’s actually a product that will one day meet the road as a result of a collaboration between the academia in the University and the business community or investors.

But other innovators were hard at work this year bringing to the market some of the finest products bound to make the lives of ordinary Ugandans better and easier.  Here are some of our best Ugandan innovations of 2012.

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WinSenga

Without doubt, this innovation is bound to be a game change in the mobile Health sector.

WinSenga is a Windows Phone solution that enhances and extends the functionality of a Pinnard horn (traditionally used by Traditional Birth Attendants – TBAs- for antenatal diagnosis) to deliver timely, effective and affordable antenatal diagnosis and care. In simple terms the app performs an ultrasound on pregnant women and detects any possible problems.
The team won $50, 000 from the recently concluded Microsoft Imagine Cup and has had a couple of invites around the globe to showcase their innovation.

Matatu

Now you really won’t expect an android game to make to this list, but this is no ordinary game application. Matatu is a two player card game.  The goal of the game is to play all your cards before your opponent. The game by Kola studios which I’ve personally played and tremendously enjoyed went on to become a hit on the Google’s Play store as it’s now ranked on the top 10 free game apps in the store with 4.5/5 stars. The game is built with some artificial intelligence and the witty algorithms behind it will make you  lose at least 6 out of 10 games while playing with the computer. Just like the traditional Matatu game, you can also play [remotely] with another player. It’s brilliant!

Download the Android App here!

Airtel 3.75G internet

Around mid this year, Airtel Uganda decided to turn on the 3/3.75G tag. This came at a time when Telecoms had started redirecting their efforts towards data having realized that the voice market is already saturated sparking off another data battle — something we predicted last year. The TechPost had an early spin on the service and we found it absolutely remarkable. What sets Airtel’s service apart is not only the the reliable and fast 3.75G network but also being the cheapest in the market coupled with customer care experience that’s second to no other.


Meka

Meka  by Binary Logic is a service that gives you information about price, availability and location of anything you want to buy. From electronics to clothes, furniture and crafts, anything that you would possibly like to shop for. Meka runs on web www.meka.ug, SMS (Send Meka [what you are looking for] to 8198) and mobile apps.
This is no Amazon (at least for now) where you can literally shop for goods and they’re delivered right at your door step, but it’s one place that will help you get information on the price and location of products and you can even compare prices between various vendors before you make the final decision.

Download the Android App here!

BodaPay

The Boda Boda has become an indispensible means of transport for commuters, road warriors, tourist and just about anyone who wants to beat Kampala’s crazy jams. But there’s really no standardized fare and the passenger often has to bargain with the Boda Boda rider on a fee which often depends on one’s bargaining power, pocket size and yes the look (a Muzungi/white could be over-charged!).
Now this app by Brudan, helps the user to estimate the cost of his intended journey while using public means of transport in Uganda.

This mobile application will ensure that you won’t be cheated and also help you efficiently plan logistics for your intended journey / journeys a head of time. When we gave the app a spin, we were pretty impressed at how accurate the app really is.
I spoke to Kevin Biretwa the project team leader and Cynthia who assured me that the later version of the app will incorporate other means of transport such Taxis and Cabs and the app will also include other platforms other than android.

Download the Android App here!

We are looking forward to 2013 as these innovations gain more momentum in the market and new ones emerge. But first, what has been your favorite local innovation of 2012? Please add in the comments.

Image: Kola Studios