Technology has slowly become an integral part of our lives. At this point, we cannot imagine life without it. However, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to scaling the heights technology can achieve. Companies continue to take great strides in developing technological business solutions. One of the companies in Kenya that have been in the forefront of this is Safaricom. Over the recent years, Safaricom has and continues to invest greatly in technology.
We all dream of a future where everything will be automated. From opening our house doors to operating our equipment. During the release of their half-year results, Safaricom unveiled what they had planned for the future. It involved stepping into a world where one would not have to worry about carrying around house keys, a time where one knows what is in their fridge before they open it and even a time you can operate kitchen equipment like the microwave without pressing any buttons.
This they have make possible with the new Fibre to Home Roll Out. They did this to increase the number of customers with access to the internet at affordable rates. For now, Fibre to home is available in Syokimau, Kitengela, Imara Daima, Karen, and Athi River among others. With the continued availability of Wi-Fi in our houses, we are one step closer to home automation.
To add to our ease of living, Safaricom has also launched Masoko -an e-commerce platform where one can purchase goods from the comfort of your home. With WI-FI connection, you can do all your shopping without worrying about your data running out and have your goods delivered to your doorstep. This includes supermarket produce since Safaricom has partnered with Naivas to make their products available on the site.
One of the things that is within our reach is getting to paperless transactions. With M-PESA, Safaricom has been able to promote efficient and safe money transactions all over the country. The M-PESA 1 Tap will provide customers with a faster but still safer way to transact money.
Another application assisting in money transaction is the M-Ledger Application. This application is useful for Safaricom customers who use their M-PESA accounts to transact a lot of business deals. This way, one can be able to track their business transactions. The application imports all the messages received or sent by M-PESA. One can go ahead to export these transactions to spreadsheets, word documents or even graphs and charts for quantifiable purposes.
When it comes to healthcare, Safaricom has not been left behind in the technological department either. The M-TIBA service allows customers to send, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment. Money stored in M-TIBA can only be used to pay for treatment and medication at our partner clinics and hospitals. This year’s Safaricom’s Sustainability Report shows that the service has over 465,000 users who have made deposits of up to Kshs 7.3 million and can access healthcare at 375 health centres.
We all need help once in a while. M-KOPA Solar is a Safaricom mobile instalment method that allows its users to pay for solar energy. Its payment plan starts with an initial deposit of $35 followed by 365 days of 45 cents. The products provided include; M-KOPA 5 Control Unit with Lithium Battery, 8W Solar Panel, 4 Bright, 1.2W LED Bulbs, Rechargeable Torch, Rechargeable FM/USB Radio, 5-in-1 Phone Charge Cable, Custom Charge Cable. M-KOPA V Solar Home System. After completing the payment package, customers own a world-class solar home system, with multiple lights, phone charging, and a radio. By this year M-KOPA had connected over 500,000 homes in East Africa. This has provided families with affordable, safe and clean energy. Hundreds of M-KOPA Solar dealers are located all over the country, in Tanzania and Uganda. One can contact the nearest M-KOPA customer service agent by just dialling 0707333222.
One key aspect of promoting technology is ensuring that the younger generation is included in this new wave. These young minds are filled with amazing innovative ideas that are the technological solutions of tomorrow. One of the greatest achievements Safaricom has made in the education sector is setting up of the M-PESA Foundation Academy. This is a state of the art, co-educational and residential High school offering the Kenyan National Curriculum driven by leadership, entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation. This will expose these young gifted minds to technological inventions at an early age.
Additionally, Safaricom through the Spark Fund has continued to ignite local innovation. Its main aim is to promote successful development of high potential ICT Start-ups in Kenya through investment and support. So far they have invested in Eneza Education for virtual courses and assessment, Farm Drive for alternative credit sharing for small businesses and farmers and Procure for farm supply.
Another educative tool that Safaricom has established is the Safaricom Academy. This is a 3-month program designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the Telecommunication sector. The program is an applied computer science skill-based master’s course that seeks students and entrepreneurs from various related backgrounds, e.g. Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering, etc., who wish to establish businesses or build careers in the field of telecommunication. This helps student’s gain practical industry experience in applications’ development and best industry practices.
One of the most important components of the Academy is the incubation centre. In partnership with Vodafone, Safaricom offers the Betavine Platform which provides an online lab for all Kenyans to develop, test and expose their innovations to subscribers worldwide. The incubation centre will enable entrepreneurs to conduct their R&D development in a professional, friendly and supportive atmosphere while receiving all the help and guidance that they need.
Safaricom has also established The Zindua Café that allows users to register ideas, applications, projects or prototypes to use for possible development. The team then evaluates the idea then if they like it, they contact you for further interactions. This way, people who may not necessarily have the capital to get their projects off the ground get a small boost. Safaricom has continually done its part in leaving behind a technological footprint. It is the dawn of a new age and more companies should take a page from their book and invest in technological development.