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East African Geo Start-Ups Creating Awesome Location-Based Solutions

As the rate of mobile phone usage grows exponentially in Africa, some smart folks in East Africa are awesomely leveraging the situation to  empower themselves economically.

These folks are creating  wonderful and needful location-based service apps that run on mobile platforms and subscribers numeric strength growing swiftly.

NikoHapa (‘I am here)  is a Foursquare-like app created by some  Kenyan Start-ups. This app allows check in on Facebook and Twitter right on their mobile phones. Unlike Foursquare, NikoHapa works ultimately as a loyalty programme.

At  Mambo Italia  Galleria, NikoHappa users only need to send a text or scan a QR code found on the sticker on his or her receipt to check in and earn some loyalty points.


At Mambo Italia, users get a free 9-inch pizza after seven check-ins and each time a user wins a pizza it shows up in his or her facebook timeline. That’s free advertising, very clever!


At Blanco’s Sport Grill the first customer to use the service check-ins earns football shirts of local teams and food vouchers. Other customers choose from seven sporting fixtures.

The app creators make money from the subscription service. Increase in subscription rate means increase in money making for the creators.

Co-founder and chief executive Bernard Owuor says originally they were trying to build a way to send feedback to restaurants and shop owners via text message.

“We thought, why not put in a check-in system, so you can also tell your friends,” he says.

“Then we said, why not add an incentive. If you do it 10 times you get a discount. That’s how this developed.”

The feedback plus customer check-ins can provide useful analytics.

“It’s very hard to quantify the monetary value but loyalty programmes work.”

It is an engagement platform as well as a loyalty service and it is soon gonna spread to  other part of Africa said Bernard Owuor.


   Mutafa Go

Checking-in isn’t the only way that location technology is making life easier in east Africa

In the Ugandan capital Kampala, fuel shortages are an everyday occurrence.

This inspired a group of Makere University students to create an app called Mafuta Go, which shows you where the cheapest petrol is near you. It then tells you how to get there.

I am presently working on an app like this for ATM machines in the city of Abuja-Nigeria. The app is gonna help you discover the nearest ATMs within where you are and be able to tell you which ones are functional and dispensing cash. I got extremely pissed off one day after asking so many people for the locations of ATMs from where I was and ended up not getting money from any of those ATM locations.

Meka – Luganda

Meka – Luganda for “how much” – is Uganda’s first retail price comparison app and website created by a team of four smart Ugandan guys.

According to Mr Mugume, the app can help you find the cheapest shop you can get the particular stuff you want to buy. It is actually a good-shopping app.

“Let’s say you’re out shopping, you’re looking at this product – it’s about 500,000 [Ugandan shillings] – you can just pull out your phone, type it in, it will automatically do a search so you can see where you have the best deal.

“With the mobile apps it’s much cooler – it will actually give you the distance from where you are to the other stores that stock the item.” says Mugume.

They are also working on an app to automatically synchronise stock prices and availability for the bigger stores.

Great and awesome apps, these folks are developing, in Uganda smart phones are used to map the poorest and most far-flung areas and seamlessly synchronised to OpenStreetMaps.

In fact a another Silicon Valley is emerging in Nairobi Kenya where lots of great start-ups are making things work.

Well-done my fellow African smart geeks, lets keep at it and change the Single-Story perception of Africa.


Source : BBC News

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New Taxi Ordering Service By TomTom

TomTom one of the major world navigation systems and map data provider doesn’t want to make life easier to startups focused on convenient ways to hail and pay for taxis. Last week they’ve launched a new service in Amsterdam.

The system is an end-to-end solution based on dedicated hardware. It consists of two parts. First there is the Taxi Butler – simple device with a single button to call a taxi. On the other site Taxi Assistant device for cab drivers. So while being in a hotel, restaurant or a bar you simply press the button. TomTom server matches your request with the nearest free taxi.  Once a ride has been acccepted by the driver and the customer is onboard, the taxi pays back TomTom between €1-€1.5 per ride.Sometime ago TomTom acquired the taxi-fetching app maker TXXIso we can suspect that they’re planning to launch smartphone app as well.

The Taxi Butler costs €39 excl VAT and its use is free for the local business and the Taxi Assistant is 149 excl. VAT, including a two years subscription to TomTom’s connected services.

Hence sales of PNDs is dropping every month, sales of map data might not be that profitable when there are plenty of mapping APIs TomTom is searching for some new ways to diversify their revenue sources and this might a pretty good way.

source: GPS Business News

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