30 June, 2011

Create For Millions Consumer & Developer Competition Highlights App Consumption on Nokia Mobile Phones

Nokia’s Series 40 mobile phones bring the Web –and now apps – to the Next Billion
Espoo Finland, June 28, 2011 – Nokia announced today “Create for Millions” a global competition that brings consumers and developers together to create applications for Nokia’s Series 40 mobile phones. Create for Millions also provides developers an opportunity to bring Java and web apps to millions of consumers worldwide and win their share of cash and prizes valued at one million Euros. Nokia’s Series 40 mobile phones play a key role in Nokia’s strategy to bring the Web to the next billion, particularly in emerging markets where a consumer’s first web experience is often through the mobile phone. As the largest mobile platform in the world by volume, more than half a billion Nokia Series 40 mobile phones are in consumer’s hands today.

 From Idea to Creation – Create for Millions for Consumers
Nokia’s Create for Millions challenges consumers to submit their best ideas for the applications they’d like to see on Nokia Series 40 mobile phones. Authors of the winning entries may see their ideas come to life in person at Nokia World later this year and can meet the developers who created them. In addition to a free expenses-paid trip to Nokia World, winning consumer’s can play with their new app on the latest Nokia Series 40 phone given during Nokia World. 

Consumers are encouraged to submit ideas in one of three categories: health & education; social networking & location; and games & infotainment. Additionally, consumers can vote on entries and comment or collaborate on ideas already submitted. 

 Developer contest offers cash and prizes worth one million Euros
Nokia’s Series 40 phones have experienced more than 35 percent growth in download volumes in the past two months making up about a quarter of the total downloads from Nokia’s Ovi Store. Nokia’s Create for Millions enhances this growing opportunity with a competition featuring a prize pool of cash and prizes worth one million Euros.
In this competition, developers are invited to submit Java and web apps for Nokia Series 40 phones in four categories:
·         In the Know - News and locally relevant information apps
·         Fun & Games - Games and entertainment apps 
·         Emotional Closeness - Social networking apps 
·         Access to Knowledge – Life improvement apps, for example education or health   

For each of the four contest categories listed above, there will be 10 cash prizes, with a top prize of 50,000 Euros in each category. Top apps in each category win a variety of non-cash prizes such as user experience reviews and app marketing assistance.   In addition, special prizes will be awarded to apps that showcase the best touch feature in an app, the best location-aware app and the best overall Series 40 web app.
 Regional versions of this global developer competition with additional prizes will be announced soon.
“With Nokia’s newest Series 40 dual-SIM mobile phones such as the recently announced Nokia C2-03 equipped with Nokia Browser, consumers are enjoying third party web applications with a fast, rich user experience and significantly lower data costs”, said Marco Argenti, senior vice president, Developer Experience, Nokia. “This competition connects ideas generated by consumers with the creativity and skills from developers, aiming to create great, locally relevant applications together.” 

Consumers can learn more and enter the app idea challenge by visiting http://www.nokia.com/create4millions. The consumer app idea challenge is part of Nokia’s IdeasProject, an online community for everybody from all around the world to brainstorm. IdeasProject enables the two-way exchange of ideas between consumers and developers around innovation powered by Nokia.  Entries in the app idea challenge will be accepted until. September 20, 2011.

For developers, development tools, terms and conditions and detailed information on the judging, prizes and how to enter are available from the Nokia Developer website http://developer.nokia.com/create4millions. Entry deadline is September 20, 2011.

22 June, 2011

SHUGA SEASON 2: Shuga Returns To Kenya

Shuga the local HIV and AIDS drama series Season two will be on your screens shortly ! This was announced at a Media Event yesterday 21 June 2011 at the Hilton Hotel.Below is the Press release. 

You can catch a glimpse of the event on this slideshow

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

Nairobi, 21 June 2011: MTV Networks Africa, The Staying Alive Foundation, PEPFAR and the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation (HFG) are to renew their ongoing partnership to produce the second series of hard-hitting sex-and-relationships, HIV and AIDS drama, Shuga, in Kenya. The initiative, funded extensively by the U.S. Government through PEPFAR, will work closely with the Government of Kenya to ensure the programme fits within Kenya’s existing HIV prevention strategy.

Series two, subtitled “Love, Sex, Money”, and associated digital, events and marketing activity will be supported by HFG Global and HFG’s Kenya office through their brand,

The new series will be expanded from three to six episodes and develop the complex emotional storylines first explored in Shuga.   Principle photography for the series goes into production in Nairobi in August 2011 and will premier on Valentine’s Day 2012 (14 February) and broadcast around.

The predominantly Kenyan cast for Shuga: Love, Sex, Money will be announced in July 2011.  The series will introduce new characters and storylines while additionally endeavouring to motivate and realize specific changes in sexual behaviours.  Among the issues likely to be explored in Shuga: Love, Sex, Money are HIV testing, stigma, condom use, gender inequity and the role of multiple concurrent partnerships in driving the HIV epidemic. 
First aired in Kenya in November 2009 on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) and terrestrial stations Citizen TV, KTN, NTV and KBC Channel One, Shuga reached viewers in 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and more than 70 TV stations worldwide.  It continues to be widely viewed in countries such as Zambia, South Africa and Jamaica, among others, together with a facilitator’s guide for peer educators to engage young people in open discussions and to motivate behaviour change. 

The global success of Shuga as a vehicle for HIV and AIDS messaging for youth consumption was undeniable. In May 2010, Shuga won a prestigious Gold award at the World Media Festival in Hamburg, Germany in the “Public Relations: Health” category, for its vivid and uncompromising focus on love, emotions and sexual behaviour amongst Kenyan youth.

Shuga had a profound impact on the attitudes of Kenyan youth,” commented Lydia Murimi, Country Director, HFG Kenya. “Research conducted by Johns Hopkins University/Centre for Communications Programs reported increased intentions for HIV testing, decreased intentions for multiple sex partners, improved attitudes towards people living with HIV and AIDS and increased usage of accessible health and social services among the youth. We hope to be able to replicate that with the sequel as well as introduce new elements that will emerge from our youth studies.”

Georgia Arnold, Senior Vice President, Executive Director, Staying Alive Foundation commented, “Shuga showed the world that drama and public health messages can work together to effect genuine attitudinal change. Shuga: Love, Sex, Money will build on this foundation to generate real behavioural change in sexual health while also entertaining and engaging youth audiences.” 
Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, MTV Networks Africa said: “We have been overwhelmed by the positive reception that Shuga has received in Africa and around the world.  This has been an incredible award-wining campaign for us that has proven to be changing young people’s attitudes towards HIV and AIDS. We are excited about the opportunity to continue the series with the objective of reaching more and more people.” 

The first series of Shuga was filmed in Kenya in August-September 2009.  Starring a young cast of upcoming Kenyan actors and actresses, Shuga told a bitter-sweet tale of love, loss, sex, heartbreak and relationships, set in the clubs, bars, campuses and hangouts of contemporary Nairobi. With a raw and uncut view on the lives of sexually active young Kenyans, Shuga spot lit the risks associated with unprotected sex and the party-hard lifestyles of urban Kenyan youth, told through the interlinked tales of characters Ayira (Lupita Nyongo), Ty (Pepe Haze), Felix (Tumisho Masha), Violet (Sharon Olago), Skola (David Omwange), Sindi (Valerie Kimani), Leo (Nicholas Mutuma), Kennedy (Antony Mwangi) and Virginia (Eva Kanyang'onda).  

For more information about Shuga: Love, Sex, Money log onto www.mtvshuga.com or   www.g-pange.com.

21 June, 2011

Cisco Expo 2011 Kenya

Cisco Africa will be holding  a premier  IT event   for IT, networking and communications professionals on 28 and 29 June 2011 at Kenyatta International Conference Centre(KICC) Nairobi, Kenya.
The international event which is being held for the first time in Nairobi will operate under the theme: "Collaboration and Virtualisation Beyond Borders".

The highly engaging and educative event will feature top Cisco Executives and leading authorities in the IT and Communication Sector  including but not limited to:
  • Dr Bitange Ndemo ,Kenya's intuitive Permanent Secretary at the  Ministry of Information and Communications, 
  • Dan Smoot, Vice President -Cisco Capital World Wide Sales
  • Pim Versteeg Vice President of Cisco’s Africa Levant region in Emerging Markets
  • Sylvia Mulinge : General Manager Enterprise Business Unit Safaricom  
  • Tony Shakib: Cisco Vice President Service Provider Group for  Emerging Markets
 Here is a link to a YouTube Video showing Shahab Meshki, General Manager for Cisco in East Africa, announcing the Cisco Expo Kenya Conference!

    The welcome statement by the P.S Dr Bitange Ndemo is quite telling as to what to expect, he states:
    During the two-day event, delegates will have the opportunity to build knowledge and skills through a wide range of visionary keynote sessions by top Cisco executives, as well as technical and business breakout sessions that will bring enhanced value to their business providing insight into how to stay competitive in the current economic climate. Alongside the conference, is the Cisco Expo exhibition and showcase area, which is also an interactive learning environment where Cisco and their partners showcase and demonstrate their latest technologies. 
     If you are interested in attending this event ,registration is now open at this Link

    Don't forget there is a Facebook Poll on the event which you can take and share with your colleagues. Surprises are in store, actually an I-pad is in store for a fortunate winner.

    You can also follow on Twitter @CiscoAfica  for live tweets on the event on Twitter, the handle will be #CE11KE

    Why not engage the Worlds leading networking and architecture solution provider and educator? See you there !

      16 June, 2011


      Press Release:

      The African Media Initiative (AMI) and the Sub-Sahara Africa Media Programme of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS Media Africa) today announced a strategic partnership, beginning with the hosting of a joint annual media conference on the African continent later this year. The 2011 conference will be held under the banner of the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on November 10 and 11.
      Both parties are motivated and united by the objective to strengthen the role of the independent media and to make a valuable contribution towards media sustainability and democratization across Africa. AMI and KAS Media Africa have been at the forefront of bringing together African media leaders and owners to discuss and share experiences and challenges. KAS Media Africa has successfully funded nine editions of the African Media Leadership Conference (AMLC) series. In 2008, AMI started the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF), the largest gathering of media owners and operators from around the African continent.
      “These are exciting times in the media world and it is the perfect moment to combine our forces”, says Markus Brauckmann, Director of KAS Media Africa, “We feel that our target group of top media players will benefit from the joint conference efforts more than ever before.”
      Amadou Mahtar Ba, Chief Executive of the African Media Initiative (AMI) said: “We are particularly glad that KAS Media Africa is bringing their first-rate experience to the African Media Leaders Forum. AMLF has definitely become the premium media marketplace and networking opportunity on the continent for top media owners and operators and we look very much forward to Tunis 2011.”

      15 June, 2011

      Nokia Press Release on Pivot 25 Conference in Nairobi

      Nokia sees potential for local developers in the global Kshs 1 trillion mobile marketing industry
       …adoption of smartphones and falling cost of mobile internet driving industry
      Nairobi, Kenya, 14 June 2011: Mobile applications development remains a key growth opportunity for East Africa’s technology sector driven by an emerging middle-class population with potential to buy smartphones and rising industry investment by players, leading global mobile phones and solutions manufacturer, Nokia, has said.
      Kenneth Oyolla, General Manager, Nokia East and Southern Africa, said demand for mobile apps presents a huge potential to developers, brands and end-users but players will need to invest time and resources if they are to fully gain from the fast-growing mobile marketing global industry, expected to be worth Kshs 1 trillion (US$17.5 billion) by 2012.
      “Mobile application marketing is a rapidly growing engagement and advertising channel for local and international brands today. Increase in use of apps by young population and emerging middle-class is spurning an unprecedented growth which may help companies focus on more eye-balls of their target markets in a totally new dimension,” said Mr. Oyolla.
      Speaking during the Pivot 25 Conference, Mr Oyolla said although mobile app marketing is a fairly new phenomenon in East Africa, companies are increasingly investing in it as developers seek to create more relevant solutions and consumers more responsive from online interactions. Pivot 25 is focusing on the mobile developer and entrepreneur community in East Africa. It is an initiative of M-lab, an incubator and testing facility for mobile application and services companies.
      Mr. Oyolla noted that East African brands, from retail and manufacturing to banking and technology now know they need to be online and are, therefore, reshaping their marketing strategies to incorporate mobile marketing.
      He said digital channels drive downloads and retention and companies prefer them because online advertising are cost effective and dynamic with track-able results.  Currently, Symbian operating system, for instance, has an installed base of200 million while Series 40 has 600 million. 150 million Symbian devices are to be shipped in future.
      Locally, the growth of mobile internet subscription coupled with a significant adoption smartphones are key factors driving the mobile application segment in Kenya. In its January 2011 report, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) noted between July and September 2010 that 98 percent of the Internet market share being through mobile devices.
      Nokia has made a big leap with cumulative downloads in Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, crossing a remarkable 1 billion-mark in March 2011 from Ovi Store. Consumers are also downloading 500,000 apps daily in MEA region, indicating the explosion in use of mobile apps. 
      According to Agatha Gikunda, Head of Solutions Sales, Nokia East and Southern Africa, in Kenya, local downloads from Ovi Store have grown from 2 apps in April 2010 to over 200 currently- a 9900 percent increase. Two of the local apps have already passed the over 100,000 downloads mark.
      Said Ms Gikunda: “As Nokia, we recognise that there are significant benefits in building a developers’ community that can endlessly provide new applications that are relevant and tailored to local markets. We have over 190 million active Nokia services users around the world (majority of those are Ovi) and more than 250,000 new Ovi accounts set up every day. These apps will help, with among other things, providing easy access, payment methods and extend commercialisation opportunities including commissioned apps from brands, micropayments and ad-funded models.”
      “Today we have publishers from more than 90 countries accessing over 1,000 apps from MEA developers. Consumers can browse and purchase content from Ovi Store in more than 190 countries through credit-card billing. Over 100 operators in 29 countries support integrated mobile billing with Ovi Store and about 90 per cent of the daily traffic to Ovi Store converts to downloads,” revealed Ms Gikunda.
      But these opportunities come with challenges, said Ms Gikunda. Mobile applications are relatively new and few in East Africa where smartphones are just beginning to reach a significant number of users.
      “The fact that apps are new to many local users means that players in mobile application industry have to invest heavily in educating users in order to stimulate demand and drive more interaction with the captive audience. This will need a concerted effort from all players in the value chain potentially resulting to industry-wide growth. This has happened in other regions and East Africa should, too, take this chance.”  
      He added that although Nokia channels drive significant distribution, companies and brand will need to drive cross-marketing initiatives to helping drive traffic to the store.
      “In the end, we expect to have win-win situation. Developers will have full local support to develop and sell in a global marketplace to millions of consumers while brands will be able to engage their customers via immersive mobile apps for continuous relevance and loyalty. And consumers will have easy access to favourite apps and content bringing increased opportunities and enjoyment,” concluded Mr Oyolla.
      By bringing together players from across the region, Pivot 25 is, among other things, seeking to provide a forum that can offer industry solutions to tackle some of these challenges. The event will give visibility to projects from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda. Entrepreneurs will also pitch their ideas and have the possibility to win prizes.

      13 June, 2011

      Kenya's Finance Minister Uses Social Media To Prepare Budget

       *The Minister for Finance in Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta used Twitter and Facebook to solicit public opinion on what to include in the country's budget for year 2010/2011 that was read on June 8, 2011. Interestingly, the budget estimates for the three East African countries were read on the same day. However it is only the Kenyan Finance minister (a copy of the Budget speech is readily available for download on the Ministers Facebook page) who heavily employed social media.

      The minister used GoogleDocs (document now removed), Scribd and Facebook to solicit public opinion. He received a massive response. This is the first time that a Kenyan Finance minister used social media to gather public opinion.

      Kenyans discussed the contents of the budget on twitter under the hashtags #Budget2011 while the Finance Minister's team used #keBudget2011. Live updates of the budget speech were tweeted by @TeamUhuru and @UKenyatta.

      Kenya's netizens discuss the budget in a critical albeit positive light:

      @LoiseKare says Uhuru's use of social media shows the difference between a leader and a politician:
      ..and he involved fellow tweeps in makin the budget..diff btwn a politician and a leader. Kudos @UKenyatta
      @MissRipplez is convinced that the use of social media will affect the 2012 Kenya Presidential Elections:
      Judging from #kebudget2011 n #teamuhuru I'm convinced that twitter will be a crucial ground for campaigns next year #kenyansontwitter
      @Just_Wambui commends the minister and his Twitter team:
      I'm thoroughly impressed by the efficiency in #kebudget2011 updates by @Ukenyatta and his team...great job!
      Prior to the budget, Zindua Kiongozi had this to say:
      Don’t complain that you were not engaged in the budget making process for 2011 or at the least, that’s what Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta will say to any skeptics after Friday’s deadline to submit comments on the 2011 budget making process ends. The Minister has integrated his facebook page with a budget 2011 application that provides some simple instructions on how to pitch into the process
      Budget 2011 on facebook
      The Google Docs powered application allows citizens to make budget priorities and suggestions by providing a fill in form that categorizes the comments in key sector areas related to the budget. You have less than 48 hours to submit your comments and suggestions since the deadline runs up until the end of Friday the 13th of May.
      SportsKenyaoffers some positive critiscism:
      Quoting the statement,

      "...apart from engaging in these activities, I would also like to encourage them to nurture their talents in the realm of sports. Time and time again, our young people have made this country proud by their exemplary performance in the international tournaments in various disciplines. (... all good so far)

      I believe that a clear investment in sports backed by proper management, can turn this activity, which attracts thousands of our young people into a sustainable employer. Our youth should be able to follow their dreams and establish careers in sports ( ....well put Mr. Minister Sir)

      To this end, I have allocated KShs. 210 million ( 1 million per constituency) towards competitive sports for youth countrywide. This will be used for purchase of trophies, monetary award to competing teams and compensation for officials overseeing this initiative. ( ...now you sound ambiguous Sir, which sports discipline & that amount's too measly unless you hold 1 tournament per year)

      The private companies under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets to match this amount, at least on a shilling-for-shilling basis." (...nice one throwing the challenge to private corporate firms making obscene profits but committing measly amounts to sport BUT that word CSR word just craps me out! )
      Not belabouring the points above, we believe there is more that the Ministry could have done to give incentive to the sports industry. Just like we have said before (and he's also quoted), sports can be an employer of many if the right investments and management are put into place.

      In his analysis of the budget,Blogger Kebati says that he was impressed by the Ministers words:
      I wish to conclude with these are the words used by Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyan Finance minister as he concluded the budget 2011/2012 projections.
      “It is important to note that 50% of these submissions were received from Kenyans
      between the ages of 18 and 30 and I would like to specifically commend this group of young Kenyans who have taken it upon themselves to embrace technology and engage with the government through IT and social media, which I believe is the new frontier of public engagement. Mr. Speaker, I would also like to encourage you and members of the house who are not yet on these forums to join Facebook and Twitter and other similar platforms through which you can directly and constructively engage with Kenyans in real time”

      As more Kenyans embrace social media, it is readily apparent that the citizenry is being empowered to be part of public policy making process. The Kenyan Finance Minister has demonstrated this in his Budget Speech for year 2011. Will more African leaders in Africa take the cue?

      *(This post was first published at GlobalVoices)

      07 June, 2011

      Emirates Launches Mobile Boarding Pass Service

      Nairobi - 07 June, 2011 - Making travel even more efficient, Emirates now offers customers the option of receiving a mobile boarding pass on their internet-enabled mobile device – providing customers with a stress-free, paperless travel experience. 

       The service is available to all passengers who utilize Emirates’ online check-in facility out of Dubai up to 24 hours in advance. Passengers can log on to www.emirates.com, and can choose to receive a web-link to their mobile boarding pass by email or SMS, that displays a barcoded boarding pass on their internet-enabled phone.

      “The launch of Emirates’ mobile boarding pass not only supports paperless travel and the reduction of paper waste, but also meets the demands of a new era of travellers, who seek a more sophisticated and efficient means of managing their business and leisure travel,” said Mohammed H Mattar - Divisional Senior Vice President Airport Services, Emirates.

       He continued: “The mobile boarding pass puts flexibility and control completely in the hands of our customers, while making a small step towards reducing our environmental impact.”  
      The mobile boarding pass can be scanned and read directly at all check-in counters, airport security check points, Dubai immigration, Emirates First Class and Business Class lounges, and boarding gates. The service allows customers to keep all their travel information in one place, while also safe guarding the environment through paperless travel.  

      In the first year of implementation, it is estimated that the use of mobile boarding passes alone will save a minimum of 550 kilograms of paper. Across the Emirates Group, over 3.6 million kilograms of paper and cardboard have been recycled in the financial year 2010 - 11.  

      Following the launch in Dubai, over 30 other mobile boarding pass compliant airports, have been identified for implementation across the Emirates network.  

      The launch of the mobile boarding pass services follows the launch of Emirates mobile booking services in mid 2010. Designed to work with over 3000 mobile devices, Mobile Emirates.com has been optimized to ensure that customers on the move can easily and efficiently access the emirates.com website, through their mobile phones.  

      “Consumers are far more mobile than ever before. There is a constant need for products and services to cater to the fast paced lifestyle that today’s individuals lead, people want it here and now, without exception,” Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Emirates Regional Manager for East Africa said of Emirates mobile booking and boarding services.  

      The new sophisticated functionality ensures that the Emirates website is downloaded in the appropriate format for each specific mobile device, allowing customers to perform a multitude of tasks including; booking and managing a flight, mobile check-in, searching flight schedules and status and even checking the in-flight amenities available on a specific flight. Once they log on to www.emirates.com they will be automatically redirected to the mobile optimized version of the website.


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