Innovative Device Puts Kenya On The Global Map

Doreen Otieno | The Star | September 24, 2014

Large parts of Africa lack accurate real-time accurate weather data. This makes it difficult to predict and prepare for natural disasters and means there is a lack of reliable real-time information. The BRCK is a device that can be plugged into the weather station and used as an on-ramp for the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors are used to feed into the device, then that data gets passed along and can be consumed in the Cloud.

This is one of the ways BRCK — termed so after its brick-shape — uses the Internet of Things to solve problems, according to BRCK chief operations officer Philip Walton.  BRCK, a brick-like self-powered mobile WIFI device, connects people and things to the Internet in remote areas with poor infrastructure. It’s managed with a cloud-based interface.  Just over two and a half years ago, developers at Ushahidi, a Nairobi-based organisation that builds open source software tools for global problem solving started designing the BRCK.

“We developed this because we recognised a need for Internet in areas with poor infrastructure,” said Erik Hersman, co-founder and CEO of BRCK.  IoT— the term was coined in 1999 — connects the physical world to the Internet, allowing data to be shared. Essentially, anything can become a ‘thing’ in the Internet of Things. First, it needs a unique identity. Second, it must be able to transmit data. Third, it must contain sensors to communicate its status and that of its surroundings. Last, in order to control it, small electronic circuits are embedded in the ‘thing’...