The Intel Software & Services Group had its official launch in Nairobi, Kenya on 19th June, 2013. This launch was held at Strathmore University’s innovation center, iLab Africa, under the theme ‘CodeZone’.
The event’s purpose was not only to introduce developers to Intel’s software offering but to allow them have a look and feel of some of the products being showcased. There was an overwhelming response to this, with more than 250 developers attending the launch. They were eager to know how to use these tools to improve their productivity, as well as the quality of their applications.
The keynote speaker was the Acting Chief Executive of the Kenya ICT Board, Mr. Victor Kyalo, who reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that technology was used to create jobs as well as to enable growth in Kenya. Also at the launch was the Intel East Africa General Manager, Danie Steyn; Intel Software Marketing Manager, Luigi Pessina; and Erik Hersman, founder of the iHub and co-founder of Ushahidi, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on innovation in Kenya.
In the run-up to the launch, Intel held a number of android app training sessions with the developers through m:lab East Africa. These trainings were aimed at giving them a headstart on optimizing their applications to take advantage of Intel architecture features such as multithreading for faster processing and battery optimization.
Through the Intel Capital Head of Africa, Tobi Oke, Intel made it clear that they were looking for viable businesses with revenue and solid customer base to invest in. Key sectors in which they seek to invest are consumer internet, digital media, services targeting enterprise, and semiconductor manufacturing. “The level of disposable income in Africa is directly correlated to the distance from the capital city in most African countries. We are looking for solutions to invest in that can uplift and improve the lives of these people,” he said.
Intel’s greater presence in Africa follows the successful launch of the android-based YOLO phone in partnership with leading mobile service operator Safaricom. With 5 undersea fiber optic cables at the coast of Mombasa, which serve 5 neighboring countries; a mobile penetration rate of 63%, smartphones outselling computers by a ratio of 4:1, and 50% of the global market share of mobile money users in the world, it’s no wonder Kenya was selected to be the launching board to the rest of the continent.