BRCK: World’s Most Kick-Ass Internet Modem

Simon Allison | Daily Maverick | June 19, 2013

Nairobi-based Ushahidi, better known for its crowd-sourcing software that helps map violence, has just entered the hardware business. Sticking to their populist roots, it crowd-funded the start-up capital to produce a new type of Internet modem that’s designed by Africans, for Africans. SIMON ALLISON wants one.

It’s not that easy to get excited about cutting edge technological developments in Africa. Everything gets here eventually, but it will be months or even years after the glitzy product launch in New York or California before the exciting new gadget make its way to our shores. When it does, it will be outrageously expensive to buy and to use, and sometimes won’t work as well. Take smartphones, for instance; there is a world of difference between running an iPhone in South Africa or, say, Hong Kong, where connectivity is light years faster and a fraction of the price.

This is why Ushahidi’s move into the hardware world is so exciting. The Kenyan-based technology collective is making a product that is by Africans, for Africans and designed to work best in Africa – and it is a product that the continent really needs.