How Kenya Could Teach the Developed World About Smart Communities

Image Credit:The future Konza City complex, Kenya - This is Africa

Is Kenya about to lead not only Africa, but the world, in terms of smart cities and combining the Internet of Things (IoT) and LEDs to make smarter, more environmentally friendly, communities? It may well happen. Kenya, as part of Africa, often gets lumped in with the general impression of lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of technology and innovation, but that’s set to change as the country leads the race to utilize new technology-rich ecosystems.

Konza - Africa’s First Smart City

In 2016, Kenya entered into an agreement with the UN’s Human Settlements Programme to create the continent’s first smart city. Konza Technopolis Development Authority, better known as Konza Techno City will, according to Ruckus Wireless Sub-Saharan Africa’s Sales Director, Riaan Graham, “focus on building a sustainable and fully functional city to contribute to the Kenyan economy and offer better living standards for everyone living and working in Konza.”

This development will combine IoT technologies with better living conditions, smarter public services and utilities. It is also anticipated that it will build on M-Pesa which already has 33 million cashless users in the country, and could therefore make Kenya, or at least Konza, the world’s first cashless capitalist society.

Smart Lighting Opportunities Across Kenya

IoT is offering a wide range of solutions for urban and rural areas alike and the Konza development should be the first opportunity in Kenya to exploit these. In building something new Kenya has the potential to build something properly from the ground up. Most so-called developed societies are hampered by existing infrastructures and populations meanwhile many developing countries in the past have had to rely on cheaper, less efficient, and more damaging technologies. Today, things are different because the IoT combined with LEDs are producing more affordable yet more efficient and environmentally friendly technological solutions.

If combined with solar panels, for example, even the most remote communities can have access to cheap public, private, and business lighting. LEDs when combined with IoT allow for democratized lighting to whereby individual communities can decide on the brightness of lights and when they are turned off. The same decisions can be made for the sakes of wildlife too. Furthermore, if a site with such lighting is the center of an emergency, say a car crash, authorities can brighten lights in the vicinity to better aid emergency workers. Lastly, economically speaking, smart IoT connected businesses in Kenya will have a striking advantage over continental and global rivals because of their lower operating costs combined with more flexible, and adaptive technological solutions and tools.

Image Credit: LED Street Lighting Su-Kam

Read more on Cleanleap: The Internet of Things: Making Smart Farms in Africa