The government has rewarded the best ICT based innovative solutions for smart cities that were developed by young innovators.
The awards were introduced by the Ministry of ICT, Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), and partners.
Out of the 151 other solutions fronted by young innovators, the best 10 with smart solutions were selected for different awards.
The best three received seed funding grants of $3,000 each in addition to expert mentorship to transform their ideas into full prototypes over the course of three months.
The evaluation criteria involved demonstrating the problem the solution seeks to solve, development plan for the prototype and the potential implement plan among others.
The following are some of the top ICT solutions for smart cities that featured in the final competition.
1. Bazafarm technology solution
Bazafarm technology was developed by STES Group—which was started by Wilson Ndayisaba and Kevin Kabera.
The automatic solar-powered system helps a famer with a mobile phone or computer to know the amount of irrigation water to apply in the garden or the quantity of fertilisers needed in the soil.
“Usually farmers irrigate without knowing the quantity of water and fertilisers needed. They can use less or excessive amount but with the technology soil censors will ask the soil what it needs and it gives an answer before irrigating and fertilising plantation. This will help increase produce from 1.5 tonnes of maize produce to 4 tonnes per hectare,” said Ndayisaba.
2. Gerayo solution
The solution, developed by Germain Rwibutso and Albin Shema, the proprietors of Binary Earth, is a public transport based mobile application. It seeks to ease transportation of people in and around cities by establishing the number of passengers at a bus stop at any given time. Transportation companies can know the number of passengers at a bus station and then dispatch buses accordingly. Application captures the images of passengers and relays them to companies operating public transport. The solution, according to the developers, will go a long way in addressing the long queues at bus stations during peak hours.
Pay-As-You-Cook metre was developed by a young Nigerian, Oluwatobi Oyinlola, the founder of SkyRockets, which is building a smart device that allows you to have complete information about your GAS level for liquefied petroleum gas.
It aims to curb deforestation and air pollution and make LPG use affordable to users.
“We are incorporating with Gas suppliers to provide Pay-As-You-Cook method to make gas affordable for low income earners and middle class. LPG has an upfront cost that low income people often do not afford and, therefore, with our solution, they don’t need to pay for the upfront fees, they can just pay as they use or what they can afford,” he said.
LPG cylinder will be made smart by adding smart device, connects cylinder to a single platform that tracks and monitors usage, giving you complete control of supply chain and will integrate with Mobile money system.
4. E-commerce of electronic waste
The e-commerce platform,“Wastezon”, by Ghislain Irakoze and Boscho Niyodusenga, seeks to connect households with companies involved in recycling waste where the former will negotiate prices for e-waste material on behalf of the latter through an online platform. The waste will then be sold to recycling companies and the developers will earn a commission.
“We will benefit from commission fee of Rwf8 per kilogramme of sold e-waste,” says Niyodusenga.
5. Smart wheelchairs
The solution is a project of MSPD Group, which was founded by Etienne Shumbusho, Philbert Niyomurezi and Francois Rudasingwa.
It was designed for people with disabilities and others such as patients who use wheelchairs. The solar powered wheelchair will be installed with censors to alert users about the obstacle ahead in order to prevent potential accidents.
6. RSU-DPD technology
RSU-DPD technology, by Evariste Twahirwa and Theogen Gatete, has developed a solution that aims to control both indoor and out-door pollution in factories, transport areas etc.
According to Claudette Irere, the Director General of Innovation and Business Development at the Ministry of ICT, a centre for mentoring the winners will be set up as more young people expect to refine their ideas and could be supported.
“There are about 25 initiatives needed for ensuring smart cities in Africa and we will be seeking more innovations from developers and finance them to support the community with those solutions,” she said.
Rene Kabalisa, the Principal for RISA, said: “We organised this competition as part of the Smart City Rwanda Masterplan implementation efforts. We called upon Rwandan young innovators to develop solutions for smart cities. The winners will be facilitated so they can contribute to the digitisation of services”.