Research & Product Development

About R&D

C4DLab promotes multi-disciplinary research, capitalizing on a diverse network of faculty and graduate students at University of Nairobi and beyond. C4DLab works with several partners on research projects that shape policy on Innovation, Education, Technology and entrepreneurship. Some of the research at C4DLab evolves into products of commercial value or public good, whereby through rigorous ideation and prototyping the innovation hub releases products and services for consumption in the market. C4DLab focuses on developing products that are informed by genuine problems and real partners. We fall in love with the problems before the solutions. To read about some of the products out of C4DLab research.

PROJECTS

ReadyToWork

ReadyToWork is a partnership program between Barclays Bank and C4DLab, the Innovation Hub of the University of Nairobi. The programme aims to equip learners with the right skills to help them transition from education into the world of work. ReadyToWork provides learning material that will help enhance work, people, money and entrepreneurial skills needed to improve employment or self-employment prospects.
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UON Bikeshare

The UoNBikeShare is a transportation system which provides a fleet of bicycles for use by anyone within the service area for an established time-based price. Typically, bikes must be picked up and returned to the docking stations. Bike share providers typically price rides to encourage short trips and function as a “last mile” solution for transit riders to reach their destinations which may be inconvenient or too far for walking or by local transit.
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Cloud Computing in Kenya – A 2013 Baseline Survey

The aim of the study was to provide an understanding of the current status and trends for cloud computing in Kenya from a number of perspectives, including adoption, impact and policy. Beyond the understanding, the research aimed at providing recommendations with specific interventions needed to spur the growth of the sub–sector.

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To achieve this goal, the following objectives guided the study:

  • Investigate the current status of cloud computing adoption in Kenya
  • Establish the impact of cloud computing.
  • Make recommendations through several outputs, including a white paper, academic paper and policy brief

Cloud Strategy for the Public Sector in Kenya

The purpose of this project was to develop a National Cloud Strategy for the Government of Kenya. The focus of the strategy was to improve the provision and usage of shared services within the public sector.

The choice of public sector and in particular the government was primarily because of the appreciation that government being the largest single consumer and the determinant of policy. Further, budget limitations determined the scope of work. The ultimate consumer and owner of the strategy document was Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) of Kenya on behalf of the government.

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OERisation

With funding support from Hewlett Foundation and technical support from UNESCO, University of Nairobi (through the C4Dlab – the Innovation Lab at the University), was commissioned to OERise four courses.

The process of OERising the four courses was independent and C4DLab had the privilege of deciding on the courses as well as independently learning how to OERise them. The experiment involved customizing a framework to the local context and using it to OERize four courses offered at University of Nairobi.

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The four piloted courses can be polished further and are free for use by anyone. The hope is that the project gets scaled and more courses made available for use by anyone across the globe and be attributed to C4DLab and University of Nairobi.[/showhide]

Google MLab

The Internet has a huge community of over 23 million users in Kenya. This ever-increasing number makes use of a large range of applications. These applications generate a highly diversified data traffic and require reliable infrastructure. As a function of this diversity, providers, users and operators need to understand the dynamic structure and behaviour of the network. Since end-user applications cannot get bandwidth guarantee from the network, a culture of bandwidth measurement needs to be developed.

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Elements such as availability of bandwidth and link capacity can be measured. To measure the available bandwidth between two nodes in a computer network, active measurement methods need to be used.

Following this need, KENET – Kenya Education Network, Google Kenya – an MLab consortium partner, and C4DLab – University of Nairobi Innovation Hub launched a campaign to build user awareness of a diagnostic resource called Measurement Lab (MLab). This resource is designed to provide Internet users and regulators with a means for measuring quality of broadband Internet. MLab is a distributed Internet measurement network consisting of thousands, potentially up to tens of thousands of measurement nodes (“probes”) placed all around the Internet.

KENET hosts the Kenyan node. The goal of a node is to take active measurements in a coordinated fashion, thereby supplying more measurement data for the benefit of the research community, and in
general to the Internet community.

The objectives of this study were:

  1. To activate utilization of Open Internet Measurement tool (M-Lab) node in Kenya and generate a critical mass of data from tests.
  2. Provide stakeholders with reliable data regarding the quality of broadband services.
  3. Evaluate the value of the M-Lab tool as a critical resource for open and objective broadband performance measurement for various categories of users

This study offers a good argument for the need to investigate broadband performance and net neutrality as practiced by the ISPs thereby empowering consumers to make informed demands for improvement of services. Further, the publication builds a case for the adoption and use of M-Lab as a platform for measuring broadband performance.

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Kakuma App

Problem: Refugees find it very difficult to locate their loved ones in refugees camps once they flee a
country.

Solution: Develop a centralized service where any refugee in search of a loved one can register then later be found. The solution will be used by aid workers in order to better help refugees mainly because they might not be fluent in the usage of applications or may not have access to internet.

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The Process

  • Lost refugee registers with name, and area they came from. The refugee is then automatically linked to a contact person and listed to a nearby meeting
  • point with designated meeting times (meeting points are safe places where refugees in search of loved ones can meet under supervision of aid workers, based on how camp is organized).
  • Person in search of loved one gets in touch with the contact person listed in the app or can go to the meeting place and notify contact person in person.
  • Once loved ones have been reunited the listing is marked as completed.

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Impact of Cloud Computing on Healthcare Services in East Africa – “A Case of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

The establishment and growth of network infrastructure in Africa, driven largely by a growing mobile operators covarage, has made cloud based systems increasingly viable. A number of countries have deployed cloud based healthcare solutions to enhance the quality of services provided to healthcare seekers. Not only are some solutions at national level, many are at clinic, hospital or program level.

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Cloud computing for healthcare consumers provokes key issues like security, privacy, reliability among others. Adopters must understand the unique benefits as well as risks associated with the technologies, so as to set realistic expectations with their cloud provider.

Various organizations that have deployed have had various decision paths, experiences various challenges and have success stories they can talk about. East Africa region, just like other

African countries has been making progress in cloud technology adoption but are experiencing various challenges including access, policy, skills and infrastructural issues like portability, integration .

The aim of the study was to provide guidance to help practitioners, decision makers and policy makers in East Africa not only evaluate cloud computing offerings taking into account different requirements of the actors such as medical practices, hospitals, research facilities, insurance companies and governments but also consider the socio-economic impact of these decisions.

By compiling and analysis real data available in the East African countries, the researchers aimed to communicate real prospects and challenges in the region.

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