Kenya’s Ushahidi launches a platform to monitor US elections

Kenya’s Ushahidi has launched a platform to monitor the ongoing US presidential elections pitting Hillary Clinton of the Democratic party and controversial businessman Donald Trump from the Republican party as the main actors.

This comes against the backdrop of unprecedented conversation in the 2016 USA election concerning the voting process as well as some potential worry of violence on the Election Day.

“While, there is no evidence of voter fraud in America there are instances of voter suppression and voting issues on election day. As citizens, let’s raise our voices and help to report any issues on election day as well as celebrate all those who run a tight ship and bring trust to the underpinning of our democratic systems, ”   said the   Ushahidi Team on their website.

The platform is a nonpartisan citizen-led election monitoring project that will utilize the Ushahidi crowd sourcing software for the sake of transparency.
Ushahidi has helped run citizen-led election monitoring in countries around the world before.

“Let us emphasize that there are many other election monitoring entities working with approved trained monitors on election day.  This includes all state legislatures, both campaigns, the DNC and RNC, as well as non-partisan third party monitors. To learn more about the process, read the National Conference of State Legislatures page on policies for election observers in the USA,” said the team.

Ushahidi was categorical that the project is not meant to replace or compete with any existing efforts, but to only to complement them.

This is a means for regular citizens who are going to vote, to report on any issues they come across, anything they witness, as well as to say that everything went great!

In case of any observation or reports go to usaelectionmonitor.com to learn how to report on the election or to help with verification of reports.

How it works
Citizens can report via Website, SMS, Twitter, or Email. Vetted volunteers will then verify those reports and publish them to this site, where they can be viewed on a map and timeline.

How you can help
1)    Report on the election
Will you be at a voting booth on Nov 8th? If so, you can report to this election monitoring tool via:
•    Webform at: ushahidi.io
•    SMS: (302) 268-9516
•    Twitter: #usaelectionmonitor
•    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2)    Become a vetted verifier and help verify reports on election day     

Join the team and help verify all incoming reports. We will give you a training on how to run the tool, and set you up to help triage and verify any incoming reports on Nov 8th.

3)    Get the word out!

Help us spread the word to all citizens about how to report on election day!

SOURCE: techmoran

[SOUTH AFRICA] Tritech Media acquires 30% stake in SA’s ticketless smart parking startup KaChing

Tritech Media, the technology innovator controlled by the Kirsh family, has acquired 30% stake in South African smart parking startup KaChing to improve its solution for shopping mall owners and their retailers.

KaChing is a cashless, ticketless parking system and smartphone application, designed to make payment for parking easy and convenient for visitors.
According to William Kirsh founder and CEO of Tritech Media, “With KaChing we further improve our global-first solution for shopping mall owners and their retail clients to engage precisely with consumers.”

Tritech Media will integrate KaChing with its other location-based technologies Ionizr, Geospatial Data Solutions, Spatialedge and ProximityID to allow marketers to track the entire consumer journey in and around shopping malls, right down to the product line in-store.

“KaChing has a unique dual offering; firstly, precise-based communications; and secondly, the ability for shopping mall tenants to reward loyalty to their brands by providing free parking,” added Kirsh.

Developed by patented technology that utilises license plate recognition (LPR) software to smooth the parking experience, KaChing processes more than 12,000 parking transactions per month and is currently operating in Johannesburg at Melrose Arch, Morningside Shopping Centre, Thrupps, Campus Square and the Pavilion Shopping Centre. Ten more facilities will be operational soon across Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

“Our technology is an excellent example of disruptive technology brought to market to improve the parking experience in a mature industry,” said Jaco Marais co-founder and Managing Director of KaChing. ”Tritech Media positions KaChing to further disrupt this industry with the potential of hassle-free parking for brand-loyal consumers and location-relevant brand advertising. Tritech Media represents a myriad of proven technologies thereby providing an attractive platform for further development”.

After the deal, the remainder of shares in KaChing are held by the founders and Servest, the largest black-owned facilities management company in Africa. William Kirsh will join the board of KaChing.

Servest Parking handles parking management in 8 countries across Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi and Zambia, managing 85,000 parking bays and handling 250,000 cars parking a day.

SOURCE: techmoran

MTN SA’s Margins Leap Higher

Margins at MTN South Africa have shown strong improvement in the third quarter, the telecommunications group said in a statement to shareholders on Monday.

Revenue improved by 3.6% quarter on quarter, while margins — measured using Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation And Amortization — expanded by more than two percentage points, the group said.

“MTN South Africa expects to maintain this improvement in EBITDA margin in the fourth quarter,” it said.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) increased by 10.4% quarter on quarter. The improvements come after MTN hiked contract tariffs on 1st August.

The improvements came despite a “marginal” decline in subscribers of 0.5% quarter on quarter to 29.7million. There was a 0.7% decline in the prepaid subscriber base to 24.5million, which it blamed on churn from low revenue-generating customers.

The post-paid subscriber base increased by 0.7% to 5.2million as a result of an “improved customer experience, network quality, segmented customer offerings and attractive price plans”, it said.

Data revenue increased by 15.1% year on year and contributed 34.4% to total revenue. This was driven by increased volumes of high-denomination data bundles sold and attractive digital offerings. “The increase in the number of smartphones and improvements made on the network also contributed to data revenue growth.”

The number of smartphones on the network increased by 9.3% year on year to 9.2million.

MTN said that during the third quarter, the group embarked on a “material transformation project”, focusing initially on its key operations of Nigeria and South Africa.

“A dedicated transformation office was established to drive this transformation to maximize revenue growth, enable a distinct customer experience and ensure operational efficiencies, including concerted initiatives to drive optimal return on investment, with hard targets set for the next 12, 18 and 24 months,” it said.

“Operations are expected to deliver the first results on clearly defined targets in the first half of 2017.”

Source: Techcentral

Ugandan Student Develops Handheld Ultrasound Scan to Reduce Maternal Deaths

An innovative IT student from Makerere University, Stephen Tashobya, has developed a hand held scanning device that monitors the conditions of foetus in a bid to reduce maternal deaths.

The device, christened Wekebere, uses a combination of algorithms and data from sensors to analyze and release results as per the condition of the foetus. According to Tashobya, who is the lead developer in the project, Wekebere has been found to be 95 percent effective when its results are pitted against the Lab tests.

The device, which is the size of a smart phone, is connected to a belt which is worn around the belly by the expectant mother. The device power button is turned on and then the device indicates detection of the belt before the analysis is carried out. If the condition of the foetus is normal, the device will indicate with a green light. If there is any abnormality detected, the device will indicate red with a text notification of abnormal conditions on its screen.

Tashobya noted that because their prototype is still in the preliminary stages, the results acquired is then forwarded to the doctor for further analysis on the disease or cause for abnormal conditions which in most cases has been poor positioning of the foetus and the common diseases like malaria. With more funding, the team of five will be able to scale up the innovation to also detail the specifics of the abnormality involved. “However at this stage, our innovation has been able to alert women especially in the remote areas about their status,” noted Tashobya.

The innovation is currently funded under Makerere Resilient project. The prototype has cost the team about UGX8 million. The team expects to roll it on a massive scale in December 2016 after going through the hurdle of detecting the sex and age of the foetus. “Currently we are working round the clock to also include the age and sex of the baby as part of what Wekebere can detail in the check up,” added Tashobya.

The breakthrough and commercialization of Wekebere will be a gift to many families in Uganda where ultrasound scans for expectant mothers are not only expensive but also not readily available. Clinics and hospitals offering this service are few and a preserve to a few privileged mostly urban households. Tashobya noted that their technology will be affordable as it will cost five times less than the current fee for ultrasound scans.
Source: Biztechafrica