Meet iCow! the best African Mobile Apps

More than ever before, technology is transforming Africa and unlocking its potential. As the rest of the world leapfrogs in technological innovation, African software developers are doing the same. They’re creating ground-breaking, cutting-edge mobile technologies to solve African problems in communities closest to them. The Best African Mobile Apps will be a regular feature in which I will profile the best mobile apps from Africa – just like iCow.

In 2010 the U.S Department of State sponsored Apps 4 Africa,  an East African regional competition designed to highlight the talent of local developers and to leverage the power of mobile technology to help solve some of Africa’s most nagging problems. The region has a lot of savvy developers and tech geeks, so as expected, several hundred applications flowed in.

The winning App was iCow- the world’s first mobile phone cow calendar!

So, what is iCow?

iCow is an SMS (text message) and voice-based mobile phone application for small-scale dairy farmers in Kenya.  It’s something of a virtual veterinary midwife, helping farmers track the estrus stages of their cows, while giving them valuable tips on cow breeding, animal nutrition, milk production efficiency and gestation. Each text message costs about 10 Kenyan shillings, or 10 U.S. cents.

According to iCow’s website, the app “Prompts farmers on vital days of cows gestation period; helps farmers find the nearest vet and AI providers;  collects and stores farmer milk and breeding records and sends farmers best dairy practices.” The text messages and voice prompts are sent to customers within the 365-day cow cycle, and the app is designed to run on both low-end and high-end mobile phones.

Customers use social networks, mobile devices, Web sites and influencers to make buying decisions today. These businesses must connect to these customers where and how they prefer to buy to be successful. At the same time, they need to make sure they have the means of effectively managing their supplier and trading partner network to ensure they have the products at the right time and place to meet this new customer demand.

Quote from Craig Hayman, General Manager, IBM Industry Solutions, found at IBM Unveils Smarter Commerce Software and Services Offerings

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. This unprecedented urbanization is both an emblem of our economic and societal progress, and a huge strain on the planet’s infrastructure. Thankfully, help is at hand; around the world, intelligence is being infused into the way our cities work.

Quote from IBM Press room - Smarter Cities Santiago
IBM on Tuesday announced a pact with Intuit for an integrated server that’s designed to be a small to midsized business IT department in a box. The appliance, dubbed the Smart Cube, is designed to offer e-mail, calendaring, security, finance, and other enterprise apps out of the box. (via IBM launches ‘Smart Cube’ with app store | CNET News)

IBM on Tuesday announced a pact with Intuit for an integrated server that’s designed to be a small to midsized business IT department in a box. The appliance, dubbed the Smart Cube, is designed to offer e-mail, calendaring, security, finance, and other enterprise apps out of the box. (via IBM launches ‘Smart Cube’ with app store | CNET News)

IBM Innovation Discovery: Collaborating With Clients

Innovation Discovery is a unique experience IBM engages in with select clients who share our desire to pursue growth opportunities together. In collaborative working sessions, your company and ours gather our brightest thinkers and senior leaders to explore topics of mutual interest, and share our unique capabilities. Then we roll up our sleeves to define a new technology solution, an innovative business model, a breakthrough service, the Next Big Thing.

"This video is mind blowing. Well, for Dharmendra S. Modha, manager of cognitive computing at the IBM Almaden Research Center, his job is mind developing. Er, coming up with a computing brain that mimics our own. This is a HUGE challenge and he talks about all the people and organizations that IBM is working with to make this happen.” (Scobleizer TV on Fast Company)