Is Working at Home the Future?

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In recent days Nairobi has found itself in a wet weather situation, and when it rains, it pours. There is something I have never understood about this city, things almost get to a stand still when it rains. We have seen crazy traffic in the morning and evenings, some commuters getting home in the. Middle of the night.

Last Thursday I called a friend of mine at 10am, she answered the phone in bed. She stretched and from a distance I had the bed crack, (I know she needs a new bed) but that is besides the point. We talked for a few seconds, and suddenly she was confirming what we were talking about on google.

If you are like me you know how cold or how warm a bed can be, it all depends with your investment. Today it poured the whole night and morning. Truth be told, the best time to have people work from their houses, just like my friend.

I have researched on a few organizations who have invested in systems that will make it easy for their employees to work remotely but still operate on a colonial mindset. Even though they have paid top dollar for the system, they imagine that you struggling to wake up in a cold wet morning, driving through a river like road and getting to work three hours later in part of your job description.

Why then would they care to have all this if its not put to work, even the United Nations still want to bus thousands of employees to Gigiri and still have programmes on reducing carbon emission.

I hope in the coming week some of you will visit the European Union office in Nairobi, which encourages people to work remotely. The boss says “don’t come to work if you don’t have shit to do” but still pays your salary at the end of the month.

But I will not end without saying this, if your work is cutting Kidero grass on Uhuru highways….and I say this with a lot of love, you gotta get to that shit. But if you are they guy posting how grass is being cut on Uhuru highway on the Governor’s FB page, that shit you can do it without leaving your bed. If you think people can not work while in bed, ask my friend, stretching in bed at 10am on a Thursday, she picked my call, she checked it on google and we were in business.

Before she hang-up she said she will mpesa 6 grants, am still waiting.

But there are a whole host of other benefits to home working, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective. Below, we look at the seven reasons why home working is the future.

1. Reduction in commuting time

Not only is commuting often stressful and unpleasant, it also take up time that could otherwise be spent working or doing something else productive.

Employees who can work from home will also spend less money on petrol or train fares, which may give them less of an incentive to ask for a salary boost to cover travel expenses.

2. More productivity

Many people who work from home claim to be more productive because they’re not in a loud environment or distracted by co-workers.

In fact, according to a Canada Life survey, homeworkers rank their productivity as 7.7/10, compared with 6.5/10 for office workers.

A spokesperson for employment agency Reed said: “There are some obvious advantages of working from home that you’ve probably heard before – avoid the nightmare commute, work in your PJs – but the benefits go beyond that.

“Working from home can really help to increase your productivity, as the absence of office distractions makes it easier to keep your head down and actually get your work done.”

3. Fewer sick days

The survey also found, unsurprisingly, that home workers took fewer days off sick than those based in the office.

Employees working in an office took on average 3.1 days of sick leave last year, whilst homeworkers only took 1.8 sick days, Canada Life found.

That’s because employees who have a cold or are mildly sick can still get work done at home, while office workers are more inclined to take the entire day off to avoid leaving the comfort of their home.

In addition, the better work-life balance means workers are less likely to get ill in the first place because their stress levels are typically lower.

While the benefits of working at home are endless, I have only picked a few, am sure out there depending on what you do, you will find it beneficial working at home or if you are an employer, or if you are an employee.

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East Africa Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing Summit Held in Nairobi.

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Is East Africa ready to unlock the big data value? This was the big question that engaged the crowd of Tech experts that converged at the Strathmore Business School for this years East Africa Big Data and Cloud Computing Summit.

A couple of years back, the mantra “Content is king” ruled every aspect of innovation. We are now in an era where the trending terms are big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) and the new mantra is “Big data is king”.

Big data describes the massive volumes of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that organisations can mine or analyse to gain insights which they can then use to enhance operational and strategic decision making, (If your Data can fit on a spreadsheet, its not Big Data). The sheer amount of data demands cost-effective and innovative ways to process information and make sense of it. That is where machine learning and AI come into the picture.

By effectively harnessing the power of big data, Kenya, and Africa, could drive massive productivity gains, cost savings and even new business models in sectors such as government, health, insurance and transport.

The East Africa Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing Summit was born out of a much-needed opportunity to unite the data and analytics players and potential end-users of their expertise.

The event was scheduled for May 2nd and 3rd, 2018 at the Radisson Blu, Nairobi, Kenya, but we had last minute change of venus as the day approached and the two day event being shrunk to one day. The event featured 10+ industry expert keynote presentations, 12 panel discussions, covering a wide range of topics including Big data analytics, Machine learning techniques, Predictive modeling and analytics, Data security, Data mining, Cloud computing and Cyber security.

Industry players like Safaricom, where at hand to shade more light on how they have managed to create a data centre, their challenges and achievements and how they have continued to keep it working and more importantly secure. Safaricom and Equity group were louded to be the leading organizations in working towards the realization of millenium development goals – something that many Kenyans have forgotten.

Industry were encouraged to come up with mechanism that allows Telcos to disclose statistics that can be used to show trends and the need to close the gaps, while engaging in public participation in policies.

Check Point through their country manager Kendi Nderitu, put emphasis on security to enable the success of Big Data and Cloud Computing. Security involves everyone, whether the Cloud service provider or the user, security should be a priority at all levels. Gone are the days when the subject of security used to come last in a discussion when considering cloud services, now its top on the agenda.

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The internet in Africa has become more affordable and accessible to the masses. Kenya is ranked as having the fastest internet speeds in the continent, according to the ‘State of the Internet Connectivity Report’ by Akamai 2017 quarter one report.

Having the right infrastructure, capacity and security to innovate and explore these technology trends is crucial.

However, in Kenya, in spite of all our success stories already recognised globally, we are just at the beginning of our unique ICT revolution. We are huge contributors to the “Africa Rising” narrative. Let us continue to innovatively explore how we can invest in these exciting future technologies which will take Kenya into its bright destiny.

JoomShaper Sponsoring JoomlaDayKE18

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Once a year, JoomlaDay Kenya brings the local Joomla community & all developers,designers,security analysts, eCommerce, tech students, and organizations to a whole day on learning, networking and interacting. Our past events have seen the total growth in the use of Joomla and the local community at large. As you probably already know, Joomla is 100% volunteer based and so are JoomlaDay’s. 100% of the cost of the event is covered by sponsors, low-priced ticket sales and donations.

This year we would like a announce our Gold sponsor, JoomShaper. JoomShaper is the home of beautifully crafted unique Joomla templates and highly functional extensions along with award winning drag and drop SP Page Builder for you to create your dream website in minutes.

JoomShaper has a long-standing tradition of supporting Joomla events with sponsorships, promotions and in many other ways. They have been doing this from their strong intent on accelerating open source software innovation and grow the Joomla community to improve the entire web experience.

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank JoomShaper, for commiting to support this event and we are confident that their support will go a long way in ensuring we have a successful event. To find more about this event, please go to www.http://joomladay.or.ke

Kigali Hosts the Sixth CMS Africa Summit.

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Kigali went live last week as it hosted the sixth edition of CMS Africa summit. CMS Africa is an organisation that champions the use of technology (open source) to change the way we develop economies. The Summit brings together both global and Africa based speakers and delegates. It is a premier event that host tech business owners, tech innovators, and experts in the area of web & mobile design, e-commerce solutions, online business, and online exchange. In terms of delegate attendance, the summit attracts web & mobile designers, bloggers, e-commerce & online stores builders.

The last event was held in Abuja Nigeria, which is west of Africa where the decision to take this event in East Africa was agreed. Kigali, being an upcoming tech hub it was chosen to host the event in 2018. Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda, the city is built in hilly country, sprawling across about four ridges and the valleys in between. The city centre is on one of these ridges, with the main government area on another. The summit was held at the Marriott Hotel located on KN 3 avenue, three blocks from where the president lives.

Being part of the organisation of this summit, I must say we always marry the high and the low when organising this event. We started on a good note on this one, we had sponsors coming in really early and this gave us hope for a successful event. On the other hand we overlooked the fact that Kigali is an expensive city, more expensive than the other previous cities. Kigali City is generally regarded as having the highest cost of living, an argument vindicated by food and electricity charges, so the few weeks before the event faced us with a heavy deficit and most of it at the hotel where the event was being held. Just when we were about to give up, a couple of sponsors jumped in the deep end with us and we were airborne.

The event getting the blessings of the Rwanda development board attracted local and international speakers from content management systems organisations. WordPress were sponsoring the event for the sixth year, four years as title sponsors. Joomla on the other hand coming in big for the second year in gold sponsorship, together with smart Africa, Rwanda convention bureau and Joomshaper. Akeeba, WooCommerce and Techjoomla came in to sponsor our two day meals while SnowDog and Compound 55 coming in as media sponsors. SnowDog sponsored our cmsafricaApp for the fifth year. Our supporting partners were I&M Bank-Kigali, Typo3, Webstar – Uganda and Ricta. Our also partnered with government agencies, Rwanda convention bureau and Rwanda ICT Chamber and tech Hubs in Kigali.

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The event kicked off on Thursday, with a pre-event at the KLab, with Joomla, WordPress, Typo3 and KQ all getting time to speak to the members and answer their questions. This was an interactive three hour session with Joomla being represented by Abdulkadir Shehu, Fred Abu and myself. We later went downtown for lunch to experience the local food. The event itself was opened on the 16th March, by Arnold Kwizera the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Kigali Communications Associates, a PR Firm based in Kigali, Rwanda. Arnold has a keen interest in the role and impact of media in today’s society. He was followed by a keynote by Alex Ntare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda ICT Chamber. Alex work involves bridging the gap between private and public sector players in the ICT industry as well as overseeing and establishing new innovation centres for technology startups among them KLAB, Fablab Rwanda and a new Applied Research Labs.

The big the content management systems Joomla! and WordPress sent four speakers each with Joomla! taking it higher with two french speakers. Rwanda has been a french speaking country until recently when the east African community became active again and they so the need to align themselves with the common language of the region, english and swahili.

A good number of Rwandese still speak French, including Kevin, our driver, who’s service we really enjoyed. We lived 11km from the city in a place called Ribero, which is translated as the summit in english. Yes it was on the top of the hill, here all the team from Joomla was housed. The view was to die for, there was good energy in the house with Kenya, Uganda, UK, France and Belgium living together in harmony. The chef did his best on the meals and on some days we had wine and beer on the table.

The presentations were amazing on all levels. Job Thomas, in his presentation “Mu Kinyarwanda” started with practicing a few words he had learnt in Kinyarwanda which excited the audience. Then he went ahead to take them through how translations for WordPress core, themes and plugins work as a community project and how you can get involved.

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The other key presentation was by Daniel Homorodean is CEO of Arxia, a web development agency from Romania which works with TYPO3. Introducing Typo3 as the enterprise CMS and the community around it, he gave an overview on how best to take advantage of the community while using Typo3 and your CMS of choice. Daniel is organising the “TYPO3 East Europe” International Conference each year since 2013. As a member of the international TYPO3 Association, Daniel is involved in the effort of expanding the TYPO3 community internationally.

On day two, Kuba Zwolinski from Snowdog in his third appearance to the Summit talked about eCommerce in Africa. He presents Africa as a continent really ripe for eCommerce and Magento enterprise as the tool. He guided the audience on Magento, with  a global ecosystem of 150,000 developers and a network of 300+ highly-trained solution partners, Magento boosts your online sales while maximising gross margins.

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That afternoon we had two Joomla! keynotes, Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall, Joomla! as one – going deep on Joomla! as a CMS of choice and the community that is behind and supports Joomla! He encouraged all the CMSs present on the need to work together in protecting CMS ecosystems. He also emphasised on the need to have more volunteers to the Joomla! project. This was Rowan’s second international trip since she was elected President of Open Source Matters.

Her keynote was later followed by Abdulkadir Shehu, who is really involved in evangelising Joomla! to his local community in Kaduna Nigeria. His emphasis was as the rate of unemployment has continued to skyrocket, youths and young entrepreneurs need to get themselves empowered with necessary skills to help them become self reliant. Joomla Skills for example, will be a game changer for many youths in Africa as it will open the doors of opportunities especially in the online environment.

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The other speakers were Daniel Dubois from France, Marc Dechevre from Belgium, Joel Mbugua from Kenya, Joseph Wabwire from Uganda, Luminus Alabi from Nigeria Sarah Semack from USA among others. Joomla also had the first certification exam where two people were certified. We would like to congratulate those who were certified and to encourage those who did not manage for their courage and dedication to Joomla! As the event came to a close, we assembled for a cocktail party which came with music, dancing and Fred who was at the counter…….keeping the beers rolling.

The event was a successful, we took a big leap this year and we are grateful for the support we have gotten from sponsors, partners and participants. We thank the speakers who volunteered to submit their topics and covered their cost of travel to be at this event. We thank the major CMS sponsors for taking part in this conference, Joomla! WordPress, Magento and Typo3, thank you for believing and supporting this event.

Open “Thank You” to Our Sponsors.

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Those who have actually received a sponsorship from an organization probably know how difficult it must have been to convince those organizations that the sponsorship was completely worth the cause it was sponsoring. Only after several sponsorship requests, pleas, and meetings, is it usually possible to get someone to sponsor your cause. As such, when the event that was sponsored turns out to be a success, the least you can do is thank the sponsor for making it possible.

Appreciating the value of a sponsorship and the gesture itself is extremely important. It also makes the sponsor feel like she/he has contributed to a worthy cause, and you can be assured that she/he will at least consider another sponsorship in the future, whenever needed by you. We have just had a wonderful weekend in Kigali for #cmsafrica18 summit. The event, with the support of Rwandan government, sponsors, partners and all who attended was a great success.

In this regard, a “thank you” to our sponsors are in order, if not for them, it would have been difficult if not impossible to have this event. Our title sponsors, Automattic, you have been with us for the last five years, you have been consistent in your support to this event. You have always been willing to do more, sending speakers and giveaways that have always brought the much needed swag to the event. We thank you for your commitment to this event, we thank you for your commitment in sponsoring.

Open Source Matters/Joomla! We have enjoyed your support for many events and it’s really humbling that this year you made a really big commitment to be part of this event. You came in big, with Gold sponsorship and the wonderful bags for the participants. You also send speakers from all over the world to speak in this event, you have made us proud and you made the event proud.

Snowdog, for five years you have commited to do our event app, this app has saved us the cost we would have incurred in printing the programmes in all our events. You have been a great partner to our event, bringing the technological value and advice on how well to organize an international event, we really appreciate the support.

Joomshaper, smart africa, akeeba and techjoomla, your sponsorship for meals enabled to really take care of the needs of the attendees. This enabled them to keep their focus on what they were learning at the time. Your support enabled us to serve excellent meals to our attendees. We thank you for your commitment, and your support.

To those who gave us their support, Compound55 – committing to cover our event in real time, posting all the pictures online and making them available to the attendees free of charge. We have benefited from your expertise. Typo3 for supporting us for this event, you send a speaker to make sure that in this event you were represented and we are really greatful. I&M Bank – Kigali, Webstar Ltd – Uganda, ricta for your logistical support, the government agencies, Rwanda ICT chamber, Rwanda convention Bureau and the Rwanda development board, thanks for believing in as and for your partnership.

And to the tech hub, kLab for providing the platform for the pre-event, Journal Rw, Impact hub Rwanda and Thomas Fort, you have continued to champion the use of technology and provided a space to those who are doing the same. Great is your support.

This event would not have been a success without the generous support you have provided us throughout. We deeply appreciate the willingness with which you have and continue to sponsor the summit. We sincerely hope that this association will be maintained and that you will continue to support us in our future endeavors.

Our next event will be in Cape Town, South Africa, and we will be looking forward to seeing all of you on board. We thank you and hope that we have also played a part in your business growth.

 

Beautiful Green City Kigali.

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The last time I was in Kigali I was traveling to South Africa. I topped for just a few minutes and made a mad dash downtown from the airport, but that’s not what I remember. What happened later is what has stuck with me for many year. My flight was to take off minutes before 12 midnight, but its was delayed without an explanation. Then the waiting arrival laung started filling up, and after my visit to the washroom, I had nowhere to seat. That night, I ended up sleeping on the cold floor till 5am when we were finally on our way to Jozi.

It’s always said that you can’t say anything bad about Kigali, but that was my worst in my travel journey. There are also things said about Rwanda and the President, things I will not talk about because being here I now know better. I have never seen a country that has a jail right inside the city, I mean the energy you use to go to the Library is the same energy they will use to send you to jail. A lot of stupid things you experience while travelling in other african countries can never be seen here.

The roads are clean, dust is minimal, the drive ways are beautiful running together with the walkways, and when night falls, its bright as day. People here are well mannered, the culture here is different, people feel safe. A friend who has always travelled for cms africa summit says that one of the reasons he feels safe in Kigali is because its a clean city. Clean it is, and so its green, in fact its so important they don’t joke with that, if you happen to crush in the big beautiful trees in a long the road you will pay a RW4 million fine, or go to jail or both.

But generally I believe Rwandans are just a polite people. They come from a really difficult past but they have managed really well to navigate the waters. Most of the people here believe that the government has their best interest at heart. They feel the impact of government’s development agenda. Rwanda is a country of 12 million people with about 2 million people living in Kigali. The unemployment is at 17% yes, am also shocked to learn. Here, it’s the Rwandan driving the economy in most areas. The ruling party here have a consortium that owns and runs most business here.

This time, it’s a wet weather, with rains arriving at a moment’s notice. In the morning a cloud arrents Kigali and make it difficult to enjoy the view from the hills in rebero a large new housing estate here in Kigali proving one of the top accomodations. The property we are staying in is very big accommodating all our team of 18 and still with more space. Booked on airbnb, Rwanda has really tapped into this technological advancement. The owner says it took him 10 years to build this place, and from what i see, it was truly a labour of love.

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There is good vibe here in Kigali. From what I have seen, the people here are very creative. Lots of nice product made in Rwanda are on display in all shops. I also paid visit to an exhibition just a few meters from the Marriott Hotel. I have loved how they have been able to fight the outside influence keeping local products thriving while partnering with foreign countries to manufacture locay. You will notice that many of the products made in Kigali world be a little expensive to an average citizen, but then I think in some way, Kigali generally is an expensive city.

My stay here will end on the 21st March, I had hoped to be here with my wife unfortunately she lost her grandmother. But am sure she would have loved it. We have our summit here the same week Rwanda is holding different conferences including the east african heads of state summit early next week. After our summit I will take time and tour Kigali and enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer.

If you are a traveller, this should be on your list, and I hope it will be as rewarding to you as ita has been to be. We keep travelling the world.

 

CMSAfricaSummit 2018 Goes to Kigali.

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Happy New Year I should say, and Welcome to CMSAfricaSummit 2018.

About CMS Africa

CMS Africa is a Non-governmental organisation that seeks to engage and support students, graduates and start-ups that deal with web applications, frameworks and platforms using open source content management systems.

CMS Africa is a collaboration and partnership between companies (directly dealing with building websites, platforms, applications, and other related professions), and universities/colleges to help build students and graduates in their passionate desires to join in the movement of uplifting the African Continent through content management systems.

Summit in Kigali

Technology has played a big role in the development of various industries, it has changed the banking sector, changed education, changed the agricultural industry, changed the entertainment world, it has restructured many businesses. The impact of technology can not be measured because it is still changing the way we do everything.

CMS Africa summit is a premier Web, Business, and Mobile event in Africa that gathers developers, E-commerce professionals, ISPs, Web administrators, Telecoms and Open Source Organisations among many others in a 2 day summit.

Supported and sponsored by multiple organisations like Open Source Matters (Joomla), Automattic (WordPress), Snowdog, Governmental Institutions in Rwanda and other respected companies. CMS Africa will be holding it’s 5th annual summit. This event will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 16th and 17th 2018. CMS Africa is organizing this in partnership with Rwanda Development Board.

Information and Communication Technology is a central engine to driving Rwanda’s transformation to a knowledge based economy, a fact Rwanda has acknowledged by allocating a budget to ICT – as a percentage of its GDP – that is at par with OECD countries.

Rwanda continues to be one of the fastest growing African countries in ICT and there are several avenues for growth for the ICT sector – from e-commerce and e-services, mobile technologies, applications development and automation to becoming a regional center for the training of top quality ICT professionals and research. A robust ICT industry can create wealth, jobs and entrepreneurs.

Rwanda emerged from the 1994 genocide that killed about 800,000 people with a severely impaired society, a traumatized populace and an economy in dire straits. Back then President Paul Kagame’s new government confronted enormous challenges at every turn: millions of refugees and displaced people to be resettled, genocide victims awaiting justice and an economy that needed restarting. Fast forward to 2011. There is much evidence that thoughtful policies are transforming an agrarian society into a sophisticated knowledge-based economy and instilling a sense of national identity and unity in Rwandans.

It is perhaps the government’s ambitious plans to transform Rwanda into a regional high-tech hub — or “Singapore of Africa” — that has fascinated many people, including sceptics. Its with this reason that Rwanda became the host of this years CMS Africa Summit.

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Implementing five reforms saw Rwanda rise 15 places in the 2018 World Bank Doing Business Report to feature in in position 41 globally.

Rwanda is 2nd on the continent behind Mauritius in the latest annual report released yesterday. The report examines the regulations and conditions that enhance or limit business conduciveness. Last year, Rwanda was ranked 56th globally.

The summit has lined up an interesting set of speakers respected in their fields from around the world. Among the 30 speakers, are Job Thomas, Gareth Allison and Sarah Semack from Automatic/WordPress, Kuba Zwolinski of Snowdog, Poland. Robert Jacobi President of OSM, Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall department head of Events at OSM / OSM Director, Yvess Hoppe Department Coordinator for Programs /OSM Director and Abdulkadir Shehu Joomla Trainer in Malaysia. Rwanda’s very own Leonel Mpfizi, Alex Ntare, Arnold Kwizera and Jack Ngari.

In the days ahead, we will be rolling out the programme of events on http://www.cmsafricasummit.org. Tickets are on sale at $21 at www.eventbrite.com and http://www.tamudeals.com. Lets meet in Kigali Rwanda in March.