East African Cloud Summit 2016 Kicks Off

Date and time: 
Fri, 2016-04-22 13:14

The East African Cloud Summit organized in collaboration with the University of Nairobi’s Innovation Lab, Computing for Development Lab (C4DLab), has kicked off with delegates from the Education, Government and Corporate Sector taking the lead in panel discussions on implementing Cloud Technology in the country.

Technology experts discussed security of data and trust of organizations in implementing Cloud technology noting through empowerment of skills and provision of information, both citizens and organizations will benefit from a cheaper, secure and effective means of accessing data.

Cloud, according to Dr. Tonny Omwansa, Director C4DLab and Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, is the technological capability to share computing resources including software, virtual storage space and computing development tools, through the internet.

The two-day summit, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation, brought together stakeholders in the technology field to deliberate the future of Cloud and constraints of its implementation.

In his key note speech, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information Communications Technology, Mr. Joe Mucheru who was represented by Victor Kyalo, Principal Secretary, Ministry of ICT, said that Nairobi is one of the counties that has already embraced Cloud Computing. Mr. Kyalo challenged institutions to advance from academic dialogues and work on enacting Cloud Computing.

Vice-Chancellor UoN, Prof. Peter Mbithi, who was represented by Prof. Timothy Waema, Associate Professor School of Computing and Informatics UoN, officially opened the summit. In his opening remarks, Prof. Mbithi said that the first East African Cloud Summit will provide an opportunity to lead in driving the agenda in the area of cloud technology. Prof. Mbithi said that the University was at the forefront in implementing technology, noting that the regional leading University had already embraced cloud technology as it had a private cloud and a community cloud provided by Kenya Education Network. The Vice-chancellor also said that the summit would assist in developing recommendations that will enable the country to effectively invest in human capital, nurture creative entrepreneurs and innovations and create cost effective infrastructure for development.

During the Cloud summit panels, the Government was urged to provide policy and regulatory framework that will inform organizations where to keep data, whether on public, private and hybrid cloud depending on data sensitivity.

Dr. Omwansa, emphasised that cloud is the future and any organization which will not integrate this technology, will remain behind.

On application of Cloud technology in education delivery, the Government can provide digital content hence having a standard quality of education accessed by all students in all counties, as well as use technology to curb examination cheating.

Sectoral case studies of cloud deployment pitched during the summit include I choose life, an organization which uses Microsoft’s Cloud Service to host its Biometric Student Management Information System. M-Kopa, an organization that provides solar-energy to over 300,000 homes in East Africa, has also implemented Cloud technology.  

In the implementation of the National Cloud Strategy Policy the Government was implored to give guidelines on the framework and policies by collaborating with regulatory bodies and the private sector, who are more informed on technological advancement. With this collaboration, then Government can effectively implement service provision closer to the people through use of Cloud.

The summit which ends on April 22, 2016, attracted twenty-five speakers from regional and international industry cloud technology experts and University of Nairobi Cloud Champions including: ICT Director UoN, Mr. Ibrahim Otieno, Prof. Timothy Waema and Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Associate Professor UoN and former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information Communications Technology.

Government and Corporate Industry Technology expert speakers were from Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, Communication Authority of Kenya, Oracle Corporation Kenya, IBM East Africa and CloudHop.

The summit takes place after the just concluded second annual Regional Academic Network on IT Policies (RANITP) organized by University of Nairobi, C4DLab, from 19-20th April 2016. RANITP discussed Africa’s readiness for Cloud Computing. Delegates from academia, government and corporate discussed the need to enhance cloud computing and security training in the country. An index to measure implementation and effectiveness of Cloud computing is currently being formulated with a team steered by Dr. Omwansa. Panelists at the 2016 Regional Academic Network themed Cloud Computing and Economic Impact also lauded Government’s technology advancement initiative in implementing digital literacy in over 22,000 primary schools. 

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Expiry Date: 
Wed, 2018-04-25 13:14

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