Technological advancement has permeated all facets of daily life to extents not imaginable before. Embracing technology has become the norm in most sectors. Visit the manufacturing sector, schools, banking and other sectors and you will realize how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has transformed the workplace. In the manufacturing industry, ICT has been employed through SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) to man the many processes that take place in a plant. Telecommunications enables remote access and monitoring of unmanned stations. The beauty of all this is that the fault is detected quickly and the perquisite remedy can be administered expeditiously.
With ICT, e-marketing/e-commerce is possible. There are many online stores where one only requires the internet to connect to the store through a website to order and pay for a good or service and wait for delivery. This coupled with the advent of smart phones; one doesn’t require having a computer to accomplish this transaction. Our phones have evolved to be able to function as computers. We use them to access the worldwide web and to do some basic computer functions like word processing. Information flow to the populace is faster than it used to be when people solely depended on newspapers, radios and TVs for news. With ICT, applications have been developed that enable us view real-time information on our smart phones and even react to such news whenever feedback is sort from the consumer.
Computer programming has given birth to a number of applications that we employ every day in our lives. Take the case of M-PESA and other financial management tools that are in the market today, they have changed the face of banking and money transfer. Unlike in the past where banks were the only common agents in financial matters: savings, salary payments, loans; most banks nowadays have collaborated with these money transfer companies to reach more customers. Mobility and availability of networks for the cell phones has played a key role in embracing this technology that has transformed the lives of all, more so the rural folk. Mama Mboga can run her business efficiently without worrying where to save her monies. M-PESA agents are everywhere. Cashless transactions in super markets, hotels, airlines, petrol stations are made possible with the introduction of electronic cards (Credit Cards) which are linked with people’s bank accounts for debiting and crediting purposes. Carrying cash around invites thieves you know.
Security of the country, more so in the capital city has improved significantly due to integration of ICT in surveillance. The installation of CCTV cameras on the major thoroughfares of the city by the government has reduced mugging, burglary and kidnappings. Businesspersons feel secure while trading even late in the night.
Security in the home is advancing thanks to ICT. We can use our smart phones to monitor and control what happens in our homes when we are out. Biometrics is also applied to access secure and sensitive locations. ICT is also applied in the tracking of goods and securing of vehicles. This reduces chances and incidences of thefts.
Governments in a bid to serve the citizenry quickly and efficiently, have embraced ICT through e-government, e-procurement etc. Most services from the government are offered digitally through the web. Applying for HELB, NTSA driver’s licence, Certificate of good conduct, admission into Universities and colleges is faster and cheaper through the online platform. Payments for these services through money transfer services as M-PESA simplifies the processes. The Kenyan government is also rolling out fibre network connectivity that is supposed to quicken the speeds at which these services are rendered.
Fibre to the home / business is also key in transforming the society. Most people will be able to access the Internet at great speeds and services like cable TV will be a reality. E-learning, blogging, online freelancing are some areas people will venture into to improve themselves and as side hustles.
HUDUMA Centers are a means to move services to the people. Every County in this country has at least such a center to give basic services closer to the people.
Companies, Institutions and individuals have taken advertising away from the paper as was the old practice. Online presence is a must for a serious company or any individual with a brand to sell. There are numerous websites on the Internet, some advertising services and goods, others giving us information on a myriad of issues. With online presence, reaching these companies is made easy and getting relevant information about one is quick. Through these websites, the unemployed can check for available vacancies in these companies. They often advertise the opportunities they have on their websites.
Laptop to schools, an initiative by the Jubilee Government is a stride in the right direction. The time to embrace technology in learning is now in spite of the challenges to be overcome. We cannot afford to remain behind while others move forward. Creating digital content and the right infrastructure is an expensive venture which must be undertaken. Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) is given the responsibility of producing digital content to be used in schools. Storing of this content is cheaper than building libraries.
With ICT, learning is fun and healthy thanks to projectors and digital boards. The era of chalk in the classroom is fading away. The portability of laptops and phones makes studying easier as people can read on the go; while travelling, away from the classroom and library.
The flipside of technology change is that it has somewhat killed the reading culture in the country. Most people, most times, are absorbed in their phones chatting and sharing things that do not build them intellectually. On the social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp posting of images is their bane. Other people use the platform to propagate propaganda and dent other people’s characters.
Hackers are not asleep, and every minute one is trying to gain access to a secured system just for the fun of it or to cause mayhem. Computer viruses are created to attack computers. These threats are real and ways and means to thwart them must be put in place. This adds extra cost to the system by purchasing other pieces of software (antivirus) to offer protection. Identity theft and swindling is also a common crime that technology has visited upon us. Betting is another phenomenon that ICT has intensified in Kenya; this has brought fortune and penury in equal measure to the gamblers. The government should regulate it if not illegalized. With good laws and legislations, serious crimes and threats around cyber security and online dangers can be handled.