Across the world, technology has played a critical role in improving people’s lives. Continued technological inventions and innovations have drastically changed how people live, what they do and how they do it.
Technology and innovations have affected nearly everything, giving new shape to the old (designs and tools) by redefining their appearance and ability.
One striking factor about technology is how fast it spreads and gets adopted, how quick it transforms things with ease and causes excitement with a nearly instant downward shift in prices of commodities that were hitherto deemed expensive or unaffordable.
The expansive upgrading of computer and mobile phones-based systems adds allure to what technology can do to productive sectors of the economy such as agriculture and tourism, mining and fisheries among others.
In agriculture alone, there have been drastic improvements due to improved animal breeds and quality seeds, better storage facilities, better and easier avenues of marketing. Farmers have better pesticides, fertilizers and improved (mobile-phone) extension services that lead to higher yields.
Despite these strides it is encouraging that there is a lot more that can be done through creativity that can lead to even better technological breakthroughs in the future in all sectors beyond agriculture.
Today, money transfer services are available in nearly every village in Kenya and have transformed Kenyans lives in great ways.
Mobile banking services have made it possible for people to save and loan with their handsets in the comfort of their homes.
There have also been remarkable increases in foreign remittances due to ease of transfer of mobile money. Electronic purchasing and payment for goods have equally improved transactions, dyminisfied performance, made it easier accounting for funds among individuals and micro-enterprises.
The rolling out of the Kenya Inter-participant Transactions Switch (KITS) money transfer system by Kenyan banks will take the already competitive industry to higher levels in 2018.
The design of online bus ticket booking systems are promoting sanity in the road-transport sector and other saccos should adopt to such innovations.
The marking of national examinations that traditionally took several months can now be done within weeks and with greater levels of accuracy.
Following a recent upsurge in road accidents, computer simulations should inform road designs before construction is done.
The development of mobile applications such as Mimba Bora that provides ideal services to expectant mothers as would in clinics and the Anti-FGM application by five Kisumu girls that aims at ending female genital mutilation and even more frugal innovation of the steam cooking jiko that is eco-friendly among others are all laudable cases.
Given the diverse ways in which technology affects our lives, it is important to support new innovations. Increasing centres for technology training across the country will make identification of talents easier.
Diversification of internet and mobile services providers should be given space to thrive. It is important that identification of innovators and patenting of their innovations is done with speed and efficiently so that innovators’ intellectual rights are protected.
Pastoralist communities can embrace technology thereby bettering their livelihoods and livestock. Animals can be assigned GPS identifies that will make it easier for owner to trace lost herds. Technology as an enabler can also be an agent of peace. However, more stringent measures against cybercrime should be advocated for.
Obed Nyangena, Nairobi