What is Africa IoT & AI Challenge and Why It Matters?
Africa IoT & AI Challenge is a regional capacity-building and pre-incubation program for Senior University Students and Startups that have innovative ideas in the areas of Internet of Things (IoT) & Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related fields to enable and leverage a smart future. The challenge is not just a competition, it’s a digital transformation movement, that’s why it delivers training and workshops to the participants and provides them with all the needed support. After the training, participants compete in local finals, then winners from each country get qualified to the regional finals to compete for the African title.
The challenge is co-organized by several national and international partners like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with its dedicated society for Technology and Engineering Management (IEEE TEMS), and different universities, corporates and governmental entities in Africa. The program unites the resources and experiences of the organizers and their respective partners to avail all the required materials, mentors and expertise to the participating projects.
Neither the Internet of Things (IoT) nor the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in general are new; tech companies and pundits have been discussing the idea for decades, until the first internet-connected toaster was unveiled at a conference back in 1989. Although the concept wasn't named until 1999, IoT has been in development for the past years. For example, the Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s. The programmers could connect to the machine over the internet, check the status of the machine and determine whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip down to the machine!
Although most of the countries in Africa are still struggling on different levels, they are trying to step up in the technology and development fields as a means to fight poverty and health issues, especially after the pandemic outbreak in 2020. Building technical capabilities and youth capacity in Industry 4.0 will help develop the continent infrastructure and save its next generations. The Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are mainly a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. It is a mindset transformation with endless opportunities and sky-passing potential.