Gumzo, which is the Swahili word for chatting is the name of the new video conferencing app.
The app comes to the rescue of many teachers and business owners who have been paying a high price on other foreign platforms.
After the Kenyan government closed all learning institutions due to Covid-19, many school administrators started exploring video conferencing.
The developers, Usiku Games were also hit by the pandemic. Some of their programmers had to work from home.
Innovation and creativity in the midst of a crisis
The effects of the pandemic have not spared mobile app developers in Kenya. However, the crisis has stirred up creativity as we are all now witnessing with the new app.
Schools needed to keep their students engaged and learning during the crisis.
The need is still there because of the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
Business owners need a solution to keep their remote workers engaged until it is safe to work from the office again.
The effects are worse for companies with many workers and limited office space.
Most people have been relying on Zoom and WhatsApp videos to communicate. Skype has always been a great tool for video conferences.
However, the greatest challenge is in hosting many people in one meeting for a long period.
Zoom offers free meetings at the beginning and then charges for subsequent meetings depending on the duration.
It is expensive for companies and learning institutions that require video conferences daily.
Google also jumped into the trend and allowed Gmail account owners to host meetings.
In short, every developer saw the opportunity in the sudden call for employees to work from home.
The prediction is that the trend is likely to continue in the future. Employees may prefer to continue working from home after it has proved effective.
Many entrepreneurs did not know they could run their businesses from home until the crisis started.
With a reliable delivery service or app, many businesses can run well with fewer employees working from the office.
Accessibility and Affordability
The video conferencing app is free to host up to 100 participants for a maximum of 40 minutes.
Users can host as many meetings as necessary but within the time limit. One to one meetings are unlimited.
The Pro subscription is priced at $14.99 per month. It is limited to 100 participants but allows a meeting duration of 24 hours.
Gumzo is offering a video conferencing service at $1 per week. It simply does not get better than that!
Joining the service is free but you need to pay if you want to host meetings.
This means if the business owners or teacher can pay the $1 per week, the rest will join in the meetings and learn or build the business at no cost.
Another amazing feature that Usiku Games included in the app is the compatibility with all smartphones.
Many Africans still have older versions of smartphones with limited memory.
Gumzo is web-based, which means that it is accessible on all mobile devices including tablets and PCs.
Some businesses still use desktops to manage their operations.
The video conferencing app gives them the same opportunity as those equipped with laptops and tablets to hold video conferences at a cheap rate.
Need for Speed in innovation
The coronavirus has been in Africa for about 3 months now. It has disrupted business and learning in the most affected countries.
Kenya is among the countries whose business landscape was thoroughly disrupted by curfews and quarantines in major cities.
The number of new cases may be rising but judging from other countries, the wave of Covid-19 will soon be over.
It may take several weeks or months for some sectors to open up but the return to normalcy is soon coming.
One of the greatest lessons for mobile app developers and programmers in Kenya has been innovation in times of crisis.
A good idea is never enough. You need an equally good execution strategy.
In times of a crisis, you need speed as well.
Usiku Games are known for video games. However, the developers saw the need for an affordable tool to simplify remote working and online learning.
The programmers came up with the app within 8 weeks.
Such a fast development process is impressive but necessary when taking advantage of a passing opportunity.
Covid-19 will pass and may never be an issue after the medical practitioners come up with vaccines.
The question is, have you learnt how to adapt and identify opportunities in a crisis?
Innovation across the globe
When the crisis began in China and other Asian countries, developers started coding apps that would trace Covid-19 patients’ whereabouts.
In short, you could tell with an app how far you are from the location of a confirmed Covid-19 case.
The apps were working until countries went into partial and total lockdowns to flatten the curve of the pandemic.
Even with such measures, innovation was still necessary. The World Health Organization has recently released two Covid-19 apps.
WHO Academy App provides health workers across the globe with all the information they need when handling Covid-19 patients.
Many deaths were reported from the frontline workers and WHO responded with an app.
WHO Info App provides the public with accurate information and statistics about the pandemic.
We have also witnessed innovation in the field of logistics. Delivery app owners have had to scale up their services and operations to meet the growing demand.
E-commerce apps like Jumia have also increased their product range to include essential items like groceries.
Businesses that previously relied on human resources are exploring technologies such as apps, digital marketing, and e-commerce platforms to build and maintain customer relationships.
The Covid-19 crisis has been a perfect opportunity for all programmers and mobile app developers in Kenya to innovate. Gumzo is enough proof that African developers have the skills necessary to build competitive products.
While you think of innovation, think about the global competitiveness of your solution. The crisis has hit all nations and hence solutions are needed in every country.