WHO Launches Two Apps to Curb Covid-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) remains the most reliable source of information about Covid-19. The organization may have handled the highest numbers of visitors to its website since the crisis started.

A website is good enough to keep us updated. However, WHO has introduced two mobile apps to keep both health care workers and the public informed.

The move confirms the advice that app developers in Kenya give to potential clients. You can do well with a website or online store. A mobile app makes it even easier and faster to connect with your clients.

Let us look at the apps.

WHO Academy App

Everyone has been crying out for the health workers and WHO heard the cry. While everyone is safely locked at home, healthcare workers must go out and fight the disease.

Even with the best of protective kits, some of the workers have lost their lives while fighting Covid-19.

The death rates are high in countries with limited kits and knowledge about handling patients with the disease.

In Kenya, for example, some of the confirmed cases are of nurses who handled what they thought were normal patients.

The WHO Academy app provides health workers with vast knowledge resources.

Workers have access to much-needed tools and training to protect themselves while giving the best care to infected patients.

The app also provides up-to-the-minute guidance to workers. Think about the convenience of real-time support when handling Covid-19 patients.

The best part of it is that the same information and guidance are available to all health workers around the world.

Health care systems in every country can cross-check their practices with the guidelines to determine if they are handling the disease in the right manner.

The number of new cases has been increasing since the pandemic started.

Accurate and timely information to frontline workers is necessary to reverse the trend or flatten the curve as they call it.

WHO conducted a survey in March 2020 involving 20,000 health workers from all parts of the globe. The purpose was to identify the unique and unmet needs during the crisis.

About two-thirds of the participants felt that they needed more knowledge on protection and prevention.

The majority cited the need for on-demand learning. In response, WHO put the knowledge together for the workers in the new Academy App.

Here is a quick lesson. Even with the obvious need to equip healthcare workers, WHO still conducted a survey to determine their needs.

Before engaging app developers in Kenya, it is important to do your survey to identify the real needs in the market.

With such an approach, you will end up with a solution that solves real problems.

WHO Info App

Equipping health care workers is not enough to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The public needs accurate information to prevent the spread of the disease.

Most of the countries that have suffered the worst effects of the disease ignored safety measures at the beginning.

Where accurate information is unavailable, the public relies on whatever news they can find.

Instead of relying on mainstream media, WHO Info App provides the latest Covid-19 news on mobile.

Millions of people with smartphones can now follow new developments concerning the crisis.

The issue of vaccines and treatment methods has raised controversies everywhere.

Scientists differ on the best way to treat the disease with some claiming to know the right vaccines.

WHO will use the Info app to update the public on the recommended treatment methods and vaccines.

Such information will curb the ever-rising anxiety about finding a reliable cure.

The information on the latest cases, the number of deaths, and recoveries is organised in countries.

WHO has also given timelines for the data. The promise is to keep the data updated based on its official streams.

Using Technology to Fight Covid-19 in Africa

App developers in Kenya and other countries in Africa have introduced innovative ways to curb Covid-19.

WHO predicted that the cases in Africa could grow from thousands into millions.

While many doubt the accuracy of such predictions, innovators have been working to ensure that the cases do not rise to such levels.

Safaricom Limited has been intensifying its campaigns for its customers to use Mpesa payments instead of cash as a preventive measure.

Mpesa integration Muva

Both Airtel and Mpesa have waivered transfer fees for inter-person money transfer.

Other innovators like Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled have introduced alternatives to mobile money transfer.

The two introduced Chipper Cash in 2018 to enable users transfer money across Africa.

You must have come across a Chipper cash ad during this crisis.

Governments have been using social media alongside mainstream media to spread information about the coronavirus.

Technology has also enabled business owners to continue running their operations.

The demand for courier services has increased, especially in the major cities in Kenya.

All types of businesses have been depending on courier services to deliver their products directly to customers.

Digital solutions like Jumia, Glovo, and Uber have helped some businesses keep their customers.

Technology has also played a major role in keeping children engaged during this break from normal schooling.

Parents cannot keep up with the demands for homeschooling while working from home.

Kids are learning online through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. The same platforms are available to remote workers.

We have emphasized over time as app developers in Kenya the need to explore different technologies to survive the crisis.

Our team took the first step immediately to work from home. We have kept our operations running through remote working tools.

The expectation is that with the safety measures, the crisis will end within a few months. What happens if the opposite takes place?

Is your business prepared to handle a prolonged lockdown? Such pandemics sometimes come in waves.

Be prepared for both a short-term and long-term period of disrupted business operations. The decisions you make now will help you survive the future crisis that may come.

If you are not in business, think about the digital solutions that you can create for businesses and organizations to help them survive the Covid-19 crisis.

It is safer to provide solutions that will remain useful after the pandemic is over.

Are Delivery Apps The New Frontier in App Development in Kenya?

The discussion around app development in Kenya before Covid-19 was about loan apps. Everyone was concerned about the interest rates and the need to regulate digital lenders.

Kenyans were complaining about the recovery process and threats for defaulting on small amounts. Then came Covid-19 and the discussion changed.

The restriction of movement has led to creative ideas and innovation.

Increase in demand for courier services

Staying at home or working from home has been on top of the list of precautionary measures. This means that firms had to figure out a way of delivering their products to their clients to stay in business.

Unfortunately, the crisis was unexpected and its effects on businesses unpredictable.

The wait and see approach does not work for a business that sells perishable products. At the same time, most of the businesses did not have their own courier services before the crisis.

The result has been a sudden increase in the demand for courier services.

Glovo and Uber are among the tech firms that have benefited from the demand for services.

The challenge has been keeping up with the demand from individuals and companies while protecting the drivers from Covid-19.

Luckily, the Ministry of Health provided sufficient guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

Restaurants and fast foods

Restaurants and fast food joints have experienced perhaps the worst effects of the health crisis.

The government was quick to shut down social places because of the crowds they attract.

How do such firms stay afloat without allowing customers into their premises? Courier services have been the answer.

Customers can order food online. The restaurants then organize the delivery process.

Many such businesses have been operating without a mobile or online store. The much they do is advertise their business on social media.

Covid-19 has pushed business owners to start thinking about app development in Kenya.

The discussion now is not just about a business app but a delivery app as well.

Kenyans are quick to spot such opportunities in the market.

App Development in Kenya

Jumia and Twiga foods

We have known Jumia to sell all types of household products but not groceries. However, the pandemic has made shopping for even basic items like groceries a risk.

The recent partnership between Jumia and Twiga foods has solved the equation for Kenyans.

Shoppers can buy groceries on the e-commerce platform alongside other items.

The groceries are pre-packaged and include items that every home needs such as potatoes, tomatoes, milk, and fruits among other items.

In addition, customers save on the cost of these items. The partners promise up to 50% savings based on the prices of the products in local supermarkets

Another benefit is the same-day delivery within Nairobi and its suburbs at no extra cost.

Although Covid-19 has fuelled such partnerships and innovation, the deals are likely to continue even after the crisis.

Similar deals among other firms are likely to come up as Kenyan shoppers have already adapted to online shopping.

Uber

You mention Uber and taxis come to mind immediately. Uber Eats is still growing in Kenya but it has come in handy during the crisis.

Taxi apps have formed a huge part of app development in Kenya, after Uber, Taxify, and Bolt hit the market.

However, with the instructions to stay at home, the demand for taxi services has reduced.

Uber introduced two apps in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The move was unimaginable to many business owners who have been forced to downscale their operations.

The first app was Uber Connect, which enables families and friends to send packages to different cities.

With social distancing, delivering simple packages like documents, clothes, gifts, or house items is impossible.

Uber Connect deliveries packages without endangering the lives of senders, couriers, and recipients.

The second app that the tech company released is Uber Direct, which is an extension of its food app, Uber Eats.

Uber Direct poses competition to Jumia because it delivers household items and groceries from supermarkets.

The edge that Jumia and Twiga have over Uber Direct is competitive prices.

The two companies have also built a strong brand in the delivery of products in the Kenyan market.

Sendy couriers

Dominating the logistics market

Many developers and innovators have been responding to the crisis by creating apps around it.

Most Coronavirus or Covid-19 apps focus on notifying users of their distance from an infected person. Other apps help health care workers to handle the disease efficiently through accurate and timely data.

What happens after the crisis? Will we still need the apps?

Some innovators are seeing the light! There is a new frontier in the field of logistics.

It may take some time before the coronavirus threat is eliminated. The arguments against its vaccines and possible treatment may delay the process further.

As mentioned, Kenyans have already adapted to the new reality. In fact, the crisis has proved to many shoppers that they can survive for weeks without going out.

With an e-commerce platform or app, businesses can serve a significant percentage of their clients online.

The challenge now remains in providing affordable, efficient, and timely delivery services.

Some companies like Kobo360 and Sendy have already identified the gap in the logistics market in Kenya and Africa.

Business owners have suffered for years in the hands of rogue truck drivers and logistics companies.

Kenyans need to wake up to the opportunities in the market instead of leaving everything to foreign companies.

The companies that started earlier have reaped extra benefits with the Covid-19 crisis. The extra income will continue until new entrants interrupt with better or differentiated courier services.

Final remarks

The worst of situations can present business opportunities for those who are keen to identify them. We have given you a hint for app development in Kenya. The big question now is if you will take action or wait for another foreign investor to take the opportunity.

A simple delivery app that all types of businesses can use is likely to attract thousands of users. Entrepreneurs have learnt from the crisis the need for current technologies and reliable logistics to cushion their enterprises.

App Developers In Kenya: Is Remote Working The New Future?

Most of the mobile and web solutions we have created as app developers in Kenya are for business. Mobile apps offer a convenient way for business owners to expand their reach and improve communication.

In addition, websites and apps are effective marketing tools to promote a company’s products or services. However, the nature of the workplace has changed after the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses that created mobile apps and websites before the pandemic are enjoying continued interactions with their customers.

The challenge now is for businesses to prepare and adapt to the reality of remote working. Is it temporal or the future?

Remote Working Trends

Before Covid-19, about 7 million employees in the US were already working from home. The number of remote workers in the US increased by 159% between 2005 and 2017.

The world was already shifting to remote working before the health crisis. Further statistics show that nearly half of the US working population has worked remotely at some point.

Remote working presents an opportunity for businesses to hire the best talents and save costs at the same time. Some experts prefer to work remotely.

In some cases, remote working is the only possible way to engage an expert.  It breaks the location barrier and enables companies to hire the best talents irrespective of their geographical location.

Remote working at the same time offers employees opportunities to work with the best employers from around the world.

A recent survey revealed that 78% of the participating firms were using flexible work schedules and telecommuting as a way of increasing employee retention.

The same survey showed that 82% of the companies in the US use remote working opportunities to help employees achieve the life-work balance.

Business owners have been recognising the advantages of allowing their employees to work from home over time.

The expectation is that the same trend will continue even after the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Employees’ preferences to work from home

The older generation of employees that is leaving the workplace associates work with an office environment. Employees who are about to retire adhere the 9 to 5 work schedule.

The new generation of employees, on the other hand, is looking for flexible jobs.  About 83% of job applicants use the ability to work remotely as a decisive factor when choosing between two job offers.

Losing job flexibility will make at least two-thirds of employees to start considering other opportunities. Business owners cannot ignore this preference going forward.

A different survey indicated that 54% of employees working in an office are willing to leave their job if they find another with more flexibility.

The shift in preferences explains the move by employers to use job flexibility to attract and retain the best talents.

Any business that ignores this preference is likely to struggle with hiring process in the future.

The surveys were taken way before the world started dealing with Covid-19.  The pandemic has given most of the office workers an opportunity to explore remote working.

The most likely outcome is that the office workers will prefer to continue working from home after the pandemic. Switching jobs may be impossible in the short-term but in the long-term, office workers will look for flexible jobs.

You can find more interesting freelance statistics here.

Technology

From the sampled statistics in the previous section, it is clear that employees prefer flexibility. Remote working is not necessarily become a trend because of technology

App developers in Kenya and other technical experts respond to the demand for remote working tools.

Developers are seeing the need to improve the effectiveness of remote workers through tools. Technology is an enabling factor to remote working.

Tools such as Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom have made it easy for remote workers to collaborate. New tools are expected in the market as remote working intensifies in the future.

Other technical advances that are promoting remote work include artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning. Such changes are eliminating the need to have tens and even hundreds of employees in an office.

Employees are always concerned when new technology threatens their job security. Such concerns lead to a search for remote work, which allows employees to engage more than one employer at the same time.

Knowledge versus tools

Whenever remote working is mentioned, the next big question in the mind of employers is the right tools to acquire. The assumption is that acquiring the tools solves the equation for both employees and employers.

For app developers in Kenya, the question is about developing the tools internally or for other businesses.

Remote working tools are enablers and not necessarily the most critical element of remote working. Employees need knowledge of how to work from home effectively.

Sometimes working remotely means engaging employers in different countries or states. This means that a remote worker has no way of determining if such a company has a physical address or not.

In case of disputes or conflicts, employees feel helpless and insecure. Employers must build confidence, trust, and security in remote workers.

Transparency and honesty are a priority to remote workers, especially when signing contracts with new employers. Transitioning from the office to remote working with the same employer is easy.

Employees need the confidence that the employer is stable enough to pay their salaries and benefits on time. In case of a crisis such as the on-going Covid-19 crisis, employees need an assurance of job security.

When employers build confidence in their employees through information, remote working tools now bridge the gaps.

Integrating the right tools becomes the link to effectiveness and optimal performance for remote workers. Information and training must come first before the tools for remote working to yield the best results.

Concluding remarks

Remote working is certainly going to be a huge part of the future workplace. Many employers have shunned the trend for a long time because of IT requirements. Creating an enabling environment requires that business owners engage IT experts including app developers in Kenya. In the past, flexible working hours was a choice. However, the future points to a situation when companies will have to offer job flexibility to hire the best talents in the job market.

Remote Working Challenges We Did Not Anticipate As App Developers

The Covid-19 crisis was unexpected but our move to start working from home was planned.

We held several meetings. We talked about the transition and picked the remote working tools we would need.

However, even with all the planning and tools, some things still went wrong.

As app developers in Kenya, we focused more on the technical side of our work.

In this article, we share some of the issues that have slowed our team members down.

1. New family dynamics

Yes, we knew and read about distractions from family members while working from home.

Distractions are a large part of current discussions on working from home.

However, the kind of dynamics we are talking about has nothing to do with kids crawling onto the workstation.

We are not even talking about the abrupt talks, calls, or unplanned meals but a new family setting.

Kids are at home, not on holiday, but with instruction of homeschooling. Hence, working parents have to spend part of their day as teachers.

Most of us rarely take our work home unless if we have unfinished projects.

Unfortunately, children do not understand the new dynamics of having working parents at home. The result is resentment.

Covid-19 has also come with safety measures including isolation. We cannot send them to play outside as much or bond without constantly asking them to wash their hands.

Parents are also acting as counsellors to assure the kids of their safety and health.

We have to interpret the constant news headlines, while still trying to maintain our office-like work schedule.

2. Loneliness

We have talked about the parents in our team. They have new family issues to deal with while still working.

However, a good number of staff members are single, which means that they live alone.

Work is a good distraction but it cannot replace normal interactions with the outside world.

Going out of the house means taking a risk to contact an infected person or surface.

We have enough communication tools even for video conferencing. However, we cannot chat online all day.

Virtual conversations and meetings are effective but lack so many aspects of face-to-face conversations.

While we do the best we can with the internet, we have to be honest about the loneliness that comes with remote working.

Loneliness has also led to this next challenge.

3. Prolonged working hours

If you cannot go out as usual, the next best thing for app developers in Kenya is to keep working.

Software development can keep you busy all day and night if you love it.

The upside of it is that you get many projects done within a short time.

The downside of it is the toll on your wellness. Rest is as important as physical exercises.

We often stop working because we have to leave the office. Now, there is nothing stopping us from working into the night.

The result has been distracted working hours for the team.

It is impossible to work all night and be effective the following day.

Consequently, we have had to adjust our virtual meetings to a time when everyone is available during the day.

Some team members are also discovering their preference to work at night, especially parents with young kids.

4. Internet connection issues

Are we saying that we ignored possible internet disconnections? No. We have quite a number of reliable internet providers in Kenya.

Part of our discussions before breaking from the office was a reliable internet connection for every staff member.

However, the demand for internet services has gone up with the coronavirus crisis.

Many people are working from home. Internet providers faced a sudden increase in demand for their services.

Consequently, it is now taking longer for service providers to solve connection issues.

In addition, the service providers have to think about the health and safety of their employees as well.

The number of staff members working per time has reduced.

Hence, even with the best internet connection, we have had downtimes for some members.

Developing mobile apps and websites requires fast internet throughout the day or working session.

5. Anxiety

You do not sit and plan to be anxious. However, anxiety is a reality that we are contending with every day.

We are not oblivious of the effects of the crisis on businesses. We care about our current and future clients.

Every update from the ministry of health leaves a question in our minds.

When will all this be over?

No one can predict with accuracy when we shall resume normal operations.

In addition, team members are also anxious about their health.

The risk of infection is real. Spending time in mandatory quarantine is the last thing one wants to think about at this time.

Yet, we have these questions in our minds as we take all the necessary precautions.

It is not just exploring remote working from home. We have a health crisis that can affect any of our team members at any time.

Our response

If you are working from home as we are, chances are that you have encountered some or even all of these challenges.

We are not even talking about the normal distractions and need to subscribe to working tools.

The extent to which the challenges affect the performance of the team depends on your response.

As app developers in Kenya, we have done the following to overcome these challenges:

i)Accountability: Our team members are accountable to each other concerning their health and wellness. Our online chats and calls are not limited to work-related issues. We talk about the loneliness, anxiety, and social distancing issues that have come with the transition to remote working.

ii)Taking small steps: We have come to appreciate that implementing such sudden change takes time. Staff members need to understand this and start making small changes every day to master a new working schedule. Working in the midst of distractions is not easy. The resentment from family members can also slow you down. Our approach has been making small but consistent changes in our workflow until we find a flow that works for everyone.

iii?Accurate information: Lack of information in a crisis always leads to anxiety. We stay updated on the current news but also on the best precautionary measures. Team members share accurate information about the crisis and steps to take in case of an infection.

Final remarks

Some of the challenges that come with remote working are unavoidable. Learn from our experience. If you intend to work from home, you will encounter one or several of these challenges. Create a plan with possible solutions that will ensure that any issues that arise do not affect your performance significantly.

7 Remote Working Tools That Every Virtual Team Needs

Every day that we wake up to news about new confirmed cases means that we have to stay at home longer.

We cannot predict with accuracy when this Covid-19 crisis will be over.

We are forced to adopt the “wait and see” attitude. The anxiety in business owners and their staff members is unimaginable.

However, one thing is clear. We will never do business as we did before Covid-19. Everything will be different.

In fact, you do not want to take the risk of being caught unawareness again. If your team is working is remotely, here are some tools that will make it easy.

The tools are working for us as app developers in Kenya and will work for your team as well.

1. Zoom

Collaboration is the first aspect of remote working that every employer must consider. Whether you are working with teams or just a few individuals, you need constant updates.

In the current situation, remote working is not optional. However, it will be optional in the future.

Zoom helps virtual teams to hold meetings online as you would in an office setting. Video conferencing is the next best thing after physical meetings.

You can see the responses and reactions of all team members in real-time on your screen.

One advantage of Zoom is that it allows members to join a meeting via audio set up only. Hence, for quick meetings or slow connections, you do not need to see everyone’s face.

2. Slack

Slack has worked for us for years even before we allowed our developers to work remotely.

The chat platform allows users to share files and collaborate where a meeting is unnecessary.

In fact, if you use Slack well, you will eliminate the need for several video conferences every week.

The platform allows chats between individuals through direct messages and teams through channels.

You can also pull a thread from a conversation in a channel to avoid a mix-up of topics.

As app developers in Kenya, we work on many projects simultaneously. Slack enables our developers to follow up on the progress of each project.

Nothing lags behind because the progress of each task is visible to all members at all times.

3. Google Drive, Docs and Sheets

Google offers these three services separately. However, we will discuss them together because they serve the same purpose for virtual teams.

If you use the free version of Slack, you will soon run out of storage space.

Google Drive offers free storage space for both individuals and team members to store and share files.

Instead of sending large attachments, a team member will save the file in a location that every other member can access remotely via a link.

Google Sheets comes in handy when virtual teams are compiling reports. It saves the time and effort needed to compile individual reports into one.

Any member with access to a Sheet can edit it.

Remote workers need the same convenience of saving large files. Cloud storage saves users from overloading their devices’ memory.

ALSO READ: Covid-19 Crisis: Pros and Cons of Remote Working for Business

4. InVision

InVision is a great tool for design companies like Muva. However, your virtual teams will still need it even if you are not a design company.

Occasionally, you will need to design presentations for your clients or for conferences.

Your team might also need to redesign your website or app. Marketing teams use it to design e-flyers.

The collaborative tool helps a design team to move quickly from the concept stage to the final design.

Virtual teams can create and share prototypes that both team members and clients can view.

Prototypes show how the final product will function before developing. Once a team agrees on a prototype, the design and development processes move fast.

The platform allows messaging for team members to share ideas and give feedback on changes to the design.

Project managers find this tool useful when managing different phases of projects. It is easy to hand over a project from one team to another across developmental stages.

Mobile app developers in Kenya, media houses, and other technology companies use the tool extensively.

Try it for any design or development project in your business.

5. GitHub

Here is another tool for virtual developers and designers. We always end up with amazing software because our team uses this tool efficiently.

We are working remotely effectively but even in the office setting, most of the collaboration among developers happens on GitHub.

It enables developers to share and review codes until we come up with quality codes.

Github is also great for individual developers to share their work with potential employers.

Remote workers can store their personal projects here.

6. Google Calendar

You may not think that you need a calendar for virtual meetings but you do. It is easy to call a few people for a meeting, whether online or in a room.

However, as your team grows, everyone needs to set reminders on Google Calendar.

The tool is necessary for managers overseeing several teams and multiple projects. You easily lose track of meetings.

Remote workers often commit to different projects simultaneously. Even with the best virtual meeting tools, meetings will only run efficiently when all members log in on time.

Google Calendar works for us because of the numerous meetings we set with clients.

We have several meetings in a day with different clients. It is impossible to prepare and show up for each meeting without such a tool as Google Calendar.

The advantage is that it also sends reminders to clients of the organised meetings.

Related: How to Work Remotely Effectively During the Coronavirus Crisis

7. WhatsApp

This may come as a surprise because WhatsApp is mostly used as a social platform. Businesses also use it to advertise products or reach out to their customers.

However, in this era of remote working, WhatsApp is proving an effective collaborative tool.

A virtual team may not share work-related messages on the platform because of data privacy issues. However, it is a great platform for building relationships away from work-related conversations.

Social media replaces the conversations that teammates share over tea and lunch breaks at the office. It eliminates the sense of isolation and loneliness that comes with remote working.

Encourage your employees to hold healthy discussions here that do not fit the work-related tools outlined above.

Final thoughts

Remote working is now a reality and as app developers in Kenya, we have taken the challenge to explore it. The effectiveness of virtual teams largely depends on the tools available to a team and individuals. Pick the right tools from this list that will best fit the flow of work in your business. The advantage of these tools is that you can still use them in a physical office setting to improve collaboration and efficiency.