Kenya’s Echo Mobile a mobile research firm, has launched Echo Sense, an open source sensor platform aimed at organisations wishing to augment programs and field activities with sensor data to improve transparency, efficiency and response time across a diverse range of sectors including smart agriculture, manufacturing, and logistics.
According to Zoe Cohen, Echo Mobile’s CEO, “Sensors are at the forefront of technological innovation and we are excited to release Echo Sense to see how developers can creatively use our platform to enable sensors to capture useful information to transform people’s lives.”
Though Echo Sense formally launches today, with the support of the Echo Mobile team and other collaborators, the platform has already been successfully deployed in a handful of projects in East Africa.
The SmartMatatu project is a collaboration between Echo Mobile and the University of California Berkeley which aims to improve road safety by feeding back crucial driver quality information to vehicle owners. Another project team from California’s Harvey Mudd College has deployed Echo Sense in addition to custom sensor hardware to monitor water levels across a network of water tanks deployed by Raincatcher.org.
Jeremy Gordon, Echo Mobile’s cofounder and CTO, says: “Though Echo’s primary business model is Software as a Service, we decided to open source our work with Echo Sense to build excitement among the huge, and talented community of East African developers whom we hope will help us leverage the newest IoT technology for emerging market applications.”
Current clients include the Kenyan Ministry of Education, UNICEF and MKopa who use it forma diverse range of needs such as customer support and program monitoring. The Echo Platform leverages an increasingly rich array of mobile channels, including tollfree SMS, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), as well as smartphone apps and social media.
IoT applications are already common in the Western world across a diverse range of sectors. In 2014 over 2 billion dollars was invested in US agriculture specific IoT interventions focused on smartfarming and precision agriculture. Amongst their many use cases in the US, connected devices are tracking crop yields, moisture levels, and food transport logistics. IoT applications are also commonly used for environmental monitoring, water point mapping, and optimization of logistics and manufacturing operations.