I am enjoying the amazing breeze and the wispy voice of the wind through the leaves of the mango tree less than 5 metres away from one of my windows as I type.
Even though I work at a dangerous, exciting company, I can appreciate the simple pleasures of life in these mountains where nobody knows us.
Khruangbin Radio on Jango is also massaging my spirits.
I wonder why the water from the dispenser today tastes like tap water though… 👀
Ok, so… Dangerous, exciting company… Is it Oil and Gas? Security? Defence? Shipping?
It might as well be…
It’s a tech company in Ghana, West Africa, but with roots in the United Kingdom. Its flagship product is an app that benefits Oil and Gas, Security, Defence, Shipping, Logistics and other companies, as well as Individuals, and most powerfully, Governments.
After working with the British Police under the Digital and Electronics Forensic Service (DEFS), as well as with Jaguar Land Rover, and the US and British Militaries, Sesinam Dagadu (or Ses) built on his experience developing cutting edge electronic tools, and founded tinyDAVID (where I work).
So the thing is, Ses built this wonderful little app that won the Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Grant in 2015, for use by Ghana’s Ambulance Service to locate victims easily and accurately even in situations where there is no internet connection.
The app, SnooCODE, which was customised for the National Ambulance Service as “CodeRed,” has since earned its share of awards and recognition, including the 2014 Africa Content Awards organised by the UN World Summit Awards, a finalist for the
Africa Prize by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a feature on the BBC in 2016.
All this for good reason, as it is arguably the most resilient and culturally sensitive of the growing number of digital solutions for addressing and locating anything.
It does not need any Internet connection or even SIM card to work, and it does not require the knowledge of any words or vocabulary to be used.
A SnooCODE is a 6- or 7-digit alpha-numeric code, e.g. 3ADU-HCO (SnooCODE for Peduase Hotel in Ghana’s Eastern region). Simple, memorable, efficient.
Now, on to the danger and excitement…
Let me paint a very real picture for you.
Say there’s a disaster like the recent catastrophic cyclone in Mozambique and neighbouring areas, which has displaced 600,000 people… One of the biggest problems in such situations is finding survivors and sending relief or rescue. If stranded citizens have working mobile phones, they can easily use the SnooCODE app to share their location with the Emergency Services, and it will quickly lead the help team to their exact spot.
The app was actually identified by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the wake of the 2015 Ebola outbreak as a way to help manage future disasters.
Organisations can basically use SnooCODE and a drone to drop anything – from a bag of rice to a live heart in an ice chest for a transplant – at point XYZ on the globe. In the jungle, or to the 3rd window on the 69th floor.
Let’s bring it even closer to home (you probably believe such crushing natural disasters are not possible in Ghana).
Ask anybody on the street what our biggest problem is, and about 3 out of 5 people will say “Corruption.”
And where would SnooCODE come in here?
You know how certain assets have been reported as never getting delivered to one entity, while the other party maintains it was?
Without giving too much away, I can safely guarantee that SnooCODE has built-in verification capabilities to solve that, referred to by the World Bank as a potential “sister technology to blockchain.” Unlike most of the digital addressing and location solutions around, SnooCODE has been developed a number of steps ahead to combat problems as Goliath-like as Corruption, barring even the common excuse of “the system was down.”
It is precisely because of this that tinyDAVID is a dangerous and exciting place to work. It challenges one inefficiency in the system after another, and I’m sure you know – lots of “big people” do not like that. Even the average Joe/Joan is making a quick buck or managing to not get fired for taking the company car to a meeting at the local pito bar when he/she was supposed to be elsewhere…
The truth of the matter is that most inefficiencies that exist in our part of the world continue to do so because they benefit a few people, particularly the powerful.
Also, can you imagine how a technology like SnooCODE with so much location data might be abused if it got into the wrong hands?
Fortunately, it was built to work offline, in a way that makes it extremely difficult to hack, and unlike other products in the field that collect users’ personal data (like how often they went to the club this month) and sell to third parties, SnooCODE promises a reasonable amount of Privacy, something that makes it ideal for citizens and governments all over the world. (Although some parties that have approached the company would very much want the power to harvest users’ personal data)…
Ultimately, one has to ask themselves: Do I want to be on the side of History that prospers from taking advantage of the system, or do I want to be on the side that faces the dangers and risks of challenging it?
I, for one, am enjoying this breezy, Internet-radio-friendly, dynamic environment, where we are committed to finding tiny solutions to big problems, no matter the threats…
To be continued…