Magazine

Smart People: IoT and water in Africa

Brian Bosire and Victor Shikoli of HydroIQ

IoT and water in Africa: Two thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed conditions by 2025 according to the UN, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 300 million out of the 1.2 billion Africans still lack clean and reliable water sources.

 IoT and water in Africa: Brian Bosire and Victor Shikoli of HydroIQ

 

Brian Bosire and Victor Shikoli were both born and raised in western Kenya and moved to the city of Nairobi more than eight years ago. Life in Kenya is different in many ways from Europe or America, where running water hardly ever receives a second thought. Where Bosire and Shikoli grew up, people receive a water bill regularly, once a month; however, their taps usually remain dry about two or three days a week. Bosire, an engineer, and Shikoli, a student at Mt. Kenya University, decided to do something about the problem. In 2015, they founded a technology company they named Hydrologistics Africa, whose goal is to connect utilities companies and consumers via an online platform that would increase efciency in water use.

Our ambition is to become the first virtual water network operator.

Brian Bosire

Together, they developed a device they called HydroIQ that uses GPD and the Internet to automatically monitor water use, water quality, and water leakages. Plugged into existing water supply systems, in homes or businesses and along a water distribution network, HydroIQ uses sensors and sends data in real time to an online platform, thereby turning traditional water systems into smart water grids. The results are improved water efciencies, sanitation, and hygiene; the device replaces manual water-reading technologies. The online platform allows registered users to monitor and receive water bills and make payments via mobile money, eliminating the need for the costly and erroneous physical meter reading in the traditional model. This creates a completely new business model; one that allows the water industry to digitize its processes, reduce upfront investments, and lower the cost and time of adoption, thus enabling it to deliver the higher value to its consumers.
The device ensures aggregation of real-time data on water consumption and distribution, which through data analytics provides insights for informed decision-making. “Our ambition is to become the world’s frst virtual water network operator,” says Bosire.
In recognition of their achievements, Bosire and Shikoli were recently awarded the “Africa Startup of the Year 2018” award by Bonjour Idée, which is supported by 70 major business groups, incubators, Chambers of Commerce, media, competitiveness clusters, and influential blogs.


The Smart People 2/2018

 

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