Africa
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African Influencers For Development 

Brian Ndegwa Wambui

Data Analytics  Chat Bot 

(Kenya)

Brian Ndegwa Wambui is a 21-year-old second year, Information Technology student at Dedan Kimathi University, who has invented Rona a COVID-19 specific data analytics chat bot.

 

HOW DID YOU START YOUR JOURNEY?
I started my journey in programming in High School where I got very fascinated by Visual BASIC which was covered in the textbooks. In addition, I experimented a lot with computers and I was often called to repair the school’s computers, a task I really enjoyed.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE RONA?
I saw a need to develop a technology and data analytics tool that could aid in curbing the spread of COVID-19 as a personal contribution. The timing was also perfect; as Victor Hugo once said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

Misinformation: A lot of misinformation was going around regarding COVID-19 which was causing a lot of anxiety and panic among people. This was also reflected among my friends and I started thinking of what could be done to solve this. I examined the existing solutions: the WHO Bot and the 719 Helpline and I realized they were not really user friendly. In addition, I felt they were too blunt!

Consequently, I decided to build Rona. The idea of the chat interface originated from the fact that most people love chatting and I imagined it would be a great idea if they could craft their questions the same way the misinformation was being spread, that is, using their own formulated words, not selecting their question from a list of options. Expensiv. Testing: The costs of running a – test are very high and made worse by scarce testing reagents and PPEs. In most instances, several tests have to be done on a single sample, to confirm the accuracy. This cost is the same regardless of whether the test turns out positive or negative. I saw it necessary to integrate a feature that would allow identification of potential candidates for testing, therefore, reducing the cost of testing by testing the persons who are marked as highly probable.

WHAT HAS BEEN RONA’S IMPACT?
Since we launched the first version of Rona on March 30th, our Analytics platform, which receives an average of 500+ new user visits per day helps people get real time trends and patterns of COVID-19 spread

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF PRODUCING RONA?
The biggest challenge has been server costs since the application is hosted on the cloud. With increased usage, the server charges continue to increase, and we have to manage deploying new features in anticipation of more traffic.

WHAT HELP WOULD YOU NEED TO SCALE UP AND IMPROVE YOUR OFFERING?
Right now, our biggest focus is partnerships with organizations that may take relevant actions based on the insights we give after granular risk assessment. For instance, we are looking to partner with hospitals where they can use the tool to offer medical services. We are already working on a care calendar function that is ideal to coordinate humanitarian assistance by individuals and organizations. The care calendar function allows users to call out for or offer assistance on essentials such as food or medical help for vulnerable groups, friends, family or neighbors to enable them stay home.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND.
I am a second Year Bachelor of Science Information technology student at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology where I also serve as the IBM Student Ambassador and President of the IBM Innovation Club Dekut. I currently hold an Artificial Intelligence Analyst Mastery Award by IBM. I am proficient in NASM Assembly Language, C, Python and a firm believer in Self Discipline, and First Principles Thinking.

I started my love for computers when I was 5 years old often crashing my dad’s computer and observing the computer repair guy as he fixed it. I then started breaking it down intentionally just so that I could fix it myself. Since then, it has been an amazing journey that I do not regret at all. My parents have been very supportive in this journey and I appreciate their efforts in availing the resources that have greatly aided in helping me get to where I am today.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR INNOVATION AND YOUR BUSINESS?
I foresee Rona as a social enterprise that provides granular risk assessment and real-time trend analysis for various diseases across the country. Rona’s AI bot could also be used to create awareness and provide education on various diseases. The data visualization and AI driven analytics can also be applied across various industries including Medicare and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

A lot of misinformation was going around regarding COVID-19 which was causing a lot of anxiety and panic among people. This was also reflected among my friends and I started thinking of what could be done to solve this.

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