Microsoft has launched the Africa Apps team, a group of Developer Platform Evangelists, to work with software developers in Kenya and African at large. The team is made up of experts on Microsoft technologies such as Visual Studio, Kinect, Windows Azure, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Bing Search and Open Source technology all dedicated to helping African developers build, scale and market their innovations across the World.
The team met several technology bloggers and developers at the Sierra Lounge in Yaya Center, Nairobi. This was part of their evangelism campaign to share and discuss various developments on the Windows 8 environment. Prior to this, they had spent most of their day in Strathmore University where they held interactive sessions with several groups including students and entrepreneurs.
"We are very excited to be here in Kenya interacting with the students and preparing them to innovate using our technology. We have had a very good response from these young people on our various offerings and are confident that we should be seeing a churn of apps from them quite soon.Another key highlight for us is the 2013 Microsoft Imagine Cup. We will have 4 regional finals in Africa from which the winning teams will represent Africa during the global finals scheduled for July 2013 in Russia." said Dele Akinsade. He also reiterated the Africa Apps team's commitment to ensuring thatAfrica stands out as a force to reckon with in software innovation and production.
Dele called upon the developers to engage and fully utilize various Microsoft tools to build great products by taking advantage of the different tracks for Microsoft developers and entrepreneurs to advance their cause.
These tools include Microsoft Dream Spark which offers free access to Microsoft software to students who are registered on it, Microsoft WebSpark which offers access to premium Microsoft technology to young web design companies and Microsoft BizSpark which is a suite of reasonably priced premium software for young companies that have been running for under 3 years.
Microsoft is also keen on expanding reach using school projects like Faculty Connection and Microsoft Academy for school faculty members interested in being Microsoft certified as well as the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) which empowers students to be Microsoft evangelists in their schools and around their social circles.
"It is exciting to see Microsoft which has believed in students for many years finally on the ground for such a commitment. It means we will now have help on the broad spectrum of tools like Windows Azure, Kinect and the newly launched Windows Phone 8. All you can expect now is excellence." said George Mbuthia, a beneficiary of the Microsoft Student Partner programme.
During the sessions with the students, Microsoft demonstrated the different intuitive uses of Kinect aside from normal gaming on the Xbox. These demos included instances where Kinect can be integrated into basics like flipping through a PowerPoint presentation to defense purposes where it is used to detect concealed weapons and people hiding behind corners.
Today, 25th of January 2013, the team is at Jomo Kenyatta University of technology and Agriculture to introduce Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server, Windows Azure, to the students thenshow them how to start building Windows Phone 8 applications.
The team is comprised of Dele Akinsade, the Developer Evangelist Lead for West, East and Central Africa (@dakinsade), Shehab Fawzy, the Team's Windows 8 Developer Evangelist (@shehabafawzy), Dina Helmy, a Windows 8 Developer Evangelist (@bougyz), Ahmed Sabbour, a Windows Azure Developer Evangelist (@Sabbour), Omar Islam, the Kinect Developer Evangelist(@Omar_islam), Stephen Ebichondo, Visual Studio Developer Evangelist(@sebichondo), John Kimani, Bing Developer Evangelist (@kimanigakingo) and Annie Njenga, the Audience Marketing Manager for the Africa Apps team for West, East and Central Africa(@anniewnjenga).