Author - Collins Mann

The plan

Many of the troubling challenges in our cities cannot be left to be solved entirely by governments and the responsible authorities. Governments have several challenges to attend to and with very slim resources. Further more the administrative overhead and beaurocracy make the execution slow and ineffective.
It is for the above constraints in the government structures that we have established a nation wide smart city initiative ( to accelerate the use of smart city strategies in solving some of the most pressing challenges in our major cities.
Through this initiative, several sample installations (experiments) are to be deployed all around the city with collaboration from city authorities, stakeholders and other government agencies. Data from these sample experiments will be used as evidence (justification) for further deployments and investment. The main source of funding for this effort especially in the initial stages is from personal savings. The capacity and resources to scale in the future will be using grants and donations from the general public and well wishers that would love to live in a smarter environment.
The success of this initiative entirely depends on the total involvement and participation of stakeholders in using the tools to collect data, provide constructive criticism, and also suggest better ways to tackle challenges.
More announcements about the nsci will be made through the official site of the initiative ( and through all available social media platforms.

Challenges with off the shelf solutions

Many people argue that off the shelf solutions from Europe, Asia and or the USA should be procured to solve some of the city’s most pressing challenges. This approach fails most of the time because such solutions were developed based on different environments and with different requirements in mind. The most viable approach is to have custom made solutions that are tailored to our local settings. This will prove both cheaper and more efficient in the long run and it also develops local capacity to innovate.


Most of the major cities in Uganda and Africa at large are faced with security and safety challenges. Several cases of loss of property have been reported with little follow up by security enforcement agencies. This is mainly due to lack of information (surveillance data). This challenge can be solved by increasing the number of surveillance camera installations all around major cities in the country. Live data from these cameras can be used to track and apprehend criminals with credible evidence. This can be achieved using facial recognition software.

City parking

One of the most pressing challenges in cities is City parking that normally arises due to poor location of free parking slots. This in the end leads to traffic jam as drivers spend much more time trying to locate viable parking slots.
This uneasy situation can be improved by the installation of sensors all through out parking spaces in the city. City drivers can access real time data (using a web /mobile application) about the available free slots relative to the driver’s current location.

Waste management

Most major cities in Uganda and Africa at large are affected by poor waste collection schemes. The available urban litter collection methods rely on dumb rubbish cans that normally overflow and take long to be attended to. Further more, the cans cannot easily be located on time and are easily vandalized. IOT strategies can be used to improve the rubbish collection methods in these cities by employing appropriate sensor technology to report when these cans are full and need emptying. Better still using these rubbish cans as Wifi repeater points to further improve free Internet access in the cities can incentivize the entire rubbish collection process by city dwellers. The more rubbish gets collected, the better data rates are offered to the city dwellers. The entire smart rubbish collection kit installation is energy sustaining using solar panels. With a sufficient installation of the rubbish kits, additional services such as to collect surveillance data and thereby improving security in the city. The kits can never be vandalized because each is tracked in real time.

Pollution (Air, water, Noise)

It is no secret that the air and the water we use in the major cities in Uganda is contaminated and toxic. This is mainly as a consequence of industrial activity and the poor damping of waste into the atmosphere.
The most unfortunate bit is that most Ugandans pay less attention to the severity of the effects of environmental pollution as this is normally gradual and takes longer periods of time to manifest.
The effects of environmental degradation can be clearly studied over time using a distributed cluster of sensor nodes around out cities. These sensors collect data such as noise, water pollutants (along the different points in the water distribution plant), carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and acidic rain. This data is collected in real time on a central server infrastructure can be readily accessed on a standard web browser through a reliable Internet connection. Real time graphical representations are generated and can be printed out by any interested party. This application serves to raise awareness about environmental pollution in our cities and this can be used as a motivation for corrective action and hence mitigating the effects of long-term climatic change.