Blackouts, dust and poor connectivity — why Kenya’s BRCK router requires a different approach

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Kenya’s Ushahidi is best known for its pioneering crowdmapping efforts, but right now the company is busy finishing off its BRCK router, a fascinating device that’s designed for rough use in sub-Saharan Africa. As posts on Vice and TechRepublic explain, the $199 router has its own battery for coping with blackouts or bush use, it can automatically hop between Ethernet, Wi-Fi and mobile broadband as its source, and it’s set up to act as a hub for “internet of things” sensors. BRCK got crowdfunded last year and a recent blog post from the team explains some of the challenges of engineering such a device in Kenya.

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Nancy Mossa

I ordered 2 of these last June for our small NGO school in Guinea West Africa. I was told they would be available in September, received an update citing delays in October, and have heard no word since nor have my multiple inquiries as to when to expect the devices been responded to. They have a lovely website and blog, but apparently don’t feel the need to update their funders on what’s happening. Starting out with bad business practices no matter how good your product is will not make you successful.

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