Tag Archives: connectedobjects


Does IOT will be the next leap for Africa ?

What is really exciting with new technologies is that some evolution can be sometime revolution, especially in Africa. Cell phone for instance, took a long time to evolve in Europe, from early attempt (‘Radiocom 2000’, BeBop in France) to GSM, and then UMTS. In most of Africa countries, which were totally uncovered with fixed phone, GSM and UMTS was a technology gap: 40 years has been catch up, and now most of the African countries are well covered, and people have probably a better access to telecommunication than electricity! I am quite sure that in many of top African cities there much more smartphone per habitant than in Europe.

This jump generated a lot of creativity in related services, the biggest one being mobile money, which is much stronger in Africa than in any other continent. But there are plenty of others services, mainly SMS based.

I think that that it will be the same for the Internet of things, or connected object. With new innovations coming in this space, and due to the current status of ‘connectivity’ in Africa, and thanks to the fact that low bandwidth technologies like Sigfox or LoRa will reduce connectivity costs.

Some area that could really boom with IOT :
Agriculture : This is usually the biggest part of the economy, with numerous smaller actors. Low cost object will be useful to provide feedback on fields parameters, for self-system irrigation for instance.
Government infrastructure: it’s very hard to monitor all infrastructures deployed, and due to hard climatic condition there is usually a fast degradation. IOT could help them to monitor such infrastructure and be warned when they need to do something.
Security : security is usually a big problem in emerging country. Connected object will allows to provide real time position of persons and goods (like containers, trucks, …) and will allow to trigger alarms that informs of an immediate danger.
Medical : usually poorly developed, connected object would help to provide real time information on patients, and could allows remote infrastructure to be better handled.

Even if the relative price of connected object will be high compared to the average salary, the added value in these countries is much higher than in many of eastern ones.

I think that African government should support efforts in this direction, and push operators to deploy the needed infrastructure to cover all rural area, and this will push forward Africa in the 21st century.

Of course, there are plenty of related challenges, the biggest one being the access to the electricity but momentum is here.


Raspberry or Arduino: how to choose?

When you look at a platform to play with connected objects, these are the two stars. But which one to choose? Especially when you look at the spec, there is one much more powerful than the other, so why we should bother of the Arduino ?

So we will try to understand which one is suited for what kind of project, in order to help you to do the right choice.

The raw specs are the following:

Arduino Raspberry
RAM 2 kb 515 Mb
Program size 32 kb Up to 32 G, depending of SD card
IO output 14 Digitals, (6PWM), 6 analog 8 digital 17 GPIO
CPU 16 Mhz 700Mhz
Price 25 euros 30 euros
Connectivity None by default, Ethernet/Wifi using shield or more powerful Arduino cards Ethernet, Wifi using an USB key

So definitvely raw spec of Raspberry are better than Arduino’s. But CPU and memory in IOT are not the only criteria to choose.
In fact, it depends totally from your type of project. If you want something close to the hardware, simple, cheap (a single arduino chip is around 3 euros).
To help you, here is a more detailed tab of various area of interest of each:

So, if your project is ….

Arduino Raspberry
Close to the hardware +++ +
Require analog input/output +++ -
Require CPU power - +++
Require Internet connectivity + +++
Require Screen output + +++
Needs to use USB devices - +++
Needs to store a lot of data + +++
Need to work on battery +++ +
Need to work alone +++ ++
Need to boot quickly +++ +
Need cheap device +++ ++
Require high level language
(python, javascript, ruby,…)
- +++

Raspberry is not expensive, but much more than an Arduino when it comes to industrialization. You can have an Arduino up an running for less than 3 or 4 euros, and you can freely build your own layout.

So for exemple :

Good Arduino usages
- autonomous gps tracking device
- small connected devices
- house sensor (gaz, electricity, intrusion, etc…)

Good Raspberry projects :
- home central automation
- media center
- ip camera recorder

Project that could be both :
- autonomous robot
- “complex” connected object , .i.e. nest like

Some project could need both. A good example is home automation, you can do simple capture device using arduino, and collect data in a master system based on Raspberry

Both are great device to play with, so I strongly encourage you to test both and to do your choice, depending on your project.