Sky Digital, a technological company based in Kenya, has invented a web-based Wi-Fi vending machine, to help empower communities, through access to affordable internet.
Sky Digital Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Bosco Somi, explained that for the Wi-Fi machine to operate, an administrator outsources for internet from an internet service provider (ISP), which is later resold to internet users, who just like the old telephone booths, are required to insert coins in the Wi-Fi vending machine, before accessing the internet, depending on the amount of money inserted through the machine.
“The Wi-Fi machine whose first prototype worked in 2019, after three years of trial and testing, comes with features that help in setting download threshold, monitor revenue generated remotely and many more,” said Somi.
Somi expressed that the machine offers time-based and has been programmed to charge Sh.10 for unlimited internet access for one hour within 100 meters radius, which is a ‘hope to youths’ as they grapple with unemployment and high costs of data in the country.
He said with Covid-19 pandemic a lot of people have lost their jobs and have difficulty transitioning to formal employment, as they lack the necessary skills to perform competitive jobs in the market, however, with minimum training, any one can operate the Wi-Fi vending machines, since everything is set to be plug and play.
“It only takes an hour to assemble locally sourced materials into a fully-functional Wi-Fi vending machine,” said Somi, adding that the machine acts as a sources of income to vendors and offers a cheap alternative for youths to leverage online income-generating opportunities.
Somi recommended that for increased revenue generation, the self-serviced machine should be installed in highly populated areas, including hospitals, learning institutions, airports, markets and informal settlement, as it allows for connection of up to 4,000 devices at a go.
He at the same time urged both National and County Government, Private Organizations, NGOs that support youth empowerment, Donors and Embassies with self-sustainable ICT initiative funding program, to partner and adopt the machines for the youths, people with disabilities and women who don’t have source of employments to be self-employed with this unique innovation.
Somi further explained that the administrators can set a download threshold and generate passwords that allows for maximization as well as control the machine, which has a six months warranty and is sold for Sh. 55, 000.
“It’s Estimated that 15 million youths are currently jobless, being that the machine acts as a source of income, a lot of people can be self-employed with and cheaper alternative for the greater communities to leverage online income-generating opportunities,” he stated.