The capacity and awareness gaps on the focus areas were identified through interactive sessions with a focus group of stakeholders and via desk study. More findings were obtained from unstructured feedback during project activities.
Some of the findings from Stakeholder feedback and study are below:
Legal and Policy: Many organisations are unaware of the policy and legal provisions related to their privacy, data protection, cybersecurity or Digital identity. Most lack the capacity to assess the legal implications of their IoT, digital identity or online safety initiatives. The legal and policy awareness or capacity gaps are being addressed by partners such as LawyersHub.
Sectoral Standard and Certification: There is need to build capacity of sectoral organisations who regulate sectors where there is a use case utilising IoT, Digital Identity or cybersafety technology. For instance, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) that certifies precision agriculture requires support in IoT Security audit capacity. Organisations such a iLab@Africa at Strathmore University or SafeHouse Africa can offer support in verifying security of smart agriculture solutions.
Infrastructural and Technical Capacity: Several respondents pointed out that the lack of access to reliable gateways, communications networks, analytics platforms, applications hosting servers. Others pointed out the lack of awareness on the existing options such as IBM’s IoT Cloud or Huawei Cloud and other easily accessible open gateways. In one case, the project was delayed due to the use of 4G mobile technology devices in areas where only 2G was effective. Communication of data of hampered and project had to redesign the communication component to meet the needs of targetted communities. The Internet Society has resources available to address infrastructure design, awareness and provision for IoT, digital identity and smart online solutions.
Strategic capacity: Some of the projects have had challenges in forming strategic alliances with industry players due to lack of negotiation and contracting capacity. In one case, an IoT initiative in the energy sector indicated the needs for assistance in collaboration with energy distribution company. SafeHouse Africa assists in forming such strategic collaborations.
Technical Skills: Respondents were in agreement that projects face a capacity challenge in IoT security, cybersecurity, technical design and implementation skills. Although the OTA IoT Trust Framework provides guidelines for IoT Security audits and compliance, SafeHouse.Africa partners such as IBM’s DigitalNationAfrica and iLab@Africa provide training in technical skills.
Lack of control: For some of the initiatives, the challenge lies in the lack of control of their own data or database. The use of the data by the platform provider is unclear. Some of the platforms do not guarantee compliance with Data Protection and Privacy Laws.
SafeHouse Africa is conducting an ongoing review of compliant platforms. It may not be viable for every initiative gets full control of their database but they may work with compliant platform providers.
Analytics and Utilization: Some respondents have had challenges in utilising data and building projects for which IoT may be relevant. As the team from Strathmore University would advise, not all solutions require the use of IoT or Machine2Machine communication. Their research centre can provide SafeHouse Africa Stakeholders with the design support.
SafeHouse Africa is conducting an ongoing interactive study of the gaps in Capacity and Awareness. Submit your views to us via any of our information channels.