The Makers are on the Move in MENA
In 2015, American school and university students were given the chance to participate in a national space competition which resulted in sending micro satellites to space. Such an achievement was impossible to individuals 10 to 15 years ago. Today, anyone can create a product line in their back yard, whether the invention is related to electronics, digital, programing, etc.
Since the 90s, there has been more established machine connections with planes and satellites used by carrier companies to monitor their trucks and airplanes. Today, examples like laser cutting machines and 3D printers are more common – not to mention that it takes 10 minutes to make a PCB (printed circuit board) at home.
Unfortunately, this spread of IOT maker movement around the world has not been met with the same enthusiasm in MENA, except maybe Egypt and Lebanon. That’s where Geeks Valley is trying to make a change. During his presentation at ArabNet Riyadh, Founder Taher Alblowe said he established the Jeddah-based Geekvalley.com as a free of charge learning platform with lessons to help people depend on themselves and to teach them, step by step, beginner, medium, and advanced levels – with Arabic content.
As per Alblowe, it is expected that there will be more than 25 million IOT apps in 2020, and the number of devices will reach 25 billion, with 4 billion people connected. “The maker movement is giving SMEs the chance to enter the prototype level. Ideally, inventions must be user-friendly, that even the old folk can use them – not just developers or geeks,” he said.
He listed some of the exciting and helpful inventions out there: such as the smart sleep system that contain a sensor placed under the pillow and connected to mobile logging movements during sleep with data deducting – from measuring movement – the number of hours slept and advice for enhancing the sleep experience. There is also the smart AC which can be controlled from everywhere, the smart bike that documents biking trips and distances, the blood pressure monitor that reduces visits to doctors, smart home security which has become highly popular for houses and companies, and the smart washing machines which provide a reading of the number of washes and coordinates maintenance needs with manufacturers.