#ZimStartups: PortableCloud: Bringing The Web Down To Earth

In a quest to bring the web down to earth and bring internet access to those in the remote areas Harare based Simon Chigeza has brought just the solution through the PortableCloud Cube.The PortableCloud Cube  is a solution for deploying rich web content and applications without Internet access for areas lacking internet connectivity while acting as a server and a WiFi router all in one.

PortableCloud is dedicated to building information technology tools that serve the estimated 57% of the world that lacks web access with great focus  on education and health sectors. The value of information access and education is tremendous: Access to education and knowledge is related to sustainable economic growth, improved public health outcome, reduced poverty, and higher transparency and accountability in governance.

Schooled at the National university Of Science and Technology,  he is a proud holder of a Computer Science degree and currently doing a master degree in E-learning Simon has vast experience in development and deployment of ICT solutions in resource limited settings.

In response to the question of what motivated him or his greatest inspiration Simon replied, ”Lack of internet connectivity in rural locations since  the device can be powered by solar and battery apart from Zesa”. One could agree that the PortableCloud cube then comes in as a very handy device as the rural electrification programme is yet to reach all the rural areas in Zimbabwe but then what is life without the internet in this global era.

Despite being the mastermind of such an innovation he had to seek assistance and partnered with a USA based man named Noah Freedman who has helped him through out the journey of bringing the web down to earth to not just people in the marginal areas but even those in the cities who appreciate innovation.

Simon’s partner Noah Freedman and his wife playing with Simon’s kids

PortableCloud creates micro-servers that can provide fully self-contained networking solutions. The servers are small, cheap, have low-power consumption, and create their own WiFi networks that users connect to directly. When connected to a PortableCloud server, users can access any web content or applications that have been loaded onto the server. The servers can run applications such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, Moodle, Canvas, as other apps available from the App Store.

While the Internet has been a huge equalizing force for intellectual capital, most people in the world lack access and are excluded from the knowledge economy. For this reason, there are many organizations today that are trying to spread access to the Internet, through orbiting balloons and satellites. While we hope that a solution to provide reliable Internet access is not far in the future, the reality now is that the large majority of our planet remains without the web. PortableCloud creates a bridge between unreliable or non-existent Internet connections and end-users.

“In a typical scenario, your PC, laptop, or smartphone connects to Router via WiFi or an Ethernet connection. This WiFi router connects to a router linking you to an Internet Service Provider (ISP),” reads part of the brochure.

The path between a client device and server can cross the globe. However, only 43% of the world has access to an Internet connection and this  is where PortableCloud comes in acting as a server and a WiFi-Router in one unit.Client devices can connect via WiFi or Ethernet directly to the Cube, and access the content and applications that are served from the Cube without the need for an Internet connection

As it stands there are a number of institutions and organizations which are actually using the PortableCloud just to mention some of them. These are Sandton Academy-Gutu, Bondolfi Teachers College-Masvingo, Elina academy-Harare, Goodhope Academy-Harare, the Ministry of health, Econet’s Ruzivo digital e-learning and the University of Zimbabwe which even has 5 devices hoping that more institutions and organizations will adopt this tech baby in the coming years to put every Zimbabwean on the web.

Simon was one of the many tech startups who exhibited at last years Zimbabwe ICT innovation fund pitch night Harare edition but he laments that when it comes to funding of startups the nation legs behind its fellow African counterparts like Kenya and Uganda but he still commended the recent initiatives by the government and POTRAZ while . But one could question if the efforts put so far are enough as Simon also reckons that the future of the nation lies with the young generation and government should try and empower the youths.

As an encouragement to other young people out there Simon said ,”Do not give up, watch this space as in the next few years PortableCloud will conquer Africa and the world. Especially areas that lack internet connectivity which will be able to utilize the PortableCloud.” Way to go Zim with such optimistic innovators who are giving it their all and with funding our nation could take on the world.

600$. Has 1tera byte hard drive. 8 gig ram. It’s a quad core⁠⁠⁠⁠

For $600 one gets 1tera byte hard drive, 8 gig ram. It’s a quad core⁠⁠⁠⁠

For more information or to purchase your PortableCloud cube you can contact Simon Chigeza on the details below
[email protected]
[email protected]

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