Inside a Cyber

Over the past couple of years we have spent a lot of time in Nairobi. Nairobi is a hub for technology in Africa. Lots of the discussion about technology in Africa is about the mobile phone. And for a good reason. Most people access the internet via smartphones and feature phones. Android phones are becoming more affordable, more features and apps are being designed for the African Market. But cell phones are not the only way to get on the internet.

Throughout all of our visits we have become very familiar with the ‘cybers’ around the city and the slums. A cyber, short for cybercafe, is a pay per use internet cafe without the coffee. With computers, printers, and local supplies they are everywhere. For the diminishing groups of people without a smartphone, this is still how you access the internet. But even with the growth in mobile phones, the cybercafe is far from obsolete. This is where you get a full screen, a printer, more advanced apps, unlimited bandwidth for videos. It’s the compliment to the phone.

Over the last couple of years we have gotten to know a few cybers well and so we wanted to share our “designers” look into the cafe we know best. How does the cyber work? Vivien Lim, a student from a past Groupshot program, worked with us to illustrate this anatomy of a cyber cafe. Explore it here. (http://www.communitydata.org/cybercafe/front)

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