“A lot of things inspire me but the fact that we have life, we have everything, this is the best time to be alive because information is readily available to everyone. So, having life means I can achieve whatever I set for myself.”- Prince Boateng Asare
Sometimes, we wish a day come to an end as early as possible because it was actually not going too well. This was one of those days for me until I sat with my guest to have a short discussion on tech and Internet of Things (IoT).
My first time at GIMPA Executive Conference Centre and I went through a lot of bad happenings to get there, but thanks to my Guest, the day ended on a very positive note as I spent about 40 to 45 minutes with him. I know this read would encourage and inspire you to dream bigger and work harder wherever you may find yourself.
How would you describe yourself?
My name is Prince Boateng Asante and I’m the vice president of IoT Network Hub. I am also a competent engineer and systems analyst. After some time of doing development, I wanted to find myself doing something more and that led me into the area of interacting with stakeholders and preparing documents for developers to be able to work with and successfully launch marketable tech product.
IoT Network Hub: Tell us more about it?
The hub has been around for the past three years, we started the community as a group of people from different sectors of the economy. The goal is to have a diverse team of experts whose focus is solving problems using the latest technologies. In this case, IoT where you can have a system that will intercommunicate with each other without the need or less use of human effort.
The community started three years after we had a conference on exponential technology which saw speakers touch on IoT as one of these technologies. So, I and the president (Joshua Opoku Agyeman) agreed to start this network hub since there was no tech community having IoT as its focus at the time. We had the opportunity to have our meetup sessions at the Kofi Annan ICT Center through the leadership of Mr Anim Ofori. These meetup sessions were a platform to learn and also introduce new members to IoT. The focus was to have chapters across Africa where anyone can walk in and come out with a product. And this covers engineering, 3D printing, development and many others.
These meetup sessions would see us invite resource personnel to share their knowledge and experience to members, we also offer training sessions and also organize hackathons where people would be exposed to newer technologies. So far, we have about over five thousand members across the group in Africa and also have chapters in various regions in Ghana.
Across the African continent, we have chapters in Rwanda, Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria amongst others with a strong presence on University campuses across Ghana. At the end of the day, all these chapters would fall under the national chapter.
“He was actually working with an IT company as a technician, so during the holidays I followed him to his office and was always obsessed with happenings there. The most interesting thing is that the things we learn unconsciously happen to be what we really love and my period at the office was a series of lessons I learnt”
What inspires you the most in your daily activities?
A lot of things inspire me but the fact that we have life, we have everything this is the best time to be alive because information is readily available to everyone. So, having life means I can achieve whatever I set for myself.
I constantly work towards what I plan to achieve and I know they are achievable because I see what other Africans are doing and listen to stories of many other entrepreneurs. These stories motivate me and inform me that my dreams are valid.
What was your introduction to technology like?
Well, my experience dates way back when I was in junior high school. My aunty, a secretary upon retirement was awarded a computer and at that point, I was living with her and most of the time was spent behind the computer. She is no more, but my in-law also played a key role in my introduction to IT.
He was actually working with an IT company as a technician, so during the holidays I followed him to his office and was always obsessed with happenings there. The most interesting thing is that the things we learn unconsciously happen to be what we really love and my period at the office was a series of lessons I learnt.
I watched a lot of YouTube videos as well. And one interesting trick was that I would click on a video and pause it to allow it fully buffer/load while I go have lunch and by the time, I came back I watch the full video without any breakages due to buffering. In the application, I was able to dismantle the computer and reassemble it. I was also able to format a hard disk and one of my greatest achievement at that point was making two hard disk work at the same time, making one a slave and the other a master.
After JHS, I attended Koforidua Technical Secondary School (KSTS) to study Auto Mechanical Engineering and upon completion, I was looking forward to studying computer science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology but unfortunately, I was not given admission after application all because I didn’t have a science background.
I was really disturbed during this period but a friend introduced me to Kofi Annan ICT Center as I waited to apply again, where I went to offer a certificate course in the foundation of software development after which I continued to get a diploma in business computing. This led to my first job with Business Ghana.
Through a career fair, I got an opportunity to study at Staffordshire University a partner school with Ghana Technology University College, where I had my classes and completed with BSc Business Information Technology.
How is technology helping you achieve your goals?
Okay, technology definitely plays a role in my daily activities especially when my career has helped me work with companies and individuals remotely and technology is the main enabler. These productivity systems have allowed me to work with many persons start to finish without once meeting them in person.
Does Ghana have what it takes to take the lead in African when it comes to technology?
I personally think it is a collective effort because for instance three years ago when we started our hub there were very few hubs across the country, but what do we see nowadays. Africa is seen by many as the future and thus we need to take advantage of that and not sit with our arms folded. Countries like Rwanda are showing us that it is possible we just have to come together and work hard.
We have to have this mindset and then work towards that dream. We need to simply be open-minded and within the shortest possible time, we would adapt and evolve to the Africa we all want to see.
In that line, IoT Network Hub organize sessions with schools where we teach robotics and many others to allow the children to dream big and prepare their minds towards the future of tech.
“unequal opportunity is what I would change”
What do you do in your free time?
I won’t say it’s my free time but yes, I love to watch animation movies to rest my creative mind. My favorite animation company is Pixar. I also love to spend that time playing PES but I also sometimes play FIFA gaming console.
What is one thing you would change in the world if you had the capability?
I would everyone with the same opportunity because, for me, that is what makes the difference. Because with equal opportunities, we would have Einstein’s everywhere. So, for me, the unequal opportunity is what I would change.
What are three mobile applications you cannot do without?
The first would be my productive apps like Slack, because of how I work all day. The second would be my podcast application as I get the opportunity to listen to my favorite podcasts during my morning and afternoon rides. Of course, for information sharing and all, I love my social media platforms but my favorite is Reddit, even though I dabble in other social platforms.
Fast Pick Game
In this game, we listed a few similar services or products for our guest to pick their preferred one and below are the results. The guest choose the bold ones.
- Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – LinkedIn
- Uber – Bolt – Yango – Taxi – Public Transport
- iPhone – Samsung – Nokia – Huawei
- Whatsapp – Telegram – Facebook Messenger
What would be your last words?
I would like to emphasize more on what we are doing as a Hub. We wish to be able to support our members’ projects from idea to production. And we are limited in resources to see this fully come to fruition so we call for more supports from corporate organizations whose CSRs are in line with what we do as well as partnerships in all forms.
We also provide a team of experts or provide training to organizations upon request. We also look at having a stable environment in terms of government policies to help us reach our goals easily.
For the purpose of information, regional chapters hold meetup sessions every last Saturday of the month and new members are encouraged to attend. A simple message on any of our social media platforms and we would add you to our folds. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the handle @IoTNetworkHub.
We have industry people coming to speak to us at these meetups while we also strive to brainstorm on issues and solve problems. We also provide opportunities for students to refine their ideas from seed right to product stage.
And that is a wrap. MicroTek Digital extends it profound gratitude to Mr Prince Boateng Asare for making time to sit with us and we wish him more growth in his career. To our ready we sincerely hope you have pick up a couple of things to apply in your own self.
The podcast version of this interview can be heard here as well.
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