Minecraft Earth: Microsoft drops blocks on stage at Apple’s WWDC event

Minecraft Earth: Microsoft drops blocks on stage at Apple’s WWDC event

Microsoft demos new iOS specific Minecraft Earth features at WWDC.

Minecraft Earth

Microsoft demoed its latest creation in Minecraft; Minecraft Earth at Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference(WWDC). The augmented reality (AR) game was announced last month and will be released on iOS and Android. Saxs Persson and Lydia Winters, Minecraft Creative Director and Mojang Brand Director were on stage for the hologram demonstrations.

The directors showed off the game on a tabletop before moving it out to cover the whole stage. Then showed off some cool things like immersing themselves in the game. A fully interactive world they called it.

What is Minecraft

Minecraft is a randomly generated world filled with secrets, wonders and peril where players place blocks and go on adventures. Players can build whatever they can imagine with limitless resources in the creative mode. Or explore the world and mine its resources to feed, house and defend themselves in the survival mode.

Minecraft Earth and AR

Minecraft Earth

Minecraft Earth brings augmented reality to Minecraft letting users experience the mobile game in our world. It gives you the same immersive feel as Pokémon Go. Allowing players to interact with builds in real life. Taking advantage of new iOS-only features, it was demoed that players can even step into builds.

Microsoft says you can build in tabletop mode with 3D holograms and then bring those creations to life with full-size augmented reality. Thanks to some new iOS-only features, you can even step into your builds yourself. 

Two new technologies introduced to make the AR game immersive is People Occlusion and Motion capture. People Occlusion will let players show up in their build. Players will be able to walk through their builds as if they existed in real life. More so other players will be able to see players mess around inside their own build. Motion Capture, on the other hand allows players to trigger pre-set animations for their in-game character. Mirroring the actions of the player.

Tom Warren of The Verge got to hear about and experience the game and shares this in depth. It will be coming out officially on iOS this summer, but you can signup to try it now.

Kenyan company, Upepo Technology, Receives Microsoft Grant for Innovation in Water

Kenyan company, Upepo Technology, Receives Microsoft Grant for Innovation in Water

Upepo Technology recieves Microsoft AI for Earth grant.

Upepo Technology

Upepo Technology Company Limited, a Kenyan technology firm has become the latest recipient of Microsoft’s AI for Earth grant. The award from Microsoft is to help the company extend its innovative developments. Upepo joins 21 other Microsoft AI for Earth grantees across Africa.

Upepo Technology Company Limited provides intelligent water management solutions that support water utilities and water community associations. It also provides support to large abstractors of surface and ground water including agricultural enterprises, industries and commercial property owners to accurately measure and manage water while predicting future trends in consumption.

Microsoft’s AI for Earth program aims at empowering people and organization to solve global environmental challenges. Microsoft provides them with artificial intelligence to solve issues related to water, agriculture, biodiversity and climate change. Through grants Microsoft provides access to cloud and AI tools. As well as opportunities for education and training on AI and investments in innovative and scalable solutions.

This important grant from Microsoft is a turning point” says Kevin Kihara, Upepo’s CEO. He also says Microsoft services such as “Azure Cloud, IoT and AI resources will help develop products to mitigate water losses“. These loses Kevin Kihara says, “directly contribute to large and excessive surface and ground water withdrawals” which are “detrimental to the supply of water for communities living downstream“.

Conserving and improving access to Kenya’s water supply

Kenya Water Service Regulatory Board (WASREB) shares that water access rates in Kenya have stood at 55% the last three years. It believes by adopting technology and enhancing infrastructure a 30% reduction in non-revenue water can be achieved by 2030. Saving up to Kes 80 billion for infrastructure expansion, enhanced supply and quality of water across Kenya.

Through Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, we are excited to partner with Upepo. As they develop innovative intelligent solutions that will both conserve and improve critical access to Kenya’s water supply.” – Ghada Khalifa

Ghada Khalifa, Philanthropies Regional Director for Microsoft Middle East and Africa says, “In the next two decades, demand for fresh water is predicted to dramatically outpace supply.”
Technologies such as the intelligent cloud and AI, Ghada says will model and measure the Earth’s water supply. To help us manage and protect fresh water.

MEST, Microsoft announce 2019 Pan-African Tech Summit, MEST Africa Summit 2019

MEST, Microsoft announce 2019 Pan-African Tech Summit, MEST Africa Summit 2019

MEST Africa Summit 2019
MEST Africa Summit panel discusion

The fourth edition of MEST Africa Summit will be in collaboration with Microsoft. This year Microsoft partners with MEST in the event as platinum sponsors. The summit will explore the latest innovations in the African tech ecosystem. Mest Africa Summit 2019 will take place in Nairobi, Kenya from June 10th to the 12th.

The 3 day Pan-African Tech Summit will have keynotes, fireside chats, panel discussions and workshops. It will look to discuss key topics impacting entrepreneurs and investors in Africa’s technology space.
Conversations will range from the impact of AI and machine learning on Africa’s workforce, the role of tech in cultivating a more energy-efficient Africa, ways data is being used to enable financial inclusion on the continent, how key sectors and innovations are contributing to the ecosystem, etc.

At Microsoft we believe in empowering every organization and person to do more. The work that MEST does with innovators in Africa aligns perfectly with our mission to transform people’s lives through technology engagement.” – Chris Lwanga, Senior Director Software Partnerships, Microsoft

As we gear up for this year’s Summit, we’re excited to welcome some of Africa’s most engaging entrepreneurs, partners, corporate leaders and ecosystem facilitators.
We’re thrilled to partner with Microsoft, whose entrepreneur toolkit is helping developers across the continent more easily build impactful solutions.
We look forward to diving deep into discussions around the innovations and solutions that are rapidly driving change on the continent
.” – Aaron Fu, Managing Director, MEST


MEST Africa Summit 2019 will also host the Mest Africa Challenge finals. Competing regional finalist will pitch to win the grand price of $50K in equity investment and the chance to join the MEST community. Finalist teams are from Ghana(OZE), Nigeria(Ampz_TV), South Africa(Snode Technologies), Kenya(Wayawaya Ltd) and Cote d’Ivoire(Seekewa).

Register to attend MEST Africa Summit 2019 or be part of the conversation.

Microsoft Insider Dev Tour 2019 Africa events in Nigeria, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa

Microsoft Insider Dev Tour 2019 Africa events in Nigeria, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa

Insider Dev Tour 2019

Microsoft’s world wide developer focused event, Build is on the road again. Insider Dev Tour 2019 will be heading across the globe with stops in African cities. Last year the team made a stop in South Africa. This year the Insider Dev team expands it to cover more cities in Africa. The selected countries this year are Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa and Mauritius.

These events will look to bring you a crash course of the 3 day packed Microsoft Build 2019 event. The events are designed for developers of any level interested in building Microsoft 365 experiences.

Join a local event near you to get the latest in Microsoft 365 technology. There will be keynotes and demo sessions. Covering .Net Core, Microsoft Graph, Web development with NodeJS, Microsoft Developer tools, IoT Solutions and more. Through more code, demos and insights.

Event Sessions (varies by location)

  • Introduction to Microsoft Graph Services
  • Web Development with NodeJS and Microsoft Developer Tools
  • Embedded and IoT Solutions with Microsoft Windows IoT Core
  • Command Line / Terminal and Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Coding your Future with the Windows Insider Program
  • Desktop Apps with the Microsoft Graph
  • UWP User Interfaces with the latest APIS and OSS libraries
  • Developing with the New Edge Browser
  • Desktop Apps with .NET Core
  • AI Platform / Machine Learning on Windows
  • Progressive Web Apps with the New Edge
  • NET Core 3.0
  • Build apps for Microsoft Teams with Microsoft Graph and Web Technology

Microsoft’s invite reads;

Get an inside peak into the future. Get insight you can use today. Join us for the Insider Dev Tour.
You’ll enjoy an inside peek into some of tomorrow’s innovative dev tech, as well as practical information you can use today. Plus, you’ll gain valuable access to a peer network along with exposure to all-star devs from a wide range of tech disciplines.

Insider Dev Tour 2019 Africa events

South Africa

South Africa events will take place June 4th in Cape Town and June 6th in Johannesburg.


Takes place in Lagos 21st June.


Morocco event will take place on the 6th of July in Casablanca.
Update: “We apologize, but this event has been cancelled.”


Event will take place on July 13th at Ebene. (Registration link coming soon) Update : It seems to have been pulled from event page.

Microsoft requests you check back If registration isn’t opened yet for your location. Visit the Insider Dev Tour website to register to attend.

Looking forward to attending? Share your thoughts with us.

Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference: Microsoft Windows Insider Chief, Dona Sarkar shares simple yet often overlooked insights on Digital Inclusion.

Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference: Microsoft Windows Insider Chief, Dona Sarkar shares simple yet often overlooked insights on Digital Inclusion.

Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference

Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program at Microsoft was a panel speaker at the Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference. She joined other panelist in discussing Automation, E-Government services and Data at the event held in Accra, Ghana.

the only way digital transformation can happen is for universities, private sector and the government to work together

Dona informed the audience that Microsoft was working to build up the tech talent in the region. Microsoft just announced Africa Developmment Centre sites in Nairobi and Lagos and plans to staff the centres with local talent. Microsoft will also partner with some of the local universities in Africa to build its talent pipeline.

Digital Transformation

Sharing her thoughts on Digital Transformation she said all the stakeholders will have to work together. “The only way digital transformation can happen is for universities, private sector and the government to work together.”

Ghana has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and an average age of 18, she shared. “You have tremendous benefits over the west. You are mobile first and most of your youth have never lived in a world without technology.”

Think like a Tech Company

I recommend you(the government) think like a tech company and behave like one. That means put young people to work she said. The more you think like a tech company the faster you are going to innovate. Do small experiments.

Why are we not putting the youth to work she asked?

Ghanamost advanced airport, … yet I had to stand in line to fill a form, … that took the longest time.

Giving an example Dona said; Ghana has one of the most advanced airport i have ever seen. I’ve been to 80 countries.
From the moment we landed, It took 15 minutes through customs and security, it was insane. Yet i had to stand in line to fill a form, that took the longest time. There’s no need for a form. You already know all about me. I had to get a visa, it was a complex process.

Government, Co-Create with the youth

She encouraged the government to co-create with the youth. Your youth is the greatest asset you have she said.
Don’t teach computer science the way you teach english or maths. Don’t teach it from books and then take test. That doesn’t mean anything. Instead have their graduation project be solve a local problem. Have them be project based, then you’ll know your youth are learning, growing and understand the value of the technology.

No Tech Talent in Africa?

Sharing her view on the (Jumia) no tech talent conversation in Africa, Dona said, i couldn’t disagree more. It is an incorrect statement.
This is why i say that. The hires from the Africa continent are our(Microsoft) strongest engineers. That’s speaking as one who hires from across the globe.

The talent from Africa is the most innovate and by far looking to solve real problems because they have to. They are trying to solve real problems like how do you have clean water, reduce maternal mortality. It is not just coding skills, it is the desire to do the right thing. So i think it is two parts.

The only problem i’ve seen on the continet and true in Asia and South America is gate keepers shared Dona Sakar. People in position of authority who belive peolpe need to earn their way to a place where they are allowed to solve problems. In Silicon Valley there are no gate keepers, that is the culture.

Celebrate home grown CEO’s

Give young people hard problems to solve she told the government leaders present. One thing we must do is story tell and Hero make these things. Dona couldn’t stress this more, “Celebrate home grown CEO’s“.

Ghana Digital Roadmap Conference is a conversation platform to review Ghana’s aging ICT policy through digitization, for an accelerated development. The theme of the event is Moving Ghana Beyond Aid; Expanding The Local Digital Economy.

The Ghana government says this is in line with its digital opportunities program. To generate ideas developing a digital strategy and an implementation plan to establish Ghana as the leader in ICT innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2023.

Microsoft inaugurates Africa Development Centre in Nairobi, Kenya

Microsoft inaugurates Africa Development Centre in Nairobi, Kenya

Microsoft CVP Michael Fortin & Phil Spencer in Nairobi at the Launch event.

Africa Development Centre Launch

Today at a media event in Nairobi, Microsoft executives introduced a special development in Kenya. But more importantly for the African continent as a whole. Microsoft launched its first Development Centre in Africa; the Africa Development Centre.

It will have two initial team sites located in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria. The Africa Development Centre(ADC) sites become the seventh and eighth Microsoft development centres sites globally. Microsoft’s other development centres sites are located in China, India, Israel, Vancouver, Boston and Silicon Valley in San Francisco.

Our new Microsoft Africa Development Center will be at the forefront of building innovative solutions that benefit Africa − and the entire world. – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Africa Development Centre
ADC launch event

Microsoft ADC

Microsoft says the;

ADC will serve as a premier centre of engineering for Microsoft. Where world class African talent can create solutions for local and global impact“.

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President Gaming, Phil Spencer will be the executive sponsor of the Africa Development Center. Speaking at the launch event he said “We are listening more than we are speaking. We want your input and feedback on what we need to do in order to help the market here succeed.
We are committed for the long term, to be in partnership with you in helping us grow. Incredible market with amazing talent the universities are putting out“.

He shares this about the project;

The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.” – Phil Spencer

Africa Development Centre

ADC Investment

The ADC will have two teams, the Microsoft Cognition team and the Microsoft Windows Team. With the Congnition team based in Lagos, Nigeria and the Windows team in Nairobi, kenya.

Microsoft is marking a new milestone with this investment in Africa. A $100 million combined expected investment of infrastructure and employment of local qualified engineers. Microsoft will recruit world class African Software Engineers to the sites. Learn how to be part of the Africa Development Center. The development centre website is still under construction and yet to publish new roles.

On what the teams will be doing, Microsoft shares these details.

Our Microsoft Cognition team and Windows’ team will be kickstarting our ADC efforts, focusing on AI-enabled cloud services, mixed reality experiences and rich applications that power the intelligent edge without disruption.”

Check out what’s new on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to follow for the latest videos and news in the ecosystem.

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_placeholder=”Enter your email address” show_subscribers_total=”false” button_on_newline=”false” submit_button_text=”Hi,
sign up so you can get the latest
in breaking news, reviews,
opinions, events,
opportunities and
community updates right
in your inbox. ” custom_font_size=”16px” custom_border_radius=”0″ custom_border_weight=”1″ custom_padding=”15″ custom_spacing=”10″ submit_button_classes=”” email_field_classes=”” show_only_email_and_button=”true”]