Exploring and Mapping Africa’s Digital World with Insta360 and Fallohide

Having a digital presence is often a necessity for people, businesses, towns and cities in the modern world. For some, this might mean updating their LinkedIn page, or making sure their business appears on Google. For Walid Kilonzi, the founder of Fallohide, an extended reality studio based in Kenya, his mission is a little more ambitious: to map the vast lands of Africa, one street at a time. 

Armed with Insta360 ONE X2, a compact 360-degree camera, Kilonzi started with his home county of Machakos, endeavoring to bring their local treasures to the digital world. This is his story.

The Digital Man: Walid Kilonzi

“When mother said not to stand too close to the TV screen, who knew many years later I’d be making a living by having one literally on my face?” said Walid Kilonzi, the founder of Fallohide and an extended reality producer.

Walid Kilonzi walking on the street in Kenya.

Like everywhere around the world, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic hit Machakos County hard, affecting all walks of life. The tourism sector was particularly affected by the pandemic, causing significant hardship for local business owners. Seeing the devastation the pandemic inflicted on his community, Kilonzi set out to digitize local businesses to help them reach more clients.

Kilonzitargeted more than 150 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and tourist attractions all over Machakos and through mapping, giving them access to Google Business accounts, and shooting 360 VR content, aimed to improve their digital presence and rejuvenate the local tourism industry.

Insta360: The 360 Digital Anchor 

Traveling around Machakos County, a population of 1,098,584 people in an area of 6,208km2, Kilonzi knew he would have to travel light when it came to filming equipment. Thankfully, Insta360 ONE X2 was the ideal travel companion. He was able to use it to capture sharp 5.7K 360 videos and high resolution stills on the go, with a camera that fit in his pocket.

Walid Kilonzi sat at a desk showing two entrepreneurs their enterprise's digital assets on his laptop.

Enabling emerging SMEs and large enterprises to make the digital transformation is an increasing use case for Insta360 cameras, particularly due to their image quality and affordability. The ONE X2 used in this project also has a new iteration: Insta360 X3, which comes with variousupgrades, including dual 1/2” sensors, sharp 72MP photos, and a larger touchscreen. 

For Kilonzi, an important benefit of using an Insta360 camera was the companion app, which is designed for making quick and easy edits on the go.

“All we had to do in the Insta360 app is reframe, take stills and we had our photographs. Same with the 360 videos. It was really efficient and time saving.”

There is also a desktop software available, Insta360 Studio, which comes with further options for detailed editing, settings, and export. 

Machakos: The Digital Evolution

“This was a project that was really close to my heart because I was able to see businesses that were struggling within my hometown come to life again and have that hope that there will be a better time, and finally that time has arrived.”

Working closely with the government of Machakos County, Kilonzi was able to help local businesses increase their digital presence through Google Business Accounts and more importantly, Google Street View. In many countries, Kenya included, Google Street View is an essential tool to use when traveling to new places

Walid Kilonzi using an Insta360 ONE X2 to capture a 360 photo of a field with zebras in the background in Lukenya Resort.

Filming with Insta360 ONE X2, Kilonzi was able to successfully map out many of Machakos County's local businesses and tourism sites. He then seamlessly uploaded the data onto Google Street View, as well as the businesses’ own websites.

As a result of the project, local businesses experienced an overwhelming surge in their digital presence, with some garnering more than a million views within just two months. This impressive growth has been a massive boost to the visibility and recognition of these local businesses and the community. 

Continuing the Journey

Based on this project’s success, Kilonzi aims to help other countries and communities promote their local businesses. He plans to expand the idea to Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African countries. Ultimately, this project is just the beginning. 

Walid Kilonzi and VR equipment.

Documentaries, VR ads, training 360 videos, Google Street View and virtual tours are all areas that Kilonzi and Fallohide are exploring to help local businesses improve their digital presence and become more competitive. 

With the pandemic officially over, the gradual recovery of tourism is expected to trigger a boom in thenumber of local businesses looking to improve their online presence. Kilonzi is optimistic about the prospects, and eager to embark on new projects.

Keen to keep up to date on Insta360 stories? Keep an eye on our blog and sign up for our mailing list. You can also contact our Enterprise team directly to see how 360 cameras can benefit your business.

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