Stories Olabisi Olaleye
The internet of things is the next surge that would further hamonize the world. The world will be connected and life becomes much easier.
However, there are some technology gurus who handle the backend but are not seen. These sets of people known as nerds and do not even have the time to socialise.
It was against this backdrop that tech professionals were celebrated at the Mainone annual technology workshop tagged, Nerds Unite.
According to MainOne’s CEO, Funke Opeke, during her presentation on ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, most of the nerds are socially unaware of their environment with the aim of improving their productivity.
She explained that the latest trends, including the Internet of Things, data centre and cloud services, managed security and social business, will change virtually lifestyles.
She urged IT professionals to adopt new technologies for enhanced operational efficiency for their organisations, noting that IT space is highly competitive and early adopters and pioneers stand to benefit more from new technologies.
“In the light of the present economic realities, it is important for businesses to take a closer look at their operational costs and take advantage of data centre, cloud and connectivity solutions to manage costs and drive improved operational efficiency during this challenging period”.
Nerds Unite is MainOne’s technology platform to bring together its customers and partners for impactful knowledge sharing sessions and social networking. With topics ranging from best practices to address emerging challenges facing Enterprises in Connectivity, Data Centre, Cloud and Security, Nerds Unite delivered a wealth of new content, unparalleled networking opportunities and key insights to enrich the technical audience.
Technology, according to Jumoke Akande, an IT expert, is the missing link to provide the edge and drive businesses.
“We see a huge opportunity in wearable technology and transmissions as it would drive value”.
Mobile money usage still low in Nigeria – Ericsson
Despite its popularity, mobile money is relatively low in Nigeria when compared to other African countries and various transactions options.
This was posited by the recent Ericsson report that was compiled in 2015.
According to the report, Nigerians still find it easier to transact from banks than depend on mobile money agents, who are also scattered across the country.
Commenting, Senior Advisor, Ericsson ConsumerLab, Patrik Hedlund says barriers to adoption of mobile money are basic.
“Lower income people and the unbanked are the ones who are least involved in the formal financial system, due to factors such as distance to banks, education, and the inability to authenticate their identity”.
The report states that 52 per cent of the total population uses mobile money through agents, who help with registration and transactions such as cash-in and cash-out. Agents also play a role in driving demand for self-sufficiency. Of the 20 per cent who use mobile money themselves on their own phones, one in four were encouraged by an agent to start using the services independently.
“Even as mobile money services become part of daily life for millions in Sub-Saharan Africa, many potential customers face basic barriers to accessing the services on their own mobile phones. Lack of awareness and basic prerequisites, and low appreciation of the benefits are some of the hurdles”.
More than half of consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa are using mobile money services through an agent, and some 20 per cent use mobile money themselves on a mobile phone. However, among the lower socio-economic groups, four out of 10 people do not meet the basic requirements for independent access such as a valid form of ID or ownership of a mobile phone. Others simply do not know about the services or consider mobile money unnecessary or too complicated, according to the new report, Financial Services for Everyone, from Ericsson ConsumerLab.
The report presents insights from a sample of 6,215 respondents aged 17-59, representing 150 million people across five countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.
The findings also revealed that 63 per cent of adults in the region have no bank account.
Hedlund further noted that for this large, unbanked proportion of society, cash is the predominant way of receiving and making payments, as well as saving and borrowing. “Study of five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa reveals 63 per cent of respondents are unbanked, and 52 per cent use mobile money through agents. Since more people have mobile phones than bank accounts, mobile financial services offer a stepping stone to financial inclusion”.
The report also stated that consumers find cash easy to use, but recognise the risk of theft and loss.
“Consumers have to make long journeys to reach the location where they can pay their bills. Saving money and taking loans also becomes problematic in unbanked Africa, with many hiding cash in their homes and relying on informal lenders who charge high interest rates. Mobile money is really beneficial to them – if they can use it.”
NCC woos telecoms investors on broadband connectivity
Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has assured the international and potential investors that Nigeria remains a sure haven for ICT investments.
Danbatta, who spoke during a panel discussion in Barcelona, Spain, on the topic ‘Is closing the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa myth or reality?’, noted that the commission’s eight-point agenda has been carefully packaged to cushion all aspects of investments, especially “as we move to the next frontier of ICT revolution – broadband for internet connectivity”
The panel discussion was a part of the regional summit for Sub-Saharan Africa at the just concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) by GSM Association, in Barcelona, Spain.
Danbatta told the panel, which was moderated by Nigeria’s Shola Taylor who is also the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), that the NCC has put in place the agenda to encourage investors. “Two of the prominent goals are related to deployment of infrastructure for broadband and efficient utilization of Spectrum to benefit all Nigerians in all the regions”
He said that the NCC will keep fate with the National Broadband Plans and in line with this, the country now has seven zones and each zone will have one operator which will deploy broadband services to every part of that zone. He added that two infrastructure licences have been issued for Lagos and North Central Zones including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the process for issuing licences for the other five zones has begun.
“The regulatory framework has been put in place to ensure a transparent licensing process because we really want to bridge the digital divide. We want to bridge the digital divide by addressing infrastructure divide and we will be transparent and open about this”, he said.