Stories by Bisi Olaleye
Software pirates will no longer have a field day in the Nigerian market as modern software is being made to become unprofitable being hoisted in the cloud, thereby making it difficult for software pirates but easier for practioners to check logs of users.
Newly elected President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr Olorogun Emadoye disclosed this shortly after a handover from the former President of the association, Mr Pius Okigbo.
According to Emadoye, who is a consummate software developer of note and Managing Director of BSSL Technologies Ltd, with this development Nigeria will generate more revenue coupled with the fact that foreign products have since lost relevance in Nigeria with local content is gaining upper hand.
“We are challenged as professionals in software development to enforce professionalism, improve the quality of our products and provide the highest standards that are obtainable anywhere in the world. The ISPON brand Software Nigeria shall be upgraded and shall be the main theme for the 2016-2018 presidential years. ISPON is to strategise to become more relevant in the new Nigeria towards contributing to help position the economy on the right path by providing required solutions locally to combat unemployment, corruptions and development challenges”.
Emadoye became the 4th President of the 17 year old professional body which is one of the most important and strategic groups in the Nigeria Technology ecosystem on April 29,2016. As a passionate Nigerian who believes that 90 percent of Nigeria’s technological needs and in fact all its needs can be obtained locally noting that the country produces over 40,000 Computer Science/Information Technology and related computational sciences graduates from the Universities and Polytechnics annually, he argues that Nigeria and the over 25,000 MDAs have no reasons to spend millions of dollars importing relevant solutions for use in Nigeria.
Airtel offers data free services on Facebook
With the introduction of free data on Facebook by Airtel Nigeria, its teeming customers who are Facebook users will be able to post status updates, comment and write on walls, send message to others, and also be able to view or upload photos without any data charges.
Automatically, the request pops up for these set of people and they are left to either browse for free or not irrespective of the network. For existing mobile internet customers on Airtel, there is no need to do anything – they can immediately start connecting with their friends by visiting the Facebook mobile site.
Commenting on this platform Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya , says, “This marks a significant milestone in our nation’s drive towards deepening digital connectivity and enhancing mobile broadband access for millions of Nigerians in line with the key objective of Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan (NBBP). It is our belief that this partnership, the first of its kind in Nigeria, will create a plethora of opportunities for millions of Nigerians, empowering them to connect to their dreams, realise their full potentials, and succeed in their professional and personal endeavours.” Meanwhile Bharti Airtel had disclosed that it has launched Free Basics in Nigeria in partnership with Facebook. Nigerians with Airtel mobile connection will be able to access all the services that are available through Free Basics without paying extra for data charges or rental. Free Basics provides basic mobile websites and services for free to people around the world and demonstrating the value the internet can provide. Free Basics will launch in Nigeria with more than 85 free services dedicated to health, education, jobs, and finance. To date, Facebook estimates that its connectivity efforts, which include Free Basics, have brought more than 25 million people online who would not be online. Airtel Africa will also be offering Facebook Flex in Nigeria, which will allow people to access a version of Facebook without data charges. According to the Vice President of Internet.org at Facebook, Chris Daniels, this initiative is part of Facebook’s commitment to bringing people online and reducing affordability barriers. “We’re pleased to take this big step forward in our partnership with Facebook, bringing more people online in Africa’s most populous country and helping to further narrow the digital divide. This builds on our vision of using our widespread 3G network to help improve lives and communities by empowering them with access to digital content and services that are tailored to their needs”.
Nigeria’s potentials yet untapped –HP boss
The Managing Director, Hewlet Packard (HP) Incorporated in Nigeria, Mrs Ify Afe, has disclosed in Lagos that Nigerians have not harnessed half of the huge and massive potentials in the country unlike most countries of the world.
Speaking shortly after the unveiling of several HP’s consumables products, Afe pointed out that Nigeria is a very strong market to Africa owing to her population and is a force to reckon with in Africa and in the world. However, the only thing she has to improve on is how to get this message to every household and every individual.
“ In Nigeria, the potential is huge, massive, untapped, and we haven’t even harnessed half of it and we have quite a while to keep improving on it. Nigeria is a very strong market to Africa and then we move to global economy. I think one of the key things we have in Nigeria is that we have a lot of strength pace and strength starter in the country. We have a lot of people that are exposed and open to this technology we talk about and so we have a strong adoption of these services we still push. A lot of countries today may not be on the same level with Nigeria, so, when you bring out this innovation, the second challenge is to find out where you can then play into, we don’t have that problem here. We have the population working for us, and we also have the minds of the people working for us.”
Afe further explained reasons for the untapped opportunities ,which include naivety and lack of infrastructure saying, “I think it is a bit of everything. First of all, awareness is very important, the education of the people is important. We have seen a lot of product today in our presentation but how many of you are aware of them? In the same way, we are moving on to the population at large.
How many people are aware that they have right software to solve their problems? Maybe they know the problem, but they don’t know where and how to get to the solution. The first key thing is that a lot of Nigerians are not fully abreast of the full technology lined up that they can use. That is the first area we need to tackle, we need to create awareness that is why we attribute a lot of time and effort to spend on marketing because we need to get that message out there. When you talk about being naïve, it is not a case of having a semblance of knowledge and not wanting to go into it but we are talking of complete absence of knowledge here and that is why we need to get this message to them. In Nigeria, I think people need to talk to the government to make sure that they have the right level of policies in place in schools in the city establishment, the right level of standard of products and make sure that they are addressing the need of the users. That is also another essential key, we don’t want to walk into hospitals of ours and see that we are not using the state-of-heart technology, the kind of technology that is applicable to any hospital around the world. We need to make sure we measure up to that and that is really the key thing to us”, she said..
She maintained that part of what the organization has done is to set up the HP Life Unido Partnership programme to capture individuals, that is, “The youth that are in that confinement or that are in the needs market where they are not able to use the right product. They don’t even know about it, so, we want to make sure that these people are aware of it and that they can use it in whatever idea they have to do. I met a couple of people, some of them related to me when I took a trip recently and some of these people have sound business ideas. Some people tell you that they want to have establishment but they don’t know how but they believe they can achieve it. Now, it is our job to tell them how and show them what they can use and that is what we are trying to do with HP Life programme. We want to capture these people and a lot of them have gone out of schools, out of age classification to start up SMEs but they don’t see how they can move their business from one level to the other and they are part of our audience in this programme and that is really what we are set after”.
FG to add 2 back-up satellites, ICT university soon
The Federal Government has revealed plans to add extra two satellites in the orbit to prevent loss of data as well as kick off an Information and Communication Technology (ICT), university in the country to further enhance professionalism in the sector and prevent capital flight.
This was revealed by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, at the weekend on the sidelines of the Nigeria Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) in Lagos.
The GIS is an ICT training programme that will last for three months, thereafter interns would be attached to relevant ICT companies for a period of nine months, monitored, mentored and assisted.
According to the Minister, government is planning the extra satellites because the current services of the Nigerian Communications Satellite, Nigcomsat (data arm of the government ) is not fully utilised for fear of data loss in the orbit, which could be fatal, if additional ones are not quickly added as back-ups. However, the ICT university would further enhance the industry especially as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed the service industry contributes 52 per cent of the total Gross domestic Progression (GDP) It is therefore expedient for government to develop local competencies, capacities and skills necessary to support this vital section of economic growth and at the same time creating businesses through innovations for better service delivery.
Said he : “The software developers will be accepted by Nigerians and patronaged by them because there is an existing local content policy ,which seeks to encourage local participation and consumption of ICT services. We will continue to do so. And I will give an example of what the Federal government is seeking to do, Nigcomsat is an agency that currently hoists one satellite in orbit and you know that the potentials are there. As for now, Nigcomsat service is not being optimally utilised by Nigerians, some of the excuses is that there is just one satellite and if it collapses for instance, it will mean that all data will be lost without a back-up. We are working towards having two extra satellites in the orbit, by which time, we would be able to put legislating in place and insist that government agencies, institutions and parastatals more as a necessity patronise these local service providers. Once that is done, no one will have an excuse to repatriate money outside.
“We want to have a professional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) university in the country that is not about books but learning and training in a conducive environment to have that kind of training as we see in India, China, Sri Lanka and South Korea, in order that these students will have hands-on training . This is part of my roadmap. In the last eight years, the country has digital bridge institutes in six locations the country to produce middle age manpower for the ICT industry but if you look at the facilities provided by government in this regard, you will know that these facilities are grossly under- utilised and I believe that the dynamics of the ICT industry in regards to existing buildings and infrastructure, requires is a political will and a roadmap for developing and providing an academic and professional environment for further hands-on training. Nigeria with a population of 180 million means that we have a huge market for ICT services that are not available. ICT will become the driving and thriving forces in our lives, professions and bringing non-oil revenue, which has the potential for a multiplier effect. Now, ICT engages more workers than the petroleum industry. For that kind of industry, and potential that we have, the best thing is to have a specialised centres for specific area in ICT. I therefore challenge the youths to avail themselves these unique opportunities and platforms to demonstrate their ability to challenge conventional wisdom through IT applications”. He added that the partnership between the Ministries of Communications and Finance would facilitate the further collaboration among government agencies and stimulate creativity among the GIS participants .
Also speaking on the need for the GIS programme, Acting Director – General (DG), Dr Vincent Olatunji, noted that it was a training for the youths to prepare them for job opportunities in the ICT sector because the dwindling income from oil and gas sector has made the diversification of the economy imperative.