Stories by Olabisi Olaleye [email protected] 08094000013, 08111813040
With a decisive and uncompromising stance, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), seems to be saying to all the telecoms operators that change has come, indeed, and it is no longer business as usual; they must comply with directives.
In the last few years, the NCC has harped on best quality of service and compliance to regulatory directives at every opportunity but it appears that most of the telecom networks reluctantly complied.
There have been a number of threats and sanctions by the regulator in the last couple of years, the biggest being the N1.4 trillion fine slammed on MTN Nigeria.
More recently, the NCC has been talking tough on more sanctions against telcos over non-compliance with directives on unsolicited telemarketing.
According to the regulator, for failing to comply with the NCC’s do-not-disturb (DND) directive issued to operatorrs on April 20, 2016, 13 network operators risk severe sanctions, even though a window of grace was given till Monday, November 14, 2016 to remedy the situation. It seems the telcos have not taken the threat seruiously.
The commission stated that it became worried by the operators’ default, evidenced in a deluge of complaints from subscribers across the country.
The NCC“inaugurated an eight-member committee to look into the matter.After several meetings, including those it held with the network providers, it became necessary to issue another ultimatum to redress the menace of incessant unsolicited text messages and phone calls for telemarketing via the various networks,” an NCC source said.
Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo disclosed that the network operators include Airtel, MTN, Globacom , Smile Communications, Visafone Communications, Ntel, Etisalat, Multi-Links, Starcomms, Danjay Telecoms, Gamjitel Limited and Gicell Wireless.
“The NCC has written to all 13 networks providers on whose networks it has received series of complaints from subscribers regarding the efficacy of the DND service and engaged mobile network operators on this subject and further directs that the phrase network generated SMS referred to part(d) of the duration issued on April 20, 2016, to network providers shall be taken to mean messages and calls with respect to only information on emergencies, for example, national security, fire, notifications on network maintenance programmes down times and. Notification regarding subscribers bundle usage and service renewals.
“Other text messages and voice calls informing subscribers of new products and service offerings are not regarded as network-generated and, therefore, regarded as “unsolicited marketing messages”.
Ojobo further stated that the menace of unsolicited text messages has been a nightmare to millions of subscribers and the commission can no longer accept any excuses for the menace from the networks.
A telecoms subscribers, Muyideen Lawal, noted that NCC was doing its best to put things right but reasoned that, if threats or sanctions are too severe they may have adverse effects on the organisations and, indirectly, the subscribers.
“The economy is not too bouyant and most of them are struggling to survive; if NCC becomes hostile, government may become the loser at the end of the day, when they (operators) decide to leave. Both parties should tread with caution,” he said.
What to know about ‘Black Friday’
Many Nigerian companies are now replicating the Black Friday trend because of the way it boosts their profits. Though a win-win situation where the seller and buyer enjoy a symbiotic relationship, many do not understand how the concept originated, but its popularity is driving the e-commerce space.
According to blackfriday.com, now is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Black Black is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States, falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. While it’s not recognized as an official U.S. holiday, many employees have the day off except those working in retail.
The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the red to the black, back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.
In the 1960s, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe set off by gold spectators who tried and failed to corner the gold market, causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet.
As retailers began to realise they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last-minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted. However, prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel.
More and more, consumers are choosing to shop online, not wanting to wait outside in the early morning chill with a crush of other shoppers or battle over the last most-wanted item. Often, many people show up for a small number of limited-time “door-buster” deals, such as large flat-screen televisions or laptops for a few hundred dollars. Since these coveted items sell out quickly, quite a few shoppers leave the store empty handed.
•Culled from Blackfriday.com
‘Proliferation of e-payment systems fuels e-fraud’
Aramex, a comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions firm, has reiterated its commitment to using technology transfer in boosting the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria’s economy.
According to the company, the unwavering confidence in the ability of the Nigerian economy to regain its place as Africa’s biggest and fastest growing economy, despite being in recession at the moment, encouraged its decision to invest.
Speaking at an event to re-launch Aramex in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of Aramex, Hussein Hachem, said: “Our decision to invest in the Nigerian economy, despite current challenges, is a demonstration of our support for the government’s efforts to stabilise the economy and make it once more attractive to global investors. We’re committed to offering solutions to help shape the logistics and transportation industry using technologies that will connect Nigeria with the rest of the world, ensuring safety of goods and prompt delivery. This is all part of our commitment to finding unique and innovative solutions that continually disrupt and transform the logistics and transportation, ultimately helping us maintain our market leadership.”
Managing director of Aramex Nigeria, Faisal Jarmakani, maintained that Nigeria was a technologically-advanced market with a growing economy and strong business environment: “We are pleased to be operating within this space, collaborating and supporting the growing e-commerce and FinTech industries, with the support of NIPOST and other players. We will continue to leverage technology and innovative solutions to accelerate the growth of our business and enhance customer satisfaction.”
Jarmakani disclosed that Aramex would scale up innovations being piloted in other operating environments in the Nigerian market, as it remains a priority to provide the best service to clients.
Recession has helped our business – Jumia Travels
By Sampson Unamka
The managing director, Jumia Travels, Kushal Dutta, has disclosed that the current recession in the country has assisted the company in opening a new market frontier.
He said: “A lot of wealthy Nigerians who were before traveling to the United Kingdom for vacations to special locations are now thinking twice, looking for opportunities in places to explore within Nigeria, and this recession has helped us open a new market that we are capitalising on. I am very excited that this helps local entrepreneurs who have hotels to be sold to customers and that money remains within Nigeria and doesn’t go outside, which is the need of the time, and we are very happy that Jumia travellers are helping to achieve that.”
Dutta made this known recently during the company’s change of name held in Lagos; he noted that the firm, as an African company, is trying its best to make domestic travellers travel within Africa rather than outside Africa.
Speaking further on the change of company name, he said, “I must say that this is not a change, but rebranding the company, we have always been part of a bigger family, which is wearing onto the business of selling online different products, be it your phone, your properties or hotels, so it was just wise for us to create one brand that everyone relates to and not confuse customers by different names; and we had to choose one name, and that is Jumia, because it is a fact that when you ask 10 people on the street, eight of them will know Jumia.
It is much wiser economically and the customer also wants you to build one brand in Africa rather than investing your money in creating nine different brands.” said Dutta.
How grime on smartphones reveal your secrets
If the idea of someone digging up dirt about you is a concern, WikiLeaks may be only part of your worries. The dirt you leave behind on your smartphone can also reveal information about what you’ve been up to, according to a new study.
By taking just a quick swab of the chemical residue on a smartphone, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, could construct a lifestyle sketch of the phone’s owner, including his or her diet, health status, locations visited and even preferred hygiene products.
The researchers said they see a range of possible uses for such an analysis, from criminal profiling and forensics to health studies that monitor a person’s exposure to toxins or adherence to a medicine regimen.
The analysis, described today in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may not be able to identify individuals as well as tests using DNA or fingerprints can (although these also could be left on a phone). But the dirt on your smartphone can paint a rather complete picture of your day-to-day activities, the researchers said.
“All of these chemical traces on our bodies can transfer to objects,” said Pieter Dorrestein, a professor of pharmacology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who led the study. “So we realised we could probably come up with a profile of a person’s lifestyle based on chemistries we can detect on objects they frequently use,” such as the person’s phone.
For this study, Dorrestein’s team analysed chemical traces left behind on the phones of 39 volunteers. Researchers swabbed four sections on each phone as well as eight spots on each study participant’s right hand. The scientists then conducted a technique called mass spectrometry on each of the samples to determine the types of molecules present.
Once the samples were analysed, the researchers compared what they found with a massive database of molecules from various commercial products and medicines. Results showed traces of medicines such as hair-loss treatments, anti-depressants, anti-fungal skin creams and anti-inflammatory drugs; food ingredients such as herbs, spices and caffeine; and products such as sunscreen and DEET mosquito repellant even months after these two types of items had last been used by the phone owners.
“We could tell if a person is likely female, uses high-end cosmetics, dyes her hair, drinks coffee, prefers beer over wine, likes spicy food, is being treated for depression, wears sunscreen and bug spray — and therefore likely spends a lot of time outdoors — all kinds of things,” said Amina Bouslimani, an assistant project scientist in Dorrestein’s lab who was the first author on the paper.
Although the technique is in the early stages of development, it is fairly accurate and “can be used in [a criminal] investigation as … an assisting method of narrowing down the search to a smaller group of likely candidate people,” Dorrestein told Live Science.
He said the technique can become more powerful as more molecules are added to the reference database, which his group has developed and expanded via crowdsourcing. Dorrestein added that the researchers are interested in the molecules of the most common foods, clothing materials, carpets, wall paints and anything else people come into contact with.
There could be a potential to analyse a person’s gut microbes, which could reveal people’s health status from traces of fecal matter that might be on the phone, although he didn’t detect any in his study of 39 people. He is working with other scientists on the American Gut project to better understand the molecules and microbes in the human gut, to serve as another reference database.
Culled from livescience.com