Monday, August 25, 2014

Google Nigeria unveils YouTube masthead


Advertisers and brand owners in Nigeria now have an unparalleled opportunity to compete in the global market sphere with Google Nigeria’s unveiling of a significant online advertising tool known as YouTube Masthead, reports ITRealms.

The new tool, ITRealms gathered, allows brands to advertise on the YouTube homepage through customized mastheads for a whole day.

The masthead, ITRealms learnt, was the first of its kind in Nigeria offering an opportunity for advertisers to explore the YouTube homepage with classy video plug-and-play format that helps brands interact with the consumers. The homepage aims at building awareness, influencing perceptions and to rev-up the mind and market share of the brand, while remaining consistent with the overall YouTube experience.

Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Manager, Google Nigeria explained that “Online is now an essential part of the marketing mix and more advertisers than ever are utilising the benefits and alongside traditional media. Since YouTube was launched in Nigeria in 2011, there have been lots of interests from brands wanting to brand and ‘takeover’ Google properties.

ITRealms recalls that the launch of Youtube Masthead which is essentially the full takeover of the Youtube homepage now presents advertisers a terrific opportunity to engage with YouTube users when they arrive on the YouTube homepage (

“It is a highly effective online advertising platform for reaching massive audiences with an affordable budget,” she said.

Teju Ajani, YouTube Content Partnership lead in Sub Saharan Africa stated that “YouTube receives over 1 Billion unique global users every month, with over 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute, this presents a massive opportunity for brand managers looking to boost exposure”. “Basically brands and advertisers will only be limited by their imaginations and creative muscle with this new advertising format,” she concluded.

The new YouTube Masthead format is already gaining ground with top Nigerian brands like Glo, Airtel, UBA, Rexona, Star, Gulder and Samsung having already run campaigns to drive traffic, attract subscribers and engage Nigeria’s growing YouTube user population.

YouTube offers countless opportunities to a wide range of advertisers, allowing them to connect with a diverse international audience in new ways. Advertisers in Nigeria will now be able to reach consumers in their different destinations, amassing massive flow of referral traffic through YouTube and increase brand related searches on Google.
Remmy Nweke
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Pix: Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Manager, Google Nigeria

VC Ahaneku lauds Prof. Okunna on MassComm facility

The Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe Unizik (UNIZIK), Awka, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, has lauded Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna and UNIZIK’s Mass Communication Department for transforming the school’s mass communication auditorium into a state-of-the-art facility, reports DigitalSENSE Campus Pavilion.

The project is a brainchild of Prof. Okunna, who is back teaching at the university, and after whom the auditorium is now named.

Declaring open the auditorium penultimate Thursday, Prof. Ahaneku said that whenever they have opportunity that will benefit students, they would not hesitate.

“The Department of Mass Communication started this process as a department, using the resources available to the department and they have keyed into the vision of the current administration.

“I thank the HOD, the departmental team and Prof. Stella Okunna who motivated and stimulated this idea. I’m saying that for us in the university system, we have to provide the necessary facilities for the students to study and the public.

“So, in all, the locations where we have our facilities, whether in the classroom or in the field, we should address such facilities.

He also emphasized that as communicators they identified the auditorium as a very important facility to address and they have refurbished their auditorium so that the students can sit there for exams, lectures, seminars and brainstorm as communicators.

“What they have done today is to lay a good foundation for a good learning environment for the Department of Mass Communication and its students” he said.

While advising the students to maintain the auditorium by keeping it clean at all times, the VC urged the teachers, as the mentors, to continue in the good direction.”

On her part, Prof. Okunna said that she was overwhelmed with the words of the VC, adding that she appreciates him for setting a new standard in the institution.

She said, “I want to appreciate our VC for setting a new standard in the university. I am highly impressed. The HOD of Mass Communication is young and very vibrant and we will always support every good idea she comes up with. The welcome back the department gave me when I came back after my appointment as a commissioner was unprecedented and I will always support this department as much as I can.”

Also expressing her delight at the day’s event, the Head of Department, Dr. Ifeoma Dunu, noted that it was an exceptional day and a dream come true for the department, adding that the auditorium will not only serve the students and the department, but will also attract income to the department. 

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nnenna rebuffs WEF’s NetMundial invite

Internet Citizen and key lead of the global Civil Society, Nnenna Nwakanma has rebuffed the invitation extended to her for the World Economic Forum (WEF)-organized NetMundial in Geneva, Switzerland, reports ITRealms.

The World Economic Forum, ITRealms recalls was rooting for its own NetMundial on August 28, 2014, which has been characterised by alleged misplaced consideration on the kind of participants invited for the event.

This is coming after the popular Brazilian government hosted the initial NetMundial a few months ago which attracted global stakeholder excitement.

Nnenna in an exclusive chat with ITRealms noted that her name was first on the leaked list on Civil Society on her personal recognition, but has since decided she will not be in Geneva.

“I will not be in Geneva. First because I do not have the time and energy to go through the humiliating 10-weeks Schengen visa process and secondly because I am already booked elsewhere,” she told ITRealms.

According to Nnenna, her reply to the invite was "I will be absent, but I will contribute."

ITRealms further gathered that participants in excess of 104 are expected to grace the WEF’s version of NetMundial.

Remmy Nweke:
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Pix: Nnenna Nwakanma

Johnson, NCC boss endorse ICTMedia Centenary Awards

                                                                       …..Ndukwe, NITDA, NIMC Too

The biggest and the first ever ICT Centenary awards in commemoration of the revolutionary milestones in the ICT ecosystem in Nigeria has received the nod of Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah who both described the ICT Centenary Award as a positive development in recognition of individuals and corporate entities that toiled to create the values that are currently being globally celebrated as landmark achievements in the ICT ecosystem in Nigeria.

Other industry leaders that have openly embraced the event include the immediate past EVC of NCC and Chairman of OpenMedia, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Peter Jack and the Director General National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Barrister Chris ‘E. Onyemenam. These industry leaders expressed their support for the programme when a delegation of the promoters of the event visited them at different times in Lagos and Abuja.

While receiving a delegation of the ICT Media Initiative, a coalition of all ICT media practitioners (print, online and broadcasting), in Nigeria, the Minister told the team comprising of Messrs Aaron Ukodie (Chairman), Ken Ugbechie (co-chairman), Remmy Nweke (Secretary), Segun Oruame, Bayero Agabi, Olubayo Abiodun and Mrs. Ufuoma ‘Daro that celebrating the achievements in the ICT sector and the individuals who have distinguished themselves is worth the drive and she promised to lend the support of her ministry to the successful hosting of the event.

Though the Minister emphasised that the ICT sector of the Nigeria economy was yet to attain its full potential and expressed the need for all stakeholders, both public and private sectors, to synergise in maximising the opportunities that the nation can derive from the sector, she nonetheless approve of the need to give rewards to deserving players in the ecosystem. She particularly endorsed the plan by the Media Initiative to confer an award on President Goodluck Jonathan. ‘Considering what the president has achieved in the ICT sector, he deserves an award’, Johnson said.

While saying that so much has been achieved in the past decade worth celebrating, the Minister advised the organisers of the events to ensure a befitting ceremony worthy of emulation.

Mrs. Johnson also pledged the Ministry’s intervention in the area of capacity building for media practitioners, while acknowledging that the Ministry was also faced with the enormous challenges of skills gap which she hopes to address with numerous hands-on capacity building workshops from where some media practitioners could be embedded. According to her, the Ministry of Communications Technology is faced with budgetary constraints which will not make it affordable to organise dedicated workshops for media practitioners.

Speaking in similar fashion while welcoming the group to his office in Abuja, Dr. Juwah commended the ICT Media Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, for deeming it worthy to articulate the bold steps that the leadership of the NCC had taken in the last few years to sustain the growth pattern in the ICT sector of the economy.

While throwing the weight of the Commission behind the event, he urged the NGO to continue its positive advocacy campaign on the significant strides that have been achieved by all the players in the ICT sector.

The Director-General of both NITDA and NIMC also commended the ICT Media Initiatives for the bold move at rewarding individuals and institutions that have impacted on the ICT for development within the Nigerian space.

“Let me assure you that I am favourably disposed to your programme, and would like to see your conference succeed. It is a good idea to come up with a the non-governmental agency, as it will provide a platform for you to seek information, knowledge and a consensus.

“I spent 15 years in policy advocacy in this country when I was in the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, so I can see the role of a very good platform where ideas can be vitalised, more so when it is taken from the slogan of the NESG which says, ‘we came to serve’, Onyemenanm said.

“ We will explore how we can work with you to have a proper commitment and to develop the capacity building and  actualise your aims”, Jack said.

Mr. Jack reeled out a number of institutional initiatives that are in the pipelines by the leadership of NITDA to further boost the on-going efforts to transform Nigeria to a digital society both in governmental inter-relationship and communal interactions. 

He too emphasised his commitment to avail media practitioners of both local and international support for capacity building that would positively impact the contribution of journalism to national development.

During the separate visits, Mr. Ukodie had informed his hosts that the one -day event which will hold in Abuja comprise of a Conference which shall take place in the day and an Award Ceremony, in the evening.

According to him, the main theme of the conference is: ICT in the Nigerian Centenary: Matching towards a Connected Nigeria. “We have also slated other sub-themes for discussion. One of the sub-themes is: Broadband, for a connected Nigeria and prosperity.

The conference is intended to sustain the current growth and momentum of discourses and actions that would culminate in the cost-effective deployment of broadband. This fittingly complements the efforts of the Federal Government as exemplified by the inauguration of the National Broadband Initiative,” he said.

He said that ICT Media Initiative is a synergy across three entrepreneurial media groups namely the ICT Publishers Alliance (ICTPA) – comprising leading ICT publications; Business and TechnologyNews Publishers Foundation (BTPF) - made up of business and technology publishers, editors and very senior news managers across Nigeria; and Nigeria ICT Broadcast Network (NIBN).

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pix: L-r: Remmy Nweke, secretary, ICTMedia Initiative, CommTech Minister, Dr. Omobola Johnson, chairman, Aaron Ukodie, vice chairman, Ken Ugbechie, Bayero Agabi during a courtesy call by the group in Abuja recently.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Microsoft Devices, TD Mobile team up on Nokia Lumia 2520

Leading manufacturers of smart devices, Microsoft Devices is leveraging its latest takeover of Nokia by teaming up with the West African leading distribution channel of ICT products, TD Mobile to bring Nokia Lumia 2520 to Nigerians, reports ITRealms.

Graced by Heads of Information Technology (IT) in the private and public sectors, re-sellers and key movers of the industry, ITRealms gathered that the Chief Executive Officer of Technology Distribution (TD) Group, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, former Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and chairman of OpenMedia Group as well as Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, witnessed the launch at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Welcoming guest to the occasion, Managing Director, Marketing at Technology Distributions, Mrs. Chioma Chimere, explained that TD has again been forced to act in the national interest through the establishment of TD Mobile.

She told ITRealms that TD played a similar role in computing, printing and enterprise solutions, stressing that in each of those periods, TD was literally forced to invest in processes and market innovations that introduced order while delivering large numbers of genuine original products at affordable prices and at the right time.

Mrs. Chimere also said that the mobile market was growing in leaps and bounds thus exposing the consumer to mobile technology that often do not meet their aspirations.

She pointed out that TD Mobile has been nurtured to showcase the same values and attributes that propelled TD to the number 1 distributor position in the subregion, in addition to its partnership with world-class Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), stocking and professional warehousing, immediate delivery, and unrivalled after sales support.

She declared that the launch of the Nokia Lumia 2520 is evidence that TD Mobile is poised to raise the bar on standards.

Unveiling the product, the former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Dr. Ndukwe said that the Lumia 2520 was coming at a time that Nigerians need a tool that would deliver truly mobile solutions.

He said that the Lumia 2520 would have a familiar feel to all who have used Microsoft products, emphasizing that Nigerians would find the Lumia 2520 very useful as the nation develop capacities for electronic business and electronic governance.

For the Managing Director, Microsoft Devices, Mr. Nick Imudia the Lumia 2520 builds on the beautiful Lumia design and comes in a number of stunning colors, including red and white in a glossy finish, alongside cyan and black in a matte finish.

“The Lumia 2520 is designed to work anywhere, with a 10.1-inch full HD display that offers the best outdoor and indoor readability. He said that for the first time, ZEISS optics appear on a tablet alongside proprietary Nokia imaging algorithms. The Lumia 2520 has a 6.7 megapixel rear camera with f1.9 aperture, providing great low-light images, and also features a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for high quality video calls. Concerns about power are a thing of the past with the Lumia 2520, as it provides up to 11 hours of battery life during video playback and has support fast-charging; providing up to 80 per cent charge in just one hour.

Mr. Imudia said that the Lumia 2520 also comes with a number of unique software experiences – Nokia Storyteller, which is built into the Lumia 2520, reinvents the way you relive your stories; Nokia Video Director, a new video editing software that lets you get even more creative with videos; the Microsoft Outlook experience, making it easy to finish off your pending mails no matter where you are. With Microsoft Office built in, you can view and edit your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the move, while keeping the original formatting.

ITRealms recalls that TD is reputed globally for its quality products, people and processes, have won numerous international and local awards for innovative marketing and good corporate governance.

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Friday, August 08, 2014

Mobile App on Ebola debuts

A new mobile application known as Ebola nationwide report centre has made a debut, ITRealms reveals.

The proponent of this latest application and immediate past president of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and chief executive officer of Connect Technologies, Chief Chris Uwaje said the app is coming at very auspicious time because no one knows who will be the next victim of Ebola, hence the need to help Nigerians aggregate reports around the Ebola epidemic.

He also said that as concerned Information Technology (IT) citizens of Nigeria, his organisation is worried over the epidemic.

“We are collectively challenged and should now be counted and step forward to deploy our IT expertise and skills to engage and curtail the Ebola pandemic,” he told ITRealms.

According to him, in response, the Connect Technology team has created an Ebola: Database-Engine.

“It is an App to capture Ebola Report Online Nationwide,” he said.

This app, he further said, is accessible free of charge, at the Ebola nationwide report centre, urging information managers to feel free to access it and revert.

He equally enjoined Nigerians to log on, spread the word and let’s avert the waiting catastrophe by building on relevant key information together.

The mobile app, he pointed out is a mobile software solutions developed for health and fitness and is compatible with some of the mobile smart devices in the market as well as in use today, especially in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, ITRealms gaathered that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a national emergency.

He therefore directed the Federal Ministry of Health to work in collaboration with the State Ministries of Health, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) among other relevant agencies to ensure this disease is contained.

Remmy Nweke:

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Pix: Chris Uwaje

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Econet, MasterCard enter MoU on Mobile Money Card

Econet Zimbabwe and MasterCard have entered a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on scaling uptake of the mobile money cards in the region, tagged EcoCash, reports ITRealms.

This development,
ITRealms gathered will significantly assist in reducing cash dependence and increase financial inclusion through the provision of electronic payments in Zimbabwe.

Explaining this MoU, Douglas Mboweni, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Econet Zimbabwe noted that the collaboration will result in more than three million MasterCard debit cards being issued to mobile money provider EcoCash’s customers in the next five years.

ITRealms recalls that this is the first time that physical MasterCard debit cards are available to people using mobile money services in Africa, and is the largest rollout of secure Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (EMV Chip) and Personal Identification Number (PIN) payment cards in Zimbabwe to date.

“The adoption of electronic payments is critical to Zimbabwe’s economic development. Reducing dependency on cash while increasing financial inclusion benefits the whole country including the government, industry sectors like tourism and retail, merchants and citizens,” Mboweni said.
He pointed out that today, 40 per cent of Zimbabweans are financially excluded and another 22 per cent rely on informal financial products or services. Through its mobile money products, EcoCash has successfully provided a means for unbanked and under-banked citizens to participate in the formal economy and has reduced the demand placed on banks for scarce and costly currency.

For the first time, EcoCash customers will be able make use of their EcoCash funds in ways previously closed to them. By obtaining an EcoCash MasterCard debit card, EcoCash customers will be able to withdraw money from MasterCard-licensed ATMs and pay for goods and services at millions of merchants that accept MasterCard payment cards, both in Zimbabwe and internationally.

Equally speaking, EcoCash CEO Cuthbert Tembedza said the integration of these products and services are particularly exciting for EcoCash customers.
“We look forward to offering Zimbabweans even more ways to benefit from the security and convenience of electronic payments as they engage with, and contribute to, the formal economy,” Tembedza said.

EcoCash chief noted that as a today, over 85 per cent of retail payments globally are still carried out using cash or cheque, stressing that the percentage is much higher in Africa.
As a payment option, Tembedza pointed out that cash takes time to get at, and is riskier to carry, as well as costing the society as much as 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), depending on the country. He stressed that it’s for these reasons that governments are rapidly driving the conversion from cash to electronic payments as they realize the benefits of a cashless society.

For Charlton Goredema, Vice President and Area Business Head, Southern Africa, MasterCard, “The EcoCash MasterCard debit card is a milestone towards realising MasterCard’s vision of a cashless society. Demonstrating the value of close collaboration in the financial services and payments technology industries, EcoCash and MasterCard have devised an innovative payment product that addresses Zimbabwe’s market realities, particularly by acknowledging the impact mobile money has on the country’s economy.”

Further, Goredema said that as EcoCash enables its customers to benefit from MasterCard’s global payments network, they are assisting Zimbabwe to integrate its economy with those elsewhere in the world.

“Importantly, we are also contributing to the financial freedom of individuals,” Goredema declared.

Remmy Nweke
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FG refutes caution on mobile phone use causing cancer

For the records:

The Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson has refuted a statement circulating in some sections of the media alleging that the use of mobile phones can cause cancer.  Dr Johnson disclosed that there are no proven health hazards resulting from the use of mobile phones or proximity to telecommunications installations for now that could pose a risk to human health.

A statement made available by the SA Media to the Dr Johnson, Efem Nkanga described the statement as a personal misinformed view of Engr Ngozi Ogunjiofor, a deputy director, Department of Posts and Telecoms, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, that is not backed by proven scientific analysis.

Ogunjiofor who represented the Minister at the launch of the Etisalat Flagship store in Abuja on Thursday had expressed a personal opinion and was quoted as saying that the use of mobile phones can cause cancer.

Mrs Ogunjiofor had said ‘’ The most dangerous and important element in the communications sector are mobile phones, because of the health and other related risks they bring. Some radioactive elements in the mobile phone might affect the body and cause cancer and other health challenges.

Radiation from phones can cause problems, and this is why we are advising the public not to bring phones close to their body or use in the rain. Radio waves produced by mobile phones could interfere with important electrical equipment, such as telecom masts, monitors, hospitals equipment’s and electrical systems on airplanes, and that is why the ministry made it mandatory for operators to install their masts five kilometres away from residential areas.’’ Ogunjiofor added that ‘’ dangerous driving is caused by mobile phones and it is important for operators to also enlighten the public on the risks, because this will also help members of the society to enjoy their lives.

Mothers should not allow their children to play with mobile phones, especially when they are not of the age of using a mobile phone and are not well educated on the use of it’’

Describing the statement as a personal opinion that does not represent the position of the Minister or Ministry of Communication Technology, Nkanga enjoined Nigerians to disregard the caution on the use of mobile phones as various researches conducted by international organisations on the safety of mobile phones use till date remain inconclusive.

Nkanga stressed that until results of a definitive and conclusive research is obtained with zero doubts on the safety of cell phone use, Nigerians can safely continue using their mobile phones.

The World Health Organisation WHO in September 2013 stated that ’’Based on mixed epidemiological evidence on humans regarding an association between exposure to RF radiation from wireless phones and head cancers (glioma and acoustic neuroma), RF fields have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease.”  WHO also asserted that ‘’While an increased risk of brain tumours from the use of mobile phones is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk. 

In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group and is currently assessing the health impact of RF fields on all studied endpoints.”

Efem Nkanga:
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