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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Accepting digital convergence


Features of the week:

Introduction of the proposed Unified Licensing Regime (ULR) in Nigeria requires acceptance of stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, writes Remmy Nweke.

JUST few days to the introduction of the proposed Unified Licensing Regime (ULR), the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is also warming up for another set of revolution as government agencies are expected to digitally converge to give the industry and ULR specifically, the sense it deserves.

Digital convergence
This to a very large extent refers to modern trend in businesses, and industries whereby transactions are harmonized in digital form for corporations to work together, produce new formats and types of content.

Ramesh Jain of www.digitalmerging.la, noted that what is actually happening in digital convergence, which could be also called multi-media, is the convergence of Content, Communication and Computing (CCC), describing it as triple Cs.

He stressed that much effort, both in business as well as in technology, has usually been concerned with one C only, because, people who understand Content usually do not understand Communication or Computing that well and similar situation exists with people who understand communication or computing.

However, he said, it is the first time in history that the three are converging. Most of the time one hears about the convergence of Personal Computer (PC) and Television (TV) or of Communication and Computing.

It is important, therefore to consider all three Cs together to understand the implications or otherwise of convergence.

But for the Internet Society (ISOC) South Central Texas chapter, digital convergence evolves industries at minimum having content, and application development for film, video games, music, advertising and mass media. While the distribution channels evolve deployment of broadband wireless, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), on demand and more, even as hardware developers, Internet Service Providers, telecom operators and the entertainment industries among others will all benefit from the trend of convergence.

Peculiar situation
Presently, there are four government agencies overseeing various sub-sectors in the ICT circle, namely the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulates telecom, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), regulates the broadcasting industry, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) oversees core IT, while the satellite space aspect is managed by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
This brings to four different government agencies managing various parts of ICTs.

Why convergence?
ICT evolutions in the sector accompanied with enormous potential of Internet Protocol (IP)-oriented networks on one hand and increased users’ demands for comprehensive and network – independent on the other hand, have led to a convergence of information and telecommunications infrastructure, therefore, propelling multiplied service power.

According to professors Gernady Yanovsky and Finn Arve Aagensen of Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this comprises the convergence of voice and data services in both public and private networks through the VoIP centers, Computer cum telephony integration, which means call centers and web-contact centers merging.

Other parts that make up convergence, they said, include the integration of fixed and mobile phone lines and services as well as multimedia communications, existing as voice, video, graphics and sound in a place.

This evolutions, they also posited, have led to the creation of Next Generation Networks (NGNs).

For the likes of telecommunications manufacturing giant, Siemens Communications, this provides the avenue for development, integrating customer’s communication and computer systems for a powerful new business tools through technologies such as Wide Area Networking (WAN), ethernet switching, web servers, frame relay and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) networks.

Also the firm pointed out that the integration of communication and computer systems is the key to business success at this era, because it would provide increased staff productivity and performance, reduction of operating costs and increased business efficiency, even as it could provide new revenue streams.

Nigerian perspective
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe in a paper he delivered at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) recently, on ‘Ringing the Digital Devolution in Nigeria in the era of Technology Convergence’ said that even licensing has transformed from mere individual licensing to issuance of class and general authorisation which is embedded in ULR.

He cited an instance that new technologies like VoIP, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), and WiMax to name a few have blurred the distinction between services, it became clear that one of the strategies for NCC to take the nation to the next level would the converged licensing option, which is imminent.

Examining the industry and proposed ULR and possible convergence of the sector regulatory organs, the Executive Director, eShekels Limited, a technology inclined research organisation, Mr. Fola Odufuwa, said that in the near future, convergence would come to bear in the nations ICT sector and with ULR, he predicted it would form key bases for converged regulation.

Although he expressed dismay over the possible convergence of the four federal government agencies as obtain currently, via NCC, NBC, NITDA and NASRDA, he said he has seen the convergence of two to three related sub-sector regulators but not four as the case seems in the country today.

Regulatory convergence inevitable
“It is inevitable that there would be a convergence particularly two or three regulatory bodies if not all the four of them. That has to be, because, if you buy a Personal Computer (PC), you may be looking at NITDA, but when you open the PC, reboot it or want to do anything on it in the terms of communication whatever, then you would be looking at NCC. And when you now want to talk about the content, you would be looking at NBC and whatever you are doing that involves satellite on the same PC you have to talk or look at NASRDA,” he explained.

Stressing that nowadays, you have phrases like ‘I would listen to my PC’, ‘I would watch my radio’ and even in Nigeria in some hotels, you can browse the Internet on your television set.

These, he noted are why technologies require the convergence of the regulatory bodies; “with Internet Protocol Television (iPTV), video streaming, you now don’t know which is what anymore”.

He gave an instance, wondering how you count a television viewer; is it the one who has a television set box or the one who is watching it on his computer and the person who is listening to his radio via his computer through a radio website audio streaming.

In Nigeria, he noted, there are a number of radio stations in the east and west transmitting through the Internet, and how do you count the person; when is he a radio listener? When he carries a traditional radio transistor in his palm or when he listens to it via the PC.

The real truth, according to him, is that convergence of technologies requires that there should be a convergence of regulators whether it is done now or later, but the quicker it is done the better for us, just as its acceptance by ICT stakeholders is paramount.

Benefits
As anticipated, convergence in the ICT sector will yield a good number of benefits for all stakeholders. A postulated by Dr. Ndukwe, the convergence will include what he described as a conflict free ICT environment which will boost the economy and government position and invitation for investors, especially for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

For the duo of Steven Taylor and Larry Hettick in a joint paper entitled ‘Applications Convergence Basics’; the advantages of convergence are many they cited an instance of it bringing about reduction in business cost of implementation such as the costs for voice systems management when they shift to a Voice over IP (VoIP) based implementation.

Multi-site businesses, the convergence experts said could save on transmission and switching costs by converting to VoIP.

But while network cost savings are always welcome, applications convergence saves labour costs and improves customer service – offering an even bigger contribution to the bottom line.

In its simplest form, applications convergence happens when computer- based applications like word processing, e-mail, and customer relationship management converge with communications-system applications like telephone calls and voice mail.

This technology backgrounder will examine how applications convergence adds significant benefits beyond the cost savings created by network convergence.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

MTSFirst rolls out in Ibadan

National telecom operator and long distance services provider, MTSFirst Wireless has rolled out its services in the city of Ibadan, capital of Oyo State.

This comes in the wake of advanced plans to also roll out in the Garden City of Port Harcourt and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Head, Corporate Affairs at MTS, Mr. Reuben Muoka made this disclosure and said that Ibadan has joined the network with the commissioning of services in the city Thursday.

Recalling that this came on the heels of commercial launch of the firm’s Abeokuta network few weeks ago, just as Mr. Muoka noted that the latest commissioning of Ibadan network is an indication of how prepared the operator is.

According to him, MTSFirst Wireless plan to roll out aggressively to cover 24 cities with a target of 350,000 fixed and mobile telephony subscribers across the country is a keen one.

He also said, Ibadan subscribers would also enjoy Short Messaging Service (SMS), Internet and other Value Added Services (VAS) available on the MTSFirst’s Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA2000 1x) wireless telephony network.

He quoted the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MTSFirst, Mr. Damoye Oyesiku, as saying that the commissioning of the network in Ibadan avails residents and corporate organizations the opportunity to enjoy the types of affordable wireless telephony services being enjoyed in Lagos and Abeokuta.

Mr. Oyesiju also said that MTS First Wireless is excited about its continuous expansion, especially to the Ibadan.

"But we are more excited that our Ibadan subscribers would share in our vision to be the local telecoms champion providing our customers with simple, dependable and affordable communication services", he asserted.

MTSFirst services include integrated telephony services including wireless voice telephony and Internet services using desktop and mobile phone handsets.

Mr. Muoka further said that subscribers on the Ibadan MTSFirst network would be on numbering scheme 02-70 XXXX.

Also available on the network include Ojoo, Agbowo, Sango, Mokola, Dugbe, University of Ibadan, old and new Bodija, and all the surrounding areas.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

ICT and modern diplomacy

Features of the week:

The importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in contemporary diplomacy cannot be over-emphasized at this era, reports REMMY NWEKE.

At this era of 21st century rooted in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), a major challenge facing the contemporary diplomatic community globally, is how to adapt to these technologies in their day-to-day activities.

Diplomatic service
Diplomats, according to the second edition of ‘A Dictionary of Diplomacy’ authored by the duo of professors’ emeritus of International Politics and Relations respectively, G.R. Berridge and Alan James, are "person(s) professionally engaged in the craft of diplomacy as members of the diplomatic service.

A diplomat, the experts also said could be either a ‘diplomatic agent’ or ‘official’ at a foreign ministry. Therefore, diplomacy is "the conduct of relations between sovereign states through the medium of officials based at home or abroad".

Diplo’s intervention
Based on the importance States attach to their relations with one another, otherwise known in diplomatic parlance as bilateral relations amidst other international affairs jargon and the need to foster peace as well as development in this era of ICT, Diplo Foundation with offices in Malta and Geneva, Switzerland, came up with a 10-day workshop on ‘ICT and Contemporary Diplomacy’ for members of the diplomatic community, comprising its Postgraduate Diploma candidates selected globally.

Diplo Foundation is a non-profit organization set up by the governments of Malta and Switzerland to assist all countries, especially those with limited resources to participate meaningfully in international relations, and based on multistakeholder approach involving participation of international organizations, civil society, media and other actors in international affairs.

The Foundation focuses on deployment of ICT through education and training programmes, research, conferences and professional publications.

The 10-day workshop held at the Coastline Hotel, Malta, was attended by participants from Libya, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Malawi, Peru, Namibia, Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Barbados as well as Malta.

Contemporary diplomacy
This involves the use of modern technologies in diplomatic activities, be it exchange of information or negotiations, mostly between sovereign states. Thus the application of technologies from telecommunications down to multimedia, transcends mere communication on telephone to Internet chat and exchange of information in matter of seconds.

For Ambassador Kishan S. Rana, 21st century diplomat should be able to have a good, sound communications and relevant diplomatic reporting abilities, both verbal and written.

Ambassador Rana who also is a senior fellow at Diplo, noted that before the advent of ICT, every international relations begins with verbal communications, but pointed out that nowadays, it begins online via the Internet, even before the initial meeting of the concerns physically.

While advising diplomats to be concise in their writing, they must look out for key words because it pays to have a straightforward writing, at the same time as it all depends on who you are writing for and your audience.

Online negotiation
Director of Diplo Foundation, Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, noted that online negotiation is very important these days, and more often than not for the Least Developing Countries (LDCs). He called on developing countries to press for global acceptance of online negotiations’ mechanism as a successful means of engaging the rest of the world.

He specifically said that online negotiation is basically good for trade among other technical diplomatic issues, thus preferable to be handled online.

He also cautioned that by clicking on ‘Send’ on the Internet via electronic mail (email), means commitment for a diplomat of any State. Explaining further that online negotiation saves cost, hence it does not involve acquiring equipment for videoconference among other multimedia tools, but could simply be achieved by mere exchange of emails.

Security
Dr. Kurbalija, who is a former diplomat with professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy and Information Technology (IT), also advised contemporary diplomats to always ensure they have an IT person on their side with good rapport.

Emphasizing that the technology is there for man to use, but modern diplomats have a duty to convince their leaders and bosses to adapt, just as he noted that computer security is also there to battle with and "The best is to have a good encryption software".

Most of all, what this workshop brought to the fore is that ICT is inevitable tool in contemporary diplomacy, even as it is relevant in every citizens life as in diplomats.

And like Dr. Kurbalija stated, LDCs should optimize ICT not only because it is cost effective, it gives room for exploration of the available human resources at a State’s disposal.

One realization for contemporary diplomacy, as noted by the Maltese Foreign Minister, Dr. Michael Frendo, in his foreword in a book entitled, ‘MultiStakeholders Diplomacy" launched during the workshop is that the "face of traditional diplomacy has changed".

Remmy Nweke bags another Siemens Profile award


Senior Reporter on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with Champion Group of Newspapers, and first Nigerian continental Siemens Profile award winner, Mr. Remmy Nweke, has bagged yet another prize at the 2005 African Siemens Profile awards presented in South Africa, Tuesday, February 21 this year.

His prize came in the category of the Information Technology (IT) business solution, making it twice he is winning in this category.

It would be recalled that in 2005, Mr. Nweke was honoured in Midrand, South Africa, at the inaugural African Siemens Profile awards, for journalistic excellence in reporting science and technology in the Information Technology (IT) business solution category for 2004.

Also, he was last year adjudged second prize winner in the Local Content Application category of the annual African Information Society Initiative (AISI) awards, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under its outreach programme, which lean on promoting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) within the media, since 2003.

Mr. Nweke, who joined Champion Group since 1997 is a pioneer Nigerian journalist to be nominated into the editorial board of the Highway African News Agency (HANA) based in Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, is also the chairman, International Relations Committee of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), member, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Archdiocese of Lagos and moderator, African Media ICT4D Nigeria chapter, an off shot of the African Media ICT for Development of AISI, as well as an international member, Canadian Science Writers Association (CSWA), African Science Journalists Association.
In addition, Mr. Nweke who edits ITREALMS Online, http://itrealms.blogspot.com, is a founding member of the Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD), a non-governmental organization based in Nigeria, Journalists for Regional Integration (JORIN)for promotion of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) among others.

African Siemens Profile Awards organized by the Siemens Southern African office is an initiative that began in 2001 and centered on the Southern African media but was in the 2004 edition expanded to accommodate entries from all nations on the continent, is usually witnessed by over 400 Siemens key customers and partners.

In a letter notifying Mr. Nweke of the prize, the Corporate Media Relations Manager at Siemens Southern African office, Mr. Mandla Mpangese, said "We are pleased to announce that your entry was amongst those short listed in one of the categories".

The Profile Awards, he said, seeks to recognize journalists for their contribution to making issues pertinent to science and technology easily accessible to the people on the ground and is divided into different categories focusing on Siemens core competencies.

"Although it is a Siemens initiative, journalists are not restricted to writing exclusively on Siemens technology," he explained.

In his address at the occasion, Chief executive, Siemens Southern Africa, Mr. Pete da Silva, noted that the 2005 session witnessed high level of interests in the entries, "a volume that has grown substantially year after year".

Pointing out that like everywhere else in the world, science and technology reporting has remained underrated in Africa, of which Profile Awards tends to correct this notion.

Also there were winners from Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya including Mr. Isaac Umunna of Africa Today, Nigeria who came top in the Technology Policy and Investment category, Mr. Zachary Ochieng of News From Africa, Mr. Udo Rypstra of Truck and Bus, Ms. Lesley Stones of Business Day South Africa in Fixed Telecommunication Networks, Ms Liz Nganga of The Standard, Kenya in Basic Industry - Manufacturing.

While Mr. Anthony Doman of Popular Mechanics South Africa took the Energy category as well as the overall category among others.

Jonker harps on building fast data center

SYSTEM engineer and HPP Accounts Manager at the American Power Conversion (APC), Mr. Barend Jonker, has outlined how best to build a data center faster by organizations.

Speaking at the recently held fourth ICT for government, which took place in the capital city of Accra in Ghana, he said that organizations could build a data center faster and cheaper, mostly with a higher level of overall available and resilience through looking at the Network Critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI).

This, Mr. Jonker said incorporates power, cooling, racks and physical structure, security and fire protection, cabling and data centre management.

He declared that today, increasing numbers of companies are centering their strategic initiatives around the perception of standardisation and consolidation.

Stressing that nowhere is this more applicable than in the data center, although he recognized that traditional approach to data centre architecture forces enterprises to build out to full projected capacity from day one.

The outcome, he said, is a long deployment schedule and millions of dollars spent on an under-utilised infrastructure.

As a result of which, it is rarely, if ever, adaptable enough to keep up with today’s changing IT needs, he said.

The accounts manager also pointed out that by taking power protection to the next level, companies are changing the way that data centres are deployed.

In his contribution, country general manager for Africa at APC, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, said that by rightsizing the data centre architecture, "companies would only incur the infrastructure costs actually required at a given time".

According to him, to achieve the theoretically available cost savings, the ideal data centre architecture would only have the power and cooling infrastructure needed at the moment.
"It would only take the space that it needed at the moment and it would only incur service costs on capital infrastructure capacity that was actually being used. It would be perfectly scaleable," he said.

APC which offers a wide variety of products for network-critical physical infrastructure including InfraStruXure, its revolutionary architecture for on-demand data centers, as well as physical threat management products through the company’s NetBotz division.

These products and services, the manager said, help companies increase the availability and reliability of their IT systems.

The aim of ICT for Government (ICT4Gov) is to encourage processes in building capacity within the various arms of government, namely federal, state and local so as to harness ICT for the socio-economic development and improvement of the delivery of public services through eGovernment.

UN creates website for IGF

IN line with expectation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders, the office of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, has created a website for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Executive Coordinator of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), Mr. Markus Kummer, revealed this at the international conference on "Internet Governance: The Way Forward" held in Malta recently.

He also said that the WGIG secretariat set up after the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in December 2003 in Geneva is currently listening to the pulse of stakeholders on how best to make the proposed IGF at the second phase, a success.

According to him, UN secretariat has also created an online platform to enable stakeholders post questionnaire to stimulate discussion on IGF.

This online discussion platform, he said, could be found at http://www.intgovforum.org/questionnaire.htm, while the website for IGF is located at http://www.intgovforum.org/.

He called for common understanding on the nature, character and structure of IGF.

Mr. Kummer however, raised some questions for stakeholders, which he said, are pertinent for IGF to truly reflect the multi-stakeholder approach as requested in the Tunis outcome document.

Some of these important questions include what is the forum expected to deliver and what should be the outcome, just as there is need to address the structure of IGF; its format and if it should be an open or closed forum.

Others are how often it should meet, how long should the meeting be, and what kind of procedures should it follow as well as how it should be funded to name a few.

Glo connects Obudu, 34 other towns

Glo mobile in continuation of its avowed tradition, has connected 35 towns in the last four weeks.

Glo Mobile, the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications arm of the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom, announced this with the switching on of its Obudu cattle ranch cell sites.

The ranch, a tourist heaven is one of the Africa’s exotic reservation sites for its natural appeal, beauty and wildlife intermingling with modern facilities.

The Obudu Cattle ranch, according to Glo, could now enjoy several services available on the network, including the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

Noteworthy is that Glo Mobile recently connected some parts of Benue State, rolling out in Oju, Anywuogbu, Ochimodi, Ega, and Ogengen, just as in Imo State, the towns of Nkwere and Ideato have now been put on Glo network.

Equally covered in the last one month by Glo include Iju/Itaogbolu in Ondo State, Odekpe in Anambra, Keffi in Nassarawa, Itoikin in Lagos, Omu –Aran in Kwara, Uwana, Afikpo and Amezi in Ebonyi States.

Others are Owode-Yewa, Ago-Ilaro, Oke-Odan, Ilaro and Idiroko in Ogun State, Igbere in Abia, Igbetti, Pariya in Adamawa State and Ogboro in Oyo State.

Meanwhile, another Glo world has opened in Ibadan the capital of Oyo State.

ITRealms Online recalls that in 2003 after its launch, Globacom had opened the first regional office at Challenge, also in Ibadan.

Linkserve upgrades network

Nigeria’s premier Internet Service Provider (ISP), Linkserve Limited, has embarked on an upgrade of its network.

Corporate Affairs and Marketing Manager at Linkserve, Mrs. Ufoma Daro, who disclosed this informed ITREALMS Online that the upgrade is part of the company’s plans to serve "its customers better and to give Nigerians a more pleasurable experience of Internet usage in the country".

The exercise, which includes the upgrade of the firm’s hardware and software would give an added stability to the network and give extra value to customers.

She noted that Linkserve has always been in the forefront of innovativeness in the country’s Internet service market, and said the company demonstrated this when it became the first ISP to introduce Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) technology into the nation’s market.

Linkserve, she said, is again demonstrating its zeal to continue looking beyond most players in the market by upgrading its network.

Mrs. Daro quoted the Chief Executive Officer, Linkserve Limited, Mr. Chima Onyekwere as saying, "This upgrade in software and additional hardware is to ensure that we remain the most stable network in Nigeria and give our customers the best service and value on the bandwidth they have paid for".

Mr. Onyekwere noted that the Linkserve network was the only one that could offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), amidst competition, describing it as voice service at bandwidths of less than 17kbps.

"Now it is even going to get better, as the new features allow even more saving and improved VoIP deployment," he said.

He underlined the key features of this latest exercise to include leading to customers having more bandwidth for lesser amount of money and optimization of available bandwidth as the sign-on to the hub.

"Customers will pay less for more than 20 per cent improved increase in experience in browsing, which is a major advantage for cyber caf├ęs that use up a lot of bandwidth," Mr. Onyekwere declared.

Wholly owned Nigerian company incorporated in 1996, Linkserve Limited commenced operation in 1997 with an Internet Protocol (IP) connection, offering full Internet services to the public on real time.

Linkserve has coverage in the 36 states of the federation, with offices located in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.

Also the company’s coverage has extended to some West African countries such as Cameroon, Ghana and Liberia, with an office in Accra.

Diplo launches research on IPv6

RESEARCH students at the Diplo Foundation based in Malta and Switzerland have launched an Internet Governance project on the Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6), in order to explore more values associated with the version.

IPv6 is the latest version of Internet Protocol created following suspicions by experts in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), that the current version IPv4 would soon be exhausted.

The research titled "IPv6 and Its allocation" according to members of the project, Messrs Marsha Guthrie, Mwende Njiraini and Jean-Philemon Kissangou, is being conducted as an Internet Governance Capacity Building programme of Diplo Foundation.

The duo of Guthrie and Njiraini who spoke on behalf of the team said, there are three supervisors attached to the project, namely Messrs Andrei Mikheyev, Valentin Katrandzhiev and Vladimi Radunovic, while Director of Diplo, Dr. Jovan Kurbalija, is the chairman of the project.

They also disclosed that the project is in high gear with a good number of the work already in progress.

In the document for comment made available to ITREALMS Online, they noted that implementation of IPv6, has for sometimes now dominated discussions in the industry globally.

Pointing out that increasingly, countries are being told of the many benefits of switching from the older version of IP, that is IPv4 to IPv6.

The essence of this, they said, is that IPv4, is simply not suitable for all of the web-enabled devices currently being used.

They also noted that argument is rift over the adoption of IPv6, on the belief that it would widen the digital divide.

This, the research said, is also at the forefront of the debate on this inevitable transition.

They further said that their research seek to highlight various aspects of the perceived deficiencies of IPv4 by providing a more comprehensive view of both sides of the debate for and against IPv6.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ICT youth, HBF team up on ‘Nigeria Rock’

Nigerian youth for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) led by the nation’s first Information Technology (IT) Youth Ambassador, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, has concluded plans in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF) office in the country to launch the ‘Nigeria Rock" project on Wednesday, February 22.

The project encompassing a book, "Global Process, Local Reality: Nigerian Youth Lead Action in the Information Society," and Nigeria Rocks’ documentary.

According to Mr. Sesan, the Nigeria Rocks document is a progress report of Nigerian Youth and ICTs, mostly during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) processes.

He also disclosed that the current IT youth envoy, Mr. Edward Popoola would deliver the report at the event scheduled for Wednesday at HBF office in Ikoyi-Lagos.

Equally on the project’s agenda is the launch of the Nigerian Youth ICT4D Network Portal.

The launch, Mr. Sesan who also is the Project Manager, Lagos Digital Village, noted that these series of events have been lined up to lend credence to the process of youth inclusion and participation in the nation’s ICT for development sphere, as well as they plan to work on the sustainability of these contributions by the youth.

Recalling that WSIS ended in Tunis last December, but it would result to what he described as "Obvious waste of resources, including time and travel money, if any nation or people fail to maximize the opportunities that the process provided and still provides".

He stressed that with the follow-up meetings and continued consultation globally, "it is important for Nigeria to also consider these opportunities".

He underscored the point that as part of their contribution, Nigerian youth on ICT with the support of HBF came up with a book and a 20-minute documentary of their involvement in the WSIS processes, chronicling the efforts of their activities on ICT development in the country.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Setting agenda for Nigerians in Diaspora

Features of the week:

Forging partnerships among Nigerians in diaspora in bridging the digital and scientific divides, may suffer some set backs due to non-fulfillment of government’s part of the bargain, reports REMMY NWEKE.

OBVIOUSLY in response to the calls by President Olusegun Obasanjo since assuming office on May 29, 1999, the Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NITPA), Association of Nigerian Physicians in America (ANPA) and Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) are jointly putting up a two-day meeting, to raise the curtain for the deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in nation building.

Response
This response, according to the President of NITPA, Prof. Manny Aniebonam, was taken in preparation for this year’s Diaspora Day slated to hold in the nation’s capital, Abuja, by middle of the year.

ITREALMS Online recalled that at the conference on the “Bridging the Digital and Scientific Divides: Forging Partnership with the Nigerian Diaspora,” which held in Abuja between July 25 and 27, 2005, President Obasanjo in his message at the occasion, reportedly declared July 25 as the annual Diaspora Day.

It was organised by the Nigerian National Volunteer Service (NNVS), Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, and Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST).

In realization of this, the conference being coordinated by NITPA along with two other core Nigerian entities decided to put up the two-day event to sensitize Nigerians on the importance of Diaspora Day.

As at Today
As at the time of this report, there are over 400,000 members of the Nigerians in Diaspora cutting across science and technology, residing and working in the United States (US).
This figure, as said by NITPA President, Prof. Aniebonam, comprise doctors, academics, engineers, ICT professionals, pharmacists, and nurses among others.

Dreams
The dreams of the initial conference to herald this historic move in the evolvement of Nigerians in Diaspora, was based on four broad areas, consisting of raising the profile of the Nigerians in Diaspora in the country and contributions they could make in Nigeria’s development process; creating awareness among Nigerian scientists and technology experts abroad on existing government policies especially in the area of science and technology; encouraging and fostering partnerships among Nigerian scientists and professional groups both at home and abroad in the area of science and technology; and collaborating with these groups towards making science and technology the basis for attaining rapid national economic development.

And after the first three plenary sessions, six technical issues were prominent on the list namely biotechnology and agriculture, engineering, infrastructure and environment, as well as manufacturing and technology parks cum incubation centers, ICT, health, basic and applied sciences and space science and nuclear technology.

Specifically on biotechnology and agriculture, the conference had requested that the government should facilitate the Nigerians in Diaspora’s visit, to selected institutions where their expertise is required ranging between two weeks and one month, just as they said this should begin immediately without delay and should be sustained.

In addition, government should establish a Biotechnology Innovation Fund (BIF) to support research, development and training in biotechnology, even as the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NIBDA) should manage the fund, to become accessible before the end of this year.

Equally, a databank of all Nigerian experts in biotechnology in the diaspora and at home should be composed with details of their skills and resources, as well as existing gaps that could be addressed by the former. Also this should be completed within one year, which is few months to the deadline.

On manufacturing and technology parks cum incubation centers, the conference had outlined this with the aim of Nigeria becoming an industrialized nation with diversified economy within 10 years, providing world standard infrastructure, such as near 100 per cent electrical power supply, regular water supply among others should be put in place by appropriate bodies without the burden to the manufacturing companies.

On ICT, they had demanded the establishment of a national or regional fiber-optic backbone and broad based infrastructure as the most urgent national priority; provide science, technology and ICT training at every level of education and integrate information system courses into the national curriculum to address the serious capacity deficiency in the industry.

Moreso initiate within a period of one year, the formulation and legislation of an integrated and sustainable national ICT policy to remove the current ad hoc efforts in the industry; and support local assembly and manufacture of ICT hardware to stem the current serious foreign exchange outflow through local and foreign direct investment and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) designation, with appropriate legislation to patronize use of such local products amidst several others.

Urgent attention
Barely five per cent of burning issues at the 2005 conference, demands and proposals put in place, could be said to have seen the light of the day.

Some of the things demanding urgent attention now are the efforts made in BIF, NIBDA and formation of databank for Nigerian experts in biotechnology, on top of the anticipated reverse of misconception on National Air Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) evolvement by giving credit to whom its due.

No doubt, the proposals are beautiful but one key element that could undermine the entire efforts is the non-recognition of individuals professionally, which may not be related to finances but a sort of patent.

Partnering with government
Adducing some reasons why government needs partnership, Prof. Aniebonam said that the 2005 Diaspora Day conference in Abuja was to define the framework for addressing all the issues contained in the communique, including the few listed above.

‘We are now meeting in Washington to lay down the operative modalities for effective execution. Granted, these things have been neglected for so long and will therefore take equally longer time and more efforts to address. Our approach now is to do it right with well mapped out strategy and carry everyone along. Gone are the days when we expect the government to do all it takes to develop our nation. A sustainable partnership between government, private sector in Nigeria, donor agencies, and Diaspora Nigerians is what is needed’ he asserted.

Two-day meet
As Nigerians in Diaspora meet in the next two days, some of these unaccomplished proposals would be uppermost in participants’ mind, if a successful nation building will eventually manifest; these questions must be resolved.

Internet is too important – Frendo

REMMY NWEKE, who was in Malta

AS the conference on the modalities to enthrone Internet Governance continues in Geneva,
Switzerland, Internet, the network-of-networks, has been described as too important to be left exclusively in the hands of the organized private sector (OPS).

Maltese Information and Communication Technology (ICT) lawyer and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Frendo, noted this in a speech he presented at the just concluded conference on Internet Governance: The Way Forward, held in Malta.

Internet, he noted, is too important to be left to private hands, declaring “It could not be left exclusively to the private sector”.

He was certain that the Malta conference would add value toward shaping the use of Internet in the future.

Dr. Frendo pointed out that Internet has become a tremendous tool to addressing difficulties in assisting development countries to improve on their position economically.

This, he said, is more evident in creating and strengthening research and development among developing countries.

Expressing optimism that if Internet Governance (IG) is got right, the world would be better for it as it would be used as a tool for development of mankind.

Stressing that there should be a better way of regulating Internet through protecting the consumers, and educational people among several other interests on the Internet.

“At the heart of all the issues in our ability to ensure that Internet Governance does work and directed at all subjects, so that the developing world could see its value, mid-income earners could use Internet to create sectors of business, activities and employment,” he maintained.

Also speaking, Director of Diplo Foundation, organizers of the three-day conference, Dr. Jovan Kurbalija noted that nowadays, accepting online negotiation and deliberations are of great importance to the Least Developing Countries (LDCs).

Emphasizing that the proposed Internet Governance Forum (IGF) soon to be inaugurated by the United Nations, should avoid the application of point-of-order every moment of its proceedings, so as to strengthen trust among forum members.

NCC intervenes in MTN star prize squabble

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has intervened in the MTN star prize squabble reportedly between two subscribers on the network in its recent 7th Yello Season promotion.

The intervention facilitated through its Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) according to the Head, Public Affairs at the commission, Mr. Dave Imoke was to ensure that the rightful winner was presented with the right prize.

The Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC was established in September 2001, to inform, educate and protect all the consumers of telecommunications services in the country.

This intervention se to the complaint received by NCC from Mrs Martha Ugi that her son Mr. Isaac Dike, was the rightful winner of the star prize which hitherto was presented to one Chinenye Onyema,who GSM operator, MTN, claimed had the same winning number as Dike’s, the genuine winner, at the 7th draw of the promo earlier held in Port Harcourt.

Mrs Ugi brought her complain to NCC after several visits to MTN in order to get the claim rectified.

Hence, NCC through CAB took up the complaint after due investigations to ensure that the right prize winner got the appropriate prize.

NCC intervention saw the redemption of the prize on Tuesday, February 14, as the new Kia Optima car was presented to Mr. Dike.

Highlighting NCC input in settling the squabble, Mr. Imoke, explained that the Commission promptly instituted an inquiry into the matter which established that the complainant was the owner of the winning number 08065434897.

The complainant also produced a newspaper report with his number as the wining number and another newspaper report of the presentation of the star prize to someone else in Port Harcourt.

NCC, he also said, came to the conclusion that the error of handing over the star prize to someone else other than the genuine winner was made by MTN and therefore directed the teleco to give the complainant, the appropriate star prize won by him.

In consideration of NCC’s directive, MTN’s General Manager, Northern Region, Mr. Mike Ikpoki, on Tuesday, presented Dike with a new Kia Optima car on behalf of the company at its Abuja office in the presence of a delegation of the commission led by an Executive Commissioner, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Dr. Bahir Gwandu.

Reacting after receiving the prize, Mr. Dike expressed gratitude to NCC for the intervention, which made it possible for him to get his due as the star prize winner.

Gentoo Linux founder, Robbins leaves Microsoft

Founder and former chief architect of the Gentoo Linux project, Mr. Daniel Robbins, has quit his job at Microsoft after only eight months.

CNET special report indicated that the software giant confirmed the latest move.

Only last May, Robbins made the unusual switch from being a well-known member of the free software community to becoming a paid employee of Microsoft, which is one of free and open-source software’s biggest critics.

He worked under Bill Hilf, who runs Microsoft’s Linux and Open Source Software Lab, and had an “educational” role within the company.

Robbins told ZDNet UK in an e-mail Monday that he decided to leave because he was not able to use all his technical skills in his role.

“I didn’t make the decision to leave Microsoft due to concerns about the company as a whole - Microsoft has just had a string of very successful product launches and I anticipate that it will continue to enjoy great success,” he said.

However, he said that the reason for taking the decision had to do with personal specific experiences working in Microsoft’s Linux Lab.

Expressing belief that the concept behind Microsoft’s Linux Lab is a good one, he was not able to work at full level of technical ability and thus found this frustrating.

His last day at Microsoft was Thursday, January 16.

Robbins has accepted a job as the chief technical officer of ABC Coding Solutions, a company based in Albuquerque, N.M., that provides information products and consulting services in the health industry.

Hilf, the director of technical platform strategy at Microsoft, said the company wishes Robbins well in his new role.

“Yes, Daniel Robbins has decided to leave Microsoft to pursue his passion for software development with an independent software vendor where he will be focused on building in .

Net on Windows. This move also takes Daniel and his family back to their hometown community of Albuquerque…We thank Daniel for his contribution to Microsoft and wish him the best of luck on his new job,” Hilf said.

Chris Gianelloni, the release engineering lead at the Gentoo project, was reluctant to comment on Robbins’ latest career move, but said that it would not affect the project: “While Daniel was a strong proponent of Gentoo back in his heyday, he’s been away from us long enough for his actions to not impact us in any way.”

NATCOMMS insists on switch-off, tomorrow

PRESIDENT, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, has said that the group’s resolve to embark on a second switch off boycott, tomorrow, nationwide is irrevocable for now.

He told ITREALMS Online Tuesday that mobilization is continuous because the rip-off is becoming unbearable for the Nigerians.

Ogunbanjo said that it is only in Nigeria that you see GSM services getting worse with the kind of growth in number of subscribers recorded in recent times.

Already, he said, that telecommunications operators are making overture for settlement he noted their propositions are nothing to talk home about.

‘This is because they keep giving us excuses of high cost of infrastructure and laying the same’ he said.

For him, what the group wants include reducing tariffs, free weekend calls and Short Messaging Service, 75 per cent reduced intra-network and off peak calls and SMS rates.

Above all, he said they demand efficient service delivery.

Noting that though telecom sector witnessed phenomenal growth, however, it is not reflected in good service delivery, subscriber-friendly products and reasonable tariff structure.

To say the least, the tariff has been deliberately exploitative and this has been further characterized by poor systems responsiveness, low call set-up, accurate, poor call voice quality, high call failure rate, inaccurate billings, low recharge call success rate and poor staff as well as customer-care responsiveness.

3 towns emerge in Vmobile SMS contest

Three new winners emerged in the Vmobile second quarter Short Messaging Service (SMS) contest, which began last year, with two out of the three located in the North East Regions of the country, namely Lessel, Yelwan Duguri and Gelengu.

Lessel, a community in Benue State in North Central Zone of the country with the Town Code 1631 came top in the second quarter phase of the competition followed by Yelwan Duguri, Bauchi State with town code 1070 and Gelengu in Gombe States with town code 1121.

Acting Head, Public Relations at Vmobile, Mr. Emeka Oparah, said the three towns would soon be added to the growing number of the company’s coverage map within 45 days.

Describing it as a success, he note the competition was very keen, especially after the company made it possible for voters to check the voting statistics themselves.

Mr. Oparah explained that the SMS contest was introduced last year under its expansion programme, project Rolling Out Service Everywhere (R.O.S.E) to give Nigerians the opportunity of bringing their communities first into the network’s coverage map more than normal expansion would allow.

This, he said requires those desiring to bring service to their communities to send SMS or text messages to the short code 39800.

Maintaining that it is open to both Vmobile subscribers and customers on other networks.
Stressing that to vote, Vmobile subscribers both pre-paid and post paid subscribers, could send SMS with the selected town code to 39800. Participants could influence others to vote by sending SMS with the referred person’s number and town code to 39800.

Contributors could, according to him vote as many times as they wish, just as, voters could refer as many people as they want too.

For the subscribers on other networks, he said that could participate by sending the code of their choice town by SMS to 0802 100 1000.

A comprehensive list of town codes and short codes for the competition is available in leaflets, Vmobile maps, brochure and posters in dealers’ outlets and Vmobile offices nationwide.
The top 10 voters will receive one free handset each.

To track the voting statistics, Mr. Oparah further said phone users could send SMS 39800 for Vmobile subscribers and 0802 100 1000 for customers on other networks, using the format: STAT (space) town name or code send as text to 39800 (Vmobile subscribers) or 0802 100 1000 indicating that he or she is non-Vmobile subscribers.

Vmobile, he said, plans to invest a minimum of USD 2,000 billion over the next 24 months in achieving nationwide network coverage and excellent quality of Service under its Project R.O.S.E. programme.

During the period, over 3,000 base stations will be deployed across the country and a transmission backbone constructed as well.

Finalists emerge at NISSCOM 2005

TWENTY student’s software genius have been announced as finalists of this year’s Nigerian Students Software Competition (NISSCOM 2005), which presentation comes up next week Thursday.

Most of the finalists came from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, topping the chart with six finalists, followed by Kwara State Polythenic, Ilorin with two candidates, while others were drawn from Olabisi Onabanjo University, and Universal College of Technology, Ogun State respectively, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, University of Calabar, University of Ilorin, Federal University of Technology, Owerri to name a few.

Mr. Moses Braimah, Senior Manager, Marketing at SysteSpecs Limited, organizers of NISSCOM in conjunction with the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS), said that presentation of prizes would take place at the annual conference of NACOSS scheduled to take place at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Osun State, next week.

He also said that entries for competition opened on September 2005 and closed on November 30, 2005 with a total of 387 entries received from individuals and groups of which 71 were rated as outstanding.

“It is from this 71 that the 20 finalists, who have been adjudged as very capable of becoming the next computer software guru were selected,” he said.

Mr. Braimah quoted the Group Head Financial Solutions of SystemSpecs, Dr. Hakeem Bakare, saying, “The quality of the entries received are amazing, anyone among the initial 71 entries could win a competition of this nature easily.”

Although NISSCOM 2005 is in collaboration between NACOSS and SystemSpecs, it also enjoys support from Manna Bookstores.

Mr. Braimah further listed the names of these short listed candidates to include Odulami Kayode Olawale with software title: Medical Centre Manager, Adeyemi Babatunde Ayobami, software title: Internet Search Agent Software, Oyedemi Olumuyiwa Abisoye, software title: Citizens Mobile Identification Software, Adegunle Samson with entry Event Manager; Umoh Emmanuel with LABWATCH entry, Folaji Temitope Matthew making the list with ‘Payroll Software’.

Others are Itse Joseph with e-Advocacy, Opaleye Olabode Gabriel with Point of Sale Automation, Okpara Okechukwu Dominic with WIZDOMSHELL and Ibigbami Juwonlo A. with e-banking-XsWOAAD - Shopping with Online Automatic Account Deduction, Ikeora Daniel O. with ‘Parallel Port Interface’ and several others.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

SAT-3 and affordable bandwidth

Features of the week:

Lack of competition in the SAT-3 submarine cable is hampering growth of access and afforability of bandwidth on the continent, reports REMMY NWEKE.

Four years on
JUST four years ago, on Monday, May 27, 2002, when the Senegalese President, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade-led African leaders to establish the SAT-3 submarine cable, stakeholders were joyful that at least, Africans and their leaders particularly are making in roads that would see to the problem of low bandwidth, even if not on the continent, but for the sub-region of the West Africa.

This joy seems to be short lived as four years after, the cost of bandwidth is still impediment to the access growth of Internet in the region and generality of Africa.

Described as the foremost global undersea optic fibre cable system around the continent onto Europe and Asia, SAT-3 also known as third channeled to West Africa submarine cable to South Africa, Far East and Europe (SAT3/WASC/SAFE), is a cable system that is certainly a technology and commercial breakthrough of unparalleled significance for the continent.

It is proposed to offer a faster, more efficient trading channel between the continent and international markets.

Historically, SAT3/WASC/SAFE is a feat made possible by the participation of 36 nations, with majority of the landings located in African states. Together they have fully funded the undersea cable system costing more than US$600 million and will own and operate it for the next 25 years.

These results in much of the revenue it generates being ploughed back into the continent. This is a major departure from the current scenario, where many African countries rely on foreign operators to route their international traffic, which outcome is in revenue generated in Africa, leaving Africa.

This project will help bridge the digital divide between Africa and the developed nations and all the role-players will enjoy the access to knowledge brought about by the information revolution that has already had such a dramatic impact in the West, Europe, and the Far East. It will bring the people of Africa the fast, efficient and affordable communications they need for sustained development and progress.

Spearheaded by Telkom South Africa, contributions from state-owned national carriers like the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), the project has engendered a co-operative spirit among so many diverse nations, supporting Africa’s growing telecommunications requirements, as it is predicted to also provide a secure, reliable alternate traffic route between Western Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Optic fibre cable on the other hand, is a plastic or glass fibre with a diameter almost the same as or even smaller than that of a human hair used to transmit information using infra-red or even visible light, usually a laser, according to www.mcmaster.ca/cis/ctl/glossary.htm.

Underutilised
Lamenting underutilisation of SAT-3 recently in an opening address to a workshop on “Achieving Affordable Bandwidth in West and Central Africa” the Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Mrs. Nana Tanko, noted that it is a fact that over $600 million has exchanged hands in terms of repatriation done annually to telcos outside the continent whereas these funds could be used to revive some basic connectivity issues in the regions, only if the SAT-3 is optimised.

“It is true that the SAT-3/WASC infrastructure is nearing its mid-life but is yet underutilized,” she decried. Stressing that the tele-density, which is the ratio of telephone per 100 persons on the continent is still far lower than in most states in the United States (US).

She remembered that at the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the issues of Internet Governance (IG) were raised with Africa again taking the sidelines in deliberations or not being considered at all in the final outcomes of the summit.

“We see ourselves and our governments increasingly involving in global politics that should be seen to be transparent and inclusive but the outcomes generally favor certain organizations, countries, cartels or groups,” she observed, describing the idea of achieving affordable bandwidth as a tall order for the continent.

Mrs. Tanko highlighted that these issues are disturbing as well as the fact that there may be existing solutions to the questions of connectivity, access to information and the rights of access of an average citizen to information.

Although Nigeria missed out of such a workshop on affordable bandwidth officially, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programme officer at OSIWA, Mr. Ben Akoh, said that the workshop was aimed at boosting ICT infrastructure in West and Central Africa.

What’s bandwidth
The term ‘bandwidth’ according to Mr. Chris Sterm of CS Designs, is used dominantly by electrical engineers to make reference to the frequency range of an analog signal. For the Internet community, he said, the term ‘bandwidth’ is used loosely to refer to channel capacity or the bit rate of a link, which simply could be described as the resources a site uses on the computer where the server is hosted.

But for the I.T. Store 2 Options, ‘bandwidth’ technically amounts to data that could be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. For digital devices, experts at I.T. Store, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits or bytes per second (bps), while for analog devices, bandwidth is expressed in cycles per second or Hertz (Hz).

Experts at the Internet Guide online, explained ‘bandwidth’ as amount of data that could be transferred through a computer, while connected to the Internet for a given time. Noting that the higher the bandwidth thus connected, the quicker web pages would load and downloads to be uploaded.

Shared access formula
Executive director of Kafanchan-based ICT driven Fantsuam Foundation, Dr John Dada, disclosed recently that in order to survive the high cost of having access to bandwidth, his organisation has embraced what he called a “shared access formula”.

This, he said, has become a cultural norm in bridging the hard biting digital divide mostly in the rural areas of Africa and Fantsuam Foundation in the rural northern Nigeria is banking on it to reduce cost of access.

Dr. Dada also said that though the foundation struggles to pay estimated $1,800, monthly on Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) access, it has become relevant to share access with other local organisations to empower the villagers and at the same time contributing in closing the gap between the advanced countries and bringing the rural communities closer to the cities in respect of technology usage.

“We are strategically located in Kafanchan,” he said, emphasising that the reason the foundation was set up in a rural area was to be closer to the people which stimulates how the organisation intervenes by contribution to the development of the community, noting that disposal income varies according to communities.

“A community that has road access (what quality?), electricity, telephone, hosts a post office, a secondary school and health clinic is richer than one that does not have these. Graded pricing of services, pay what is affordable, and subsidize the balance via community leaders and understanding,” he explained.

Dr. Dada also said that the current service in use at the foundation is being managed by Emperion, VSAT service provider, even as this, were after trying other products such as Bgan and Arabian telecom.

Overpricing SAT-3 bandwidth
Responding to affordable bandwidth and the effect of SAT-3 so far, President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said that SAT-3 has lost initial momentum as it was expected to crash the cost of bandwidth in Africa, especially where it has landing points like Nigeria.

In tandeem with Mrs. Tanko that SAT-3 is underutilized presently, Mr. Ajayi who also is the chief executive of PiNet Information Limited, attributed this to lack of competition, saying that daily Nigerians join the fray of Internet enthusiasts, thereby increasing data demands on the Internet from this part of the globe, of which bandwidth to accelerate the required local content uploads is not there despite the establishment of SAT-3 over four years ago.

Describing this as unfortunate, Mr. Ajayi said, the cost of getting bandwidth from SAT-3 is very expensive than anticipated via satellite, that is, the VSAT. Linking this to monopoly in most African countries including Nigeria and is more reason most people if they are not going for VSAT, are keeping the already bandwidth close to their hearts.

“Unfortunately, the SAT-3 consortium has over priced the assets,” he decried, pointing out that till date, only a handful of people are accessing these bandwidth through NITEL’s SAT-3 cable, and that even the commercial access providers under the aegis of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) has advanced initiative to buy this telecommunication ‘gold mine’ in bulk has not materialised but on-going.

Under this arrangement, ISPAN members, he said, could buy at about $3,500 per megabyte per month (pmpm) approximated 50 per cent reduction from what individuals could purchase at about $6,500 pmpm. Just as he agreed that this price could be driven further downwards if the competition is there.

Local investors’ therapy
Chief executive, technology-based research firm in Lagos, eShekels Limited, Mr. Fola Odufuwa, while suggesting solution urged African entrepreneurs to invest on submarine cable and satellite so as to avail bandwidth competition in the ICT sector, in the region.

He said, non-_expression of interest on satellite or submarine cables by African industrialists have kept the cost of bandwidth very high on the continent and particularly in the sub-Sahara.

Lack of interest by African investors, he said, has contributed adversely on satellite or the submarine cable infrastructural investment in the region, in addition to non-liberalisation of the sector.

According to him, on the continent, there are just two sources of providing bandwidth supply, namely through the submarine cable SAT-3 also known as from Atlantis to Dakar and the rest are covered by satellite. Currently, he said, there are about six fleets of satellites all over Africa none of which is owned by an African businessman or woman.

Thus the rate being paid for bandwidth on the continent for now, is therefore, several times above what is obtained in developed economies. Maintaining that in Africa, cost of bandwidth is very, very high, while in the developed countries, they pay quite low prices for Internet access.

“Suppliers have a power, and are exhibiting significant market power because there are few of them and there is no competition,” he said, citing SAT-3 as an instance, which is just one and is even in the hands of incumbent operators, which is usually the national carriers.

“Who have no reason beyond social responsibilities for most of them, who have no commercial reason to maximize the investment,” he declared.

Mr. Odufuwa also said that by allowing consumer and offering lower prices in order to have high volume of people these incumbent operators could still have some margins or even better margins.

Pointing out the need to liberalise the availability of bandwidth very quickly by fibre optic investment through authorizing and encouraging people who have the resources to invest and install submarine cables.

“SAT-3 cost about $250 million connecting South Africa to Portugal, now you can install the same work with one-third of that price,” he said. Emphasising that these are things Africans could do without going cap in hand to any donor agency or World Bank before such a project could take off.

Chioke becomes Vice Chair, GSM Africa

Chairman, Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) Consultative Forum of Nigeria, and Head, Regulatory Affairs Division, Vmobile Nigeria, Mr. Ogugua Chioke, has been elected the Vice Chairman of GSM Africa.

His election came a recent meeting of GSM Africa held in Cape Town, South Africa, held last December.

Mr. Chioke, who also is the Chairman, Regulatory Committee of Association of Licensed Telephone Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has been a management of Vmobile since inception in 2001.

A Law graduate from the University of Nigeria (UNN) Mr. Chioke’s law career extended from the Federal Ministry of Justice, to the Law firm of Debo Akande and Okonjo where he grew to become, Head of Chambers.

Late, he became a senior partner of Askira Chioke and Co, a law firm, which was a major firms to the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) from where he gathered most his experience in the telecoms industry.

Mr. Chioke who has been with Vmobile since emerging in the Nigerian telecom scene as Econet Wireless, represented the operator at the renowned GSM Licensing Auction in January 2001.

He rose to the post of General Manager, Regulatory, where he performs key roles for the entire regulatory concerns of Vmobile; dealing with NITEL, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Ministry of Communications and the Federal Government, as well as co-operators on regulatory matters.

Noteworthy was the skillful exhibition in managing the relationship with all telecom operators and the Private Telephone Operators (PTO’s), even as he maintained a cordial business relationship with the government.

This practically led to his election as Chairman, GSM Consultative Forum of Nigeria.

However, as the Vice Chairman, GSM Africa, Chioke promises commitment as he is ready to fully involve in resolving a lot of telecom issues among its membership.

He is married to Modesta and blessed with children.

Loyalty Solutions introduces Opinion metre

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) firm, Loyalty Solutions Limited, has introduced a novel dimension to survey and feed back with the deployment of Opinion metre in strategic service companies in the country.

Opinion metre is a stand-alone Automated Interactive Survey device designed specially to collect anonymous customer satisfaction feed back at point-of-service.

Organisations currently having a feel of this new automated feedback solution include Globacom, Silverbird Galleria and Tantalisers.

Managing Director, Loyalty Solutions, Mr. Kolapo Ademola said that Opinion metre, as a business tool, helps to improve the speed of business intelligence gathering and processing.

“It also automates customer feed back process, business performance evaluation, ensures process integrity, reduces human error, while telling your customers that you care and really mean it,” he said.

He also said that prior to the coming of this electronic solution, “most service companies traditionally depended on the placement of suggestion box for customers’ complaints”.

Mr. Ademola, noted that suggestion box is a wooden box, which comes with lock and key and usually commissioned by companies that pay premium value on the thoughts and emotions of customers, stressing it is placed at the point of sales of a retail outlet.

“But the results collated from suggestion box are usually fraught with human errors,” he noted.

Loyalty Solutions, he said, has offered the Opinion metre product to many sectors of the economy, which range from card payment, oil and gas, telecoms and the quick service restaurants in order to help them rediscover themselves and improve adequately.Its deep knowledge of customer’s behaviour has helped it to turn data into ‘sword’, which these companies deploying Opinion metre use in creating specialized instruments to eliminate paper survey.

Opinion metre also offers the benefit of instant access to on-site survey data and automates customer feedback process, which he said, could completely eliminate human errors and reduces chances of manipulation.

“Its unlimited capability to customize questionnaires, each response with a time, date stamp for trend analysis and cheaper operational cost attract these companies and made Opinion metre a device of choice”, Mr. Ademola declared.

The device, he emphasised, is ideal for measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction, response to change in programmes as well as new product development, and testing, just as its portability makes the usage quite convenient, as it could be placed in service hall, banking hall, waiting room and lobby among others, for quick and easy access.

Mr. Ademola, whose firm partners Colloquy group in the country and Africa, said it continue to provide customer relationship management with distinction, pointing out that with Opinion metre, customers’ opinion would be taken seriously by the management of any company that deploys this product.

New LCD monitors from LG Electronics

Korean LG Electronics has launched a new line-up of premium Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors, the Flatron LX32P series, focusing on the innovative response time of 4 millisecond (ms) gray-to-gray (GTG).

GTG means “gray-to-gray”, “gtg” or “midtone” after a given number, indicates the response time of the system.

Key new feature of Flatron LX32P series, which come in L1932P, L1732P offer is a lightening fast response time of 4ms (GTG), LG said is more than double as fast as existing normal products, whose response times are 8 to12ms.

LG’s new Flatron LX32P series are ideal for die-hard gamers who desire fast motion images with perfect image clarity.

Described as exceptional lightening fast response time, these series by LG, creates the perfect blend of high speed responsiveness and color management, while ensuring picture perfect contrast and sharpness without ghosting effects.

The firm explained that the series are for people looking for a reliable, spec-driven LCD monitor, along with the 4ms (GTG) response time, which screen could be rotated 90 degrees.

Also, with the installation of the relevant software included, LG said the monitors have the ability to automatically recognize and adapt the image on the serene according to the angle of the monitor, which is called the Auto Pivot.

The Auto Pivot function enables users to work on the vertical angle as well as the horizontal angle of the monitor, mostly, when users are working on a word document or doing web-searching, they could see the full screen in the vertical angle without scrolling.

Therefore, gamers, graphic artists and multimedia enthusiasts will gravitate towards the Flatron L1732P and L1932P because of its healthy offering of display features, the firm also anticipates in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel.

LG Electronics, Inc. is quoted in Korea Stock Exchange and is a global force in electronics, information and communications products with 2004 annual sales consolidation of $38 billion.

Internet Governance Forum goes to Geneva

To consolidate on the outcome of discussions at the Second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunisia last December, a follow-up session has been slated to hold next month in Geneva.

The forum based on a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on Internet Governance, that was requested by WSIS in Tunis.

Scheduled to hold in Geneva from 16 to 17 February, 2006, the consultations, to which all stakeholders are invited, is expected to develop a common understanding among all interests on the nature and character of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

A press statement from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said, the meeting will address the IGF’s scope of work and substantive priorities as well as aspects related to its structure and functioning. It will also discuss the convening of the inaugural meeting including agenda and programme.

ITREALMS Online, recalls that the Tunis agenda for the Information Society invited the Secretary-General of UN, to convene an open and inclusive process; a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue with a first meeting in Athens, Greece, in 2006.

UNESCO, for which Internet Governance is a core issue, said it would participate in the work of the Internet Governance Forum.

The Paris based organization also said it would continue to advocate an open, transparent and inclusive approach to Internet Governance, echoing its consistent advocacy of the principle of openness, which encompasses the free flow of information, freedom of expression and technical interoperability.

Also core areas of relevance to UNESCO are the concern for ethical dimensions, the realization of multilingualism in the Internet development environment and capacity-building.

VIA expands West African market

Leading developer of silicon chip technologies and Personal Computer (PC) platform solutions, VIA Technologies Inc, has began expansion into the English-speaking West African market, with its attendance in this year’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) For Government exhibition and seminars held in Ghana.

The three-day event which last weekend, February 2, is an annual ICT event that brings together the who-is-who in African technology environment.

This came on the heels of the introduction of the first computing device in the African market that is completely based on the VIA platform, the ICT 4 Government event is meant to serve the entry into the Ghana market as well as showcasing the unique value proposition of the VIA C3 Nehemiah Core processor on the laptops.

The new VIA C3 processor based on the Nehemiah core boosts lower levels of power consumption combined with higher digital media performance and the first ever on-die hardware Random Number Generator (RNG).

This VIA Technologies explained that its low power consumption does not require a noisy and expensive Computer Processing Unit (CPU) cooler, which allows greater freedom in system design, reduce overall system costs and lower total cost of ownership.

And based on the industry standard Socket 370 architecture, VIA C3 is available in either Enhanced Ball Grid Array (EBGA) or Ceramic Pin Grid Array-Socket 370 (CPGA) packages.

ITREALMS Online gathered that the hardware RNG of the VIA PadLock Data Encryption Engine is specifically important for embedded systems, as it does not rely on less random seed data such as keystroke timing or mouse events, thus typically used to seed software-based RNGs known as pseudorandom number generators.

MultiChoice’s Val Day begins ahead of D-Day

Despite postulations over the ‘Exclusivity Right’ in the Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) industry in the country, key player, MultiChoice Nigeria is offering audience fascinating programmes ahead of this year’s Valentine’s Day, on its channels.

The selected series, as said by the Public Relations and Communications Officer at MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Segun Fayose would be a delight to behold as from two days to the Valentine Day, viewers would be treated to these series.

ITREALMS Online recalls that annually on February 14, the world is intoxicated with ‘love’ under the aegis of Valentine’s Day.

Mr. Fayose informed that DSTV audience would get their Valentine’s Day presents as the company is well prepared for this month with lots of love streaming on its M-Net and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Africa channels.

According to him, the Laws of Attraction on M-Net would commence on February 12, in which Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan are staring in a courtroom as two opposing lawyers who say “I do” instead of “I object!”

On the other hand, Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany would take into a fresh approach literally to the establishment of grass courts of Wimbledon as two tennis players who find out that they are so different on-court, that they may actually be perfect together off-court, known as Wimbledon.

This Mr. Fayose also said, would be showcased on February 20.

Also to join in the celebration and happy ending with the connection of Cupid are the BBC channels on DStv.

On Monday February 13, he said, BBC Food screens, a special episode of Cookworks as chef Donna Dooher prepares a feast of romantic tastes.

While on the D-Day, February 14, six strangers would get together to cook up both a storm and a potential relationship in Cupid’s Dinner.

Meanwhile, there are more great stories in this month as SABC Africa dedicates its Monday nights to Cupid including the feature film Love Come Down on February 13.

Mr. Fayose explained that Love Come Down is a story of two brothers, one black and one white, who discover the joys of life and family as one brother falls for a gorgeous singer, featuring Larenz Tate and Deborah Cox.

Equally on the line-up is Masquerade on February 20 on SABC Africa, a young New York City editor returns home to Los Angeles and finds herself meeting the man of her dreams on the Internet! Look out for performances by Simbi Khali and Kellita Smith.

Finalising the series on Monday night on SABC is One Special Moment on February 27.The story centred on a Hollywood movie star who loses his heart to a simple English girl, the movie was originally produced for the BET Network and stars Kirk Taylor and Nelson George featured.

There is no perfect search engine yet – Experts

Remmy Nweke in Malta

Speakers at the on-going international workshop on contemporary diplomacy and information and communications technology (ICT) in Malta, have declared that there is no perfect search engine yet for online enthusiasts.

Information Management Connoisseurs, Messrs Stefano Baldi and Ed Gelbstein, made the declaration that there is no perfect search engine on the web yet, even as they counselled diplomats on the use of weblogs, which is gradually gaining momentum globally.

Search engine is a computer’s software that compiles documents, most commonly those on the World Wide Web (WWW), and the contents of these documents, according to online encyclopaedia Encarta.

It works by way of responding to a user’s entry or query, then searching the lists and displaying a compilation of documents called web sites that match the search query.

Some search engines include the opening portion of the text of web pages in their lists, but others include only the titles or addresses also known as Universal Resource Locators (URLs) of web pages.

Additionally, some search engines occur separately from the www, indexing documents on a Local Area Network (LAN) or other system.

These experts who dealt on Information Management at the workshop, agreed that perfect web search engine is yet to emerge that would be satisfactory to all Internet enthusiasts, but the fact, remains, that better things are coming on their ways.

“There is nothing like the perfect web search engine,” said Mr. Baldi, stressing that using search engines means users should know which of them to choose from the several that exist today, which probably best serve their need.

Information for diplomats, he said, should be readily available when required so as to keep the diplomat well informed of what is happening around the world, especially through the Internet and concerning his or her constituency, even as the information must be accurate.

Time, he said, is part of the ideals that make knowledge finding and management successful.
For Mr. Gelbstein, cyber space comprises Internet and extranets, www, non-Internet Protocol (IP), and deep web, noting that the sea of knowledge and hostile tribes of hackers and online terrorists also exist.

According to him, over 70 million websites currently exist as at December 2005 while there are about nine billion pages on the web by mid-2005 with about 15 per cent of these web pages covered by the Google search engine.

“Now, nobody counts anymore how many pages there are, while estimate for the deep web is between 50 and 100 billion pages and web servers counts over 600 billion,” he said.

On top of these are the blogs, electronic mail (emails), chat rooms among other forums on the Internet.

Mr. Gelbstein equally said that accessing the visible web, that those outside the deep web, users especially diplomats in a contemporary society should identify what kind of search they need to make because there exist general search engines, specialised search engines, meta crawlers, portals and directories, as well as intelligent agents made up of Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (RSS) among others.

“There are four types of search tools, namely search engine, directory, meta crawler and intelligent agent,” he said.

He advised participants to think out of the box if they are to get anything good when searching on the Internet.

“To get something best out of a search engine, you must think out of the box, that ‘s outside the literary formula,” he declared.

Mr. Gelbstein maintained that those looking for some information online should explore a wide range of sources to find out more about whatever topic they seek for by drilling down for more details.

On the burgeoning weblog, he warned that as long as individuals are free to operate blogs including diplomats, they should be cautious, citing a recent case of a Croatian diplomat who was recalled from the United States because of undue inputs he made into his weblog and was reported to the superiors by an Internet observer.

Diplomats must be able to distinguish between when to say certain things or make certain contributions, especially on the weblog, he advised.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Understanding digital convergence

Features of the week:

As the time for the introduction of the proposed Unified Licensing Regime in the country draws near, REMMY NWEKE, examines what digital convergence is all about and need for a converged regulator.

BARELY few days to the introduction of the proposed Unified Licensing Regime (ULR), the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is also warming up for another set of revolution as government agencies are expected to digitally converge to give the industry and ULR specifically, the sense it deserves.

Digital convergence
This to a very large extent refers to modern trend in businesses, and industries whereby transactions are harmonized in digital form for corporates to work together, produce new formats and types of content.

According to Ramesh Jain of www.digitalmerging.la, what is really happening in digital convergence which could be also called multi-media, is the convergence of Content, Communication and Computing (CCC), describing it as triple Cs.

He stressed that much effort, both in business as well as in technology, has usually been concerned with one C only, because, people who understand Content usually do not understand Communication or Computing that well and similar situation exists with people who understand communication or computing.

However, he said, it is the first time in history that the three are converging. Most of the time one hears about the convergence of Personal Computer (PC) and Television (TV) or of Communication and Computing.

It is important, therefore to consider all three Cs together to understand the implications or otherwise of convergence.

But for the Internet Society (ISOC) South Central Texas chapter, digital convergence evolves industries at minimum having content, and application development for film, video games, music, advertising and mass media. While the distribution channels evolve deployment of broadband wireless, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), on demand and more, even as hardware developers, Internet Service Providers, telecom operators and the entertainment industries among others will all benefit from the trend of convergence.

Peculiar situation
Presently, there are four government agencies overseeing various sub-sectors in the ICT circle, namely the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulates telecom, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), regulates the broadcasting industry, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) oversees core IT, while the satellite space aspect is managed by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

This brings to four different government agencies managing various parts of ICTs.

Why convergence?
Evolutions in the ICT sector accompanied with enormous potential of Internet Protocol (IP)-oriented networks on one hand and increased users’ demands for comprehensive and network – independent on the other hand, have led to a convergence of information and telecommunications infrastructure, therefore, propelling multiplied service power.

According to professors Gernady Yanovsky and Finn Arve Aagensen of Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this comprises the convergence of voice and data services in both public and private networks through the VoIP centers, Computer cum telephony integration, which means call centers and web-contact centers merging.

Other parts that make up convergence, they said, include the integration of fixed and mobile phone lines and services as well as multimedia communications, existing as voice, video, graphics and sound in a place.

This evolutions, they also posited, have led to the creation of Next Generation Networks (NGNs).

For the likes of telecommunications manufacturing giant, Siemens Communications, this provides the avenue for them to development, integrating customer’s communication and computer systems for a powerful new business tools through technologies such as Wide Area Networking (WAN), ethernet switching, web servers, frame relay and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) networks.

The firm pointed out that the integration of communication and computer systems is the key to business success at this era, because it would provide increased staff productivity and performance, reduction of operating costs and increased business efficiency, even as it could provide new revenue streams.

Nigerian perspective
It was the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe in a paper he delivered at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) recently, on ‘Ringing the Digital Devolution in Nigeria in the era of technology convergence’ said that even licensing has transformed from mere individual licensing to issuance of class and general authorisation which is embedded in ULR.

He cited an instance that new technologies like VoIP, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), and WiMax to name a few have blurred the distinction between services, it became clear that one of the strategies for NCC to take the nation to the next level would be the converged licensing option, which is imminent.

Examining the industry and proposed ULR and possible convergence of the sector regulatory organs, the Executive Director, eShekels Limited, a technology inclined research organisation, Mr. Fola Odufuwa, said that in the near future, convergence would come to bear in the nations ICT sector and with ULR, he predicted it would form key bases for converged regulation.

Although he expressed dismay over the possible convergence of the four federal government agencies as obtain currently, via NCC, NBC, NITDA and NASRDA, saying he has seen the convergence of two to three related sub-sector regulators but not four as the case seems in the country, today.

Regulatory convergence inevitable
“It is inevitable that there would be a convergence particularly two or three regulatory bodies if not all the four of them. That has to be, because, if you buy a Personal Computer (PC), you may be looking at NITDA, but when you open the PC, reboot it or want to do anything on it in the terms of communication whatever, then you would be looking at NCC.

And when you now want to talk about the content, you would be looking at NBC and whatever you are doing that involves satellite on the same PC you have to talk or look at NASRDA,” he explained.

Stressing that nowadays, you have phrases like ‘I would listen to my PC’, ‘I would watch my radio’ and even in Nigeria in some hotels, you can browse the Internet on your television set.
These, he noted are why technologies require the convergence of the regulatory bodies; with Internet Protocol Television (iPTV), video streaming, you now don’t know which is what anymore.

He gave an instance, wondering how do you count a television viewer; is it the one who have a television set box or the one who is watching it on his computer and the person who is listening to his radio via his computer through a radio website audio streaming.

In Nigeria, he noted, there are a number of radio stations in the east and west, that are transmitting through the Internet, and how do you count the person; when is he a radio listener? When he carries a traditional radio transistor in his palm or when he listens to it via the PC.

The real truth, as said by him, is that convergence of technologies requires that there should be a convergence of regulators, whether it is done now or later, but the quicker it is done the better for us.

Benefits
As anticipated, convergence in the ICT sector will yield a good number of benefits for all stakeholders as postulated by Dr. Ndukwe to include what he described as a conflict free ICT environment to boost the economy and government position and invitation for investors, especially for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs); to the regulator, operators and consumers as well.

For the duo of Steven Taylor and Larry Hettick in a joint paper entitled ‘Applications Convergence Basics’ said that the advantages of convergence are many and cited an instance of it bringing about reduction in business cost of implementation such as the costs for voice systems management when they shift to a Voice over IP (VoIP) based implementation.

Multi-site businesses, the convergence experts said could save on transmission and switching costs by converting to VoIP.

But while network cost savings are always welcome, applications convergence saves labor costs and improves customer service – offering an even bigger contribution to the bottom line.

In its simplest form, applications convergence happens when computer- based applications like word processing, e-mail, and customer relationship management converge with communications-system applications like telephone calls and voice mail.

This technology backgrounder will examine how applications convergence adds significant benefits beyond the cost savings created by network convergence.

Expert advises on online chatting

Remmy Nweke in Malta

United Kingdom-based professor of Linguistics, Language and Diplomacy, Dr. Mrs. Biljana Scott, has advised online discussants on how to manage their time well.

Speaking at the on-going workshop on Information and Communications Technology in Contemporary Diplomacy in Malta, she said that online discussants must ensure that their contributions are concise and recipient identifiable, especially when it involves multi-stakeholders’ online chatting.

Multi-stakeholder online chat, entails more than two persons and could be upto 10 or even more in an electronic chat room deliberating on a given subject but at different speed.


“You must make your contributions very simple and directed at a
particular person’s comment,” she advised.


Dr. Scott pointed out that nowadays, members of these communities most of the times like to continue discussions, previously ended, especially when they missed out on an issue of important to them.

She noted that this kind of online engagement is being heavily deployed in academic and business related circles and in developed world of which developing countries are now gearing up, especially when participants are not coming from the same background.

Students, she said, “are guilty of always wanting to take the group back after missing out on a subject”.

Dr. Scott who also is the Project Manager for Language and Diplomacy for Diplo Foundation, therefore, advocated that when dealing or participating in a group online chat that the best practice is to ensure that comments or contributions are identified to specific recipient so as to avoid creating confusion on who should respond and who the comment is meant for.

This, she explained is because all the participants do not have equal computer typing skill, therefore everyone would not be able to respond simultaneously as expected and even before they could, another participant may have come up with another-related subject.

“Thereby creating gap between the first respondent and the second,” she said.

Opening the session earlier, the technical co-ordinator at DiploFoundation, Mr. Dejan Dincic, informed participants that there is a great deal of difference between chatting one-on-one and a group chatting in an online environment.

Hence, care must be taken to ensure that participants kept to the pace, just as he guided partakers on the use of Textus, which is a HyperText software specifically used by Diplo Foundation, mainly in dissemination of its educational contents.

Describing it as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for communication, finding and disseminating information, Mr. Dincic said that the solution was to help users share perspectives, interact with pages on the web and save the knowledge thus created for future references.

Stressing that every one benefits discussions when things are looked at from various and new perspectives, mostly when information is shared, thus interaction around pages on the Internet increases value, creativity and building networks of knowledge, he submitted.

ICT4D Week 2018