" ITREALMS: July 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Anyim commends NCS on sustainable leadership

Former Senate President, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim has commended the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) on sustainable leadership quality devoid of rancour especially during transitions.

Champion Infotel recalls that in the past 20 years of the body since its days as the Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN) to its present status as NCS since 2003, it has been a smooth transition.

Chief Anyim gave his commendation while presiding over the opening ceremony at the 21st national conference of NCS at the Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, last Monday.

“I am told that the society is about 20 years old without any record of rancorous leadership transition,” he said.

The former Senate President also said that he was convinced that these 20 years would have been most eventful given the amount of progress NCS has made in recent times.

“May I therefore use this opportunity to commend and congratulate the present and past leadership of NCS, all members of the society, all stakeholders in the industry and more so the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and relevant State Governments for their respective roles in giving IT its right of place in Nigeria. Though, a lot more is obviously required to be done,” Chief Anyim asserted.

The conference which focused on “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria: IT strategies and tools,” he noted, played up the strategies and tools of IT that are indispensable for the actualisation of MDGs.

He also subscribed to the assertion of the former scribe of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mr. A.M. Mbou that Information Technology has opened up such tremendous vista for modern societies and “any failure to master it would mean a life of permanent subordination – for Information Technology is more than a form of power, it is a power system.”

He pointed out that the technology involves not just one form of technology among others but an ability to make use of other technologies to give or refuse access to a whole range of scientific data and knowledge and thus to design new models of development.

He equally charged NCS to live up to expectation presented by the conference and remain one of the most IT strategic approaches for achieving the MDG.

This is so because, he expects the conference to highlight new developments in the areas covered by its themes and how to deploy them in achieving MDGs in the country.

He added that Nigerians would not loose sight of major IT tools in achieving MDGs such as in the establishment of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the subsequent establishment of Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NIRA) to control the .ng domains in the country.

photo: r-l Chief Anyim with Zinox chairman, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh at NCS meeting in Owerri.

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Kolade presides over SystemSpecs

Quintessential communicator and the outgoing Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, has emerged the new chairman of the nation’s leading software house, SystemSpecs Limited.

This follows the acceptance of the invitation to preside over the Board of Directors of SystemSpecs.

Making this known to Champion Infotel, Managing Director and Chief Executive, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Tani Obaro, said that his firm saw it as honour for Dr. Kolade to accept to lead the board with his wealth of experience.

According to him, SystemSpecs has done very well in the last 15 years, hence the time has come for it to migrate to the next level in growing the company.

“As we say in Information Technology (IT), it is time to upgrade and move to the next level for sustainable business growth,” he declared.

Mr. Obaro also said that in order to achieve this objective, the company believes that it would benefit immensely from the extensive public and private, local and international exposure, experience and leadership quality of Dr. Kolade.

“We’re delighted by Dr. Kolade’s acceptance of this appointment and are confident that all our current and would-be stakeholders will gain from his wealth of experience,” Obaro asserted.

Senior Manager, Corporate Services at SystemSpecs, Mr. Moses Braimah quoted Dr. Kolade in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, as being delighted with the invitation.

“I am delighted to accept the invitation to lead the board of SystemSpecs. I am highly impressed by the dynamism and clear-sightedness of its youthful executive team, and look forward to joining in the endeavour to add more value to this national asset that has already secured a leadership position in the software industry in Nigeria,” Dr. Kolade said.

SystemSpecs is proudly Nigerian software house that prides itself as human capital and financial business software solutions provider since 1992 and has over 200 clients in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Champion Infotel recollects that late last year, the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank, following a highly competitive bid involving global leading Payroll and Human Resources (HR) solution providers, awarded the contract for the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to the SystemSpecs Consortium.

The pilot phase involving seven ministries, departments and agencies has been completed and used to pay the relevant staff since April 2007.

Just as the SystemSpecs equally, introduced Remita into the nation’s market. Remita is an electronic courier service that rides on secured platforms to deliver funds to bank accounts and associated schedules to relevant bodies.

With Remita, workers salaries and pension contributions are remitted at the touch of a button. Payment hits the staff account instantaneously and the staff immediately receives a Short Messaging Service (SMS) alert that his salary has been paid.

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Linkserve empowers Orogbum youths with IT training

Pioneer Internet Service Provider (ISP), Linkserve Limited, has announced the recent conclusion of a two-weekend training for the Orogbum Youth Council, Orogbum community in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

A press statement from the ISP and endorsed by Head, Corporate Affairs and Business Development, Mrs. Clementine Ibekwe, said that the training which took place in May, this year, has its theme “Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Systems Installation,” comprising both the theoretical and practical aspects of VSAT installations was accompanied with free handouts and manuals for the students.

She said that the training was part of Linkserve’s continuous belief and participation in youth growth and education in Information Technology (IT).

Mrs. Ibekwe quoted the senior Operations Officer of the company’s Port Harcourt office, Mrs. Jessica Omohefe, as saying that the training was a measure by Linkserve Limited to appreciate the community having been the host community of the company’s Port Harcourt branch office.

She added that in the past eight years, when Linkserve Limited opened for operations in the vicinity, there has not been any form of threats.

“They truly deserve this and more,” she declared.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Secretary and Public Relations Officer of the Youth Council, Messrs Izim Sunny and Uche Ali respectively, expressed appreciation to Linkserve Limited for the privilege and opportunity given them to gain such knowledge.

They submitted by saying that such measures taken by Linkserve to empower and make relevant the youth, should be emulated by other companies in all the sectors of the economy.

“They should seek ways to enhance the ‘Tomorrows’ of Nigeria,” the youth leaders said.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Zinox, Abia team up on CANi

LEADING Nigerian brand and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Zinox Technologies Limited, has teamed up with the Abia State to boost the Computer for All Nigerian Initiative (CANi).

This follows the launch at the weekend the state Computer for All Abians Initiative (CAAi) in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

Disclosing this, Zinox chairman, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh described the partnership as a well-deserved one and is expected from every government in other states of the federation.

He also commended the Abia state government for upholding the initiative, especially now that some governors are yet to settle down for business, saying that the launch shows the readiness of the government in Abia State to empower and reposition its citizenry with Information Technology (IT), especially with Zinox brand of Personal Computers (PCs) and laptops.

Also speaking to Champion Infotel on the CAAI, the chief executive of the Computerise Nigeria Project (CNP), Mrs. Vivian Abii, said that the event went well.

“It went very well and amusingly well,” she said.

Mrs. Abia equally disclosed that already, the Abia State government through the project has ordered 500 Personal Computers (PCs) made up of desktops and laptops.

This figure, she said, have been supplied immediately by CNP in collaboration with Zinox Technologies Limited.

“They have ordered almost 500 which have been supplied already,” Mrs Abia said, adding that the PCs are expected to be distributed among the state’s civil servants.

According to her, the CAAI is an initiative of the Abia State government in collaboration with AfriBank Plc, even as CNP would soon commence training for the civil servants.

“They brought their own bank, AfriBank and the next step is training for civil servants, including those who bought and potential buyers,” she said.

The essence of the training, she pointed out would be to ensure that the PCs they bought are put to use both at home and office.

She further said that the state governor, Chief Theodore Orji, endorsed CAAI and prayed that the support would continue in order for a steady progress to be recorded.

“It was very good and the government was fully behind it,” she declared.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NCS tasks Yar’Adua on ICT ministry

Umbrella body of the nation’s Information Technology (IT) professionals, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has tasked President Musa Umaru Yar’Adua over the need to revisit the creation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) ministry, because of convergence.

Champion Infotel recalls that convergence in ICT has become increasingly hot topics, which avails the possibilities of integrating telecommunications and broadcast media both in operation and regulation.

An instance is the use of Internet for telecommunications through the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and Podcast, which is an online broadcasting via the Internet.

Additionally, podcasting, is a method of publishing files to the Internet, that allows users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically by subscription, but used largely as audio files since 2004.

NCS speaking through its immediate past President and chief executive, Condata Systems Limited, Dr. Chris Nwannenna at the just concluded 21st Annual General Meeting and international conference held at the Sam Mbakwe’s Hall, Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, called on President Yar’Adua to revisit the issue of creating ICT ministry.

Presently, he noted that key federal government parastatals are scattered into three ministries, including the placing of telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Information and Communications Ministry, the national IT policy administrator, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Ministry of Science and Technology and the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) located at the Ministry of Education.

Although, he noted that NCS had in the past consistently advocated for the creation of an IT Ministry, in the light of obvious implications and convergence at this time, as well as need to learn from other countries like Egypt, the society has reiterated its recommendation for ICT Ministry.

Dr. Nwannenna pointed out that a Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MCIT) should comprise a merged National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and NCC, NITDA and CPN.

This recommendation, he noted, was almost unanimously adopted by members of the Technical sub-committee of the Federal Government’s Task Force for restructuring the industry last year before the then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s government moved NCC to the Ministry of Information.

“While NITDA was left in the Ministry of Science and Technology, and CPN still in the Ministry of Education,” he said.

NCS also stressed that this arrangement placed the IT and communications agencies in three different ministries thus still leaving room for duplication of functions, which the society thought the whole exercise of harmonization was intended to curb.

“Another point worth mentioning is that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has more that 20 agencies and parastatals under its supervision,” he observed.

Dr. Nwannenna equally said that to leave NITDA in this overstretched Ministry implies that the country is not placing any premium on Information Technology (IT), “which the whole world has come to accept as a key enabler of the economy.”

Theme of the event was “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria: IT Strategies and Tools.”

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Digitest to empower 400 children

Digitest, an initiative of the Digital Peers International (DPI), has concluded plans to empower over 400 Information Technology (IT) youngsters at this year’s edition.

Digitest Nigeria is an annual gathering of children with focus on IT just as the 2007 edition would hold at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

This is coming as 30 of these whiz kids are slated for the international version of this year’s Digitest Abroad to be held in Singapore.

Disclosing this, National Coordinator, DPI, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, said that each of the session, be it Digitest Nigeria or abroad would last for two weeks with the theme: Excellent Governance through e-government.

She also said that the programme has been designed to expose participating children, aged 8 to 18 with the basic IT training and website design on the Internet using various tools.

“Team building among Nigerian children, thought provoking debates and lectures are some of the sub-themes for the programme,” she declared.

While Digitest Nigeria would hold at the Loyola Jesuit College Abuja, between August 19 and 31, she said that Digitest Abroad has been scheduled for August 2 through 13, 2007 at the Informatics Institute in Singapore-South East Asia.

Mrs. Odusote noted that the focus on children was because no development nowadays takes place without Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), even as computers have taken over the determinants of national development.

“Digitest which is IT based is a modest contribution to the computer age in terms of creating awareness for what would happen in this country if any of our children between the ages of 8 and 18 now are not computer proficient in the next seven to 10 years, it would be disastrous for this great country,” she lamented.

Mrs. Odusote added that the concept of using vacation periods to host Digitest camping was not an accident, but carefully designed arrangement to ensure that school children are heavily involved in IT as their vacation jobs instead of making unfriendly friends and associating with undesirable elements within their midst or spending their long vacation fruitlessly.

She stressed that DPI recognises this temptation and equally came up with the idea.

While charging parents to create an exciting and focused future direction for their children, Mrs. Odusote noted this could be achieved by involving and registering such children as DigiPals, members of the national Digitest IT Club and get them acquainted with the new world order based on ICT.

DPI is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) championing the development of ICT capabilities in women and children, and empowerment based on knowledge.

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Ugly trends of ATM bombing

Market Intelligence:

Recent reports revealed that some Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), were bombed by robbers to ease their operations of carting away physical cash at the location.

An ATM allows a bank customer to conduct banking transactions from almost every other ATM machine in the world and is better known as unattended electronic machine in a public place, connected to a data system and related equipment for dispensing of cash.

Specifically, few weeks ago in South Africa, two ATMs were bombed but in all cases no money was stolen, the South African Police Service (SAPS) reported.

According to Captain William McErwa of SAPS, three armed men recently bombed a Standard Bank ATM at the Daxina Shopping Complex in Lenasia.

He also said that the robbers fled before the ATM exploded, and police found money scattered around the ATM.

Equally, First National Bank ATM was bombed at about 03:00 on Friday in Sebokeng, Zone 7 on June 8.

“The money was not taken but the ATM was badly damaged,” Mr. McErwa added that the Police believed the two incidents were linked.

He pointed out that in both cases commercial mining explosives were used.

This is coming as SAPS’ Gauteng police spokesperson Sanku Tsunke informed that an ATM robber’s arms were surgically amputated after explosives detonated while he was trying to remove cash from the machine.

However, the impact of this kind of robbery is the realty of the danger associated therein, especially when most of the ATMs in the country are attached to bank building.

The aforementioned situation could be averted when our security agencies begin to wear their thinking caps appropriately.

Also, financial institutions deploying ATMs in the country should be cognisance of this fact and dangers thereof, hence begin now to think about overcoming this ATM bombing incidents before this ugly trend hits the nation.

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Linkserve offers free bandwidth to customers

Linkserve Limited, a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the country, has upgraded its bandwidth offering to customers on the Kurtz-under (KU) band for free.

The Ku band is principally used for satellite communications, particularly for editing and broadcasting satellite television.

Additionally, Ku band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies ranging from 11.7 to 12.7GHz for downlink frequencies and 14 to 14.5 Gega Hertz (GHz) uplink frequencies.

The most common Ku band digital reception format is the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) with the main profile video format, .vs.

Disclosing this to Champion Infotel, Head, Corporate Affairs and Marketing Development, Mrs. Clementine Ibekwe informed that with this new development, all Linkserve customers would enjoy a free 20 per cent increase in bandwidth capacity.

She also said that this capacity comes with a very generous connection for Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls and all the services provided by the company.

“It allows the customer to make local calls as well as international calls and at the same time browse the Internet,” she said.

Mrs. Ibekwe, equally disclosed that this increased capacity is being given at no extra cost to customers.

“It is the company’s way of appreciating their loyalty and patronage in 10 years of Linkserve’s existence,” she said, stressing that Linkserve has reaffirmed its commitment to providing the best services possible to customers at all times.

Linkserve is the acclaimed first Nigerian company to venture into the ISP business with priority to ensure value creation for her customers, since 1997.

Champion Infotel recalls that the award winning company was the only official ISP for CHOGM and The Eight All African games in 2003.

In a related development, Linkserve has announced the conclusion of a two-weekend training for the Orogbum Youth Council, Orogbum community in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The training theme was on the “Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Systems Installation,” comprised of both the theoretical and practical aspects of VSAT installations was accompanied with free handouts and manuals for the students.

Mrs. Ibekwe added that the training was part of her continuous belief and participation in youth growth and education in Information Technology (IT).

Also, senior Operations Officer of the company’s Port Harcourt office, Mrs. Jessica Omohefe, said that the training was a measure by Linkserve Limited to appreciate the community having been the host community of the company’s Port Harcourt branch office.

She added that in the past eight years, when Linkserve Limited opened for operations in the vicinity, there has not been any form of threats.

“They truly deserve this and more,” she declared.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Secretary and Public Relations Officer of the Youth Council, Messrs Izim Sunny and Uche Ali respectively, expressed appreciation to Linkserve Limited for the privilege and opportunity given them to gain such knowledge.

The submitted by saying that such measures taken by Linkserve to empower and make relevant the youth, should be emulated by other companies in all the sectors of the economy.

“They should seek ways to enhance the ‘Tomorrows’ of Nigeria,” the youth leaders said.

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HP unveils Pavilion range of computers

Hewlett Packard (HP), a technology solutions provider has formally introduced its ultra-stylish Pavilion range of Personal Computers (PCs) in the West African region, reports LEONARD OKACHIE.

Unveiling the product recently in Lagos, the company’s management said with sleek good looks and all the performance, users could expect from HP, the pavilion PCs are set to be the fashion-craze’s choice for turning heads in the home personal computing arena.

As an emerging market, HP is starting with a limited range of options to ensure that there is full after-sales-service support in the country to ensure HP Total Customer Experience a major focus of HP.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, HP West Africa, Dr Lloyd Atabansi, said the Pavilion will give people freedom to reach out to friends and family across the world wherever they may be.

“People want personalized, rich services that fit their unique lifestyles. Today, we want you to begin living the HP strategy which is reliable innovation at a price out customer can afford, delivered with an experience that sets HP apart from the competition” he explained.

According to the category manager, English-Africa, Ms Terae Onyeje the desktop options will excite the young and adults to explore HP’s digital entertainment solutions with the media centre Pcs.

“The stylish Thin Film Transistor (TFT) panels are delivered with speakers and widescreen technology; waiting videos on these PCs would make a world of difference,” she remarked.

Onyeje noted that entry and mid-range notebook options have been specifically built for the West African market.

The notebook according to her “does not only look great but performs well too.”

She added, “Touchpad media buttons allow you to launch your favourite music, DVDs and photographs with just a swipe of the finger, perfect for no fuss entertainment on the move.”

Consumers, she said, could also be sure to staying in touch using built-in Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) to keep connected to the largest fashion news.

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HiTV signs on 3 Tv channels, Ovation

Direct-To-Home (DTH) pay broadcasting house, Highway Television (HiTV) has signed on three Nigerian broadcast channels for its growing viewers on the continent.

These new sign-on include Channels News, Amuludun and Multimesh Cable Television as well as Ovation magazine.

Disclosing this, the chief executive, HiTV, Mr. Toyin Subair said that the broadcast outfits are the Nigeria’s first all news station, Channels News, first 24-hour Yoruba language television programme, Amuludun Tv owned by the Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation (LSBC) and Port-Harcourt based Multimesh Cable Television (MCTV).

According to him, Channels TV would provide 24-hour news channel different from the programme it does on its terrestrial free to air station in country, while Amuludun would also provide a 24-hour Yoruba language channel.

MCTv, he said, as a cable service provider of repute would be collaborating with HiTv to bring premium television programme to five states within the South-south zone of the country.

Mr. Subair also informed that HiTV would give some of its channels to MCTv to add to its bouquet of 10 channels and transmit within its area of coverage while it would take MCTv channels onto its DTH satellite as part of its exports to the global audience.

In addition, he said that HiTV in partnership with international celebrity magazine, Ovation, would create a television version of the magazine to be known as Hi Ovation.

Confirming this deal at the press meeting in Lagos recently, the publisher of Ovation, Chief Dele Momodu, said the plan would avail global audience to enjoy Ovation on television, which is a focus on achievement of blacks.

Endorsing the partnership with HiTV, spokesperson for Channels Television, Ms Olayiwola Fadero said its an opportunity for the first indigenous all news station to do what it does best and take its rating to the international arena.

She reiterated the resolve of Channels reputed for its credibility to take the challenge and tell the Nigerian story to the outside world the Nigerian way.

In his reaction, the chief executive, MCTv, Sir Godfrey Nwabunwa noted that as a known terrain his company is ready for the partnership with HiTv, especially in the effort to make TV viewing much cheaper for Nigerians.

He expressed glad that the platform would be used to create impact for Nigerian cartoons and children’s shows.

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Palms, MSI gear for children on scientific summer

The Palms, a premier western styled shopping mall in collaboration with Mad Science Incorporated (MSI), has concluded plans to take children for a summer ride in Lagos with free mix of educative and entertaining scientific displays and inventions.

A press statement from The Palms, informed Champion Infotel that from August 1st to 14th, children would gather in The Palms’ foyer for an amazing “Fire and Ice” show.

It was also gathered that plans have been advanced to ensure participating children are dazed as they watch objects levitate in mid air.

The children are equally expected to learn all about Bernoulli’s principle of aerodynamics through these interactive experiments, even as they will be having some fun alongside.

The organisers said that the event has been structured to enable them touch, feel and taste what science is really all about.

“They will build rockets, make indoor lightning, learn why airplanes fly and volcanoes erupt and so much more,” the statement from The Palms read.

Mad Science is an international organization that was founded in 1985 and currently services children in over 220 locations in 22 countries globally, including Nigeria.

The company said it’s mission is to spark the imagination and curiosity of children everywhere by providing them with fun, entertainment embodied in educational activities, so as to instil a clear understanding of what science is really about and how it affects the world around them.

In addition, Mad Science offers in-class workshops, after school enrichment programmes, summer camps, school assemblies, special events, birthday parties, and a series of scholastic books for children 3 to 14 years old.

Equally, a team of professional educators, scientists and entertainers to ensure that Mad Science programmes are accurate, educational and fun.

Themes of various Mad programmes cut across rocketry, lasers, sound modulation, space, indoor fireworks, and over 70 more topics.

The Palms Mall, managed by Broll Property Services Ltd, is the Nigerian subsidiary of Broll Property Group (PTY) Limited South Africa, owned by Persianas Properties Ltd and is home to about 69 businesses offering a wide range of products and services ranging from clothing, food, household items and electronic equipment to gift items and artwork.

The Palms recently celebrated Father’s Day by putting up a display of the latest Information Technology (IT) and communication gadgets for father’s and customers alike.

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Net Solution joins HP premier partners

Foremost Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution provider, Net Solutions Limited, has been named one of the Hewlett Packard (HP) ‘Premier Partner’ for West Africa at a ceremony held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.

Managing Director, Net Solutions, Dr. Steve Uwazie who disclosed this to Champion Infotel, said the elevation came with an award in recognition of his firm’s contributions in the sub-regional market.

This contributions, he said, were both satisfactory in technical and sales requirements to deliver world-class solutions on HP platform.

He also said that the award is a welcome development for his company, which has continued to support the Nigerian IT market said to be the toast of international community.

Dr. Uwazie added that Net Solutions has also joined the HP’s Millionaire Club as the company’s turnover in HP business has tremendously grown in the last one year.

“We‘re invited in Cape Town , South Africa for the HP annual award night for Premier Partners. We have met all the technical requirements to deliver HP solutions on the sales and technical side,” he declared.

Dr. Uwazie while expressing delight over the honour assured Net Solution would continue to support the West African market with its goods and services.

He equally commended HP’s market performance in Nigeria , stressing that Net Solutions looks at the problems of the IT industry and as such react appropriately for different clients with IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Veritas Software Solutions, among others.

Uwazie who worked for about 16 years for IBM noted with excitement that his company’s partnership with HP has added great value not only to his company but also to the Nigerian IT market.

As the competition increases in the market place, he assured that Net Solutions has all it takes to support the nation’s IT market and beyond in the sub-region.

“We have come to stay even though there are many challenges ahead. The market is very large. This award and others won in the previous years have elevated Net Solutions. We will always deliver to our customers” he reiterated.

As the certified system integrator for SAP implementation for Obajana Cement factory in Kogi State owned by Dangote Company, he said that Net Solutions will not only continue to deliver services to its customers but will also take the Nigerian IT industry to the next level with its value added services.

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Senator Arise to preside @ FIT summit

Senator Ayo Arise of Ekiti State and chief executive, Card Technologies Limited, is billed to preside over the Finance and Information Technology (FIT) summit scheduled for tomorrow, July 26 in Lagos.

This is coming as the sole provider of toll free and vanity number services in the country, Alpha Technologies Limited and leading switching services provider, InterSwitch Limited, have confirmed participation in the summit.

Confirming this development, Coordinator of ICTAfrica, the organisers, Don Pedro Aganbi, while disclosing that over 150 key decision makers are expected at the event, said the Chief Executive of InterSwitch Limited, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, is expected to lead discussions on “ATM’s cum e-Payment’s in Nigeria and the shape of things to come”, whereas Alpha Technologies would exhibit their innovative toll free 0800 and non-toll free 0700 numbers, also known as SMAT numbers.

Speaking on the summit with the theme, “Seamless ICT Integration in Post-Consolidation Era,” Managing director, Alpha Technologies, Mrs. Maggie Peters, revealed that the company would also stage a raffle draw for participants at the summit where winners would get free special SMAT numbers.

The firm, she said, would print for the winners a set of cards bearing the SMAT numbers to brand the winners, adding that SMAT or vanity numbers, are telephone numbers where the letters associated with the number digits on the telephone.

, spell a name or word of value which the subscribers feels is memorable enough to associate his telephone number contacts with.

“What happens is that instead of reeling out the 11 digit numbers as in the case of GSM numbers, the subscriber hooks on the 0-700 or 0-800 SMAT numbers in combination with his name or business name. With SMAT numbers, a subscriber’s number becomes for instance 0-700 Adewale or 0700 ABC,” she cited.

Mrs Peters equally explained the difference between the 0-700 and the 0-800 numbers, saying that the former is a non-toll free platform while the later is a toll free line.

“What this means is that under the 0-700 platform the callers pay the normal call charges while the0-800 are meant for companies or individuals who require volume of enquiries on their products or activities and so the call cost is reversed and paid not by the caller but the company or individual who owns the number,” she said.

The SMAT numbers, she said, have advantages of improving communication accessibility as much as permitting number portability, enhances image and makes for easy networking for companies with large network branches.

The theme for this year’s FITS is “seamless ICT integration in post - Consolidation Era” was chosen to enable stakeholders review progress made in IT integration post consolidation and to chart a new course going into the future.

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ATCON resuscitates NICOMM, plans Pan-awards

In the bid to resuscitate the Nigerian Communications (NICOMM) exhibitions and conferences, its organisers the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has announced a new date for NICOMM 2007.

Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, ATCON president, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said that NICOMM 2007 would hold in October in Lagos.

Champion Infotel recalls that since the unexpected murder of ATCON’s immediate past president, Chief Alaba Joseph in his office in 2005, several efforts have been made to bring NICOMM back to life with the last one described as a flop by stakeholders.

This is coming as ATCON’s proposed one-day Stakeholders’ summit on energy and power, has once again been shifted till August this year.

Dr. Ekuwem said that the NICOMM event scheduled to take place at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Onikan-Lagos, would hold on October 22 – 24, 2007.

“This edition is the 12th in the series of annual international exhibitions and conferences organised by the association,” he said.

He stressed that NICOMM-07 promises to be a mega event judging from the repackaged initiatives ATCON has given to the event.

He also said that ATCON took the decision to ensure that NICOMM measure up to international standards by introducing innovations that would attract more serious local exhibitors and multinational participants, sponsors, and visitor as well as guests.

“We have visited international shows in Europe and Asia and have made useful observations that will help us improve the standard and value of NICOMM events in the best interest of participants. The lessons we have learnt will manifest in our management of NICOMM 2007,” he declared.

He cited for instance, the collaboration with commercial sections of foreign embassies to organise trade delegations from their respective countries to participate in the NICOMM 2007.

This, he said would make it the biggest telecom/ICT event in West Africa since its inception in 1994. According to him, these trade delegations would take up Country Pavilions where they would showcase their best technologies, products and services which they offer in the global telecom/ICT market.

Equally, Dr. Ekuwem noted that there would be opportunities for special product presentations and demonstrations as well as private meetings by visiting exhibitors and sponsors with potentials local partners, dealers or country representatives.

“Opportunities will also be created for state governments wishing to attract more ICT investments to their states to showcase investment opportunities and incentives to local and foreign investors at the expo,” he said.

Dr. Ekuwem also said that ATCON at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) gave the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association approval to organise a joint stakeholders meeting to fashion out a Pan-industry Information and Communication Technology (ICT) awards.

The meeting expected to cut across ATCON, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) among others, to discuss the modalities and set the agenda for the pan-industry awards.

This, he said, was agreed upon to curb the prevalence of Telecom/ICT Awards in Nigeria. “We are still worried that except urgent positive steps are taken to address the situation, ICT awards in Nigeria may soon lose credibility ad public respect,” ATCON noted, adding that plans are up to host such awards that would be of international standards and recognition.

He further said that ATCON is not unmindful of the genuine efforts of leading industry media that have instituted awards to honour companies and organisations that have contributed immensely to the rapid growth of the telecom/ICT sector in the country.

“Their initiatives have been very commendable and ATCON appreciates the laudable work they have been doing. You will recall that ATCON itself instituted in 1996 the Nigerian Telecom Merit Awards to recognise individuals and companies that pioneered development in the deregulated telecom sector in Nigeria,” he said.

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Glo bags SERA prize

The Second National Operator, Globacom has bagged the maiden Social Enterprise Report & Awards (SERA 2007) recognition award.

This, the organisers said was in acknowledgement of Glo’s contributions to the social lives of people and communities in the country.

The award presented at a ceremony in Lagos, weekend, was organized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in collaboration with TruContact Communications.

Reacting to the development, the Executive Director for Marketing Communication at Globacom, Mr. Okon Iyanam, said the telco was elated by the recognition, especially its contribution in the areas of sports development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the country.

“Whether in the provision of world-class telecommunications services in the remotest Nigerian communities or in the area of corporate social investment, Globacom as a proudly Nigeria brand has positioned itself to continue to play a significant role in the lives of our people and will continue to catalyse socio-economic development not only in Nigeria but also in Africa,” he said.

According to the organisers, the Nigerian Enterprise Reports and Awards recognize and celebrate the role of corporate organizations in social giving and social transformation in Nigeria.

They also emphasised that the reports are a compendium of best practices highlighting the innovative ways that these organizations continue to engage with the people and the communities where they do business.

Champion Infotel recalls that Globacom since commencing operations in 2003 has won several awards in the telecommunications industry, including the Best Mobile Telephone Company and Best Telephone Company 2006 award by Nigerian Technology and Telecom awards (NITTA).

It also won the Thisday and Global Excellence 2006 Company of the Year as well as West Africa’s Most Preferred Telecommunications Company of Year 2006 award by Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria (IDMN).

It was awarded the Subscriber’s Friendly Operator in its first year, by Nigerian Telecommunications Subscribers and adjudged the network with the Lowest Call Drop Rate by Nigeria Telecom News.

Industry regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), in 2005 declared it the network with the “Better overall Quality of Service and Billing Accuracy”.

Equally, the International Telephone Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations in its report on African Telecommunication Indicators noted that the entry of Globacom into Nigeria ’s telecom industry had brought “greater innovation, lower tariffs and better services.”

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Mrakpor tasks FG on policy

Chief Executive of Nigeria’s acclaimed Internet service provider, HiREST Africa Limited, Mr. Igho Mrakpor, has tasked the Federal Government to ensure that it puts in place policies that would encourage the growth of broadband Internet access in the country.

This, he also said would pave the way for adaptation and growth of technology convergence.

Speaking through the firm’s Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs. Ufuoma ‘Daro, at the recently ended Nigerian International GSM Strategic conference and exhibition in Abuja, Mr. Mrakpor noted that currently only estimated 3.1 per cent of the population have access to the Internet.

Dwelling on his paper, “Growing Broadband Internet penetration through Convergence,” Mrakpor said that with the convergence of technologies access to the Internet is excepted to increase.

Mr. Mrakpor emphasised that statistics have also shown that there is a growing awareness of the importance of the Internet among Nigerians hence more and more citizens are itching to have access.

“The increase in the number of users from 200,000 in year 2000 to five million in year 2006 is a clear indication in the growing interest and awareness in the use of the Internet. This therefore, calls for the need to grow the Internet market penetration in the country,” he said.

He advocated that social benefits to the end user should be the major motive behind regulation in the era of convergence and not economic gains only.

“Every decision the government has to take on this issue of technological convergence should be based on giving consumers benefits in terms of service and cost,” he said.

As said by him, the Internet is a perfect example of convergence, which is driven by openness and as such, is very difficult to regulate.

He stressed that in the country today, the Internet is becoming increasingly popular with greater percentage of the penetration on a daily basis.

He further observed that technology right now is based on mobility and as such should be encouraged at all levels.

He recalled that in recent times, the emergence of the Internet and the increasing capability of existing networks to carry both telecommunications and broadcasting services, have brought about evidences of convergence with the increasing use of the same technologies by different sectors, notably the telecoms, media and information technology (IT).

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

GSM companies are most capitalised – NCC

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) companies in the country, are the most capitalised in the nation’s economy as of date.

Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this insight at the just concluded second edition of the Nigerian international GSM conference and exhibition in Abuja.

Dr. Ndukwe who was represented at the occasion by the Executive Commissioner in-charge of Licensing and Consumers Affairs at NCC, Mr. Stephen Bello, said that apart from GSM companies in the country being the most capitalised, they are next to oil in terms of remunerations.

“The first in remuneration and have contributed to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation,” he declared.

He also said that Nigeria as a nation, must build upon the successes achieved in the last eight years of democratic dispensation, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the past six years of evolution.

This, he said, would be if the operators ensured that consumers remained the key to their business successes, thereby improving on their service provision, most especially the quality of services (QoS).

According to him, this is a key challenge to the operators presently because subscribers are very much keen on mobility solutions and 24-hour access.

Equally, Dr. Ndukwe said that the taste of Nigerian telecom subscribers have changed, noting that they are now looking out for telcos that would provide them with uninterrupted voice and data alongside other Value Added Services (VAS).

While assuring investors into the country of effective distribution of spectrum and usage, NCC said that it would ensure that customers are migrated into various facets of technologies without loosing sight of the impact to the industry and the economy.

He pointed out that before now, the cost of handsets were on the high side but is gradually coming down, to affordable rates.

As said by him, NCC would make sure that spectrum deployment and adaptation to the Next Generation Networks (NGN) is strictly adhered to in the country telecom sphere.

Dr. Ndukwe emphasised that the quest for GSM services in the country and its adoptability to technologies would definitely drive down prices while services are expected to improve, mostly with new technologies.

The event was organised by the GSM Operators Association of Nigerian through Uk-emp in collaboration with NCC and Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

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DaarComm shops for N75bn @ capital market

Daar Communications Limited, owners of the first-ever private television station in the country, the African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM stations, has concluded plans to hit the floors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) before the end of August this year.

Chairman, Daar Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who disclosed this in a chat with Champion Infotel, at the weekend, said that the company would be shopping for N75 billion as its Initial Placement Offer (IPO).

“We intend to raise N75 billion in the IPO,” he declared.

According to Chief Dokpesi, plans have reached advanced stage to ensure that Daar Communications takes its rightful position as a public thrust entity and discharge its responsibilities as such.

Chief Dokpesi stressed that this dream would be achieved before he can now beat his chest and gracefully retire as the chairman of the company.

Daar Communications, he said, have invested intensively to ensure that both the structure and human resource of the company are not left out of convergence reeve taking the broadcasting industry by storm.

Efforts, he said, are being put in place to ensure the successful migration of the broadcast house equipment, so as to make ready for this century competitiveness.
“Every of our equipment is now being migrated to digital platforms,” he said.

He equally said that by going fully into the stock market would provide the company the opportunity of widening its ownership structure in addition to raising the relevant funds to implement the expansion of the company to all parts of the globe.

He described the opportunity of hitting the floor of the stock market as a good omen for all Nigerians of good will and enjoined them to ensure that this opportunity do not pass them by.

Champion Infotel recalls that DAAR Communications was incorporated in August 1988 and prides itself with a successful background in the closely related fields of printing and publishing.

Also, DAAR launched its broadcast services in 1994 with the promotion of Nigeria’s first private independent radio station RayPower 100.5FM, while the second channel RayPower 2 106.5FM began operation in April 1999.

Prior to this, DAAR had launched a 24-hour global television offering with the call sign Africa Independent Television (AIT) with a philosophy geared towards the promotion of African values and traditions of black race globally.

Noteworthy is that at the last quarter of 1999, DAAR Communications introduced its DAAR broadband Internet Services with capacity for voice, internet access, video conferencing, data, telephony and other multi-media capabilities, just as it has over 600 employees across all its operations in Africa, Europe and the United States.

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IT’ll make difference in poverty reduction – Gov. Ohakim

The Imo State governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has declared that the evolution of Information Technology (IT), would make the difference in the bid to reduce poverty in any country.

Chief Ohakim, who spoke at the on-going 21st international conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) holding at the Imo Concorde Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, with the theme on "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria: IT strategies and tools.”

The governor said that the conference is coming at a time when Nigeria and her people are putting everything in place to ensure that the country benefits from the global strategy for reducing poverty by the year 2015 as stipulated in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“As the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, the issue of poverty is one Nigeria can no longer afford to pay lip service to,” he said.

Gov. Ohakim stressed that while the nation strives through local efforts to reduce poverty in the land, he strongly expressed believe that Nigeria must link with the rest of the world in the strategic agenda.

“This is because poverty itself is not only a universal phenomenon but its contagious,” he said, noting that those rich nations cannot really claim to be rich in the face of pervasive poverty among more than 80 per cent of the world’s population.

Gov. Ohakim emphasised that with the modern breakthroughs in Information Technology, he strongly belief it would make the difference.

“As I have always said, the difference between wealth and poverty is information,” he said, adding that given giant strides in IT so far, “there is a growing optimism that mankind is getting closer to the universal objective of reducing poverty to its barest minimum.”

He, therefore charged NCS to keep up in playing a very critical role in this regard, observing that Computers are the main tools in IT, which itself, is the key driver for the economic growth and national prosperity.

Hence, he was not surprised that NCS member companies have made positive impact on the development of computer hardware and software as well as capacity and diffusion in the country.

“I am glad to note that your members now produce branded Personal Computers (PCs) that compare in standard and quality with internationally popular brands. We now have local brands like Zinox, Omatek, Speedstar, Brian etc that can match internationally brands like HP, IBM, Dell to mention a few,” he asserted.

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More communications are now based on Internet

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has said that more communications are now based on the Internet than on the mobile telephony among other mediums of communications.

Dr. Ndukwe made this assertion at the just ended one-day seminar on the Internet for Job Initiative (I4J) in Lagos.

He noted at the event that as a telecommunications engineer, the evolution and the power of the Internet have consistently been a spectacle for him.

Dr. Ndukwe pointed out that between the year 2002 and 2003, it was reported that the American online, for instance, delivered about 50 per cent mails in one day than the United States (U.S.) Postal Office.

Also, he observed that about 85 per cent of the small and medium size industry used the Internet and about 65 per cent of small businesses in the US, have their own websites.

“This number has continuously increased as of today,” he said.

E-business transactions, according to him, are expected to grow to over 1.5 trillion dollars in 2007, while the small businesses that extensively use the Internet are billed to grow much faster than those that do not use Internet.

As said by him, while the G8 countries the number of people with access to computers and Internet is growing very rapidly, stressing that in many developing countries such as Nigeria, the story is not the same.

“Truly, technology is driving economies, but not everyone is benefiting from it,” he declared.

One of the big drivers that enables technology to reach to many people that were never envisaged few years back is the mobile communications technology, which is specially propelled by the pre-paid payment platform.

“Today, about 3 billion people in the world now have access to mobile communication. This number, is however, very small when compared to those that have access to the Internet,” he said.

He therefore asserted that there is a wide gap between those who have information through the Internet and those who do not have.

“People, businesses and communities that do not have ready access to Internet are being left behind in the scheme of things,” he said, adding that the implication of this to mankind is continuous effort to meet up.

“With the Internet, people could actually access any form of information in the whole wide world,” he maintained.

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FCMB: Stop this midnight SMS affair

Market Intelligence:

Over time, the Nigerian telecommunications subscribers, since the coming of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), have been subjected to all manner of mid-night Short Messaging Service (SMS).

In business, there exist etiquette that must be abided by all, both by the customers and business entities.

This is very relevant especially in an environment where a system is just evolving like in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector.

In Africa, for instance and Nigeria in particular, people toil all day long to survive and cherish to rest at night, but in a situation whereby operators conspire with commercial entities like banks, airline operators to name a few; who are supposed to know to deliver commercially-based messages to the subscribers at odd hours is totally unacceptable and have been condemned severally by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

For instance, FCMB SMS advert was distributed on July 12 at 4:56am which read: “Together they DREAM, BELIEVE, DARE, DISCOVER, CREATE AND DELIVER … Two minds united to chart a course and make a difference …. My Bank & I.”

And as if this was not enough, on July 13, at 1:48, another followed thus, “My Bank and I: A true story of true relationship based on Trust, Honesty and unwavering commitment to creating wealth. THIS COULD BE YOUR STORY!!!!!”

Though operators may be unaware of this, its necessary for them to invite their agents for talks mostly bulk SMS dealers to ensure they respect other people’s privacy.

This is because the first impression one got on seeing or noticing an SMS at the odd hours, is that, it must be very urgent.

Consumer Protection Agency and NCC should not wait until telecom subscribers drag these organisations to the law court before waking up to their responsibilities. Before then, can someone tell FCMB to stop this midnight SMS affair?

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Ndukwe, Angaye drum support for Internet-for-Job project

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, and the chief executive, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, have drummed support for the Internet-for-Job (I4J) initiative of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG).

Both spoke at the commissioning of I4J in Lagos at the weekend.

For Dr. Ndukwe, he is always marvelled over the power of Internet.

“The Internet today is empowering users and creating new business model that before now were unknown to man,” he said, stressing that the Internet is in fact revolutionizing how mankind live and do business.

Dr. Ndukwe pointed out that Internet represents an exciting knew frontier, with abundant opportunities that could make a man from the remotest part of the world communicate with another man from the most advanced part of the world on a real time basis.

NIG, he said, has performed creditably in the last 11 years and deserves every support and commendations.

He added that in order to back the provision of jobs for Nigerians on the Internet, his commission would be making the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) available to NIG, especially on this initiative.

While promising NIG of NCC readily support, anytime, any day, he applauded the leadership of the group, chaired by Mr. Lanre Ajayi.

He enjoined members to remain steadfast in their desire to be part of the global village, which has been restructured through the evolution of the Internet, and called on Nigerians, especially those who intend to tap the Internet for economic reasons to embrace I4J initiative.

In his remarks at the occasion, Prof. Angaye, reassured NIG of NITDA support and called on Nigerians not to loose sight of the importance of the initiative, which is to boost job creation in the country.

Prof. Angaye also said that the scheme is in line with the nation’s Information Technology (IT) policy.

In his address to the occasion, NIG President and chief executive, PiNet Informatics, Mr. Ajayi, said the commissioning was in fulfilment of outlined self-goals by the group.

According to him, the initiative was encapsulated in making Nigeria a knowledge -based economy, beginning with a seminar to sensitise Nigerians on what I4J is all about.

The event with the theme, “Internet for Jobs: Promoting Internet Entrepreneurship in Nigeria,” he said, would take the organisation to the next level of its mandate, through promotion and development of local content on the Internet and creating local Internet entrepreneurs.

He also said that basically, “I4J is one of NIG’s vision statement to use the internet as a platform for creating jobs opportunities for Nigerians and making Nigeria a positive contributor to the emerging knowledge economy.’”

The aspiration of NIG at this time in point, is to make Nigeria a preferred destination for the global internet-related services including outsourcing web application development, e-commerce and software development thereby creating job opportunities for our people, thus this initiative is pace setting one and is billed to the grow the ICT in the country.

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Computerise Nigeria launches project 60-20

A Non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Computerise Nigeria Project (CNP) has launched a new programme to boost penetration of Personal Computer (PC) ownership in the country.

The programme known as Project 60-20, according to the chief executive of CNP, Mrs. Vivian Abii, is to ensure that by 2020, approximated 60 per cent of the nation’s 140 million population should have ownership of PCs, as well as become computer literate.

“By 2020, 60 per cent of Nigerians should be Information Technology (IT) driven,” she said.

This, she said, is viable if those in the public and private sectors of the economy are actively involved.

She also said that Computerise Nigeria Project, has advanced plans to open six major resource centres in the six-geo political zones of the country.

These centres, she explained, would be used to train Nigerians on IT at a cost very much less when compared to the actual cost.

Mrs Abii pointed out that if an IT training costs about N20,000, the centre are expected to take about N5,000 from participants in recognition of their certificates.

Top on the agenda, at the centres, she said, would be a focus on the Niger Delta, adding that in the past a lot have been said, but with the new administration in the country, it is time for action.

ICT sector, she noted, is where to focus attention at this time of the nation’s development.

“There is no other better sector,” she declared, and called for a change of mindset by Nigerians.

She maintained that project 60-20 would help immensely in boosting the nation’s IT penetration, especially if it is subsidised by the government for the citizens.

She invited corporate organisations to tap into this project so as to be part of this history.

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ISOC introduces Ambassador’s scheme for IGF-07

Leveraging on the successes of the Internet Society (ISOC) Ambassador programme during the two-phased World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in late 2005, the organisation has announced another version of the ambassadors’ project for the forthcoming Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting in Rio, Brazil.

ISOC is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The Ambassadors programme for the Rio meeting, scheduled to hold from November 12 through 15, this year, has been designed to involve members in
ISOC’s public policy activities tend to provide valuable expertise and know-how to the IGF meeting in Rio.

Public Policy Manager at ISOC, Constance Bommelaer, while announcing this programme, said that participants are expected to spend approximated seven days.

“Interested individuals should be available to arrive no later than Sunday 11 November and depart no sooner than Friday 16 November,” Bommelaer said.

The manager added that a total number of 12 persons would be selected for the ambassadorship position during the IGF-07.

According to the guidelines, interested individuals must be ISOC members and active too to scale through.

In addition, such potential ambassador must have strong mission for his immediate community, while being conversant with national and international internet issues at the moment as well as what goes on at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) since its formation.

Deadline for the application, Champion Infotel gathered is July 31, 2007, while processes must be completed and accepted application announced before the end of August 21, this year.

“The role of the ambassadors is to explain and promote ISOC’s positions on public policy issues that are related to the themes of the IGF,” ISOC said.

Additionally it was gathered that the Ambassadors would be expected to add their significant local and regional experience as well as insights to discussions and interventions during the sessions and workshops.

The ambassadors are equally looked upon to bring home first-hand experience of the IGF and to continue to drive local ISOC activities, particularly as they related to Internet governance issues.

Those selected would be provided with financial support for their travel and accommodation during the weeklong event.

ISOC described the ambassadorship as an excellent opportunity to interact with Internet stakeholders at all levels and gain first hand experience of a major international forum.

The Internet Society is a non-profit, non-governmental with international and professional memberships, spanning across over100 organisation members and individual members in excess of 20,000 in over 180 nations globally representing a veritable who’s who of the Internet community.

The work of the Internet Society focuses on four “pillars” namely standards, public policy, education and training, as well as membership.

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Omatek, AfriBank join forces on CAAI

Leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of Personal Computers (PC) and accessories, Omatek Computers Limited and outstanding financial institution, AfriBank Plc, have joined forces for the launching of the Computer for All Abians Initiative (CAAI) in Umuahia.

CAAI, is the Abia State government version of the Computer for All Nigerian Initiative (CANi) which was launched mid last year to boost the ownership of PCs and its subsequent penetration in the country.

Managing Director, Omatek, Mrs. Florence Seriki informed that the initiative launch Tuesday in Abia State capital is similar to Omatek’s eXpress initiative and in fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and encouraging mass computer literacy among the citizenry.

Mrs. Seriki also said that the project was facilitated through the N1.5 billion-credit facility from Afribank Plc to her company, Omatek, in recognition of long-term credit facility as one of the most crucial challenges hindering enhanced economic growth in the country.

This facility, she said, specifically is for Abia state indigenes, including home users, schools, the private sectors and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to purchase Omatek desktop computers and laptops in a convenient, affordable way with easy payment terms stretched over a period ranging between 24 to 36 months.

“We at Omatek strongly believe information technology has become the key driver for socio-economic development worldwide. Abia state will be no exception. It is in the realisation that accelerating the state’s socio economic developmental process and improving the well being of its people depends very much on the extent to which it can use information technology,” she said.

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VIA unveils dual-LAN mainboard

LEADING developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, VIA Technologies Inc, has unveiled its VIA EPIA LT-Series Mini-ITX mainboard based on the VIA CX700 system media processor. Powered by the highly efficient 1.5 Gega Hertz (GHz) or fanless 1.0GHz VIA C7 processor.

The VIA EPIA LT has a maximum operating power consumption of less than 20 watts.

Assistant Vice President, VIA Platform Solutions Division, VIA Technologies, Inc, Mr. Daniel Wu, said that the mainboard incorporates a number of innovative features for the fast-growing x86-based embedded market, such as greater device performance, clearer definition video and storage technologies, and a full feature input and output (I/O) set including two Local Area Network (LAN) ports and native support for two Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) panels, four COM ports, a PCI slot and up to six Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 ports.

According to him, project-based customers also have the option of a VIA CX700M2 version with added TV-out functionality.

VIA, he said, is very excited about the versatility and connectivity that this new board offers to the customers.

“While designed primarily for key embedded applications such as high end point of sales and digital signage systems, the power of the VIA UniChrome Pro II integrated graphics readily enables the LT-Series boards to be utilized for a wide range of networked multimedia applications,” he said.

Mr. Wu added that apart from boasting VIA’s market-leading ultra low power consumption VIA C7 processors at 1.5GHz and fanless 1GHz, the VIA EPIA LT-Series platform provides exceptional performance per watt and a feature set that creates high standards in connectivity. Supporting up to 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 memory.

He emphasised that the VIA CX700 drives a plethora of connection options including dual LVDS support and two 10/100 fast Ethernet modules, with a Gigabit option, 2 SATA connectors and up to 6 Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 ports.

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NCS moves into own complex

Following the completion of its own corporate complex at the weekend, the umbrella body of the nation’s Information Technology (IT) professionals worldwide, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), has moved into the building.

The complex located at number six Otunba Jobi Fele Way, Alausa Ikeja, Lagos, encompassed a conference room, the administration bloc and office of the president and could best be described as a bungalow.

Chief Executive, Condata Systems and President, NCS, Dr. Chris Nwannenna, while confirming this to Champion Infotel at the new premises, said that the plot donated to the society by the Lagos State government, few years back, was in recognition of its impact to the development of the country.

He also commended NCS members for supporting his administration and the society generally to ensure that the complex was completed on time and as planned.

This is coming as the NCS’ international conference and annual general meeting, yesterday in the capital city of Owerri, Imo State, took off.

Dr. Nwannenna had reaffirmed that the society, which includes associations such as Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) Nigeria Information Technology Practitioners in the Civil Service, Nigeria Information Technology Corporate Members Group, The Nigerian Information Technology Academic Group and National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS), is ready for the dual event.

The AGM, which was shifted by one month, that is, from June 12 to July 17 was not unconnected to change of leadership in the 36 states of the federation recently after the April polls.

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Experts advocate adequate funding for HR technology

Managements of business entities in the country, have been advised to make adequate budgetary provision for the funding of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), if the human and material resources of such organisations are to be fully tapped, reports Kayode Ajiboye.

Making this call at a one-day Human Resources (HR) Technology conference in Lagos, at the weekend, experts said that effective adoption of ICT would make great difference in human resources management.

Speaking at the event, a human resources management expert at the Lagos Business School, Mrs Yinka David-West, noted that any human resources management based on ICT would definitely increase the competitiveness of the organisation and the business environment across the world.

Delivering paper on “Adoption of Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) in Nigeria,” David-West said that adoption of ICT in an organization required adequate and continuous funding scheme.

According to her, adopters of modern HR management technology must appreciate its real costs in the budgetary provision for personnel training, maintenance and upgrading IT equipment are essential for business continuity.

She also canvassed that vendors and adopters of HRMS applications should consider a shared services model towards accomplishing their organizational business goals.

Delivering her own paper earlier at the conference, another resource person, Mrs Funke Amobi of MTN Nigeria, enjoined human resources managers of organizations to follow-up their staff recruitment with continued training for skill development, and promotion, retaining them to tap their talents in order to optimise the
organizational ability towards realizing positive outcomes in the face of keen competition.

Dwelling on the paper entitled “Talent Management Future: The relationship between Human Resources (HR) and Training,” Mrs. Amobi encouraged organisations to take strategic steps to empower personnel through further training, especially a few who are identified with special talents.

Organisations, according to Amobi, should endeavour to retain staff to avoid being mere training centres for competitors who were ready to pay the price to attract human resources from them with better incentives.

She noted that staff were most likely to stay in companies with prospects of job security and self-actualisation.

In his own submission however, Mr Weyinmi Jemide of Ashford & McGuire Consulting declared that organizations, which refused to invest in personnel training were those that had agreed to die.

He observed that too many organizations tended to treat their expensive software equipment as more valuable than those people employed to use such equipment, noting that any organization that failed to invest in staff training should not expect good returns no matter the cost of software application.

“An organization can exist without software, but cannot exist without people,” Jemide declared.

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NITDA, Microsoft root for FIT summit

The federal government’s agency in-charge of implementing the national Information Technology (IT) policy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and global software giant, Microsoft Nigeria, have joined the rank of organisations rooting their supports for the Finance and IT Summit (FITS).

Managing consultant, ICT Africa, an information communications technology (ICT) production firm and organisers of the popular “Titans of Tech” Don Pedro Aganbi, said that the summit scheduled for July 26, at the Muson Center in Lagos with the theme, “Seamless IT integration in post – Consolidation Era,” has received overwhelming support from industry players since it was announced.

He also said that the annual Finance and IT Summit (FITS) forum is designed to create an interface between professionals in the Nigerian Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector and financials cum banking experts.

As said by him, this year’s theme was chosen to provide a platform to enable stakeholders review progress made in IT integration post consolidation and to chart a new course going into the future.

He quoted the Director General, NITDA, Prof. Cleopas Angaye, as saying that the agency would continue to encourage indigenous efforts in information technology (IT) enterprise.

“Nigeria is the largest ICT market in Africa with a population that is more than half of the whole of West Africa and is thus positioned as a gateway to the African market and the hub of IT development in the region,” he said.

The organisers equally noted that the massive investments in ICT by banks following the successful consolidation of the banking sector indicates the high level of faith in IT products and solutions to improve productivity and boost the bottom line.

According to Aganbi, the role of IT in the development of individuals, organisations, nations and the world–over cannot be trivialised.

He further disclosed that the post consolidation IT forum is a veritable platform to appraise the key role of IT in the operations of Nigerian banks, success, challenges and the future.

“Thus providing an opportunity for banks and the regulatory agency, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to share IT integration experiences; successes and frustrations thereby creating a platform for intelligent discourse between the leading IT solution providers and the financial cum banking sector,” he said.

Evaluation of the existing systems audit and security tools in the light of global trends and enable select IT firms exhibit the latest cutting-edge products, would equally be on the agenda at the summit.

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Brian lives up to MoU, delivers CANi PCs to Osun

In living up to the recently endorsed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Osun State government, the management of Brian Integrated Systems Limited, has delivered on the first batch of its Personal Computers to the civil servants under the government’s Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi) scheme.

The delivery which was well accepted at the brief ceremony at the Bola Ige Governor’s Office complex, Osogbo, was the outcome of the MoU for Brian to supply PC’s to the entire Osun state servants.

A press statement made available to Champion Infotel and endorsed by the General Manager, Marketing, Mr. Sam Adeyemi, quoted the state governor, Prince Oyinlola Olagunsoye, as saying that his administration would deliver on political promises as traditionally expected.

The governor who was represented at the occasion by the state’s Head of Service, Elder Segun Akinwusi, also said that this was the drive behind the project for the public servants in the state, hence the state is leading in actualising the ideals of empowering the citizenry through access to personal computers.

Akinwusi later presented some PCs to selected members of the service, noting that the actualisation of the project is another landmark achievement for Prince Olagunsoye-led administration.

Permanent Secretary, Computer Bureau, Mr. Abiodun Oladapo, in his speech, said the delivery has put to rest the doubts on the capability of Brian to deliver as planned.

“With this ceremony today, all doubting Thomas’ can now see that the Olagunsoye led administration is committed to fulfilling its promise of providing computers for the people of Osun state,” he said.

Managing Director, Brian, Mr. Tunji Balogun who was accompanied by Mr. Adeyemi, pointed out that his company is ready not only just to supply Brian brand of PCs, but have also opened a full service centre to support all the systems and to handle all enquiries from the general public.

He reaffirmed Brian’s commitment, saying that beneficiaries of that CANi scheme through his entity would always have course to smile.

“Those who purchased Brian can go to sleep as the company is on stand-by to provide top of the range support service for all its products,” he declared.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Project Director at CANi Mr. Soji Romeo, representative of Skye Bank, the financing bank, Mr. Babatunde Robinson of Intel, Permanent Secretaries of various ministries among others.

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Carrier: Why Glo was chosen - Shell

Leading oil firm in the country, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Limited, has explained why it made the choice of the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom, as its official telecommunications carrier.

Throwing more light on the deal, Director, Business Development at SPDC, Mr. ‘Demola Adeyemi-Bero, said Globacom was chosen after thorough examination of all the tenders to that effect, coupled with its service offering in the last years.

He explained that the enviable track recorded within this period, positioned the SNO as established telco within the nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry within four years of business gave it the edge.

Mr. Adeyemi-Bero also said that his firm was attracted to Glo by the network’s deep coverage of the country, commitment to quality services, professionalism, efficiency and aggressive business disposition.

He added that the partnership is a marriage of two giants in their respective fields.
“Information and communications technology is key in oil and gas business,” he asserted, stressing in the past, Shell had to set up and manage its own telecom infrastructure and services.

“Now, we have decided to contract this requirement out to enable us concentrate on our core business,” Adeyemi-Bero said, emphasising that Shell was delighted to partner with Globacom, a leader in the nation’s telecom sector.

“We’re happy to work with a true professional. We needed a company that has coverage in the remote parts of the country including the Niger Delta, a country with vision.

Glo is that company and we thank them for joining us on this journey. We look forward to the successes ahead,” Adeyemi-Bero outlined.

Explaining further, he said, that under the contract signed recently in Lagos, Globacom would provide telecom infrastructure including Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and microwaves, voice and data transmission services, bulk Short Messaging Service (SMS), international telecommunications and value added services including Blackberry and Vehicle Tracking services.

In addition, Globacom is expected to supply blackberry, Subscriber Identification Module (SIMs) and other facilities for SPDC staff for local and international calls, direct connect, international roaming, including inbound and outbound, as well as SMS service and application.

Glo, equally is to supply and install for SPDC 75 BTSs and one micro station along with supporting infrastructure such as battery banks. Other facilities to be provided by Globacom under the agreement are 19 microwaves, 200 mobile.

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HSPA, quickest way to bridge digital divide

Mobile broadband based on the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) has been described as the quickest way to bridge the digital divide, just as it would promote the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry and give boost to the economy.

The Customer Solutions Manager at Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Chinedum Akinaro, made this known at this year’s Nigerian international GSM Strategic conference in Abuja, which targeted on how to create the correct paradigm to support the next 22 million subscribers.

“HSPA is the strongest and quickest platform to bridge the digital divide,” he said.
HSPA is part of the Wide-Band CDMA (WCDMA) evolution, known as is a combination of High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) in the downlink and Enhanced Uplink in the uplink.

Dwelling on the “Mobile broadband: Focus on HSPA” Mr. Akinaro said that deployment of mobile broadband with focus on HSPA, would provide true mobile broadband.

“It is the mainstream wireless technology for Broadband data connectivity and will dominate the market for phones, laptops and wireless to the home access,” he said.

According to him, HSPA has the Time-to market (TTM) advantage in the next two to four years over competition, stressing that aside from boosting the global economy of scale, it was built on the WCDMA.

In addition, Mr. Akinaro said it is a simple and cost effective deployment for telecom operators.

“It’s a true broadband performance proven in commercial networks,” he declared, adding that it’s a fully mobile solution with ability to efficiently use spectrum to give cost advantage.

Mr. Akinaro pointed out that the Ericsson version of mobile broadband based on HSPA, enables the capturing of multiple revenue streams on one network, stressing this its strongest business advantage.

He further said that as the industry looks forward to the coming of Long Term Evolution (LTE) of Forth Generation (4G) in the next two years, 2009, to go commercial, the available spectrum should be fully explored.

He emphasised that Ericsson would ensure that spectrum available in the 2.6 Gega Hertz (GHz) band is in line with global harmonisation.

Currently, he said that over 500 million subscribers globally are on HSPA, even as it has been deployed in 53 countries and commercially launched in 110 and Ericsson is powering 51 of this networks.

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Glo has made Nigerians proud – Naval officers

The personnel of one of the major formations in the Western Naval Command, the NNS Quorra, have said that the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom has made Nigerians proud.

The officers, who were participants in the Officers Long Course in Communications, made this observation while on a working visit to SNO as part of their curriculum.

They were also lectured on various areas of telecommunications operations, and had opportunities to interact with top management staff of the company.

Commenting after they were conducted round the corporate headquarters of Globacom recently in Lagos, the officers lauded the telco, and based on their personal experiences the network could be described as the best in many ways.

Leader of the delegation and chief course instructor, Lt Cdr. O.P. Edobor, said that he was impressed by the facilities they saw in the premises of the telecoms giant.

He described the network as “superb,” stressing that they were not aware that the operator was as rich in services and technology as they have now discovered.

The Head of Glo Gateway, Mr. Charles Odiase informed that the national operator will soon launch its fixed landline operations thereby turning the network into a one-stop shop for telecommunications services, capable of offering voice, video and data transmission, teleconferencing and internet services through the same device and network at the same time, without having to terminate one service for the other.

This, he said, would be made possible by the quality of optic fibre infrastructure ring around the country and the under sea cable, called Glo 1, which the company is laying across West Africa sub-region up to Europe.

He added that the transcontinental cable would reduce the challenges of communications in Africa, making voice and data connections easy and at better rates, just as some African countries are already requesting to be accommodated in the backbone.

Responding to questions on the difference between the SAT 3 cable managed by NITEL and Globacom’s undersea cable, Odiase said that Globacom’s Glo 1 is wholly owned by Nigerians, while NITEL merely has a share in the SAT 3 project.

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Ki-moon commends ITU contributions

The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Ban Ki-moon has commended the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) over its role in broadening communications globally.

He gave the commendation during a visit to ITU headquarters in Geneva at the end of the recent high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and the Global Compact Summit.

Speaking during the visit, Mr. Ki-moon described ITU, as “one of the most powerful organizations in the UN system.”

He also emphasized the need for ITU to continue its crusade on connectivity, stressing that without it “the whole world would be in darkness” and that would mean continuous living in a medieval age without the means of communication.

Mr. Ki-moon added that the work of ITU has continued to act as a catalyst in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015.

He pointed out that ITU’s work in bridging the digital divide, enhancing cybersecurity and strengthening emergency communications for disaster prevention and relief, cannot be over-emphasised.

He further called for stronger ties, ownership and commitment that would encompass a broader vision of the entire UN agencies.

ITU, he said, is providing the basic groundwork for the international community and should contribute to global agendas such as climate change, which would have long-term implications for the future of humankind.

“ITU is one of the very important stakeholders in the area of climate change,” said Mr Ban Ki-moon.
Welcoming the UN scribe, the Secretary-General of ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré, applauded the historic visit, the first to ITU by a UN Secretary-General.

He recognised the importance of the visit and parts played by Mr. Ki-moon to the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the world development.

Dr Touré equally said that the first priority for ITU is to close the digital divide by 2015, in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

“If ITU does not meet the MDG, then no one else will, because ICT is a tool for everyone,” said Dr Touré, adding “Together we can help the world to communicate. If we do this, the world will be a better place.”

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