" ITREALMS: June 2008


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

e-Readiness: Nigeria ranks 94

Nigeria has been rated the 94th networked readiness nation otherwise known as e-readiness in the 2007-2008 Global Information Technology Report (GITR) sponsored this year by Cisco Systems as a series of joint project between the World Economic Forum and INSEAD.

First launched in 2001, GITR has become a valuable and unique benchmarking tool to determine national Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strengths and weaknesses, as well as to evaluate progress, just as it also highlights the continuing importance of ICT application and development for economic growth.

The latest GITR framework indicated that a total of 127 economies in 2007-2008, were measured using the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), based on the degree of preparation of a nation to participate in and benefit from ICT developments.

According to the report, NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess the environment for ICT offered by a given country; the readiness of the economy’s key stakeholders - individuals, business and governments; and the usage of ICT among these stakeholders.

The report which ranked Nigeria 94th with 3.32 score points, also rated South Africa, 51, Mauritius 54, Egypt 63, Sri Lanka 79, Senegal 85, Algeria 88, Kenya 92, Namibia 93, while the likes of Mali was rated 99, Tanzania 100, the Gambia 101, Burkina Faso 103, and Uganda ranked 109.

However, the report named its top 10 led by Denmark with 5.78 points followed by Sweden 5.72, Switzerland 5.53, United States 5.49, Singapore 5.49, Finland 5.47, Netherlands 5.44, Iceland 5.44, Korea 5.43 and Norway 5.38.

Remarkably the top 10 have retained their positions since 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.
Senior Economist of the Global Competitiveness Network at the World Economic Forum and co-editor of the Report, Ms Irene Mia, stated that the successful experience of the Nordic countries, Singapore, the United States or Korea showed in the report that a coherent government vision on the importance of ICT is being optimized, coupled with an early focus on education and innovation.

“These are key not only for spurring networked readiness, but also to lay the foundations for sustainable growth,” Mia said.

Published for the seventh consecutive year with record coverage of 127 economies worldwide, the report has been acclaimed as the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations.

According to the editors of the report, under the theme ‘Fostering Innovation through Networked Readiness,’ this year’s report placed a particular focus on the role of networked readiness in stimulating innovation through topics covered in the analytical chapters.

Equally the Networked Readiness Index, featured in the report, examined how prepared countries were in using ICT effectively on three dimensions, namely the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; whereas the readiness of the three key stakeholder groups covered included individuals, businesses and governments ability to use and benefit from ICT; and their actual usage of the latest information and communication technologies available.

The NRI uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum with its network of partner institutes made up of leading research institutes and business organizations in the countries integrated in the report. The survey provides unique data on many qualitative institutional and business environment issues.

This cross-country analysis of the drivers of networked readiness provides useful comparative information for making business decisions and additional value to governments wishing to improve their ICT preparedness.

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Steps to observe packet spoofing by ISPs (11)

Future versions of pcapdiff may be able to run without pcapy.
pcapdiff is run from the command line; you must specify two pcap trace files and the local IP address of the computer where each was captured.

In addition to producing statistics about overall rates of packet dropping and spoofing, pcapdiff will produce a list of the IP identification field values of each such packet.

This can help you locate packets of interest in a program like Wireshark much more quickly. For example, if pcapdiff says that a packet with IP identification value 4321 was spoofed in the outbound direction, you can enter the display filter ip.id eq 4321 into Wireshark’s display filter field and see only the packet (or packets) with this particular IP identification value.

Typically, IP identification values uniquely identify IP packets transmitted by a particular computer, although these values will be repeated at least every 65536 (216) packets.

Observing a very large number of forged packets may suggest that something is systematically wrong - for example, you may have started or ended the captures at different times (so that one machine has no record of having sent many of the packets that it did, in fact, send), you may have limited the number of bytes captured per packet at one end but not at the other end, you may have some kind of protocol offloading active on one end (so that one computer’s operating system is wrong about the contents of the packets that the network card actually sent over the wire).

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Omatek shares still available - Seriki

Group Managing Director, Omatek Computers Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, has said that her company’s shares are still available.

She said that it has become necessary to intimate interested Nigerians who may still be interested in buying the shares of the company since Omatek was listed on Wednesday, June 18, 2008.

“Omatek shares are still available through the stockbrokers,” she declared, adding that the firm needs to strategize beginning by telling the world that information technology (IT) is moving forward in Nigeria.

According to her, some people think that once a company is listed, that is the end of their chances of buying into the firm.

Presently the company needs to reposition because IT is a capital-intensive industry.
She also said, Africans to learn to produce so as to stop being consumer nations.

Mrs. Seriki noted that Omatek was founded 21 years ago and the better gift to offers Nigerians at this time, is to ask God to mark the anniversary successfully.

“Today, Omatek is the first computer company to be listed at the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” she said.

She pointed out that Omatek began by training executives on one-on-one basis in 1986 and by 1991, Omatek became a premium partners with the major foreign brands at the time while in 1993, the firm launched its first locally assembled Omatek Computer brand from Semi Knocked Down (SKD) assembly in the country.

She went on to say that in 2003, Omatek established its first SKD, which has grown to have one in Nigeria and another in Ghana.

As said by her, Omatek factory is the first on the continent to locally produce computer casings and speakers from completely knocked down (CKD) process, home entertainment speakers (2-1 to 5-1) and 3-1 Plasmas from SKD as well as flat screens from SKD.

She further said that Omatek was the first to buy directly CKD parts from front-line producers across the globe and to win Microsoft Systems Builder award 2005 for Central, West and East Africa in 2005.

Omatek, she said, recently exited the SMEI scheme successfully with two major banks in Nigeria.

“We seize this opportunity to thank immensely the managing directors of Zenith and GT Bank Plc,” she said, stressing that the trust in her firm had inspired them to ensure that it sustained buying from key manufacturers to maintain the quality of computers.

Furthermore, the firm achieved synergy in form of MOU with most educational institutions on research and development.

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MTN rounds off 21-day Y’ello Care

THE second edition of MTN 21 days of Y’ello Care, came to an end over the weekend with pomp as children and adults alike were treated to a nice time at the Lagoon Restaurant, in Lagos, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Speaking during the grand finale of the occasion, Corporate Services Executive, MTN, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, said the event provided platform to demonstrate leadership in selflessness and social responsiveness.

She said the Y’ello Care focused principally on three important areas, education, health and economic empowerment, stating that the MTN Foundation has added value to the lives of people across the nation during the period.

Oyagbola said MTN places high premium in corporate social responsibility which was why it set up a foundation in 2005 with the aim of putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged in the society.

The SchoolsConnect, she said, provides hundreds of young people the opportunity to benefit from digital learning via special computer laboratories, which it has established in 49 different secondary schools across the nation.

She equally said that in the area of health, the foundation is helping to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing succor to thousands of people living with the dreaded infection, as well as providing model housing scheme which provides opportunities for the homeless to own a house.

Mrs. Oyagbola said during the exercise, which was organized exclusively by staff of the company, orphanages, prisons, homes of the elderly where visited, tips on road safety and safe driving were shared with drivers while market places were cleaned as well as expertise shared on managing small and medium scale enterprises.

In his goodwill message, the Executive Director of Human Resources, Chief Victor Odili, thanked the staff for organizing the exercise, adding that the company appreciates the fact that human resources is the major resources for success.

On her part, Mrs. Foyinsola Oyebola, who led the team, said MTN Nigeria is poised to retaining the 1st position it got in 2007 among the 21 countries that participated.

She said the exercise called for sacrifice beyond the normal call of duty as schools were visited, the less privileged were beneficiaries of donation from MTN staff and other well-meaning corporate organizations who collaborated with the telco during the exercise.

The event saw the Lagos Para-soccer Players Association, Light of Hope Orphanage, Kanu Heart Foundation and Heart of Gold Hospice receiving N250,000 each while the Dyslexia Association got N50,000.

Outstanding staff during the exercise also got awards in recognition of their sterling performance.

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‘Harris services 80% telcos in Nigeria’

Harris Stratex Nigeria is currently servicing over 80 per cent of the nation’s telecommunications industry and as such, records its highest turnover annually on the continent.

According to the President, Harris Stratex, Mr. Harold Braun, “Harris Stratex Nigeria is servicing more than 80 per cent of the telecommunications companies in Nigeria and it has the highest turnover annually in Africa.”

Extolling the staff and management of the Nigerian office during his official visit to the country in Lagos, Braun said his firm has been a global player in wireless services solutions.

He stressed that since its inception in Nigeria, a few years back, “Harris Stratex has been the backbone of telecommunications operators and the success story would not have been told if not for the effort and determination of the staff and management.”

Responding, sales director for the Nigerian office, Mr. Bekele Tadesse, informed the visiting president that his presence brought big hope to the company.

He noted that as more operators continue to emerge in the Nigeria telecom sector, Harris Stratex is well positioned to deliver on their needs.

Also he said, that most operators current operating in Nigeria depend on Harris Stratex for voice and data transmission, emphasizing that the company has the resources and equipment that could service the telecom sector no matter the size of the market.

Pointing out that the firm provides customers across the continent with the most complete wireless transmission in the industry.

“And we have highly trained and experienced engineering and maintenance team that offer unbeatable after sales services to our customers,” he said.

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Vigilante arrests 3 NITEL cable vandals

The Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) has announced the arrest of three cable vandals in its Lagos Territorial zone.

Public Relations Manager, Lagos Zone at NITEL, Mr. Ig Nwangwu, said that a vigilante team in Lagos Island arrested the three members of a 4-man cable vandalisation gang in the early hours of Thursday, last week.

Those arrested, who were mostly men included; Onyebuchi Anazodo, 21, Steven Aleke, 18, and Monday Ebube, 27, while cutting the high-capacity, optic fibre cable linking Lagos to the rest of the country.

He also said that so far, this is the fourth occasion the same cable would be cut by thieves since this year.

On each of those occasions, Nwangwu said, NITEL sustained losses running into millions of Naira and inconveniences to its customers given the loss of traffic as a result of the disruption of their service and then the cost of repair or replacement of the affected cable.

“We regret this inconvenience and hope to restore service on the cable very soon,” he said.

The external line plant network of NITEL in Lagos Zone, he noted, has a long history of vandalisation and theft.

As said by him, this is perpetrated by persons who cut, cart away and sell the cables on give away price to some receivers who, in turn, re-sell them to jewelers who smelt and forge them into forms of jewellery.

NITEL and the security agencies are on trail of some of the smelting works in different parts of the country in the bid to ascertain their link with the spate of vandalism of particularly telecommunications and power cables all over the country.

The vigilante arrangement is part of the community policing system recently evolved to supplement the regular patrol of NITEL cable routes by the police and other agencies.

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Teledom IT Mart is one-stop shop – Ekuwem

Teledom Group International has announced the opening of its Information Technology (IT) Mart in Lagos, to act as one stop-shop to cater for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

Executive Vice Chairman of the group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, disclosed this during a media launch last weekend and said that IT Mart is one of the sister companies of Teledom Group.

IT Mart, he said, was established to be a replica of what he described as PC-World at Heathrow Airport Terminal Four as one drives into the city of London.

“That is, what IT Mart is like,” he declared, adding the subsidiary is collaborating with other IT super markets in Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States (US).

He explained that the concept of IT Marts is straightforward as all the telecoms operators are rolling out their networks, all the ICT companies are also expanding, wondering what happens to their needs to maintain growth of the industry that has been divided into three parts.

“What of the maintenance, what of the technical support, what of the replacement of hardware parts, what of the tools to address that need,” he asked, stressing that IT Mart is here to provide a one-stop ICT or InfoTech super store for the provisioning of the maintenance and upgrade needs of the industry. That is one part of IT Mart,” Ekuwem said.

Accompanied by the Manager, IT Mart, Mrs. Eno Ekuwem and Deputy General Manager, Teledom Group, Mr. Abia Esua, Dr. Ekuwem added that the second part of IT Mart would be to stock latest in the ICT revolution worldwide few days after they have been launched in other countries.

He pointed out that hitherto, in this part of the world ICT tools are available to the market between three and four years later, which make such products obsolete as soon as they arrive.

“We should not succumb to the idea of waiting for three to four years after a product has been launched in the United States (US), Europe, North America, Asia, China, Singapore and so on before they arrive Nigeria,” he said.

In addition, he said, IT Mart is going to shorten the time interval between research and development (R&D), through early procurement by being in touch and updated with the manufacturers.

“It is a very serious matter. We want to shorten the time of migration from when products leave as prototypes or as test products or at the point of entering into the market in Asia, in Europe, North America and when those same products arrive Nigeria. We want to reduce the tendency for our fellow countrymen and women who travel out of the country to be put up with any piece of technology,” Dr. Ekuwem said.

He explained that IT Mart would be available for procurement products of the Nigerian software industry, their demos and their prototype as they are made available by the member associations in the industry.

“Samples of pieces of hardware from Omatek, Zinox, Brian and Beta computers would be made available at IT Mart,” he asserted, adding that the subsidiary would partner with all known local ICT manufacturers.

On the third aspect of IT Mart, he said, it is founded to contribute to the national content development, emphasizing that the latest things about IT Mart are the books.

“The books on IT would help Nigerians to build their productivity. We have IT book section and most of the relevant IT books would be available in IT Mart, as a one-stop super store, not only for software or hardware,” he said.

He noted that the books would allow Nigerians to update themselves on trend in the industry. And as the ICT industry grows, he said, peripherals, accessories, connectors, cables and tools that are necessary for maintenance would be made accessible at IT Mart.

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Acer targets Nigeria as key growth market

The world’s third largest Personal Computer (PC) vendor, Acer, has reinforced its ongoing commitment to strengthening unique channel business model across the continent, thus Nigeria’s information technology (IT) market plays a key role in Acer’s African expansion strategy, according to the Deputy Managing Director, Acer Middle East and Africa, Mr. Krishna Murthy.

Speaking during a special visit to Lagos, Acer executives, led by Mr. Murthy acknowledged this fact by highlighting the crucial role its channel partner’s play in making.

Acer’s empowering technology and products available to valued customers across the country, is a major player for notebooks and desktops across the region.

“Nigeria’s IT sector is growing steadily and with the help of its strong channel partners, Acer intends to tap into this dynamic market,” Mr. Murthy said, adding that facilitating their growth is instrumental for our continued success.

“Acer’s business model encourages partners to be pro-active,” added Murthy.

In adding, Acer executives updated their distributors and partners on new products and Acer’s strategy for 2008, even as channel partners applauded the new reward schemes and annual loyalty programme that were introduced for this year.

They were also on hand to answer and explain Acer’s strategy and product line up, on a one-on-one basis.

ITRealms Online recalls that founded in 1976, Acer has constantly pursued the goal of breaking the barriers between people and technology.

And with focus on marketing its brand-name IT products around the globe, Acer ranks as the world’s No. 3 vendor for total PCs and No. 2 for notebooks, with the fastest growth among the top-five players.

Equally underscored by the officials is that the firm’s profitable and sustainable Channel Business Model is instrumental to Acer’s continued growth, while the successful mergers of Gateway and Packard Bell complete the company’s global footprint by strengthening its presence in the U.S., and enhancing its strong position in Europe.

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Phase 3 votes N23.5bn on fibre optic project

Licensed to offer transmission services in the telecommunications sector, Phase 3 Telecom, has said that it would spend about $200 million (about N23,550,000,000 billion) for its optic fibre expansion nationwide.

Chief Executive Officer, Phase 3 Telecom, Mr. Stanley Jegede, who made the revelation at the weekend, said that already, over $100m (about N11,775,000,000) has been spent deploying optic fibre in many cities in the country and providing the needed backbone that had been absent in many towns and cities.

Mr. Jegede also said that his company, which has been in operation for about five years, has been providing services using optic fibre over high voltage power transmission line, adding that this will be combined with underground fibre to compliment where necessary.

He explained that fibre over high voltage involves lashing and stringing optic fibre over power lines holds a lot of advantages over the traditional underground laying of fibre, even as the advantages include security and high-level reliability.

“The case study in Nigeria has proven that most fibre laid on the ground is affected by ongoing construction work, which results in cuts. However these problems are practically eliminated with the phase3 network,” he said.

Also commenting the Chief Operating Officer, Phase 3 Telecom, Dr. Vincent Dogo, noted that the firm had already covered significant parts of the country with its network and was making steady progress towards reaching other parts.

“Today we have practically deployed over 3,000 kilometres of fibre stretching from Lagos, cutting across Ibadan via Minna to Abuja, Kano and heading towards Katsina. We also have a tee-off cutting across Oshogbo, Benin and Asaba and now heading into Port-Harcourt,” he said.

Dogo added that Phase 3 operates today as a neutral carrier of other carriers, stressing that its network was designed by indigenous Nigerian engineering team and done to meet with the challenges associated with the telecoms industry in Nigeria and the West African sub-region today.

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PMM, NIA collaborate on InTech-08

DETERMINED to actualize the dream of making the Insurance sector in the country ready for the technological challenges of the 21st century, Private Media Mart (PPM) Limited in collaboration with Nigerian Insurance Association (NIA) will be holding the annual edition of Insurance Technology Workshop and Mini Exhibition (InTech) on September 4, in Lagos, reports CHARLES OKOH.

The chief executive officer, PPM, Mr. Ejiofor Agada who disclosed this, while speaking to the media on the activities lined for the workshop, said the era of being only satisfied with regional recognition by the insurance industry, is long gone and that global best practices dictates how business are conducted, stressing that these best practices are powered by Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Mr. Agada said, the insurance industry today strives on documentation and the ability to manage information from a variety of different sources to issue policies and manage them.

According to him, the fastest growing segment in the insurance industry is the integration of general business processes, such as writing new policies, performing policyholder services, and reporting claims into electronic management and workflow systems.

He also said heightened industry competition, increased customer expectation and demand for greater profitability are key drivers pushing the industry to reevaluate its strategies and to modify its traditional operating methods.

Mr. Agada noted that insurers are evolving the operations to better address the needs of their customers and agents/brokers, using IT in retooling core processes and systems to increase efficiency and flexibility with the aim of reducing cost and better manage risk.

He added that there is an urgent need for players of the industry to understand the value and utilization of technology in their day-to-day business practices, as according to him, the ultimate aim is to help the industry minimize both claims risk and customer value by integrating real-time analysis within existing systems and processes.

He noted that the idea of the event, InTech, is to continuously showcase the technologies suitable for this sector and have the proponents explaining the inherent advantages and features of their solutions and services to their target market with the aim of securing endorsement of such relevant bodies like the NIA, the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON) and West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA).

He also called on practitioners to leverage on ICT on regulation issues and solutions in e-insurance, enterprise solution issues in an insurance environment, security and fraud detection and communication solutions.

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MultiLinks-Telkom attains 1m subscriber-base

Recently acquired MultiLinks Nigeria now known as MultiLinks-Telkom has attained over 1 million subscriber-base.

Announcing this at a dealers’ night held in Lagos last weekend, the chief executive, MultiLinks Telkom in Nigeria, Mr. Justin Ramayia, said that the feat was made possible due to the new zeal injected into MultiLinks by Telkom SA soon after its take over since April 2007.

“We started with 195,000 subscribers in April 2007 and have since grown this base to over a million subscribers by the end of May this year,” he said.

Mr. Ramayia also said that in terms of infrastructure, the telco has at the end of March this year installed 269 base stations, 223 towers and grown its fibre optic deployment to 2,500 kilometres (kms).

Equally during this period, Mr. Ramayia said MultiLinks has extended its switch capacity in Lagos and Abuja.

According to him, the telco has completed a metro Ethernet ring in Lagos and is nearing completion of other phases including that of Kano, Kaduna and Delta region.

Ramayia explained that at least, six Next Generation Network (NGN) nodes will be built in 2009 financial year, stressing that this would greatly extend MultiLinks ability to provide data products to corporate customers in the areas already mentioned.

He also promised to capitalize on Telkom’s brand and access to international data connectivity by providing resilient and quality international connectivity to corporates, wholesale and retail markets.

Noting that the telco has enjoyed warm reception in many places where it current has operations, adding that there are some locations where virtually all phone users were connected to the MultiLinks Telkom network.

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Nokia launches two Eseries into market

Leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries, Nokia, has introduced two of its Eseries into the global market.

The introduction of the Nokia E71 and E66 held in London at the weekend, the telco said avails slim, stylish multimedia computers on offer for easy access to range of electronic mail (e-mail) solutions, including Microsoft Exchange.

Communications Manager, Nokia Nigeria, Mrs. Ngozi Ife Anene said in a press statement available to ITRealms Online that the devices have been made to be optimized for personal and professional emails.

According to her, the sleek Nokia E71 with full QWERTY keyboard and the stylish, slide-to-open Nokia E66 easily mobilize a broad range of personal or professional messaging needs, including Microsoft Exchange, the world’s most widely adopted corporate email solution.

“Both devices are expected to begin shipping in key markets in July,” she asserted and quoted the Senior Vice President, Devices, Nokia, Søren Petersen, as saying that the Nokia E71 and Nokia E66 were designed for people who lead a mobile lifestyle and want quick and easy access to their personal and work email.

“With both of these devices, we have responded to consumer feedback by making calendar and contacts available at the touch of a button,” Petersen said, stressing that equally people wanted well-crafted devices that are as beautiful to use as they are to behold.

“Stainless steel was chosen as the core material for these devices, giving them additional strength and a touch of class. Furthermore, the Nokia E71 and Nokia E66 offer all the latest multimedia features that people desire,” he said.

Commenting on the easy, one-touch access to email, the official said both devices come fully equipped for easy-to-install and easy-to-use professional and personal email.

“People who use Microsoft Exchange at work can access their email using the Mail for Exchange mobile email client, which comes pre-loaded with the Nokia E71 and Nokia E66,” the statement read.

Additionally, with these Nokia Eseries devices, users could get reliable real-time access to their email, calendar, contacts and tasks, as well as download attachments like Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Portable Document Files (PDF) directly to their devices.

Even as Nokia E71 and Nokia E66 support email accounts from more than a thousand Internet Service Providers (ISPs) around the world, as well as Gmail, Yahoo! mail and Hotmail.

As well as supporting the Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email solution and third party email solutions like System Seven and Visto Mobile. Both devices come with the new switch mode that allows people easily to switch between personal and work home screens.

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Implement harmonized global child helpline 116 111 - ITU

Global telecommunications regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has urged its member countries to implement the harmonized global child helpline number 1116 111.

ITU said the implementation would provide children around the world to more easily call for support, counseling and intervention.

The number, a press statement from ITU said, though already in use in several countries, ITU recommendation followed a proposal from Child Helpline International (CHI), an organization that represents child helplines globally.

CHI data shows that children and youngsters made more than 10.5 million calls to child helplines during each of the years 2005 and 2006. Child helplines have become an important mechanism for children to obtain support, counseling, referral and intervention.

Director, ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Mr. Malcolm Johnson said, child helplines have become a lifeline for vulnerable children in many countries.

“ITU endorses the proposal to give added momentum to one harmonized number - 116 111 - being adopted worldwide, in addition to well-established existing numbers. Having a single number that will work everywhere will benefit children in need around the world. As the number becomes embedded in the global consciousness, more and more children will profit,” he said.

Also, experts agreed that if children have the opportunity to call a harmonized telephone number from wherever they are, more children will get the support they need. An easy-to-remember telephone number will help to better protect the rights and welfare of children around the world.

The importance of child helplines was endorsed at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November 2005: “We encourage countries, and all other interested parties, to make available child helplines, taking into account the need for mobilization of appropriate resources. For this purpose, easy-to-remember numbers, accessible from all phones and free of charge, should be made available.”

For the 116 111 - a harmonized number for child helplines worldwide, ITU and CHI have been working together on the harmonization of national telephone numbers for child helplines, which would be easy-to-remember, accessible from all phones and free of charge.

Based on the importance, ITU and CHI enjoined all administrations to consider the allocation of the number 116 111 to give access to helplines run by organizations dedicated to the welfare of children.

“Countries that do not currently have child helplines to propose the use of 116 111 for telephone access to any child helplines that may be established in the future,” the statement read.

Just as countries that have existing child helplines operating on a variety of numbers were asked to consider ways and means of introducing 116 111 in parallel to the other numbers being used.

Meanwhile, 116 111 is already being used in several European countries, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Sweden.

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Glo Gateway expands mobile services to 140 nations

Globacom’s international gateway subsidiary, the Glo Gateway, has announced the expansion of its roaming services to more destinations and networks across the world across 140 countries.

This, the telco said positions it as the largest roaming footprint for voice and data in the country.

Head of Glo Gateway, Mr. Charles Odiase, said in a press statement made available to Business Champion, the company’s traditional roaming services are now available in 140 countries.

“We have established interconnectivity with 235 networks in 140 countries for voice roaming,” he said.

He listed some of the countries to include United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, Malaysia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Benin, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Portugal, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cote-d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Finland and Egypt.

Others are Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Kuwait, Philippines, Russia, Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bermuda, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Bangladesh.

He also said that Glo’s data roaming for mobile phones, laptops and Blackberry handsets, otherwise known as the General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) roaming, is growing fast and has spread to 72 networks in 29 countries.

According to him, with the voice roaming service, Glo Mobile subscribers who travel to any of the 140 countries would be able to make and receive calls on their phones.

He explained that GPRS roaming affords the subscriber to access the value added services available on the Glo GPRS technology such as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Magic Plus, Glo Mobile Internet, Glo Direct, Glo Fleetmanager, Glo M-Banking and Glo Mobile Office. Equally, he said, countries where GPRS roaming is available include United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Singapore, Russia, Netherlands, Canada, Austria, France, Hong Kong and China.

Odiase added that for the international short messaging service (SMS), Glo Gateway has established interconnection with over 700 networks worldwide, thereby making it possible for Glo Mobile subscribers to send and receive SMS in virtually every country across all the continents.
“These developments align with our leadership position in the industry. Glo Gateway’s footprints transcend all the continents. We have presence in all major hubs to enable our subscribers who travel for commerce, tourism and religious purposes to be able to stay in touch through their Glo phones,” Odiase said.

From inception Glo Gateway claims its activities have been in line with the strategy of its parent company, Globacom, introduced several innovations, including pioneering of GPRS roaming in Nigeria and was also the first to introduce Prepaid Roaming service which allows prepaid subscribers on its network to benefit from international roaming services hitherto available only to postpaid subscribers.

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IBM opens Africa innovative centre in SA

The International Business Machines (IBM) has launched the Africa Innovation Centre, the first of its kind on the continent to drive information technology skills development and address business challenges in the economic growth of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The new centre, launched Tuesday in South Africa, according to Nathi Sukazi of IBM Communications, is part of IBM’s $120 million, two-year investment through to 2009 that includes new market expansion initiatives and houses Africa’s first cloud computing centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy President, Republic of South Africa, Mrs. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said they are highly energised by IBM’s investment because it directly responds to calls for increased private sector investment into sustainable initiatives that advance priority technical skills.

It is also encouraging that the company’s plans integrate the entire Sub-Saharan Africa, which assures us that in the long term we will secure a thriving South Africa in a prosperous region.

Senior Vice President and Group Executive, IBM Software Group, Mr. Steve Mills, said “The Africa Innovation Centre is a landmark investment for IBM because it represents our commitment to be a partner in the continent’s growth agenda.”

He said that this kind of commitment is backed by IBM’s globally integrated enterprise strategy driven by a newly created IBM Growth Markets Organisation to accelerate the company’s performance in rapidly expanding markets including Africa.

As said by him, IBM is already working with almost 300 software companies in Sub-Saharan Africa, just as the new centre will offer access to IBM’s global network of 39 IBM Innovation Centres and 60 research and development labs.

Mills explained that the centre would showcase business approaches and open technologies such as cloud computing, Web 2.0 technologies, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and systems management.

“It will also demonstrate next generation banking systems offered at the Banking Centre of Excellence as part of the new innovation centre, and environmentally-friendly computing designs.

In cloud computing, dynamically-shared computing resources are virtualized and accessed as a service, making it a particularly attractive proposition for small to large-sized companies in Africa,” he said.

Mr. Mills further said that the new IBM Africa Innovation Centre, designed to fuel entrepreneurship and growth in the region, would offer an array of resources for IBM business partners, software start-ups, IT professionals and academia, enabling them to develop skills and deliver solutions to global markets using IBM’s open architecture.

Business Champion recalls that Africa was most recently the theme of IBM’s 2007 Global Innovation Outlook (GIO), a global thought leaders’ forum on the changing nature of innovation that has a positive impact on business and society.

The GIO indicated that factors critical to the continent’s future included skills; infrastructure development and financing for small business.

The Managing Director and Country General Manager for IBM Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Mark Harris, said the Africa Innovation Centre puts South Africa on the global radar of IBM’s business strategy as the firm continues to be an active partner in the continent’s economic transformation into a major global player.

“We see this investment as game-changing and creating enormous opportunities for skills development, industry promotion and economic growth,” he added.

In addition to establishing a $15-million IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services facility last year in Cresta, northwest of Johannesburg, IBM this year plans to donate a $1.5 million Blue Gene supercomputer to the Meraka Institute, which will be hosted by the Centre for High Performance Computing in Cape Town. It will be used by a range of stakeholders on the continent for challenging social, economic, and environmental issues as well as for skills development.

IBM has operated on the African continent for more than 55 years and counts the Johannesburg-based Integrated Delivery Centre, which was launched in March 2006, among its latest strategic investments. From this centre, IBM provides professional technology services to global organisations in Europe, the U.S. and South Africa, and has created 1,500 direct jobs.

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ACGON warms up for computer games contest

Nigerians are warming up for the first-ever computer games competition in the country, according to officials of the Association of Computer Games Operators of Nigeria (ACGON).

The group also said that in its bid to create awareness on ACGON and the World Cyber Games (WCG) the competition is being organized in Nigeria this year.

A press statement from the group endorsed by the President, Mr. Segun Ogunlola, stated that from the days of Nintendo to Saga Genesis down to the Sony Play Station, computer games manufactured by different companies have grown in popularity in Nigeria.

The attractiveness of computer games in Nigeria is inherent in the growing number of game shops in which like cyber cafes, customers part with a fee to play the computer games for a timed period.

The adoption of the computer game as a hobby is an incontrovertible fact in Nigeria, mostly indulged in to while away time, or as a means of relieving stress; and its popularity cuts across various age groups, from students to the strata of the working class.

The group said the contest is to expand the frontiers of interactive within the digital entertainment, by introducing into Nigeria for the first time, the World Cyber Games.

ACGON further said that the WCG is an international e-sports event in which computer game enthusiasts compete, in the realm of cyber games for a handsome cash reward and the honour of being adjudged the cyber game champion.

The WCG or Cyber Games Festival is being operated by Korea-based International Cyber Marketing, with support from Samsung, leading electronics vendor.

The Grand Finale of the event, which is highly regarded as the Olympics of computer games, is scheduled to hold at The Koelnmesse Event Hall, Cologne, Germany in November 2008.

They explained that in order to participate in the Cologne, Germany, ACGON will conduct preliminary rounds before sending the finest gamers to represent Nigeria at the finals.

The national tournament begins with the qualifying series at selected locations across the regions in the country. The national preliminaries for the event which has started to generate immense interest, especially among the youth folk commences in Lagos on August 18, 2008 to be followed by another round in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory from September 1 – 6, 2008.

The competition will see contestants engaging each other in the computer gaming battle at various stages will by competing against one another in four Official Games namely; FIFA SOCCER 08, NEED FOR SPEED, VIRTUA FIGHTER 5 and CAROM3D.

Sixteen Finalists shall emerge in each of the four Official Games of the tournament to qualify for the National Finals. While the grand finale will take place in Lagos between September 11-13, 2008, from where Nigeria’s representatives at the World Cyber Games Grand Finale in Cologne, Germany are expected to emerge.

He said that during the duration of the tournament, ACGON will also organise an exhibition and computer games conference where computer games and IT experts will be invited to speak on salient issues as they affect computer gaming in Nigeria.

Already, massive interest has been generated by enthusiastic youths willing to compete against in other in the first of its kind computer games competition in Nigeria. Registration for the event will commence on the 30th of June, 2008 and close on the 9th of August 2008, and eligibility for competing in the event is an ability to play computer games; and is open to all youths aged 12 and above.

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Telecom parliament moves to Awka

The monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), would on Friday, June 27, this year move to Awka, the capital of Anambra State.

Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel, said that this session would hold at the Parktonian Hotel along Enugu-Onitsha Express Way, Awka, Anambra State.

Imoko also said that telecom consumers, including individuals and corporate organizations in Anambra State and adjoining states are expected to attend the Telecom Consumer Parliament, which commences at 1.00 pm.

According to him, this edition is the 47th Parliament session, which is an innovative public awareness and interaction programme that enables consumers of telecom services to meet face-to-face with the operators and are given the opportunity to express their views and complaints to them with the presiding.

The Consumer Parliament sessions, he explained, have so far created more awareness of the rights of the consumer and the obligations of the service providers in the resolution of their problems and concerns.

Equally, the Parliament has afforded operators to clarify issues pertaining to their services delivery, and to publicly give account of the ways in which they provide services to the subscribers.

“The feedbacks from such sessions are used by the Commission to initiate regulatory interventions,” he said.

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Kingibe to speak @ ICT sector forum

Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), has confirmed that Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would next month be the Special Guest of Honour at first-ever ‘Public Sector Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Forum’ scheduled to hold in Abuja.

The event being organized by Galaxy Backbone Plc in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) is a two-day forum to enable experts and technocrats to share experiences with the sub-theme of 1-Gov.net: Common Platform for Efficiency, Interoperability & Sustainability.

A press statement from Galaxy and endorsed by the Manager, Marketing Communications, Mr. Ginger Ekeh, informed that as a demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to deepening the role of ICTs in the public sector and the attainment of Vision 2020, that Amb Kingibe has accepted to deliver the keynote speech at the 2-day forum taking place on Tuesday, July 1st and Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

He quoted the Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, as saying “the SGF’s acceptance to be the keynote speaker speaks volumes in terms of the present administration’s determination to leverage developments in ICTs for the delivery of public sector services and Galaxy’s readiness to be the vehicle for that change”.

Other high calibre government officials expected to speak at the forum includes Dr. (Amb.) Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, (OSGF) who will present the Welcome Address; Hajia Amina Ibrahim, Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs is to speak on ‘How ICTs Can Facilitate the Attainment of MDGs’; Ibrahim Dankwambo, Accountant General of the Federation peaks on ‘ICTs for Governance & Revenue Management; and Ahmed Modibbo Mohammed, Executive Secretary, UBEC would present ‘ICTs & the Attainment of Universal Access to Education.’

Also expected at the forum is Mr. Mavuso Msimang, who will discuss the topic ‘Government- wide Infrastructure: the South African Experience’. He was the former CEO of SITA Pty, an agency of the South African Government, which share similar objectives with Galaxy Backbone Plc.

In recent times, the South African government has been cited as a good example of a national government that is leveraging the benefits of ICTs for national development. Msimang would share his experience with our audience.

Participants at the forum are expected to include all Permanent Secretaries, Heads of parastatals and senior government officials in charge of ICT functions in all Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Also expected to participate at the forum are State Commissioners, Special Advisers to the Governors responsible for ICTs and the Secretaries to the State Governments of the 36 states and the FCT.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Emeagwali opens up on 65,536 processors challenge

Cover of the week:

Nigerian-born United States-based Information Technology (IT) genius, Dr. Philip Emeagwali, has opened up on how he overcame the supercomputer 65,536 processors challenge, which made the likes of former US president Bill Clinton to describe him as one of the great minds of the Information Age and won him the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize of the Nobel prize of supercomputing.

ITRealms Online recollects that Emeagwali was notable for successfully programming 65,536 processors to solve one of the twenty most difficult problems in the computing field.

Emeagwali made this disclosure during a lecture he delivered recently at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, on “Beyond the Last Computer”.

He noted that while conventional wisdom suggested it would be almost impossible to harness the power of 65,536 processors his grand challenge was to prove otherwise.

He also said that in all he had 65,536 processors and over one million pathways, hence “the processors-plus-pathways make a computer a supercomputer, and a planet-sized supercomputer an Internet.”

The computer whiz-kid, explained that what gave him the confidence to face head-on one of the global computing’s grand challenges was entrenched in the five-P mantra.

“My answer is fifteen years of putting into practice the athlete’s five-P mantra: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance,” he declared.

Initially, he said, the challenge seemed deceptively simple, but in reality, there were so many different tiers of complexity that one sometimes forgot the reason why he embarked on programming those 65,536 processors.

“In hindsight, I did just about everything wrong before I finally got it right. Research is a high-risk game, but, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Emeagwali said.

According to him, the complexity of the grand challenge renders it as incomprehensible to lay-people as pages of hieroglyphics or Greek symbols.

“But, concisely, the challenge used the Second Law of Motion propagated along a virtual 16-dimensional hypercubic network to be executed by 65,536 processors,” he said, adding that these processors were the beginning of the end.

Emeagwali explained that he started at the end because the end is devoid of the complex proofs and dense mathematical language that were unfathomable to non-mathematicians.

“This grand challenge earned its name: it was a super problem that required one to think in ways that merge the laws of physics, logic, and numbers in 16-dimensional mathematical space, and to solve the problem by attacking it from three perspectives,” he asserted.

As said by him, every scientific discovery begins as a thought, elucidating that the strategy for harnessing these laws of physics, logic, and numbers has to be conceived and thought out before they could become a reality.

Emeagwali further stated that he visualized the grand challenge problem as a complex game with complex parameters, which he went about to solve using what he outlined as three simple rules.

“First, I harnessed the power of processors to perform myriad computations. Second, I followed a minimum number of communication pathways to perform a minimum number of communications. Third, I enforced the Second Law of Motion in models of all that flows underneath the earth,” he said.

Recalling that actually it was Newton’s Second Law of Motion, “Force equals mass times acceleration, or F=ma,” that was used to demystify the super-computing world.

Stressing that in 1969, during the Barren- Nigerian civil war, he was unaware that he had just been introduced to the most important law in physics, and was, nevertheless, awestruck.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion is far more important than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. “E equals MC squared” may be sexier on a T-shirt than “F=ma,” but Encarta lists the three laws of motion as the third most important scientific discovery of all times,” Emeagwali stated.

Pointing out that three hundred and thirty years later, mankind still do not completely understand F=ma but it is the only formula that is integral to computing’s 20 grand challenges and mathematics’ seven millennium problems.

So, “I devoted many years devising a solution to one grand challenge,” he said, adding that in the 1980s, he was a mathematical physicist logged on 24/7 to a 65,536-brain supercomputer on think.com - the third registered dot com ever.

“It was an unpaid labour of love. I was tormented by self-doubt, a maniac who pushed his supercomputer to its breaking point,” he said.

Emeagwali also recalled that when he was five, his father discovered that he was slow in mathematics and decided to teach him to solve 100 math problems in one hour.

“Thereafter, my ability to do rapid calculations earned me the nickname “Calculus” and set me on the path to become a supercomputer scientist who solved one of the most difficult problems in mathematics,” he revealed.

Equally, he noted that crossing the frontiers of knowledge to conquer tomorrow’s grand challenges will demand revolutionary techniques as his new technique, 65,536 processors, would perform computations side by side, linked by 16 wires, each corresponding to the 16 sides of a 16-dimensional hypercube.

“This is the essence of “higher” mathematics: go beyond calculus and mine infinite dimensional spaces,” he said.

Projecting that one day, the Internet will become a shared planet-sized supercomputer and individuals will become nodes on the Internet and the Internet, as its known today will become obsolete and “disappear” into the collective memory of mankind.

He went on to define both the supercomputer and the Internet as consisting of connected nodes that work in harmony.

“In fact, the supercomputer is more about communication than computation. The supercomputer and the Internet link computation and communication into a congruent whole - two complementary sides of a coin,” he submitted.

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Steps to observe packet spoofing by ISPs (10)

If you’re certain that a pcap file or set of pcap files you’ve made does not contain sensitive personal information - recalling our earlier warning that it may, by default, contain a record of all Internet activity your computer performed while the capture was active - you can consider sharing pcap files with an ISP as part of a problem report or support request, or publishing them on a blog or web site when documenting a problem you’ve experienced.

These files are concrete, useful evidence that can help technically knowledgeable people diagnose network problems and confirm that a problem such as packet spoofing by an ISP is really occurring.

EFF is developing a tool called pcapdiff to help automate the process of comparing large pcap trace files that were made simultaneously at each end of a connection.

This automation makes it easier to find packet spoofing or tampering when one doesn’t know what to look for ahead of time and could make the comparison process less tedious (considering that many communications involve thousands of packets or more, and not all tampering will have results as obvious as TCP RST injection).

The pcapdiff program is a command-line utility written in Python which requires exactly two pcap packet traces; it automatically compares them to find discrepancies indicating dropped and spoofed packets.

You can download pcapdiff from . Your computer must already have the Python interpreter installed; if not, you can obtain it from http.

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Interswitch, banks launch awareness campaign

Electronic transaction switching and payment processing company, InterSwitch Nigeria Limited and some participating banks, have teamed up on e-payment awareness campaign.

Speaking at the press parley to unveil the campaign in Lagos at the weekend, the

Managing Director, Interswitch, Mr. Mitchel Elegbe said that the campaign has become imperative due to recent developments and fraudulent messages through the Short Messaging Service (SMS), and electronic mails making a round.

Tagged Cardholders Awareness Campaign (CAC) is an alliance formed with the participating banks to curtail the activities of the fraudulent messages being sent around even to the cardholders in the country, requesting them to register their debit, credit or cash card details under the guise of participating in non-existing promotions, with the promise of winning bogus prizes.

He pointed out that the current target of CAC is the current and potential cardholders, explaining that the key communication messages for the public campaign would be on “Never reveals your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone.”

Elegbe emphasized that cardholders should realize that their PIN is their signature, “so protect it.”

He advised cardholders to memorize their PIN, because it is safer in the head, insisting that Interswitch and member banks would never ask cardholders to reveal their PINs.

Equally, he said, that despite attempts by fraudsters to penetrate the electronic payment system in Nigeria, they are yet to achieve more than one per cent success.

Mr. Elegbe said that the number of cardholders that have fallen victims to these activities represent far less than 1 per cent of all transactions, stressing that though they have increased fears among cardholders in the country, which has hampered on the security of the cardholder and payments done using cards.

According to him, investigations into some of these isolated incidents, showed lack of awareness about payment cards and the need to protect Personal Identification Numbers at all times.

Interswitch boss said that the campaign would run on the radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards, so as to educate the cardholders based three main objectives.

These he said included to educate the cardholders on the importance of protecting their PINs, which is the only way their money will be protected; to create media awareness on card usage without generating unnecessary panic in the minds of cardholders; and to enlighten cardholders of channels on which their cards can be used other than just cash withdrawals at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

InterSwitch is an independent, private sector-led company which focus is on facilitation of value between service provider’s financial, telecommunications and utilities, merchants, their customers and other stakeholders on a timely and continuous basis nationwide.

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Ligali speaks @ AfricaCom-08

As the two-day West and Central Africa communications forum (AfriCom) opens in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja today, Wednesday, chief executive of Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Adebayo Ligali would give direction with his address to the occasion.

A press statement made available to ITRealms Online from the Public Relations Manager, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, said Mr. Ligali would be speaking on “Strategic Positioning in a Competitive Regional Market.”

According to Otokhine, Mr. Ligali would be highlighting the opportunities for the creation of stronger economic ties, and accelerating growth and development through the integration of networks across region.

Also, he would be dwelling on the need for strong regulatory framework and support as well as solutions to the challenges that militate against the delivery of service quality grade that result in positive customer cellular experience.

Ligali would share the podium with such leading industry figures as Chief Executive, Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, Chief Executive Officer, Alink Telecom Group, Mr. Patrick Kouame, Director of Infrastructure and Industry, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. David Kamara, Chairman, Vodacom Congo, Alieu Conteh, Director General, Orange, Central African Republic, Bruno Allassonière, Director General, Telecel, Niger, François Nze, among others.

West & Central AfricaCom is the premier meeting place for decision-makers in the communications industry to discuss the key issues facing the market.

The event is regarded as the best place to learn, network and do business in the region.

Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Communications, John Ogar Odey, would deliver the keynote address.

The theme of the programme is “Optimising Business Models and Networks in West & Central Africa’s Converging Communications Market” and comes in two components, namely the exhibition and a conference.

Organisers of the event, said over 20 countries would be represented at the event, stressing that it will provide all participants the platform to create and develop partnerships with over 100 operators and service providers in the region.

Over 70 vendors are billed to showcase their products and services at the event expected to close tomorrow.

In a related development, Ericsson, has announced its participation at this year’s edition of West and Central AfricaCom conferences and exhibitions.

The event holding at the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja between June 18 and 19, at the Abuja International Conference Centre, according to the Communications Manager, Ericsson West Africa, Mr. Olabode Sowunmi, comprises a high-level conference programme and separate co-located networking exhibition, the West and Central AfricaCom is fast gaining a reputation as being the place to learn from peers and network effectively.

“The event is aimed at creating an enabling environment where key issues affecting the communications industry, can be effectively discussed. The forum also attracts a large number of network operators, regulators, service providers like Ericsson, and non-governmental agencies,” he said.

He stressed that the overall objective of Ericsson for taking part at the event would be to ensure that it’s viewed as the industry leader for innovation and support.

“We aim to be perceived as the leading solutions provider for operators by devising and driving an industry ecosystem that would enable the maturity of the network as well as carving a niche within multimedia. There is also the need to position our advisory and integration services portfolio with both traditional and prospective clients in vertical markets such as non operator services,” he said.

Sowunmi in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online said that as one of the sponsors, the focus area of the stand is full service broadband.

The Manager Customer Solutions at Ericsson Nigeria, Mr. Chinedum Akaniro was quoted as saying that the telco would be making a presentation entitled ‘Optimizing Network Quality in High Growth Emerging Markets.’

Additionally, Ericsson will also be hosting a session for industry analysts during the conference on the 18th of June at Le Meridian Hotel, Abuja.

Participants at the event, he said, would include the Minister for Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey, chief executive, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, and his counterpart at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, and a host of others.

Investment and Financial organisations will also be in attendance and participating at the event.

Ericsson positions itself as the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. An acclaimed market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 185 million subscribers.

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Zinox plans FreePlay energy saving plant

Premier technology company, Zinox Technologies Limited, is advancing plans to set up a plant for FreePlay Energy product solutions in the country.

Chairman, Zinox Technologies, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, made this disclosure at the corporate headquarters of the computer company while speaking to newsmen, during the launch of four of the solutions in Lagos.

According to him, the essence of Zinox going into such venture is that there is no health-risk associated with these products.

“We are looking at producing these products locally,” Dr. Ekeh declared, adding that his office would soon donate some of the products to security agencies.

Zinox, Dr. Ekeh said, is much interested in the plant to create more jobs for the citizenry.

“We’re interested in the plant to create more jobs for Nigeria,” he said.

As said by him, the newly created Digital Accessories Division (DAD) of Zinox Technologies Limited, would be collaborating with the United Kingdom-based FreePlay Energy on the eco-friendly solutions.

Dr. Ekeh added the low-cost solutions, have been certified energy as eco-system friendly by the World Health Organization (WHO).

These new products, he listed to include the Jonta Flashlight, Kito lantern, Indigo lantern and Eyemax AM/FM radio and sales between N3,750 and N8,000 with two years guarantee.

Also commenting, Head, Corporate Affairs at Zinox Technologies Limited, Mr. Echika Ezuka noted that Zinox as the leading information technology (IT) firm in West Africa has resolved as part of its primary duty to bring new technologies that would improve the quality of life for Nigerians at zero maintenance cost.

He also pointed out that due to the incessant power outages the nation has suffered great manpower losses due to deaths resulting from fire outbreaks or toxic fumes emitted by generating sets and candles.

Ezuka emphasized there are increasing cases of respiratory diseases and visual disorders as a result of long exposure to these energy sources.

He underscored the fact that the self-sufficient lights come with immense benefits to the Nigerian users, as they do not require external power to work.

“They could be charged by simply cranking the lever attached to the devise and after cranking for a few minutes it is charged and ready to work,” he declared.

These products, Ezuka further said, reduce the total cost in a demanding economy like Nigeria where constant power has become a major challenge.

The Jonta Flashlight, for instance, he said, is very powerful yet its a handy outdoor equipment which has the capacity to illuminate a surface area of over 50 meters and also has the signal visibility of up to 3 kilometres (km).

He explained that this product is highly recommended for use in the military and the para-military outfits as well as security agencies and individuals who work into the night.

On Kito lantern, he said, its a lightweight and child-friendly domestic item but comes on rugged plastic casing which makes it water and oil resistant.

“It can accommodate sharp drops and is very easy to clean,” he said, adding that the Indigo Lantern is an integrated lamp which features a cluster of ultra-bright LEDs that provide 360 degrees illumination, and a second single LED uni-directional illumination.

The Indigo is the most dependable lamp by all standards. Besides providing the excellent brightness the lamp could be used whenever needed anytime, anywhere. Fitted with a dimmer switch, the Indigo allows you to adjust the brightness of the lantern to your specific requirements, from maximum brightness down to a night-light.

According to him, when cranked for about 60 seconds the lamp could provide up to 2 hours of light on the lowest setting and up to 3 hours of continuous ultra bright light when fully charged.

Similarly the integrated directional light could shine for up to 35 hours continuously when fully charged. It is most ideal for students, homes and traders who trade their wares at night.

The EyeMax radio, Ezuka said, its fascinating both in design and delivery; its transparent casing reveals the complex engineering within the radio while the reception and sound quality are second to none.

As a standard, he said, the Eyemax offers the user three energy sources to choose from; self-charge using the winder attached to the side, the sun through the in-built solar panel and external recharge power options.

The radio, he further said, also comes equipped with an integrated LED flashlight for night vision. It can play for approximately an hour at normal volume per 1-minute crank and 25 hours of non-stop playtime on normal volume, when fully charged.

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HP restates commitment to e-learning

Newly appointed Managing Director, Hewlett Packard (HP) West Africa, Mr. Ime Umo has reiterated the firm’s commitment to electronic learning (e-learning) projects.

Mr. Umo who spoke at the recently held e-Learning forum at the Accra International Conference Centre, Ghana, described HP’s efforts in achieving this unique goal as ‘e-inclusion’, noting that e-inclusion is not just about technology but about people, relationships and personal commitment.

He pointed out that HP is determined to empower local communities with necessary Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) tools capable of changing their lifestyles for good.

“One of our goals in communities where we work is to recognize the business value of diversity and to build digital connections to address the gaps in the availability and use of technology” he said.

Umo emphasized that as much as the company continued to invest on the continent, the need for e-inclusion would continue to re-echo.

“As the largest IT company in the world, we come with the experience of disseminating information to a diverse group of people over wide geographical locations. From our immense customer base, we also understand that ‘one size does not fit all’” he said.

He added that HP believes its task is straightforward – to find the local need and match it to an IT solution from our portfolio.

“The real challenge is to provide innovative content that will challenge and create enthusiasm in individuals to leverage the opportunities we provide and impact their lives. Not just their lives – the lives of their families and their communities”, he said.

In taking ICT to Kindergatten level (K12), Umoh, who was represented by the Enterprise Server and Storage (ESS) manager at HP, Mr. Chuks Okpaka, said his firm had worked first with Intel and the Nigerian government on the Teacher-Assisted Purchase Plan (TAPP).

According to him, 5,000 notebooks were given to teachers who were trained on Intel-provided portal and curriculum, just as 30-pc classrooms were provided for students to learn using this updated content.

“Within three months, in comparison with classes without access to technology, the difference was significant – it was easier for students to grasp concepts, retention of studies was also significantly improved in these classes. For the teachers, access to these tools made teaching a much more fulfilling and rewarding experience,” he said.

Outlining HP’s contributions to e-learning initiatives, he said the firm had just concluded the NEPAD implementation project with three secondary schools across Nigeria, noting that this year, HP will develop curriculum and additional learning portals, to see technology changing the lives of children.

Equally, he stressed the essence of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprise (SMEs) in developing economies, noting that they are predominantly unstructured and according to statistics, about eight out of 10 SMEs fail within five year.

“Our MicroEnterprise Accelerated Program (MAP) seeks to address this ‘statistic’. With MAP, we set up digital classrooms and offer curriculum to SMBs in PC appreciation basic business skills development – basic accounting, business planning, presentation skills that will give them confidence to approach formal funding institutions for their business, etc. The beauty of the MAP is the introduction of courses directly related to ‘handiwork’ – for instance, in running a curriculum targeted at a farming community, the curriculum is looking to integrated curriculum on modernized farming technology giving more incentive to the local community to engage”, he said.

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Visafone gets royal blessings @ Benin

Management of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator, Visafone, recently received royal blessing from the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa during the roll-out of its services in the state.

The royal blessings marked the entrance of fast-growing mobile phone operators, Visafone into the Edo State capital recently, as a team led by the Director, Finance & Admin at the telco, Mr. Uche Ojo, paid homage to the monarch of the Benin Kingdom, Oba Erediauwa, at his palace.

Head, Corporate Communication at Visafone, Mr. Toni Kan, said that the team was at the palace to formally introduce the company, which recently commenced full commercial operations in the city – to the monarch.

Mr. Ojo was quoted as saying that Visafone had berthed in Benin in fulfillment of the company’s promise to spread the “joy of communication” across Nigeria.

“We have come to Benin to help grow our business while also developing the state. Our business plan is focused on building both infrastructural and human capacity by providing employment for educated and suitably qualified Nigerians while giving them a passport to talk and communicate,” he said.

Also, Mr. Ojo told the monarch that Visafone plans to help the indigent members of the community under the company’s Commercial Telephone Operator (CTO) initiative which has already been launched to positive acclaim in other states of the federation.

In his remark, Oba Erediauwa prayed for the telco and expressed his desire that the arrival of Visafone in Benin would usher in a new season of growth and development both for the company and for the city. He also expressed gratitude to the company for its plans to support the local economy and assist the indigent members of the Benin kingdom.

The telco launched commercial operations on February 22, 2008 in 12 states and over 100 cities, just as Visafone has grown its coverage area to 16 states and over 150 cities in the past three months in fulfillment of its promise to provide Nigerians with a veritable “passport to reach the world.”

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FG gazettes telecom consumer code of practice

The Federal Government has announced the gazetting of telecom consumer code of practice regulation.

Disclosing this, telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe made this announcement at a one-day stakeholders forum organized by IT & Telecom Digest in collaboration with NCC and held in Lagos.

Ndukwe who presented a keynote speech at the event said the Commission has encouraged the government to gazette a Consumer Code of Practice for users of telecoms services which now requires operators to submit for approval, a code which must stipulate the rights of the consumers, procedures for resolving disagreements with the consumers, and service level agreements with their consumers.

“It is important to emphasize that it is the primary responsibility of the operating companies to, at all times, ensure that their consumers are provided acceptable quality of service and to promptly and professionally address complaints and grievances of their clients,” he said.

Also he said NCC does not intend to theorize about empowering the consumer but has given practical expression to it by establishing a full-fledged department called Consumer Affairs Bureau with a Protect, Inform and Educate (PIE) mandate to the Nigerian telecom consumers.

The Commission, he noted, has followed this action with the launch of the monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament, a novel regulatory initiative that has earned the Commission and Nigeria, the commendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals across the globe as the parliament has helped in no small measure in creating awareness of the rights and obligations of the service providers in the resolution of consumer problems and concerns.

Ndukwe said the Parliament sessions, which has held 46 sessions usually subject the operators to publicly account for their activities pertaining to service delivery to the consumers while feedbacks from the sessions have culminated in far-reaching regulatory interventions from the commission.

The NCC boss said some other key policies and programmes which the Commission has made for the benefit of the consumer, include but not limited to the introduction of price caps for services within which the operators were allowed to charge for services and introduction of competition in all segments of the telecom services portfolio to ensure that the consumers have a wide range of products and services to choose from and are not held to ransom by any service provider.

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ALTON calls on NAS to legislate on vandalization

CHAIRMAN of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo has called for the protection of telecommunications infrastructure through the passage of the bills to that effect by the National Assembly (NAS).

Mr. Adebayo who made the call while speaking with IT correspondents during the recently concluded 2008, West African Telecommunications Exhibition (W.Afri.Tel) in Lagos , also said the law is supposed to protect telecommunications infrastructure from vandalization.

According to him, if the government could classify telecommunications infrastructure as national issue as was the case during the days of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) through the establishment of miscellaneous decree on vandalization, “we would sleep with our two eyes closed and there would be effective service delivery.”

The ALTON boss said for Nigerians to enjoy better service delivery from operators, there is need for constant power supply.

He also said ALTON is poised to look at issues surrounding quality of service beyond mere infrastructure.

Adebayo further said that capacity challenge is being addressed by a number of its members, adding that a problem known is a problem half solved.

Mr. Adebayo expressed delight that the government is already discussing the need for improvement in the energy sector, as this should serve as catalyst for national development.

Meanwhile, member of ALTON and the fifth Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, Etisalat Nigeria Limited, has announced the interconnection of some key operators in the nation’s telecom market, mostly on the GSM platform.

This development came as Etisalat has finalized agreement and practical assessment of the viable installation of equipments at relevant locations, and promises quality of service.

Affirming this during the Etisalat Day at the just concluded W.Afri.Tel, chief executive, Mr. Saoud Al Shamsi, in a message delivered on his behalf by the Director, Government Relations, Ibrahim Dikko, stated that the telco is much concerned about quality of service.

“We are not driven by profits to rush to sell services that are not robust. Our objective is to give consumers a world-class GSM network,” he said, adding that its service offering will be simple but of superior quality.

He stressed that at all times the company would show that it is a caring network.

Also speaking after a tour of Etisalat stand, the Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, expressed delight at the assurance he got from Etisalat to offer world-class services, saying telecom customers are eager to enjoy quality services just like they do in other markets.

For the Managing Director, Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Makanjuola Alabi, described Etisalat stand as excellent.

ITRealms Online notes that this year’s edition was the first for Etisalat at the W.Afri.Tel expo.

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Samsung launches SGH-i900

Mobile phone manufacturer, Samsung Electronics Company Limited of South Korea, has launched its SGH-i900, touted to be the all-in-one maxi-phone.

The model proposed to be fully loaded with top-of-the line multimedia enhanced smart phone features, the telco said, brings together high performance business content, top of the range style and a fun, dynamic multi-media experience, to ensure consumers are always connected both at home and at work.

The model billed to hit the global market this month, Samsung said, goes beyond the current top-of-the-line features available in today’s mobile phones.

According to the firm, SGH 900i brings a Personal Computer (PC) environment to mobile, allowing users to switch seamlessly between Microsoft Outlook electronic mail (e-mail) and productivity applications that replicate the look and feel of their PC with a stroke of their finger.

A press statement from the firm, informed that based on the most up to date Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system, Samsung gives users a mobile extension to their PC experience, with access to MS Office documents such as PowerPoint, Excel and Word.

“Users can also send and receive email and manage their appointments in Outlook while on the go. The Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system means users can download additional programs as they would on their PC and customize it for their individual needs,” part of the press statement made available to Champion Infotel read.

And for ease of navigation, Samsung noted that an optical mouse similar to those on laptop computers offers improved usability and one-handed control.

“Samsung delivers the ultimate in digital entertainment thanks to a wide 3.2-inch WQVGA LCD screen for viewing videos and slide shows in high-resolution and advanced audio capabilities,” it added.

Even as it comes with a five-mega pixel camera with the latest value-added features, which include auto-focus (AF), face and smile detection and auto-panorama shot.

The handset’s generous internal memory, the firm said, is available in 8 Gega Bytes (GB) or 16 GB capacity options and extendable slot for additions to ensure ample storage space for digital assets.

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HTN boss gives recipe for tower sharing

Chief executive of Nigeria’s pioneer infrastructure-sharing and site management company, Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN), Mr. Fazal Hussain, would join speakers at the West and Central Africa Com event holding at the Abuja International Conference Centre, Abuja, which kicks off today.

Mr. Hussain would be dwelling on ‘Examining the Benefits of Infrastructure Sharing and How to Apply it Successfully’.

A press statement from Helios, informed that Mr. Hussain’s presentation at the event would show operators how infrastructure sharing could be radically improved upon so as have return on investment on their cell sites in the face of rapid Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) decline and increasing OPEX due to rising fuel costs.

“ARPU in some emerging markets has dropped to as low as $3 (about N360), forcing operators to look at collocation as a way of managing their operational expenditure (OPEX)” he said.

Pointing out that competition has now become more than ever before because of heightened need for Quality of Service (QOS) improvements in the form of uptime, stressing that Helios Towers guarantees an SLA of 99 per cent uptime on its 1000-plus sites nationwide.

‘We can help operators manage their sites, reduce their OPEX, speed up their roll-out, and improve their uptime, all at once – making them more profitable and leaving them free to focus on their customers,” he said.

Hussain added that it is Helios Towers’ mission is to partner with the operators to help them achieve more robust and efficient networks in an environmentally friendly manner.

“With 1000-plus fully-managed multi-operator sites spread across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, Helios Towers is well positioned to do this,” he stated.

Mr. Hussain further disclosed that Helios Towers would be exhibiting at the two days event and visitors to the company’s stand during the AfriCom-08 would have the opportunity to learn exactly how Helios Towers could support customers to become more profitable, reduce their cost of operation and expediting their infrastructure roll-out.

As said by him, the company’s staff would be on hand to explain its various collocation service offerings, which are specially designed to meet customers’ specific requirements.

Founded in January 2006, Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN) prides itself as the first site going live in June 2006 and currently, has site portfolio of over 1000 with four-operator sites across with a strong presence in key markets including Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Kaduna, Onitsha and Ibadan.

Helios Towers is a world-class company and is well financed by a range of international investors including Helios Investment Partners (HIP); a $400m pan-African private equity fund.

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