" ITREALMS: January 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Multimesh may sue Copyrights Commission

*Over alleged piracy

The last is not heard of the misunderstanding between Multimesh Communications Limited and Entertainment Highway Limited, right owners of the English Premiere League, EPL and operators of HiTV, over rebroadcast rights, as Multimesh is considering dragging the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) to court, for unlawful, forceful and damaging of its transmission equipment worth millions of Naira.

Multimesh, a Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) operator, which hinges on wireless telecommunications offerings to deploy its Television (Tv) broadcasting, has insisted that NCC raid was illegal.

ITRealms Online recalled that a fortnight ago, NCC enforcement team led by one, Mr. Ajala, and made up of armed police men, reportedly raided Multimesh office in Calabar, Cross River State and took away transmission equipment and damaged quite a number in the process.

According to the chief executive officer, Multimesh, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, in a petition dated January 8, 2009, addressed to the Minster of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Mike Aondaokaa, and copied the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the raid was malicious because the bone of contention was not piracy, but a business dispute.

Sir Godfrey maintained that it was a misunderstanding and not piracy issue as claimed by Entertainment Highway, even as he decried that NCC instead of resolving the issue amicably deployed its enforcement team to Multimesh office in Calabar.

He described the NCC raid as “maliciously vandalizing its station in Calabar for reasons best known to them.”

However, following the prompt intervention of the National Broadcasting Commission, the misunderstanding was put to rest with some clauses and agreement.

But the echoes from Multimesh, as shown by ITRealms Online investigations is that the firm is on the verge of engaging the Copyrights Commission with a law suit to replace most, if not all the equipment damaged during the purported piracy raid on the company.

Our investigations, also confirmed that advances have been made for the procedure to ensure it followed due process, beginning with the assessment of the damage and cost of replacement.

Effort at gathering the total sum was not successful, last weekend, as the chief executive officer of Multimesh, Sir Godfrey, was said to have traveled.

In a telephone conversation with ITRealms Online, the Director, Public Affairs at the Copyrights Commission, Mr. Olisa Obi, confirmed the raid and eventual resolution, while saying he read it in the newspapers, because he has been on vacation.

Obi was emphatic that NCC, though a government agency do not destroy or demolish people’s equipment in the bid to enforce the law.

“We don’t demolish things, we can dismantle but we don’t demolish or destroy,” he declared.

Obi, who reminded ITRealms Online that he was a director of enforcement for over three years at the commission, hence he was sure NCC officials did not destroy any equipment.

“We can only dismantle equipment and seize them during raids,” he said.

Meanwhile, details of the resolution reached by NBC between Multimesh and owners of HiTV, over rights to rebroadcast English Premier League (EPL) signals in the South East and South South, have begun to emerge.

In the meeting held at NBC’s headquarters in Abuja, its officials led by the Director General, Mr. Yomi Bolarinwa, extracted an agreement from the feuding parties, just as it was established that a contract had earlier existed between the two organisations since 2007.

This, industry observers, said gave credence to the claims by Multimesh that what transpired was a business dispute and not a case of piracy.

The agreement signed read in part that in “Pursuant to Section 2 (1) (Q) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended), the NBC met with the representatives of Entertainment Highway Ltd and Multimesh Communications Ltd to resolve the dispute on Channel Carriage License Agreement for the broadcast of the EPL matches.”

Also resolved was that the Channel Carriage Agreement signed in 2007 between the parties still subsists; that Multimesh Communications Limited has agreed to pay for Calabar, Port Harcourt and Yenogoa where the premiership matches are being broadcast.

Additionally, Multimesh was directed to send a three (3) months upfront payment in advance and another three on post dated cheques, covering the season which ends in May 2009 to Entertainment Highway Limited.

This deal was confirmed on telephone by the chief executive, HiTV, Mr. Toyin Subair.

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What You should know about Twitter (4)

While our business model is in a research phase, we spend more money than we make.

What’s next for Twitter?

We continue to follow user behavior and pay close attention to feature requests.
We launched our mobile site, m.twitter.com after getting lots of requests for this feature.

However, we are also very much guided by our philosophy of keeping things simple and intuitive so we like to restrain ourselves with regard to features.

That being said, people seem to be calling for more interesting ways to share feedback with one another and organize themselves and their updates into groups--we’re paying attention to these requests.

We plan to build Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.

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Omatek consolidates on e-learning

Computer manufacturing firm in the country, Omatek Plc, has opened yet another vista for electronic learning (e-learning) for the education sector.

The Group Managing Director, Omatek Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, said at a press conference in Lagos that the latest initiative is to consolidate the firm’s position in the education sector and is add-on to the Omatek e-Xpress programme already in the public domain.

“The e-learning scheme is a holistic solution to consolidate Omatek’s positioning in the education sector,” she said.

The newest Omatek e-learning scheme, Mrs. Seriki said, would act as a one-stop shop which provides a platform to ensure that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools are readily deployed to schools and classrooms under a carefully structured learning environment.

“That is equipped with our 8” and 10” computers; internet connection to create virtual connectivity between students and teachers or lecturers. It also involves the deployment of a robust content and curriculum development,” she said.

According to her, the internet connectivity via the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) technology would offer hotspots around the schools, “thus creating an enabling environment for teachers and students to deploy their Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) for connectivity.”

She explained that the Omatek e-Learning scheme has been divided into modules for ease of deployment and these modules will assist in streamlining the processes where the practice of teaching and learning could enjoy intervention by the introduction of Information Technology (IT) tools necessary for the creation of e-learning environment across schools in the country.

“The main thrust of the scheme is to create an e-learning experience that will serve to further deepen teaching and learning engagements while reducing concurrent costs of managing materials and resources allocated to schools,” Mrs. Seriki said.

She pointed out that the hardware components of the scheme would comprise the Omatek 8”and 10” smart notebooks, specifically designed with 60 Gigabytes hard disk space and 512 Megabytes (mb) as well as 1 Gigabyte (Gb) of Random Access Memory (RAM) respectively for students and teachers in the educational sector, backed with robust Wi-Fi coverage of each school.

She further enlightened that the smart notebooks are equally portable and come in various attractive colors, including pink, purple, black, and navy blue.

“An alternative computer is the 15.4 laptop for teachers and lecturers,” she said.
Additionally available under the scheme, she said, is the Omatek all-in-one compact PC which comes with a 15-17” flat screen and has the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and monitor built into one.

“It is ideal for schools, computer/ICT laboratories,” she declared, stressing that the advantages of the Omatek Compact computer apart from space conservation is that it has an option of being a touch screen irrespective of the regular flat screen model.

“The Omatek Compact comes with 80 Gigabytes (GB) of Hard Disc Drive (HDD), combined Personal Computer (PC) and CPU, wireless mouse, Wi-Fi ready and it’s equipped with Digital Video Display (DVD) writer,” she said.

Mrs. Seriki emphasized that Omatek is equipped for the e-learning scheme with funding arrangement from partnering banks structured under the e-Xpress initiative which has not been fully utilized based on the various options of facilities available to be explored.

According to her, the Omatek factories in Nigeria and Ghana guarantee quality production, empower the youths, create employment opportunities through encouraging adaptation to technology transfer, research and development.

Omatek, she maintained is committed to bridge the digital divide in the country and this initiative is a demonstration of its strong support for the future of the country’s educational sector.

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Experiencing Nokia N96 excitement


Yes, the expectation was high and African continent was not excluded and it came to pass that last quarter saw the continental launch of Nokia N96 in the region.

For Nigeria, a continuously growing telecommunications and precisely the fastest mobile market cannot be over-emphasized.

As a mobile device, Nokia N96 is a tool never to regret having it around, especially when one finds him or her self in the ever changing mobile world like we live in today.

Although the first attempt was to go to the preloaded demo to showcase the values embedded in the device, which ended up being cranky, making it imperfect to run, hence discouraging. But determined to see it all, it was easy to understand that the demo came with good intention, though the cracks could be from the number of copies conducted at a given time, according to experts.

Optimizing PIM:
Nevertheless, it was easy to switch between another compatible phone, mostly of Nokia model with N96, culminating that in less than three minutes after connection was paired, it switched 873 contacts, 58 calendar entries, 114 text messages, 23 Multimedia Service (MMS), 2 notes, 17 bookmarks without any hassles or further prompts. This gave credence to the claim of its data transfer application ability for the transmission of Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) information from other compatible Nokia devices.

PIM is a collection of multicast routing protocols, each optimized for a different environment. There are two main PIM protocols, namely the PIM Sparse Mode and PIM Dense Mode. A third PIM protocol, Bi-directional PIM, is less widely used.

However, this PIM innovation is a plus, as it made it comfortable to transfer details from an old phone, for instance, to a new one; which most of the time is the challenge and majorly why most people are very adamant to change their mobile handsets, unless it got bad eventually and become technically unrepairable or stolen.

Local synchronization:
These much was actualized via local synchronization of the two phones for contacts and calendar among other data, even as it is viable with a compatible Personal Computer (PC) using compatible connection. But one must be wary of where the information is emanating, whether from the old phone to the new one or vice versa, but it is advisable to dwell more in terms of exercising with the new phone than the old one, so as not to loose data due to erroneous attempt.

N96, therefore, was able to notify on the number of contacts switched, as nothing was changed in the contacts, thus encouraging and could be a marketing instrument for the model.

Basically, on inserting of any new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM), the N96 handset would ask if you would like the new SIM contact to be displayed in the contact and if the user decided on the negative, the choice becomes no.

The camera:
For the N96 camera, it seems difficult to find and operate compared to N82. In N96 you have to press the camera button and hold; hence overriding every thing about the phone, which initially takes the user to the camera mode and another press and hold then amounts to capturing of images. This, to an extent of someone who wants an easy and quick capture, is unarguably slow.

But for quicker actions, users have to navigate through the standard depending on individual settings, may be from the front displayed menu; discover the camera and then capture, which still entails press and hold until it snaps.

N96 dangles 5 megapixel with 2 pixels of the secondary camera based on Carl Zeiss Optics: Tessar lens, the auto-focus, and exposure pave the way for dual-Light-Emitting Diode (LED) camera flash, video light, recording indicator, auto-focus assist light and so on.

Interestingly, from the front row button of multimedia; television (tv), video, live, my videos, video feeds, directory, last watched are simply enticing and therefore could be easily accessed.

With the C drive reflecting the phone memory worth 56.2 Megabytes (Mb), the E drive which is the removable Mass memory is valued to be 13.7 Gigabyte (Gb), N96 offers rotatory screens like most high-end NSeries, especially the popular Nigerian check-check phone, the N82.

Although the mobile TV could have been exciting as well, but due to most Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators are yet to make such service available, it thereby proved difficult currently to connect, especially when operators are not at home with the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB).

But then, individual could watch video on it very clearly and is exciting to have the inbuilt video clips otherwise known as Video on Demand (VoD), which in fact could be self recorded when busy to be watched later either at home or still on the move.

Car charger:
The car charger refer to in Nokia parlance as Mobile Charger DC-4 is handy in a situation like Lagos-Nigeria where power supply is still epileptic and as a mobile executive, getting home late to discover there was no electricity supply could be a hard stress.

Typically, when you realize one has to be on the move the following morning and there is no hope for the public power to be restored before then and even if, how long would you charge the battery before returning to traffic once again.

So, with your N96 car charger compatible, one could easily put it on and connected to the handy while on the move, so that by the time you get to the destination, your phone must have charged enough in a daily traffic that spans not less than four hours.

Bluetooth Speakers:
The Nokia Bluetooth Speakers MD-7W, are compatible with N96 and offer the room for users to enjoy high-quality stereo sound wirelessly. They also deliver optimized Third Dimension (3D) sound, thus providing a stereo-wide experience, and dynamic bass control for a strong bass performance.

To enjoy this feature, one has to attach the speakers magnetically for convenient portability of which power and battery life could be viewed through the LED indicator.

Additionally, its Bluetooth connection was one hand. Although, it’s transfer of data to a laptop appeared slower than that of N82; That is, if the Bluetooth transfer of data could complete in thirty (30) seconds on N82, it takes N96 about 50 seconds to accomplish.

While the headset connection creates some difficulties in linking up, making it vulnerable to compete with like of other high-end Bluetooth results among competition, like Sony Ericsson.

Voice command:
One thing that distinguishes Nokia Nseries, especially the N96 is the quality of its voice command. Although at first, one has to really undergo checks on the voice recognition otherwise it could always ask you ‘if you mean Kem’ when you asked for ‘Nkem’.

Therefore it is relevant to note that the voice command needs a neutral English speaker to conducted the voice over that is finally inputted into the models, otherwise it would become endless ‘if you mean …” Or, may be, engaging voice experts from various regions of the world to encourage and stimulate the use of Voice command, which is very important for those who prefer hands-free usage most of the times.

Easy WLAN:
There was a hot debate going on and yours sincerely was at the highbrow Victoria Island in Lagos, precisely at the Civic Centre, and needed to be online while waiting for a meeting to take off, it was not difficult to discover the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) in that vicinity, as it propelled the move to sign-on and was part of the debate. Hence encouraging for mobile people and for those who still want to be connected to the global village no matter where they are.

Last line:
Above all, it is a tool to buy, if you really need to be mobile.

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Epson targets N592m from Nigeria, opens office

Account manager for South Africa at Epson Corporation, Mr. Shaun Robinson, has said that his firm’s target this financial year is $4 million, about N592m from the Nigerian market.

This is coming as plans is up for Epson to open a country office.

Responding to questions at the ‘Exceed Your Vision’ seminar in Lagos, organized in collaboration with its main distributor in the country, Technology Distribution (TD) West Africa Limited, Mr. Robinson declared “our target for this year in Nigeria is $4 million.”

Equally responding, the General Manager, Marketing at TD, Mrs. Chioma Chimere assured that given the avalanche of her company’s outlet through the dealers and resellers in the West African region, they would be equal to the task.

She also solicited the support of all dealers and resellers to put in their best so as to surpass the target of Epson team in Nigeria.

She stressed that they have well trained technical staff to back up the Epson series of printers that would soon flood the nation’s market.

Earlier while introducing Epson to participants, the Business Development Manager, Epson Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Sylvain Volly, asserted, “TD is our main distributor in Nigeria.”

The resurfacing of Epson in Nigeria through the TD partnership is to reclaim rightful place in the ever growing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market in West Africa.

In the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), he said, Epson is consolidating its position with engagement of over 2,400 employees.

“We’re leaders in personal inkjet office products,” he asserted.

Epson, which is a part of Seiko Epson Corporation, a conglomerate worth over $1.3 trillion in revenue with over 90,000 employee globally, even as it is made up of 109 group of companies covering sales.

With specialty in printers, Mr. Volly noted that Epson has over 8,155 patents worldwide as at last year.

He listed the company’s range of products to include video projectors, large format printers, Dot matrix printers and laser printers.

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Use Open Source to fight poverty - Odum

Finland-based Nigerian Chief Technology Officer of WoodGong Communications, Mr. Sunny Odum has advocated for the adaptation of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the country, saying that it’s truly free.

“Free and Open Source is truly what the name implies,” he said, stressing that in a developing country like Nigeria, there is need to tap into FOSS in order to alleviate poverty.

“Granted that we in the developing world is so scared to copy technologies from the developed world, are we also not capable of using FOSS that we are even encouraged to rip and use, hook, line and sinker?” he wondered.

Mr. Odum in a paper entitled “Global Economic Turmoil, Free and Open Source Software and Nigerian Information Technological Development” made available to ITRealms Online, said that people in the developing country like Nigeria, “need not pay a dime on software if they adopt, adapt and develop FOSS.”

In accordance with FOSS philosophy, he quipped, “What can we not do: from desktop to servers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platforms to super computers.”

Lamenting that in 2004, Nigerian software import was reported to be about US $1 billion, pointing out that this kind of fund could be channeled to vital infrastructural development.

For him, he did not see the reason why a country like Nigeria that is blessed with abundant human resource cannot optimize technology for poverty eradication, noting that technology is not god and does not reside in any where.

“Technology does not belong to anyone. Technology is everywhere. In fact, techné is the art or process or know-how or means to an end or outcome. Technology is derived from the Greek word techné, which could as a matter of fact be originally Egyptian,” he asserted.

Mr. Odum emphasized that technology is a mere combination of articulation of thinking and organized process of reaching a pre-determined outcome or solution.
“Therefore, from time immemorial, technology has accompanied even the most primitive of humanity and many animals. So, what is this fallacy about technology transfer? Is it not possible that one human being or animal can copy another human being or animal?” he said.

Odum further cited an instance that when A copies the knot tying skill of B, has B transferred his skill to A?

“Is there a technology transfer between A and B?,” he assumed.

Hence, he did not see any qualms in Nigerians copying existing technologies even when the nation is too reluctant to develop its own?

“Again, Nigeria is endowed with huge population and human resources, massive raw materials and excellent weather conditions. What is stopping intelligent Nigerians from developing or copying existing technologies to eradicate poverty in Nigeria?” Odum asked.

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New Horizons eyes 10 new IT centres

Global computer training institute, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers Inc., is planning to set up 10 new computer education centres in the country.

Director, Middle East and Africa (MEA), Mr. Jamal Suboh, told newsmen in Lagos, while on a working visit that this is part of the firm’s strategic plans to broaden the scope of training programmes with a view to empowering thousands of Nigerians for professional careers.

He said New Horizons which already has presence in over 150 countries globally is determined to improve its operations in the country, for market growth.

Suboh also said the company would be introducing its Mentored Learning, which offers flexibility of training for all categories of students along with the expansion of the ultra-modern new training centres to be set up in all the geo-political zones in Nigeria.

He noted that the projects when completed will attract revenue for the company to the tune of about $10 million within the next few years.

“Our medium term objective is to have at least 10 more training centres established here since the Nigerian market still has the potential for growth,” he said.

Suboh attributed this to more accessibility of these centres which is very important to deliver the trainings.

“We are integrating the Mentored Learning into our training modules in order to cater for the varying training needs of all categories of students. It is a flexible training that is already being run in about 250 other centres globally,” Suboh said.

He explained that the various centres will be managed with the latest training solutions that will enable sponsors of candidates, particularly corporate organizations, to assess the performance of students in class work and skill acquisition as a means of ensuring that they have a deep understanding of the emerging technologies and software as well as their application to business operations.

ITRealms Online recalls that last year alone, New Horizons invested about N500 million in Nigerian universities under its ICT Infotainment programme through which over 5,000 undergraduates benefited to improve their IT skills.

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UNCC-AA hosts CODIST-I in April

The United Nations Conference Centre  Addis-Ababa  (UNCC-AA), Ethiopia, is set to play host to the first session of the Committee on Development Information Science and Technology  (CODIST-I) slated for April.

The Regional Advisor, ICT Initiatives at the ICT, Science & Technology Division (ISTD),United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Mr. Thierry H. Amoussougbo, revealed this to ITRealms Online at the weekend.

He said that the four-day event has been scheduled to take place between April 28 and May 1, this year, at UNCC-AA, Ethiopia.

He also said that the theme for CODIST-I is “Scientific Development Innovation and the Knowledge Economy.” Amoussougbo noted that the Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST) is one of the seven subsidiary bodies of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) composed of senior officials and experts from member States, who meet on a biennial basis.

As said by him, the role of CODIST is to review challenges and issues pertaining to the information and communications technology, geo-information, science and technology sectors; formulate policies and strategies to address Africa’s development challenges; and determine priorities to be reflected in the work programme of the ICT, Science and Technology Division of ECA.

ITRealms Online gathered that CODIST-I tends to bring together member states’ delegates in the field of ICT, Geo-information and science and technology and other experts to advise ECA in these areas and to review progress made by the Commission and member states towards implementing the recommendations of CODI-V.

The regional adviser further said that participants are expected to come from official delegates, which are persons designated and sponsored by member states to represent and speak on their behalf.

While the observers will be made up of states that are, not members  of the Commission, intergovernmental organizations,  academic institutions and research centres, agencies of the United  Nations and non-governmental organizations, stakeholders in any substantive field (ICT), Geo-information and science and technology) within CODIST’s purview who are not official delegates are cordially invited to participate as  observers.

While exhibitors, he pointed out could come as persons, organizations, or corporate entities that have products, services, or information to exhibit and disseminate are invited to attend as exhibitors.

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NigcomSAT-1 returns to orbit in 2010

... As Nigeria, China finalize deal on satellite 2, 3

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and its Chinese counterpart have reached agreement on the replacement of the nation’s NigComSAT-1, which was de-orbited early last November, just as the tentative completion date for the replaced satellite to return to orbit has been scheduled for last quarter of 2010.

These indications were given, last weekend, by sources close to the presidency, even as another casualty was recorded in the global satellite industry by the European satellite operator, SES, which culminated in the shutting down of its ASTRA 5A, based on reported technicalities.

Unlike NigComSat-1, ASTRA 5A has a back-up satellite, which paved the way for its operators, SES to commence procedures for immediate return to orbit within the possible time.

Our sources also said that in order to guard against lack of back-up in the future, the Chinese authorities has reached another deal with Nigeria to split the NigComSAT-2 and 3 into phases.

This step is anticipated to cushion the effect of any eventuality as regards to the satellite failure in the future, with its attendant lose of clientele.

To prevent a recurrence, our source continued, China has decided on a phased out plan for the unleashing of NigComSat-2 and 3, which would be built into the new deal as part of strategies to avoid the dilemma faced by NigComSat-1 customers when the solar panel of Africa’s first communication satellite failed last quarter.

ITRealms Online also gathered that in the latest deal, NigComSat- 2 and NigComSat-3 will be launched into orbit six and 12 months after the replacement of NigComSat-1 by 2010.

“Between six and 12 months after the return of NigComSAT-1, the two phased out backups will be launched,” our source said.

It was further gathered that as replacement work has commenced, under-writers across the two countries, have been working on insurance claims of the satellite by China and Nigeria.

ITRealms Online recalls that NigcomSat-1 was built by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation at a cost of $250 million. It became the first African geosynchronous communications satellite when it was launched. It is operated by NigComSat Limited.

NigComSat-1 was insured by a consortium of international insurance firms, including SpaceCo of France, Munich Cray of Germany, and the People’s Insurance Company of China.

Equally, local insurance companies, banded together as co-insurers retained about 10 per cent of the risks shared, an equivalent percentage of the premium.

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Main One engages US firm, Pioneer Consulting

Main One Cable Company Limited with licenses to land its undersea cable in the country and Ghana, has engaged a United States-based telecommunications consulting, engineering and market research firm, Pioneer Consulting.

Chief Executive Officer, Main One Cable, Ms. Funke Opeke, who made this known to ITRealms Online, said the consulting firm was hired as an integral part of the Main One management team, to supervise the implementation of the network.

“It will provide expert advice while tracking the design, engineering and implementation of the project,” she said.

The development, she said would enable the company to remain focused on ensuring that deadlines are met.

“And we’re very happy at the tremendous progress we have continued to record in this regard. We trust that on completion in May 2010, the Main One project will usher a new lease of life in international connectivity on the West African coast,” Opeke assured.

In his comment, the Managing Partner, Pioneer Consulting, Mr. Howard Kidorf, expressed confidence that his team would deliver.

“Our team of experts is delighted at the opportunity to work with the team at Main One Cable Company,” he said, noting that their excitement was that Main One Cable Company recognized the import of Pioneer Consulting to deliver a comprehensive project management and engineering services that the project needs to be successful.

Director, Submarine Networks, Pioneer Consulting and lead project manager, Mr. Keith Schofield said, “Main One is progressing ahead of schedule with marine route survey activities underway and key licenses being confirmed. We have also undertaken a full contract review audit of the system supplier.”

He further pointed out that Main One Cable Company and Pioneer Consulting are determined for the busy manufacturing schedule and construction of cable stations, both in Nigeria and Ghana, to complement the Portuguese station already in place.

“Pioneer Consulting’s long experience in submarine networks makes us the natural choice for soundly implemented projects,” the project leader said.

ITRealms Online brings to mind that the phase one of the Main One undersea cable project which began since last year is expected to connect Africa through Europe to the rest of the world. The first phase is 6,900 kilometers long and will extend from Portugal to Nigeria and Ghana respectively.

The second phase is expected to extend by another 6,000 kilometers to South Africa.

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20 millionaires to emerge in Zain Valentine promo

Zain Nigeria has introduced a Valentine Millionaire promo scheduled to make 20 subscribers on the network millionaires within one month.

The promo which is to run for four weeks is expected to produce at least, 5 millionaires per week.

The promo designed to give many Nigerians and especially subscribers on Zain network a lift financially, despite the current global meltdown, was introduced to provide people with the wherewithal to celebrate Valentine Day.

Head, Corporate Communications, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, who announced this, said the promo which commenced last Tuesday, January 20, 2009, nationwide, would end on February 16, 2009.

“The Promo is opened to every subscriber of Zain Nigeria,” he said.

Weekly, he said, winners would be selected and announced every Monday via the mass media during the duration of the promo.

“Cash prizes will be presented to the winners later in line with the terms of the promo,” Oparah said.

He explained that 30 successful participants would emerge winners weekly, out of which the top five among them would receive N1,000,000.00, (a million naira) each, while 25 others will receive N100,000.00 Naira.

He also said that in all, 20 lucky participants will become millionaires, while 100 (one hundred) other winners will receive N100,000.00 each.

Oparah enlightened that in order to participate in the Valentine promo, Zain subscribers in the country are expected to use a minimum of N100 daily for one week, that is, Tuesday through Monday.

“A minimum usage of N700 per week in N100 usage per day for seven days, will guarantee the participant one entry for a weekly draw,” he said.

Participants, he said, could enhance their chances of becoming millionaires by increasing the number of entries during the promo duration.

To increase subscribers’ chances of winning, Oparah advised Zain customers to participate in the weekly promo cycle throughout the four weeks by ensuring that they use, at least, N100 daily during the designated period of the promo.

“We want our customers to derive more value from the use of their phones. We are determined to improve the financial profile of many Nigerians, lifting many out of poverty and enriching those who are not exactly poor but desire to have more money,” said Oparah.

According to him, the promo has been carefully timed for the Valentine period when people need money to buy gifts or go on holiday with their loved ones.

“Weekly, our promo will produce millionaires and other winners,” he declared.

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Internet growth records 23.4% in 2008 - IWS

Internet World Statistics (IWS) has declared a fantastic growth in the internet penetration globally to the tune of over 1,573,269,743 persons worldwide, in the just ended year, 2008.

This, IWS said, amounts to 23.4 per cent penetration rate as at the last quarter of 2008.

IWS justified its percentage mark based on the considerate global population of 6,708,755,756 persons according to the United States’ Census Bureau data.

In efforts at setting the records straight, IWS informed in a press statement, last Sunday that Internet had fantastic expansion in 2008, because almost every region of the world recorded interesting growth.

“All world regions showed growth, however, at very different rates,” part of the press statement read.

However, IWS attributed this development to cultural, social and economic differences.

“It is quite normal due to cultural, social, and economic differences prevailing in each part of the world as well as the already existing number of users in each region,” IWS said.

IWS further noted that it did not want to publish this information before now, but due to various conflicting reports, it was forced to, hence it apologized for publishing partial result.

“… Because, we have not finished updating all the Internet World Stats website. Circumstances beyond our control have forced us to speak up and publish partially updated statistics, sorry about this.”

According to IWS, useful growth trends were evident at the various geographic regions, noting that the number of Internet users in the world grew by 253,397,634 persons in 2008 alone.

This, IWS said represents a 19.2 per cent yearly increase with regard to the number of estimated users that existed one year ago at year-end 2007.

Described as the “early adopters” IWS said North America and Australia showed the smallest growth in the year under review.

“This is considered a normal behavior because the “early adopters” have already completed their fast growth phase,” IWS explained, pointing out that the Internet penetration rates were already very high in those areas.

The territories and regions identified as “late adopters” logically are just initiating their high growth rates, such as South America, the Middle East the Caribbean, and Africa show this trend, with corresponding high growth rates of 63.2 per cent, 34.6 per cent, 33.6 per cent and 19.8 per cent.

IWS noted that Internet users in Europe increased by 48,709,081 persons, while the region finalizes its fast growth phase, evidenced by the low 14.0 per cent growth rate.

Asia, on the other hand, according to the report, is just starting its high growth phase and the current growth rate of 26.8 per cent would soon go up.

“Asia Internet users increased by 136,689,484 persons and is by far the region with the largest population of Internet users,” IWS said.

The current low Internet penetration rate in Asia indicates that there is much potential for future Internet usage growth in Asia.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Telecom subscribers lose 1m handsets annually – Expert

Annually, telecommunications subscribers in the country an estimated 1 million mobile phones are reportedly stolen, according to the chief executive officer, NetVisa GSMSecured Nigeria Limited, Prince Emeka Uchendu.

NetVisa was licensed three years by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to put in place the relevant strategies for the implementation of an anti-theft mobile phone initiative in collaboration with the regulator.

Uchendu, who gave this insight last weekend in Lagos, in a chat with newsmen, on the preparation of his firm for the commissioning of the nation’s Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR), said that all is set for the official of the registry by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Declaring that registration of stolen phones would be free-of-charge as from February 2009, Prince Uchendu, said that precisely, Nigerians reported in the last eight years of GSM advent, more than 750,000 stolen mobile phones.

“Between 750,000 and 1m are reportedly stolen per year. Each year in Nigeria, more than 750,000 mobile phones are reported lost or stolen,” he asserted.

Stressing that this figure precisely depicts that 1423 mobile phones are lost each week, or “Eight mobile phones are lost every hour.”

He said that several stolen mobile phones were taken from cars, social venues such as restaurants, bars and clubs.

While mobile handsets stolen from cars represented 28 per cent, Uchendu noted that those lost at eatery accounts to 20 per cent, pointing out that a substantial number of thefts occur at the homes of the victims, thus recording nine (9) per cent, whereas workplace witnessed eight (8) per cent.

Also, Prince Uchendu said that most mobile phones reported stolen were on Monday.
“Phone thefts have also been reported in several armed robberies. Most phones are reported as lost or stolen on Monday, suggesting that most phones go missing over the weekend,” he declared.

Explaining that blocking of mobile phones is not limited to GSM handsets alone, but cut across all mobile devices, especially phones.

“All mobile network operators, both GSM and CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access – send a list of phones to be blocked or unblocked each day or in real time and also receive the details of phones to be blocked or unblocked from the other service providers,” he enlightened.

NetVisa, he said, has the facilities to engage the operators once a mobile phone has been reported missing.

“The whole process is facilitated through an Electronic Information Exchange messaging platform hosted and operated by NetVisa Mobile Device Security,” he said.

Further, he said, that Tuesday, January 27, the federal government would commission the nation’s CEIR spearheaded by NCC, maintaining that registration of stolen phones would be free-of-charge.

According to him, the initiative slated to be officially opened by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was conceived by the government through NCC, while it was put in place by NetVisa GSMSecured Limited, in affiliation with the global operators group, the GSM Association (GSMA) and Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Uchendu also said that the commissioning would pave the way for the full implementation of the project by all mobile operators in the country, through enabling telecom operators to be cautious of stolen phones and block same when eventually it is appropriately reported by their owners.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Omatek to unveil latest smart notebooks

On 8", 10"

Leading local Personal Computer (PC) assembly firm in the country, Omatek Plc, said that it has perfected strategies to unveil its latest and advanced version of smart notebooks. The new device comes in the eight and 10 inches categories.

Chief Executive Officer, Omatek Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki who made these disclosures in Lagos, at a media launch last week said that the latest smart notebooks from the stable of her company are coming due to customers’ demands.

According to her, the eight and 10 inches notebooks were initially manufactured for pupils, but demands spur her company to advance on the qualities and features of the smart notebooks to be optimally useful for even the working class who want to look smart and still be mobile.

Although she noted that the initial batch of 8 and 10 inches notebook from Omatek has the same specifications, their hard-disc sizes have improved from 216 to 512 and from 512 to 1 Gigabytes.

The batteries, she said, are normal computer batteries such that can last up to an hour or more, while the weight is lighter than before with strong Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) presence.

Also, the latest smart notebooks, she said, come with the Microsoft Starter Edition and could be used for the implementation of the Schoolnet.

“All we have to do is to load it and that’s the end of the story,” she declared.
Even as it is preloaded with Linux Operating System (OS) which offers the Open Office, a similar to Microsoft Word.

As of today, Mrs. Seriki said that Omatek is repackaging its education scheme; electronic youth (e-youth), e-tertiary to form Omatek for Education Initiative.

According to her, both states and local governments can tap into this initiative to better the lots of all categories of students in the nation’s school system.

Above all, Omatek, she said, has entered into partnership with the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom to ensure that it delivers on this new deal with internet connectivity.

“Our USB (Universal Serial Bus) Internet modem is very compact for mobile people,” she said.

She underlined the fact that the scheme would continue to enjoy the support of the likes of First Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc.

She pointed out that the latest Omatek smart notebooks, especially the 8” for instance is AMD Geode LX 800, 500 Mega Hertz (MHz), while the Central Processing Unit (CPU) has 0.9 Watts processor.

Equally, she said, that it is a mobility notebook with alloy casing, stressing that both 8” and 10” have been renewed with ultra low voltage processors and low power consumption.

The 8”, she said, for instance, has 800 x 480 Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) resolutions, upgradeable memory sizes of 256 megabits (Mb), 512 Mb and 1 Gigabytes.

On the storage, Mrs. Seriki explained that the product now has 2.5 inch 60 Gegabytes of hard disc drive (HDD), whereas the battery capacity is now 400mAh, in addition to having wireless local area network (LAN) 802.11b/g, two USB ports, SD, MS, MMC compatible as well as 0.3 Mega pixels camera.

The same, she said, also apply to the new 10” with a wider screen size for feasibility, just as she allayed the fears of smart notebooks not having compact disc drive (CD), explaining that Omatek has made provision for slim portable optical drive to be attached to the package, which uses USB 2.0 connection.

This, she further said, could be used for CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW. Combo, DVD-RW.
ITRealms Online recalls that Omatek Computers Ghana Limited, recently launched its e-xpress consumer initiative to make computer acquisition easy and affordable.

Launched in conjunction with the Ministry of Communication under the umbrella of the Ghana Government Assisted PC Programme otherwise known as i-Advance, Omatek e-xpress Consumer Scheme comes with a huge funding support from partnering banks which makes it easy for civil servants, corporate executives, corporate organizations, educational institutions, small and medium enterprise (SME’s) as well as students to acquire computers through a convenient payment plan which spans between 12 and 24 months.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Group Managing Director, Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki said the collaboration between Omatek e-xpress scheme and the i-Advance will help to bridge the digital divide, while enhancing IT penetration in Ghana.

Mrs. Seriki said, Omatek remains the only company in East, West and Central Africa that produces computers and casings from Completely Knocked Down (CKD) components sourced from the highest grades of manufacturers, thereby making all Omatek computers of world-class standards comparable to any other foreign brand.

She further said that the international quality consciousness for Omatek brand of products is reflected in ‘The Best Systems Builder Award’ presented by Microsoft in 2005.

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1st Edo ICT summit holds in May

Plans have reached an advanced stage for the hosting of the maiden first Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) summit in Edo State. The event is slated to hold in May this year.

The event being organized by the Invest magazine a quarterly journal that projects Nigeria as a profitable destination for trade, tourism and investment in collaboration with Centurion Information Technologies (CIT).

Head, Media & Marketing for the 1st Edo ICT Summit 2009, Mr. Tunde Omiwole, told ITRealms Online at the weekend that the technology event has been scheduled to hold in Benin-City, Edo State, from May 18-20, 2009.

“The summit aims to help to create a world-class information and communications technology industry in Edo State to support the state’s economic transformation in the years ahead,” he said.

Omiwole who noted that the theme of the summit would be on “Leveraging ICT as a Competitive Economic Advantage,” emphasized that the objectives of the summit include to mobilize the Edo State business class throughout the country to invest massively in ICT in the state and in its 18 local governments areas; to tap generously into the technological resources of the Edo State diaspora populations in the developed world; and to mobilize Edo State tertiary educational institutions to become change agents.

Omiwole in a press statement also made available to ITRealms Online quoted the publisher, Invest, Mr. Frederick Apeji, as saying that the forthcoming 1st Edo ICT Summit 2009, will provide a platform to analyze the current realities of the economy of Edo State.

“And to discourage over-dependence on the oil-generated federal allocations, as its major available resource for economic growth,” he said, stressing that the ultimate goal is to create a ‘silicon valley’ in Benin-City, Edo State, during the next decade.

“The summit will therefore focus on what to do and how to do it, starting from 2009,” Apeji declared.

Also speaking, the Managing Director, CIT, Mr. Ugochukwu Mpamugo, said that his firm is pleased to partner in this project, which he described as a visionary technology project for Edo State.

“We believe that Nigerian states should identify certain niches around which to grow their economies,” he asserted.

Mpamugo further said that with the well-established tradition of promoting tertiary education on a massive scale, Edo State is a good candidate to spearhead an ICT revolution in the country.

“We, therefore, look forward to contributing our expertise and growing experience in public sector ICT consulting to make this summit a success,” he said.

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Millionaires emerge @ Nokia Gift Fest promo

Two more winners last week emerged at the Nokia’s Gift Fest promotion currently on the third draw, as they won one million Naira each.

Those who emerged at the latest draw include a recharge cards dealer, Rotiba Gbenga and a staff of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Mr. Hassan Fatai.

While Fatai, who bought the phone for his brother received the news with skepticism, Gbenga, who lives in Ketu, Alapere in Lagos, simply went into a frenzy screaming.

Champion Infotel recalled that the draw saw 15 people in the white category winning 50,000 each; six in the Green category winning 100,000; four winning N250,000 in the red category; two in the Gold category winning 500,000, while two in the Blue category won one million naira each.

Speaking at the event held in Lagos, Manager, Retail and Customer Marketing, Nokia, Mrs. Titi Olubiyi, said that Nokia used the promo to appreciate its loyal consumers and to empower them financially during and after the yuletide.

She also said that Nokia thought of a perfect gift that would be convenient and create some excitement around its brands, promising that 2009 will be more exciting.

“Any Nokia brand with 12 months warranty logo sticker on the box, qualifies everybody to participate in the Nokia Gift Fest,” she said.

She equally said the company is always thinking of new ways to reward its customers and that the next promo will be for the Valentine urging its customers to watch out for it.

The event further saw the presentation of cash prizes to winners of the second draw in the various categories that were present.

In her comment at the occasion, Communications Manager, Nokia Nigeria, Mrs. Ngozi Anene, said everybody irrespective of the type of phone purchased, is qualified as longs as the handset has the Nokia warranty logo sticker.

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EFF solicits support on FreeYourPhone campaign

San Francisco-based non-governmental organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is soliciting public’s support in its new campaign to free cell phones from the software locks that stifle competition and cripple consumers.

A press statement endorsed by the Civil Liberties Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ms. Jennifer Stisa Granick and Senior Intellectual Property Attorney at EFF, Mr. Fred von Lohmann, said that the campaign’s website is FreeYourPhone.org.

According to them, hundreds of thousands of cell phone owners have modified their phones to connect to a new service provider or run the software of their choosing, and many more would like to.

“But the threat of litigation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has driven them underground,” EFF said.

They noted that the DMCA prohibits “circumventing” technical protection measures used to protect copyrighted works. But many cell phone manufacturers and service providers build these software locks to protect their business models instead of copyrighted material.

“Apple locks its iPhone to AT&T and prevents users from installing any software that has not been pre-approved by Apple,” said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann, insisting that consumers need a DMCA exemption to lift the cloud of legal risk that otherwise serves only to reduce competition and consumer choice.

Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office convenes a rulemaking to consider granting exemptions to the DMCA’s ban on circumvention to mitigate the consumer harm. EFF has already filed exemption requests with the Copyright Office addressing the issues, but the rulemaking proceeding also accepts public comments about the proposals.

“Companies are using the DMCA to threaten customers out of exercising their consumer rights,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick, who stressed that the Copyright Office needs to hear real stories about how these software locks frustrate consumers and developers.

On FreeYourPhone.org, people can sign EFF’s petition to the Copyright Office and share their stories about cell phone frustrations. EFF will also help people officially submit those stories to the Copyright Office before the February 2 deadline.

The Copyright Office will hold public hearings on the DMCA exemption requests in Washington, DC, and California in the spring, and the final rule making order will be issued in October.

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Yar’Adua to commission anti-theft mobile device

All is now set for the official commissioning of the nation’s multimillion Naira anti-theft mobile phone initiative being super-headed by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in collaboration with NetVisa GSMSecured Nigeria Limited, by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

The process which commenced three years ago, had undergone successful relevant trials, thus ready for launch.

Chief executive officer, NetVisa, Prince Emeka Uchendu, told Daily Champion at the weekend that the initiative would be commissioned on Tuesday, January 27, this year, at the Yar’Adua Conference Centre, Abuja, the federal capital territory, even as registration of stolen phones would be free-of-charge.

According to him, the initiative slated to be officially opened by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was conceived by the government through NCC, and was put in place by NetVisa GSMSecured Limited, in affiliation with the global operators group, the GSM Association (GSMA) and Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Uchendu also said that the commissioning would pave the way for the full implementation of the project by all mobile operators in the country, through enabling telecom operators to be wary of stolen phones and block same when eventually it is appropriately reported by their owners.

“The task of combating the menace of stolen phones in Nigeria is enormous and has risen to become a very frightening and national issue, mostly when a lot of lives are wasted everyday in the bid for criminals to steal mobile phones,” he said.

The NetVisa boss, equally said, that the need for the solution arose the primary concern of the regulator, which in turn licensed his firm after due process.

“In the past three years, we, at NetVisa have been working with mobile network operators to put a system in place that will curtail the theft of mobile phones in Nigeria and the regional West African countries,” he declared.

To this effect, he said, NetVisa has deployed a Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) and is ready to implement this for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Uchendu pointed out that the kind of registry, presently deployed by Nigeria is the first of its kind in continent of Africa, although he was quick to add that there is a similar registry already existing precisely in Dublin, South Africa, but noted that it has not been successfully implemented to totally checkmate the predicament of stolen mobile phones.

“It is for the social well-being of all Nigerians who use mobile phones,” he said, encouraging subscribers in the country to ensure they promptly report theft of their phones, especially mobiles to the nearest police station and their network operator.

Disclosing that as from next month, February 2009, Nigeria would be able to block effectively any stolen mobile phone certified by the operators as may be reported by the owner with relevant evidence to support the claim.

He estimated that about 1million mobile phones are stolen annually since the coming of GSM into the country in 2001.

Uchendu, therefore, cautioned that at the beginning, the second hand phones would be waived from immediate blocking, since they may not have been stolen originally from this part of the world, but warned that in the months to come, this would change.

And to further safeguard mobile phones, he said that in the past 10 years, the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) embedded by manufacturers no longer come in Random Access Memory (RAM), but Read Only Memory (ROM), hence the CEIR installed have the capacity to block any modem phone reported stolen among mobile operators, rendering such phones useless in Nigeria.

“What this means is that with ROM, the IMEI numbers are visible but cannot be altered and any attempt could result in damaging the phone,” he explained, stressing that IMEI is a 15 digit code transmitted to the network each time a subscriber attempts to make call on a given network from a mobile handset.

Uchendu, accompanied by some officials of his firm, including the company secretary, Ms Amaka Ekweozor, Executive Director, Finance and Admin, Mr. Olayinka Giwa and Mr. Grema Abubakar, made it clear that subscribers are not supposed to pay any other additional money in order to be registered in the CEIR since they have paid for the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) pack at inception.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Electronic mail errors, Computer Village to the rescue

Last December may not be pleasant for some Nigerians who experienced electronic mail errors, which solution was proffered at the Computer Village, reports REMMY NWEKE.

FEW days into the festive December month, Mr. Ibukun Brown, a Lagos resident, was anxiously expecting a mail from his relatives abroad concerning the season. He has been experiencing some difficulties in opening his electronic mail (e-mail), which is a Yahoo! account.

After two days, he became worried that his relatives even called to intimate him of the mail they had sent earlier which he was yet to reply.

He jumped from one cyber café to another since his office Internet service has literally failed him, but all to no avail.

What kept surprising him was that even in his office, colleagues using other e-mail platforms check their mails without stress, except those of them on Yahoo! Still lamenting the situation, one of the junior staff walked up to him to seek advice because she was also experiencing the same hiccup in checking her mails.

The junior staff also told him that she had been going through this difficulty for over a week before someone recommended Ibukun to her, because he seems to be the most relative techie person around.

In the course of trying to find a solution to this nightmare, Ibukun decided to pay a visit to the Computer Village in Ikeja-Lagos, for consultation with some famous computer gurus.

At first, he put up a call to a friend cum computer artisan, Isaac ‘Zik’ Nwa-Anambra, whom he met while trying to fix his laptop earlier on. Isaac encouraged Ibukun to come along with his mobile Universal Serial Bus (USB) dail-up Internet kit from Zain for them to run a test of what he was complaining about.

Before noon on the date of appointment Ibukun handed over his laptop bag to Zik, where every thing he needed for the verification of the fault were packed and within a twinkle of an eye, Zik mounted the system on the table, dialed the connection and the same message bothering Ibukun resurfaced.

Yahoo! code 15 errors appeared on the screen, reading in detail, “Sorry for the inconvenience. You’ve stumbled upon a temporary problem we’re having with Yahoo! Mail.”

According to Zik, usually this problem gets resolved quickly, without the user doing a thing basically; advising that the reload or refresh button on the browser should be pressed.

“Try signing out and back into Yahoo! Mail. Hopefully that will take care of things,” he declared, stressing that in the case it does not, please try again shortly.

Looking further on the screen, Ibukun, who by now has taken over, was busy receiving directives from Zik, reading out the message which states the fact that he was able to be read “this page means we’ve been automatically notified of the issue, and chances are we’re working on it now.”

And the message went on, “If you think you’ve been more than patient and tried the tricks above, feel free to contact Customer Care about Error Code 15. Thanks, The Yahoo! Mail Team.”

He also counseled Ibukun to retry after about five minutes and when he later clicked on contact customer care about error code 15, the website automatically switched him back to the home page for signing into Yahoo! mail.

An attempt to visit the Yahoo! Mail Help-error code window, Ibukun was required to fill a form which format encompasses “What is your name? What is your Yahoo! ID? What is your email address? Confirm email address?” and a pick from list of over 30 errors were displayed in the fourth stanza as ‘Error being reported,’ Feedback and then the user must send the form to Yahoo! help desk.

Next, Yahoo! informed Ibukun that the firm and survey partners working on behalf of Yahoo!, may contact him to participate in customer satisfaction surveys while appreciating his submission.

Suddenly, Zik interjected while Ibukun was still wondering on the next step and asked if he has another electronic mail address, which he confirmed in affirmation, so, the artisan demanded that Ibukun go into the mail options in Yahoo!

Hence, Ibukun was asked to go to the column on Management of Mail Addresses, click on the Post Office Presence (POP) access and forwarding, where it was advocated by Yahoo! that its platform could be used as permanent email address, “forward to another mail account or download your Yahoo! messages to your POP3 mail client.”

Post Office Protocol (POP), is a protocol used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. Most e-mail applications sometimes called an e-mail client use the POP protocol, although some could use the newer Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

Also, according to Webpodia.com, POP refers to Point-Of-Presence, an access point to the Internet, largely owned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). A point of presence is a physical location, either part of the facilities of a telecommunications provider that the ISP rents or a separate location from the telecommunications provider, that houses servers, routers, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) switches and digital or analogue call aggregators.

However, Ibukun proceeded to click on ‘Need Help?’ which gave him the Web and POP Access [POP Settings] explaining that Ibukun could access Yahoo! Mail via the web interface and through any email programme using POP3 such as Eudora, Outlook or Netscape Mail, to name a few.

On the forwarding option, Zik told Ibukun that he could forward all his mails from his Yahoo! account messages to a different email address, so, he was required to enter the alternate email address in open column, after which it was verified that such account so chosen is valid.

“Before we can forward your incoming messages, we need to verify that you own this email address. We do this in order to protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized use of this feature,” Yahoo! experts stated.

For this, Zik enlightened that the forwarded email does not deny Ibukun access to his primary email account and could be changed at any time he feels that normalcy has returned in his access to the initial e-mail address.

Before then, Ibukun was asked to visit his supposed alternate email account in order to authenticate the email sent by Yahoo!, an indication that the email is valid.

“Click send verification to have Yahoo! send an email to the address above,” Yahoo! experts said, stressing that by clicking on the link, for example, http://popfwd.mail.yahoo.com/pf/VerifyCode?.addr=ibukunbrownsco@gmail.com&.c=a7f1e10&.intl=uk&.bm=&.loginas=ibukunbrownsco&.done=http%3a//uk.f265.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Options%3fYY=12345; in the email or enter the confirmation code that was provided or generated.

And Zik continued to encourage him that from that date, every email sent to his Yahoo! mail would touch base and then be forwarded automatically to the latest email account which is the alternate account.

Verify the account, Zik said, your POP access and forwarding settings would be saved.
And in less than 10 minutes, Ibukun could read or access any new mail that find its way to both of his email accounts with different POPs.

Zik further said that alternatively, Ibukun and friends could simply change the viewing model in their emails by signing in normally, and clicking on other services such as addresss, note pad, from where they could choose option.

That day, Ibukun went back to the office excited and throughout the week, he devoted time assisting his colleagues with similar problems, leaving him eventually as a goal getter as he was the talk of the town in the office among peers.

And by the next day, Ibukun’s relative abroad had resent the earlier message to him again, which of course, found its way forwarded to the alternate email.

With a rest of mind, Ibukun was able to pick his family members from the airport to their home in Ilaje for the reason for the season.

Investigations carried out by ITRealms Online showed that in developing countries like Nigeria where Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is yet to be optimized in terms of service provision, it is difficult to maintain more than one email, more so when intermittent hiccups like the one Ibukun and his colleagues recently experienced occur, even as Microsoft do not allow its account users to forward their mail accounts as obtained in other platforms.

However, what this implies is that there are lots of artisans plying their trades at the Computer Villages scattered all over the country, especially in Lagos and what remains is how government and even corporate entities could come up, even if it means empowering some of the nation’s youth through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes, so as to encourage them become more professional via organised training in various aspects of ICT.

Zik, no doubt is just one of thousands of his peers, who with their school certificates are industrious and skillfully gifted.

One of the artisans at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Mr. Dayo Adeyemi, told ITRealms Online that he is disposed to more training, which he hopes would open new opportunities for him and his colleagues.

For the Public Relations Officer, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Mr. Godwin Enumoh, who recently told ITRealms Online that intellectually, the group has members that could stand the test of time when it comes to dexterity.

He agreed that collaboration is vital for the growth of the artisans in the market, with potential to contribute immensely to the national economy. He urged government through its agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), State governments and Centre For Adaptation of Technology (CAT) among others to liaise with CAPDAN for such initiative to be meaningful.

Only time will tell how the government intends to resuscitate Computer Villages, mostly in the city like Lagos, by transforming these markets into Silicon Valley for the country.

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NigComSAT-1, a technical tragedy – ATCON

... Urges work on NigComSAT-2

UMBRELLA body of telecommunications companies in the country, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has described the failed Nigerian Communications Satellite-1 (NigComSAT-1) as a technical tragedy, urging that the Federal Government (FG) should commence work on NigComSat-2.

Speaking in Lagos, the National President of ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said that the nation needed to start the processes on NigComSAT-2 immediately on learning about the failure of NigComSAT-1, which was reportedly parked after developing charging fault, prior to November 10, 2008 when the government owned up.

Ekuwem said that Nigeria must start process toward the actualization of the NigComSAT-2 without further delay.

However, he advised that before then, government must truly unravel the cause of the failure of NigComSAT-1, warning that the incident should not deter the government from investing in future satellite projects.

“No nation shies away from challenges. We should proceed to NigComSAT-2 provided we unravel the cause of the failure of NigComSAT-1,” he said.

Reviewing 2008, ATCON president also noted that Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is about provision of broadband for the populace and NigComSAT would play a vital role in this regard.

He pointed out that currently, Nigeria is celebrating voice, maintaining that broadband is the next application to boost economic productivity, while lamenting that till date, Nigeria is not known to have produced completely any part of ICT tools.

Ekuwem further canvassed for the usage of the so-called area boys and girls for development.

“They must be used to change the face of our economy,” he declared, calling for adaptation of franchise, citing Virgin Mobile in the United Kingdom as a franchise company that merely resells airtime to the end users.

As said by him, by adapting to franchise in the country, ICT firms would help immensely in taking developmental diffusion to the rural areas.

“We want every nook and cranny to have service,” he said.

Additionally, he disclosed that ATCON would focus on education of its members through a workshop that would raise some pertinent issues.

He wondered how many engineering students could write correct English proposal, saying that with the advent of the global village, the world has become one job market.

“I would like to dedicate this last tenure to mentoring,” he said.

Equally, he said, that ATCON plans to organize two stakeholders forum and ComBIT, emphasizing that one of the workshops would focus on global financial crisis as it affects ICT.

“Experts would use the platform to react to what is on ground. Are we ready if America cuts its crude import? Are we saving for the rainy day?” he said.
Pointing out that the issue at stake is not that of population as the likes of Island and Japan do not produce oil.

“Nigerians are intellectually sound, so it’s in our own best national interest to use our oil money on ICT development,” he said.

Ekuwem further disclosed that the theme for ComBIT 2009 would be “ICT for Development.”

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What You should know about Twitter (3)

ADDITIONALLY, users are very much in control of whose updates they receive, when they receive them, and on what device.

For example, we provide settings for scheduling Twitter to automatically turn off at dinnertime and users can switch off Twitter updates at any point.

Simply put, Twitter is what you make of it--receive a lot of information about your friends, or just a tiny bit. It’s up to them.

How is Twitter built?
Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Macintosh computers except for testing purposes. Our web site and user interface were designed using Omnigraffle and Photoshop.

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

Twitter has many appealing opportunities for generating revenue but we are holding off on implementation for now because we don’t want to distract ourselves from the more important work at hand which is to create a compelling service and great user experience for millions of people around the world.

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NBC resolves Multimesh, HiTV dispute

THE National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has resolved the dispute between Multimesh Communications Limited and Entertainment Highway, owners of HiTV, over rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) signals in the South East and South South.

Chief executive officer, Multimesh, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa and his counterpart at HiTV, Mr. Toyin Subair confirmed this to ITRealms Online, last weekend.

ITRealms Online recalls that a fortnight ago, precisely on Thursday, January 8, 2009, officials of Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) raided Multimesh’s office in Calabar, carting away equipment in the name of broadcasting pirated EPL as purportedly reported by HiTV.

Barely a week letter, the management of NBC invited the two organization as part of dispute resolution and brokered peace, just as Multimesh accused NCC of maliciously vandalizing its station in Calabar for reasons best known to them.

In a meeting at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, last week Wednesday, NBC officials led by its Director General, Mr. Yomi Bolarinwa.

According to Ohuabunwa, NBC was able to intervene in the dispute very skillfully with an agreement from the feuding parties, even as it was agreed that an agreement had indeed existed between the two organisations since 2007, thus giving credence to the claims by Multimesh that what occurred was a business dispute and not a piracy case.

Equally Mr. Subair told ITRealms Online that Multimesh has agreed to make payment based on the states’ coverage earlier in conflict.

Additionally, ITRealms Online gathered that the resolution signed at the NBC office included that in “Pursuant to Section 2 (1) (Q) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended), the National Broadcasting met with the representatives of Entertainment Highway Ltd and Multimesh Communications Ltd to resolve the dispute on Channel Carriage License Agreement for the Broadcast of the English Premier League Matches.”

After the deliberations, it was also resolved that the Channel Carriage Agreement signed in 2007 between the parties still subsists; that Multimesh Communications Limited has agreed to pay for Calabar, Port Harcourt and Yenogoa where the Premiership matches are being broadcast.

Equally, Multimesh was directed to send a three (3) months upfront payment in advance and another three on post dated cheques covering the season which ends in May 2009 to Entertainment Highway Limited.

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ChamsAccess to change business landscape – Prof. Akinde

CHAIRMAN, board of directors, Chams Group Plc, Prof. Adebayo Akinde, has declared that the newly inaugurated subsidiary of the firm, ChamsAccess Limited, would change transaction landscape in the country.

Akinde made this declaration in his address to the inaugural meeting of the board of directors of ChamsAccess Limited in Lagos, last weekend.

“This new addition to the Chams stable is emerging from the future to change the landscape of information dissemination, transaction and interactive payment solution business in Nigeria,” he asserted.

According to him, ChamsAccess Limited was born out of the desire to bridge a perceived information gap in the country.

“To provide the consuming public with the quality and convenience of service they rightly deserve,” he said.

Akinde also said that ChamsAccess Limited has been dully founded and registered to deploy and maintain ChamsAccess Service Terminals (CAST) which is a 24/7 self-service, electronic payment platform that allows the use of payment cards.

“It is safe, fast and convenient and does not need human interface. The terminals facilitate payment of bills purchase of airtime recharge cards, telephony services and video emailing,” he said.

In addition, the chairman said, the latest subsidiary would deploy and sell Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country with the mission to be a world class company that provides the most suitable way to interactive solutions such as bill payments, telephony, internet services, e-ticketing and boarding to mention a few.

“ChamsAccess Limited prides itself as being a company that will not only bridge the information gap in Nigeria, but also ensure that we provide the convenience, reliability, efficiency and safety of payments and transactional services,” he said.

Reiterating the commitment of the group, Akinde noted that the formulation and deployment of innovative-edged technology, is not only changing the face of the industry, but also cut across all sectors of the economy.

“We have built an enabling infrastructure to support our key public sector projects,” he said.

He said some of these key projects are based on the concession awarded Chams Consortium by the Federal Government of Nigeria to issue the new national identity cards.

These chip-based ID cards, he said, come with full fledge biometric data capture and would have payment capabilities that will ride on the trusted ChamSwitch backbone on the backend.

“It would be given a front end interface for usability through an array of infrastructure being deployed by ChamsAccess such as the e-booth consisting of three ChamsAccess terminals and 1 ATM,” he said, promising that millions of these payment-enabled ID cards will be issued in the coming months.

“This will open a world of business opportunities for banks, government agencies, merchants as well as small and medium scale businesses. ChamsAccess is positioned to be the preferred medium for acceptance and transaction of these services,” he said.

Also commenting, the General Manager, ChamsAcess Ltd, Mr. Seye Femi-Gureje, assured that ChamsAccess would not lack the courage or the principle to undertake and perform its duties and responsibilities, noting that they are aware of the herculean task before his team.

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Recession’ll inspire growth in IT – Ibelegbu

MANAGING Director, Task Systems Limited, Mr. Dave Ibelegbu, has said that the current wave of recession globally would inspire growth in the Information Technology (IT).

Deliberating on IT in a depressed economy, Mr. Ibelegbu expressed the confidence that the recession would propel good omen for IT sector, because “it would curb under utilization of available equipment, lay emphasis on appropriate technology and catalyze more creative and effective means of support.”

He also said that the norm today is for people to migrate to new and higher levels of technology as soon as the manufacturers announce and make such new stuffs are available in the market place.

“Most times migration is not based on the needs of the user thereby leading to under utilization,” he noted, stressing that there is hope that with less funds to sustain unnecessary migration, users would be forced to look inwards and use what they have maximally.

According to him, companies would then have to take support more seriously to ensure that productivity objectives are met on time.

He opined that companies would have to depend more on the experience and versatility of IT solutions companies that have proven track records, like Task Systems Limited.

“We have been providing solutions consistently and effectively to multinationals and blue chip companies for the past 20 years, and would remain key players even in a depressed economy,” Ibelegbu declared.

Anticipating challenges to be thrown up by the recession, he said that Task System has expanded its outlets and workforce in the New Year, with emphasis on engineering competencies.

Mr. Ibelegbu further revealed his company has set up the Task Solutions Group (TSG), a strong technical arm that is accredited by most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to service their products in the country.

“The TSG runs a HP Support Centre, same for ACER, Toshiba, Zinox, APC and Microsoft. He said that the TSG operates a carry-in support centre in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Owerri, Enugu, Kano, Ibadan, and Benin,” he disclosed.

Additionally, he said, Task has set up a national helpdesk to manage the company’s contact center and ensure clients issues are properly closed out.

The Help Desk functions complement the software intervention, comprehensive and preventive maintenance services, networking etc for major companies like Shell, SNEPCO, ELF, Chevron, and so on, at all their locations in Nigeria.

“Task has over 150 engineers deployed on-site at these companies,” he said.

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SymbolsM boosts Microfinance with CRM module

LEADING technology integrator, Progenics Corp Limited, has added another module, the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), to boost the services of Microfinance Banks (MfBs).

This, Progenics also said would afford MfBs to meet their ever increasing need of the banks for information technology driven services.

Head, Business Development at Progenics, Mr. Yemi Daniel made this revelation in Lagos, saying that the module, CRM, would improve the banks’ customer experience over an electronic mailing (e-mail) engine to its existing Microfinance banking application, SymbolsM.

Outlining the features of the new module, Mr. Daniel said that it generates and sends mail alerts to customers whenever there is a transaction as well as gives notification alert of account balance and statement details.

“SymbolsM is a comprehensive and integrated Microfinance banking application that has been designed to systematically align all facets of banking operations to produce unparallel customer service delivery without the attendant operational bottlenecks,” he said.

Daniel also said the module gives fixed deposit maturity alert and loan payment notification to customers and equally sends birthday and wedding anniversary greetings to customers.

“The uniqueness of the new module is that the customer defines how it should work. In other words, the module is designed in a way that it is the customer that will tell the bank when he or she wants mail to be sent,” he said.

In addition, Mr. Daniel said that, based on the extra and robustness of SymbolsM as well as the need to assist as many MfBs as possible to enjoy the benefits of the application.

He declared that Progenics Corp Limited has drastically reduced the price of the software, stressing that reduction in price is to make the application affordable by both small and big Microfinance banks.

“The reduction in price is part of our effort to help Microfinance banks grow and be able to complement the commercial banks, especially in this era of information technology and we are also doing it to make the software affordable by the emerging small Microfinance banks,” he said, emphasizing that the application’s current client base, has been on the increase, especially among the Microfinance Banks.

“Quite a number of MfBs are already using SymbolsM since its launch late last year,” he asserted, noting that some new financial companies have also signed on to their investment application called Symbols Investment.

As said by him, the new sign-on on Symbols Investment includes Sky View Capital Limited, First Trustees Limited, Renaissance Capital and North Bridge Investment, as well as Credit Trust finance and Kofana Securities.

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FCMB, Travia partner on Microsoft solution

FIRST City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), has successfully concluded an enterprise performance management project in conjunction with Tavia Technologies Limited, a solution from Microsoft Corporation.

Chief Information Officer, FCMB, Mr. Yinka Oni, gave this indication, saying they believe that in future, decisions at the bank will need to be taken with insight.

“The bank therefore needed to invest in a performance management system that will make insightful decisions,” he said, pointing out that Microsoft PerformancePoint has significantly benefited the bank’s performance management team.

“What they used to spend a whole day to do can now be done in less than an hour,” Oni said.

Speaking, Managing Director, Tavia Tech, Mr. Ayo Olashoju, said that his firm recommended Microsoft PerformancePoint as the performance management solution at FCMB because it delivers the capabilities to meet the bank’s needs for an integrated data resource, an automated performance reporting system and a more efficient data management process.

He also said that the state-of-the-art system deployed by the bank measures and tracks both financial and non-financial performance and delivers the information through dashboards on an enterprise portal to key business unit heads. This system comprises of Microsoft PerformancePoint for performance management, Microsoft
SharePoint for an enterprise portal and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 as an enterprise datawarehouse.

“With the implementation, the bank now enjoys significant improvement in the ease and speed for generating performance management reports including the automation of the Monthly Performance Review (MPR) reports,” Mr. Olashoju said.

For the Head, Performance Management, FCMB, Mr. Ademola Ogunmiloro, the need to improve efficiency became mission critical in order to achieve the bank’s development goals and sustain the growth rate.

Ogunmiloro affirmed that since the automation of the data management and reporting system, the FCMB’s monthly performance reports (MPR), which were previously delivered on day five, are now delivered on the first day of each month.

“In addition to the reduction in time and manpower previously expended on the reporting process, the CEO gets an automated dashboard on his mobile device on a daily basis. The additional analytical capability is also making users more intelligent as we now have the platform to go into core business analytics. We are using the data to increase productivity without increasing costs. The feedback from the executives has been excellent.”

In his comment, Microsoft’s Financial Services Business Manager, Mr. Bode Fagbemi, commended FCMB for using the power of technology to drive business performance especially now that increasing productivity, reducing costs and enhancing customer value have become mission critical for the success of banks in the midst of an economic downturn.

“Our vision for PerformancePoint is to bring the powerful capability of business intelligence to all information workers in the banking sector to democratize access to critical business insight and to drive more effective business actions” he said.

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Remita excites workshop participants

REMITA e-payment workshop recently ended in the commercial nerve centre of the country, Lagos with excitement reading all over the participants, majorly made of bankers.

The workshop organised by software house, SystemSpecs, according to Head, Remita Business Development, Mr. Gbenga Adegbulugbe, is strategic and planned to create a platform to share experiences of her clients who have successfully migrated to the present e-payment platform.

"We decided to organize this workshop in order to share experience with our partner banks, provide them with latest development in Remita, and come up with a clear cut direction on how best to meet the expectation of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," he said.

Commenting at the end of the workshop, Head, Funds Transfer Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Cecily Aigbiremolen, said, it was worthwhile as the knowledge about Remita has improved considerably.

"We are now better equipped to meet the expectations of our customers and the government directive," Aigbiremolen declared.

Also speaking, the Group Head, Remita Business Development, Dr. Akin Oduntan, said
Remita remains the only real-time multi-bank e-payment solution in Nigeria today.

"What this means is that, with Remita you don’t have to deal with several banks at the same time to make payments. From a single screen you can view your consolidated bank balance from all banks and make payment electonically. We are excited about this product and the ease of payment it has given to users," Oduntan said.

Earlier in his address to the occasion, the Managing Director, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, who declared the workshop open said, "e-payment is the ability to pay suppliers, vendors and staff salaries at the touch of a button. With Remita you can send all your payment instructions to all your banks electronically and receive feedback immediately."

He listed what a true e-payment solution should afford its users to include view your consolidated bank balances on a single screen, process all your payments electronically from end-to-end, conduct multi-bank activity from just one place, and replicate your existing payment workflow.

Obaro also said that modern e-payment solution should ensure that users make payments to micro-finance banks, institute amount-based security, send detailed credit advices via Short Messaging Service (SMS) and e-mail, view reports and audit trail, deliver schedules to relevant parties, as well as implement easy use.

ITRealms Online recalls that Remita, a corporate e-payment solution from SystemSpecs, rides on secured e-payment platforms to deliver funds to bank accounts and associated schedules to relevant bodies, enabling schedules delivery and notifications to beneficiaries, at the click of a button.

Even as it could be deployed for payment of vendors, suppliers and staff salaries, pension contribution and all forms of taxes.

Estimated 21 participants from different banks were attended the forum while another set of bankers met yesterday, January 20, this year, in Abuja to share experiences on Remita e-payment.

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Zain’s low cost handsets sold 1m

•In eight months

Leading Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, Zain Nigeria, made big scores with its Ulta Low Cost Handsets (ULCH) by selling over 1 million in eight months.

Public Relations Manager, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, made this disclosure in Lagos, saying the introduction of Ultra Low Cost Handsets in the first quarter of last year was a huge success.

He noted that the specially designed handsets for low income earners has given a boost to Zain’s corporate image, improve public perception of the brand and dress the company up in a flattering corporate, social and responsible costume.

“Curiously, the reality on ground eight months down the line is, to say the least, amazing. Not only has Zain scored big by selling over 1 million of these new breed handsets,” he said.

The telecom giant, he also said, has scaled a monumental hurdle by giving voice to many Nigerians who live on the lower rung of the economic ladder.

According to him, from the creeks in the Niger Delta to the hilly villages up North, Nigerians are now talking, courtesy of Zain’s N1,700.00 ZTE handsets.

He explained that the Ultra Low Cost Handset (ULCH) were bundled with Zain SIM cards and N50 airtime on activation of the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card, and additional N200 airtime is credited to the phone, bringing the total value of free airtime to N250.00.

Otokhine noted that in the country today, many who live on the lower rung of the ladder nurture a big dream, “the dream to join those with bigger wallet to enjoy the benefits of the unfolding communication revolution sweeping round the country.”

This dream, he said, has remained a pipe dream because of communication entry level high hurdle.

He pointed out that with the price tag of N6,000 or more on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) phones, the only dream of owning a phone many could conveniently call their own is by purchasing a used phone which are often unpredictable and at times dismally dysfunctional.

“This is even made worse by the painfully complex socio matrix of the Nigerian society which tends to hold with derision those who carry phones that are not considered socially huge status enforcing,” he declared, stressing that the hurdle for these folks, especially rural dwellers encouraged Zain to introduce the $15 GSM phones, another first in the country.

“The introduction of the N1,700 phones is the first in the history of telecom in Nigeria and indeed in Africa. The feat has consigned to history, tons of hypothesis which tend to support the notion that a GSM phone with such price is not economically feasible for now,” he clarified.

Also commenting on the development, Zain’s distributor in the North Central Region, the Chief Executive Officer, Godex International Limited, Mr. Godwin Bazari, said the ultra low cost handset is one of the best things that have happened to many Nigerians in the rural areas.

“To say that there is still a very large market for voice in Nigeria is an understatement. In the cities, you see many people flaunting two or three handsets and at the same time clamouring for data services and Third Generation (3.5G) technology. The reality in many high density villages in the North Central region is really very different,” he said.

Mr. Bazari equally remembered that when his firm went to a village called Ayingba in Kogi State to sell the bundled ultra low cost handsets, the villagers did not just exhaust the cartons but overwhelmed the team with gifts.

“I was surprised to see chiefs, farmers, petty traders and some students give us several gifts including tubers of yam, plantain and so on, because we came to sell Zain SIMs bundled with handsets and airtime,” he said.

Bazari said the experience has humbled him a lot that he has made serious efforts to establish a customer interaction centre in many of these rural areas to ensure that no customer is deprived of quality telephony experience.

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