" ITREALMS: April 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stressing importance of CCTV technology

The Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro recently gave directives to banks to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to aid in curbing of crime. REMMY NWEKE reports the importance of CCTV technology, stressing that it can no longer be over-looked.

Watching one of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) news segments recently, there was a footage of a video recording of robbery incident in one of the South-western states, precisely Ile-Ife, Osun, obviously captured via the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) technology, and released by the Nigeria Police, which eventually aided the security agency to apprehend the culprits.

The report also stated that this display took place at a session between the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Sir Mike Okiro with some chief executives and chief security officers of financial institutions in the country, which turned out to be attended by about 50 per cent of the invitees. That is, reportedly 13 out of the 25 banks.

Sir Okiro had a few months after assumption of office directed that banks in the country install CCTV at their premises, bullet and bomb proof bullion vans among others; subsequent to about 62 Police personnel killed in related bank robberies within his 100 days in office.

Just like the name entails, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, within a range of limited set of monitors specifically. This is in contrast to a broadcasting system, even as CCTV is at times referred to as video magnifiers for low vision users. Thus, it allows the authorized personnel to view and record high-risk areas to deter activities, mostly theft, control inventory, and increase productivity.

According to experts at the securiguard.com and Wikipedia.org, an online free open source-based encyclopedia, CCTV is a television technology that uses camera mounted on a remotely controlled, self propelled robotic device linked to a video monitor usually installed in public places to aid security either through cables or wirelessly.

Giles May, a United States based CCTV analyst, traced its originality to Germany in 1942, when it was particularly structured to record the launch of V2-rocket by German engineer, Walter Bruch, and soon CCTV were being set up in the main business streets in an effort to prevent crimes. Banks and stores equally followed thereafter to aid monitoring of activities within such establishments. CCTV techniques could be deployed for individual or corporate usage either at home, office and even properties.

Globally, May said, CCTV video cameras could be found in many public places including banks, airports, subways, stores and malls, police and military facilities as well as in the streets. Attributing the deployment in such places to be highly-crowded locations, which are known as hotspots for crimes like theft, terrorism and other acts of violence.

Equally, May said, that recent studies revealed that a criminal is less likely to commit personal crimes such as assault within the range of view of a camera, given the fact that the suspect’s details could be captured by the cameras and used to track him or her later on, could greatly discourage such a person from committing an offense.

Whereas some proponents against CCTV deployment have argued on whether it actually curtail rate of crime, it is no longer news to note that CCTV provides help in uncovering criminals caught in the act. The video recordings of the CCTV installed in shops could provide identification to shop-lifters and burglars or clues to crimes done within the vicinity.

Other than monitoring criminal acts, the close watch method evident in CCTV deployment is known to be useful for combating anti-social behaviours, which include and not limited to minor offenses like littering, drunkenness, traffic violations, urinating in public and other public order offenses.

Invariably, most CCTV deployment are connected to crime reduction, electron microscopy, medical imaging and robotics are few other usage of this technology. Hence, CCTV comes in various types including those with camera capture only images, while others are known to record sounds also.

However, the type of CCTV camera to be deployed depends entirely on the potential core usage. For instance, if the main reason of deployment is basically for close watch or traffic control, it may not be necessary to acquire coloured cameras; mostly since black and white images in this kind of technology is reputed to have better resolution.

On the other hand, if the main purpose of the CCTV system is criminal identification and deterrence, a coloured system is essential so as to help immensely in proper identification of relevant objects that made up such activities.

One other reason some high net-worth individuals go for CCTV is because it offers a relative sense of peace and safety to the everyday citizen; the knowledge that criminals and terrorists are unlikely to commit offenses when there are cameras around, help calm people’s minds,thereby reducing stress, just as it’s predicted to ignite decrease in crime rates.

Therefore, it did not come to most Lagosians as a surprise that the current government in Lagos state led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Babatunde Fashola, expressed concern over the level of crime in his domain and decided to deploy about 10,000 CCTV units for crime control at strategic spots of the metropolis.

Affirming this recently, Lagos State Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, said that 14 black spots had been identified in the state where the CCTVs and other infrastructure would be set up, even as he declined to name the areas for security purposes, stressing that the equipment had already been purchased and the construction work had since commenced.

The Lagos CCTV project and Okiro’s directive, attracted a lot of comments from Nigerians at the Nairaland.com, an online discussion forum, with some commending the concept, others expressed pessimism, yet another group took to the popular ‘Sidon de look’ attitude; waiting to see what future will unveil.

For one of the contributors who identified himself as ‘Lagerwhenindoubt’ the idea is not novel, but agreed on its importance, wondering if the CCTV project is not another white elephant initiatives “foisted on our intelligence to make it seem as if the reigning government has plans to fight crime.”

First, he said, security cameras such as the ones installed require some investment in large data storage and trained security agents and Information Technology (IT) staff.

Secondly, he noted that they require to a large extent a de-centralized Police force that could independently manage crime in each state or local governments with a detailed profile of criminals and their movement around the country, while sharing information with other security agencies and government bodies nationwide.

“I heard we have a little over 340,000 police men in the Nigeria Police Force, what percentage is trained to evaluate data from CCTVs and other modern day security technologies?” he wondered, stressing that he would rather prefer to have a bunch of police checkpoints than CCTV cameras.

“At least, it should deter the robbers briefly enough to escape the scene before the police do and leave you behind. As we always say, let us sit-down and watch,” he submitted.

Another anonymous contributor, alleged that armed robbers in Nigeria usually inform police personnel upfront before any raid so the idea of checkpoint does not work, “In fact, most weapon used are trailed back to our police force. CCTV will work only if we have determined officers that believe in justice for all.”

A member of the forum, Mr. James, commended the Lagos State government for installing CCTV to monitor activities in the metropolis and to track criminals. He alleged however, that some Nigerian banks are known to have placed dummy CCTV cameras in their banking halls. While extending the commendation to the Police, he said, that very soon, he expects CCTV cameras in examination halls to catch those involve in exam malpractices.

Also, Prince Kevo pointed out that it is a good omen to see the nation moving from parading criminal suspects to matching faces in CCTV footages with individuals on a non-existent database is so incredible.

For Togi Dan, who likened CCTV to Internet Protocol (IP) camera used in monitoring, especially if one is anywhere in the world, said, it is possible to use it as well to monitor their homes, work and businesses.

In his submission, Kobo Junkie, explained that at first, the so called CCTV some of them are outdated, as they do not produce clear images, zoom in, even as some just produce movements. “Some CCTV/BETAMAX TV in banks really are dummies,” he said.

Now, with the streamlined view, he also said, the person behind the operations of the CCTV usually sees the activities of the robbers in the hall and could alert the police when no other person in the hall could make a move. Therefore, there is probably no need for database and identification.

Above all, the efficacy of CCTV deployment outweighs its demerit and deserves to be encouraged. And no matter how long it has taken the Police and government officials like Gov. Fashola, to make up their minds on this technology and get to the bottom of check-mating crimes in the country; other state governments need to urgently emulate Gov. Fashola if the fight must be won.

It must be said that decision of this kind requires collective effort, which entails that the Central Bank of Nigeria, for instance, need to join forces with the Police and sanction erring banks as far as IGP directive on CCTV is concerned.

Of course, it cannot be donw without the requisite laws, hence, the National Assembly has to come on board actively.

And just like Sir Okiro retorted when asked how he felt over shunning of his sermon by some banks; they may insure their money, but the banks cannot insure life, especially of Police personnel, after all, life has no duplicate.

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Electronic gate controversy:Stakeholders may boycott Eko Hotels

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) stakeholders may shun future events organized at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos over alleged exploitations associated with its electronic gate controversy.

ITRealms Online gathered that several industry stakeholders who were invited to attend events at the hotel decried the toll collection on them, in order to honour an event hosted at the premises, despite the organizers paying the requisite fees.
It was also gathered that even the organizers of such events themselves are victims of the toll fee collection.

This became evident since the reconstruction of the hotel’s gate into self-served electronic system, which allows visitors, especially car-owners to gain entrance through pressing of button, which prints out a pass containing the time and date of their accessing the gate.

Equally, this pass is presented at the gate on the way out, followed with the calculation of how many hours the car was parked in the premises.

Although the management placed a notice at the gate informing whom it may concern of the N200 charge per hour, while the first 10 minutes is free, it was not clear if event organizers and their guests were exempted.

However, ITRealms Online investigation revealed that the hotel staff at the gate still collect toll from people who have visited the hotel on official grounds, even after the organizers had paid the official price for the usage of some of the halls, thereby amounting to double taxation; both on the organizers and their unassuming guests.

Efforts to speak with the guest relations officers on duty, last weekend Friday, proved abortive as the two attempts could not find any of the supposed six officers who man the desk on shift to attend to our inquiries.

But coming to their rescue, the duty manager, Mr. Shola Ojeyemi, told ITRealms Online when contacted that the toll fee became necessary due to some unidentified persons who have turned the hotel parking space meant for customers only into their own and could even park their vehicles for endless hours, moreso when they do not have business in the hotel or recourse to the management.

He explained that any official visitor to the hotel, particularly invited for an event should not be charged further toll, because arrangement has been made to ensure that organizers have enough ‘free pass’ for their guests, depending on expected participants, which must be endorsed by the management staff or a manager.

Unfortunately for Nigerians, most event organizers are still ignorant of this option, thus not tapping it, even as the gate staff do not offer any explanation whatsoever.

Our investigation also showed that even organizers themselves still pay toll fees to avoid the attendant embarrassment, which have been confirmed on several occasions.
Factually, this has continued to scare some genuine car-owner visitors to the hotel away, hence forcing those who dare without knowing how long their meeting could take to find alternative parking space within Victoria Island and then ply commercial motor-bikes otherwise known as Okada to Eko Hotel’s gate.

Some of the stakeholders who commented on the development said that they have since the new gate stopped bringing their cars to the hotel, even when on official engagement, describing it as a double exploitation; taking from the organisers and guests alike.

Others, who spoke anonymously, lamented that it is disheartening that this kind of thing is going on in Nigeria without any government checking it.

“I have travelled widely both home and abroad without seeing where hotels charge toll on visitors, at the same time taking money for renting their space for a business meeting?” one of the participants at an ICT-industry event fumed.

“They are waiting until when an event is organised and there is no attendant to see reason,” he further declared.

According to some of the respondent, even if organizers at the hotel are ignorant of the offer, which borders on the public relations of the hospitality company, there is a need to alert them or at best attach it permanently to organizers benefits when booking.

“Since it’s rare for people to live in the hotel, which means most of their guests are visitors. So, how can you be tasking your visitors?” he wondered, warning that Eko Hotel should not result to exploiting Nigerians, rather than hospitality and called on the government, especially in Lagos State, to look into this kind of ‘extra-taxation urgently, even as the latest addition about the electronic toll gate has not been added to Eko Hotels & Suites websites.

Most of the participants, last weekend, made up of dealers of one of the electronic product brands, drawn nationwide for a forum, equally lamented on the toll fee, saying it is discouraging for potential customers, hence, leaving wrong impression on them since there is no other known hotel in the country charging official visitors to events for parking.

As the rainy season draws nearer, this situation is most sympathetic for those who eventually come to events early at the hotel, who may be ignorant of the ‘free pass’, because definitely their toll fee would amount the highest since every hour is N200 and the event may be delayed.

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Know your Skype end user licence (5)

Skype Online Material: the Skype buttons and widgets available for download on the Skype Website at http://www.skype.com/share/buttons/, as such may be changed from time to time by Skype in its sole discretion.

Skype Promotional Materials: any and all trademarks, names, signs, logos, banners, and any other materials, in whatever form, owned and/or used by Skype for the promotion of its company, its products and activities, other than the Skype Online Material.

Skype Services: the Skype Website and any other products and services made available to You by Skype or its Affiliates, in addition to the Skype Software.

Skype Software: the software distributed by Skype for internet communication applications, including without limitation the Skype API, UI and Documentation, as well as any future versions, improvements, developments, programming fixes, updates and upgrades thereof.

Skype Staff: the officers, directors, employees and agents of Skype or its Affiliates, or any other persons hired by Skype or its Affiliates.

Skype Website: any and all elements, contents and the ‘look and feel’ of the website available under the URL, www.skype.com , – among other URL’s –, from which website the Skype Software can be downloaded.

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Protect internet‘s uniqueness, ISOC urges

This year’s International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) organized World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF), ended in Lisbon, Portugal with the Internet Society (ISOC) urging participants on the need to protect Internet ‘s uniqueness.
This, the group said, made it possible to still be relevant over 20 years of its open-stakeholder activities.

The Senior Manager, Outreach and Coordinated Communication at Internet Society, Mr. Gerard Ross, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online said it is important to remind the assembly of policy makers on the need to respect and preserve the unique development model responsible for the Internet’s unprecedented growth and success.

He quoted ISOC president, Ms Lynn St. Amour as saying that the ‘Internet model’ of collaborative development has continued to underpin the Internet’s contribution to innovation and creativity, supporting global deployment of innovative and often surprising applications.

Also, Amour said the model, which arose from a need for collaboration and knowledge sharing has propelled the inclusive multi-stakeholder processes, open standards development, and decentralized responsibility for managing the various aspects of the Internet’s technical and management functions.

“The opportunities and advantages of increasingly converged services arise specifically from the Internet’s intrinsic design principles and development model, which together create a vibrant environment of innovation and creativity,” Ms St. Amour said.

Emphasising that likewise, modern Next Generation Networks (NGNs) could be developed and deployed on the existing Internet because of visionary architectural decisions made literally decades ago.

“Indeed, today’s NGNs will become tomorrow’s legacy networks, replaced by applications running on the Internet, designed for as yet unknown future improvements,” she said.

The WTPF, was established as a less formal venue for discussions than regular ITU meetings. It is not designed to produce prescriptive outcomes with the binding force of an international treaty, but rather to foster debate and seek multi-stakeholder consensus on the way forward.

In advance of this event, the ITU Secretary-General produced a report with “draft opinions” on a wide range of topics including: Convergence, Emerging Telecommunication policy and regulatory issues, Next Generation Networks (NGNs), and International Telecommunication Regulations.

These issues became the core of the WTPF’s agenda and the Internet Society has contributed to the discussions by submitting views on key technical and development considerations pertinent to the agenda.

However, such a broad agenda of challenging topics underlines, in the Internet Society’s view, the strong need to include diverse inputs representing a range of expertise.

While the Internet Society welcomes the inclusion of ITU Sector Members in its discussions at the WTPF, it has encouraged the ITU Secretariat General to continue opening its conferences to all interested stakeholders and broadening participation beyond its Member States and Sector Members, to the Civil Society, the Internet community and the research community.

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Etisalat to unveil new product @ W.Afri.Tel-09

The fifth Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operator, Etisalat Nigeria, has concluded plans to storm this year’s West African Telecommunications (W.Afri.Tel) exhibition coming up in June this year. 

Official of the telco who disclosed this weekend said, Etisalat intends to leverage on the successes achieved through its participation at the 2008 edition of the exhibition.

“Its participation at the exhibition’s eighth edition, even when it was yet to formally commence operations, drew a mammoth crowd of curious visitors who flocked at the company’s booth to catch a glimpse of what telecom services the new entrant would be intending to offer. The legion of intending subscribers who had signed up as potential Etisalat customers, at the event professedly overwhelmed the company officials,” the official said.

Consequently, Etisalat has planned to unveil new products at this year’s W.Afri.Tel and leverage on the successes achieved at the previous edition of W.Afri.Tel.

“Our main aim as the fifth GSM operator is to introduce a whole new range of innovative offerings to our subscribers. Our status as a late entrant necessitates that we be innovative in our product offering. Our participation at last year’s edition, and the sheer volume of requests about our formal launch date, as well as the enthusiasm about our packages and tariffs from the public was overwhelming.

Hence, we are taking advantage of W.Afri.Tel’s popularity to avail our customers of the latest offerings from the Etisalat stable,” highly placed company source said. 

In his reaction to Etisalat’s decision to take part at W.Afri.Tel-09, the Editor-in-Chief of IT & Telecom Digest, sole Nigerian representative to Exhibition Management Services, organisers of the event, Mr. Mkpe Abang, described it as a vote of confidence on the Nigerian information and communications sector.

He also commended the telco’s strategy to showcase new products and services at W.Afri.Tel as very timely.

“As competition in Nigeria’s telecom sector continues to get fierce, due to the peculiar nature of the country’s telecom sector, the onus is on operators to apply ingenuity in their product offerings,” he asserted.

Etisalat’s plans to showcase exclusive new products at W.Afri.Tel-09 is commendable, noting that visitors’ attendance at W.Afri.Tel have continued to soar over the years.

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‘Banking & Payment tech confab-09 is set’

All is now set for the hosting of this year’s Banking & Payment Technologies West Africa conference, scheduled to hold at Muson Centre beginning from Monday through Wednesday next week.

Chairman of AITEC Africa, the organisers of the event, Mr. Sean Moroney, made this disclosure at a media parley in Lagos.

He also disclosed that Oceanic Bank Plc, has confirmed its sponsorship of the 2009 conference.

‘Oceanic Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading innovative banks in the deployment of information technology in banking services, has confirmed its top-level sponsorship of this year’s Banking & Payment Technologies West Africa Conference,” he said.

In addition, he said that the opening welcome address on the first day of the conference, focusing on “Transforming Access to Finance Through Branchless Banking” would be delivered by the chief executive of Oceanic Bank Plc.

He stressed that the first day, would be hosted by a consortium of agencies promoting the extension of banking services to the unbanked through mobile technology and other innovations.

These organisations include Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the MSME Project which is a joint pilot of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank.

The conference, Moroney said, will highlight technologies used by pioneering organizations in the financial services industry, including microfinance organizations, to reduce costs and reach new customers.

Further, he said, the three-day event would afford Nigeria’s financial services sector to gain knowledge and experience from over 50 local and international experts, including speakers from South Africa, Peru and the Philippines.

“All of which have pioneered innovative mobile banking systems,” he declared.
Pointing out that the Central Bank of Philippines is sending their Branchless Banking Advocate to share their experience of regulating the market during a period of rapid mobile banking development – which Nigeria is now poised to undergo.

Corroborating this, the chief executive of Oceanic Bank Plc, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, who was represented at the occasion by the Head, Retail Banking Group, Mr. Ade Asekun, Mrs. Funso Oyelahunnu, congratulated the hosts of the event on the world-class programme they have lined up.
“Oceanic is proud to be associated with such a leading-edge conference, which has such a valuable role to play in educating the market on the opportunities and risks presented by Nigeria’s roll-out of mobile banking services,” she said.

Her bank, she noted remain the country’s leading innovator applying information technology to optimize the reach and the quality of services across the country.

“Our support for this event demonstrates our commitment to maintaining this leading position in the market – as well as supporting the development of the market by supporting an educational event of this high caliber,” Dr. Ibru asserted.

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Ubosi hits Lagos airwave with 2 FM stations

Nigerian broadcasting technocrat, Mr. Chris Ubosi, has finalized arrangement for the launching of two Frequency Modulated (FM) radio stations slated to debut on Friday, May 1, this year.

The two FM stations waiting to hit the airwaves before weekend are The Beat FM 99.9 and Classic 97. 3 FM stations, with primary coverage areas being Lagos and its environs.

This is coming at a time the global community is meeting at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference (NAB) in last Vegas of the State of Nevada, United States, to reaffirm the future, survival and relevance of broadcasting to the various communities.

Affirming this development, Mr. Ubosi, said that another history would be made this week Friday, with the launch of the two brand new stations into the Lagos environment, asserting that this step is in reaffirmation of his faith in the usefulness of broadcasting to various Nigerian communities in particular.

Giving a preview into the package, weekend, Ubosi said The Beat for instance, is a full service station with local and international music, entertainment and topical news targeting audiences from age 15-35.

“The youth forms the larger part of this audience. It will bring a fresh and vibrant tilt to the market,” he said.

On the Classic FM, Mr. Ubosi said it’s targeted at those with more mature lifestyle – age 35 and above, who form the decision makers and high profile consumers in the market.

“All the music, programming and presentation on this station will be tailored to reflect this,” he declared.

As said by him, the station would equally benefit from his long history in the country’s deregulated broadcast sector and infuse a new life as well as tempo into the market place.

ITRealms Online recalls that Mr. Ubosi was a founding member of Cool FM and left early last year as the Deputy Managing Director.

He has since consulted for various State governments as well as the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in the establishment of digital radio stations, even as he served on the Federal Government Committee on the draft of the Mass Communications Policy in 2004.

He expressed optimistic that he has put a professional team together that will make a difference in the broadcast landscape in record time as well as a seasoned Board of Directors.

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Traffic offenders’ database ready by July 1– Chidoka

Database on traffic offenders in the past three years are now being captured by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

This FRSC said is expected to be concluded on or before July 1, even as all the banks collecting fines on behalf of FRSC must be connected to its locally developed software before this date.

Disclosing this in his presentation at the two-day National Addressing System held in Lagos, the Corp Marshal, Mr. Osita Chidoka, said that effective from July 1, 2009, all traffic offenders in the country would be entering FRSC database and would be alerted when such offenders settle their fine at some designated banks nationwide.

Dwelling on “The Importance of National Addressing to National Security” Mr. Chidoka noted that the importance of national addressing system cannot be over emphasized as it helps immensely during emergencies and control of traffic at a given area.

He also said that it would help employers of labour to know the kind of drivers they employ and differentiate good from the bad; who may be having some challenges, especially for potential drivers, lamenting that what some of them do is to cause accidents because of their poor eye vision and move to another key transporter until they simply retire as private drivers.

Describing the initiative as revolutionary, Chidoka that it would open a new paradigm for the nation, because is very critical and works as a parameter in social change, just as it is helpful to securities and paves the way for development.

All vehicles licensed in the country are yet unverifiable because there is no addressing structure to facilitate that, but with the move by the federal government through NIPOST, a remarkable achievement is expected to come out of the project.

He also listed Costa Rica as one of the developing countries still tinkering on its addressing system, maintaining that research has shown that it is a major issue in developing economies.

In his goodwill message, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, who was represented by Mrs. Nwakanma, commended the Ministry of Information and Communications for coming up with this workshop at this moment of rebranding Nigeria.

For him, the concept of re-branding Nigeria entails a positive re-orientation of the values of the populace.
“Successful re-orientation requires a return to our national values and ethos and above all, it requires a re-discovery of our national identity, closely tied to which is our system of national addressing,” he said.
He noted with dismay that regularly Nigerians seek to track long lost relations and friends, resorting to the media, simply because of the unreliable national addressing system.
SGF emphasized that beyond telling the Nigerian story, the populace must learn how to live it out and the first step towards that is to be able to identify who and where individuals and groups are within the country.
He condemned the naming of two or more streets in the same city after one individual, when there are several other distinguished Nigerians waiting to be recognized.
“You may have seen Chukwuma Abubakar Street, Chukwuma Abubakar Way, Chukwuma Abubakar Crescent all in one city,” he said, describing it as a major weakness in national addressing system that need to be reviewed.

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Samsung introduces new products, host dealers

Technology innovator in consumer electronics, Samsun Electronics, weekend unveiled new range of home appliances at the dealers’ conference held in Lagos.
Some of the new products include top-mounted-freezer refrigerator features the Coolever Zone Plus and comes with vegetable box; which adjusts its humidity level all by itself.

Also its latest additions of 1 Door Fridge and 1 Door Freezer, a combination of intelligent technology and stylish design gives users the option of having two individual standalone products or a side-by-side fridge freezer.

Additionally, with the launch of its latest state of the art washing machines; the
Poseidon Big and Frontier, Samsung’s new lineup of washing machines combines awesome design, quite sound and super capacity.

Speaking at the conference which attracted over 250 participants, Mr Woosang Cho, president of Samsung Electronics Nigeria, said, “Samsung feels enormous joy to say that today marks a unique turning point in the life of the Samsung brand of Home Appliance Products here in Nigeria owing to the fact of unveiling of our new brand of Home Appliance Models into the Nigerian market.”

He also said that these products have been the toast of the press, elites and all who matter in the world of Home Appliance everywhere they have been launched around the world.

The objective of the conference, he said, is to show case the new range of all appliances model, which theme is ‘design for living space’.  

The event, he said, was an opportunity for Samsung to bond and interact with its dealers, as well as foster networking opportunities amongst those present.

“Its new spilt type air conditioners, the MB model with 9K & 12K Btu not only provides powerful cool fresh air, but actually improves the quality of the air one breathes,” he said.

Samsung’s new air conditioners, he explained, are masterpieces that merge design with health maintenance, and making art functional. 

Champion Infotel recalls that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2006 parent company sales of US$63.4 billion and net income of US$8.5 billion.

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Ekweremadu plegdes support for NigComSAT

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has pledged the National Assembly commitment to assist NIGCOMSAT Ltd to appropriate adequate funds for NigComSat 2 and 3, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Speaking during a visit to NigComSAT ground station complex at Obasanjo Space Center along airport road, Abuja, Friday last weekend, Senator Ekweremadu said the National Assembly will do everything to assist in the actualization of NigComSat 2 and 3.

A press statement endorsed by the Manager, Internal Communications at NigcomSat Limited, Samiya H. Usman, quoted Senator Ekweremadu as saying that it would help the country to become a contemporary of other nations but commercially viable as well as help the nation to be counted when technology issues are discussed.

He also urged the management of NIGCOMSAT Ltd to bring stakeholders especially state governors, ministers, captains of industries to appreciate the technological drive Nigeria has.

Earlier on, the Managing Director, Mr. Ahmed Rufai told the august visitor that NIGCOMSAT trained engineers now perform well as their counterparts in the space industry in other parts of the world.

He explained that the ground station antennas that were initially installed by the Chinese are now being installed by the Nigerian engineers as a demonstration of technology know-how acquisition.

And called on the National Assembly to assist as they had done before for the country to benefits from the satellite technology and its spin-off.

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Cisco announces additional portfolio

Cisco Nigeria has announced new additions to its portfolio that aim to boost both the fundamental components of a network security infrastructure and the delivery of cloud security services.

A press statement from Cisco Nigeria and made available to Champion Infotel, highlighted the importance of the ability for businesses to collaborate with greater confidence at a time when employees are becoming increasingly mobile and interactive.

Managing Director, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. David Seda, said that this announcement comes at a time when collaboration and mobility technologies are redefining how, when and where business gets done.

He also said that the new Cisco product offerings have been formulated to incorporate a greater defence against attacks from malign threats such as malware and botnets, regardless of where professionals connect and communicate.

“The technology includes Cisco Security Cloud, which supports the recently announced Hosted Email Security Services as well as Global Correlation - a new technique that powers integrated security services. New Cisco ASA 5500 Series 8.2 Software has been designed to provide end-to-end protection for offices of all sizes, improving threat mitigation and enabling companies to more securely connect, communicate, and conduct business,” he said.

Cisco SAFE, he further said, in turn, is a security reference architecture that provides prescriptive validated design guides to help organisations plan, design, and deploy security solutions across the network; such as in campus offices and data centres.

“As collaboration trends extend communications outside company offices, businesses must re-examine how they protect their extended enterprises,” he said, stressing that while the flexibility inherent in business applications, social media, software as a service and wireless technologies is leading to widespread adoption and interactive business models, those very technologies and business models are jeopardized by threats that are just as agile.

Much of the basis for Cisco’s announcement was highlighted when Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers delivered a keynote speech at the recently held RSA (the Security Division of EMC) Conference in San Francisco entitled ‘Collaborate with Confidence,’ which expanded on these security trends and described his perspective on the heightened importance of network security in a collaborative world.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ndukwe solicits more foreign investors for Nigeria’s broadband

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has solicited for more foreign investors for the nation’s broadband initiative.

Ndukwe, who made this call, weekend, at the just concluded World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF), hosted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Lisbon, Portugal, extended Nigeria’s invitation to the international investment community to the huge broadband infrastructure deployment and services opportunities existing in the country and the continued rise in demand for telecom services.

He also attributed the huge success in the current funding of the telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria to the consolidation programme of the banking sector, which has equipped the nation’s banks with the wherewithal to match the financial needs of the industry.

“The recent Nigerian banking consolidation had resulted in the emergence of large strong national banks with large portfolios, who have become the local financiers of the ICT industry in Nigeria,” he said.

The session which held on the theme: “Strategic Dialogue on ICTs’ with the sub-theme, “Confronting the Crisis” brought together leaders from government and the industry to address the problems facing vendors, operators and governments in the face of the ongoing global crisis with an objective of formulating proactive strategies to help the ICT industry weather the storm, while leveraging the power of ICT to accelerate economic recovery in other sectors.

Ndukwe in his response noted that Nigeria is an integral member of the global economy and that some portions of the Nigerian ICT industry are funded by overseas investors. He said given this scenario, the attendant repatriation of funds by foreign investors has had some negative impact on the smaller companies who are less able to attract foreign investments.

The NCC boss said notwithstanding this situation, the Nigerian consumers have continued to demand for more services while uptake of ICT services has resulted in huge growth in the number of subscribers, which has in turn created the need for more investments, especially in the area of broadband and Internet services.

He further said that with the various divergences in the economic crisis, the global economic meltdown is truly global and demanded a global effort to deal with the effects that the crisis is having on nation states.

Additionally, the Secretary General, ITU, Dr. Hammadoun Toure, in his opening remark reiterated the need for frank and divergent discussions as essential to the development of appropriate strategies which would lead to the recovery.

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Etisalat’s ringback tune debuts

The fifth licensed Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, Etisalat has launched ring-back tune on its network.

Ring back tune is usually a customised subscriber’s ring tune of choice, which affords callers on a given line to listen to whenever they initiate a call that line pending when it is answered.

Disclosing this, the Chief Marketing Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar, said that it is another sign of exciting commitment from the network to create fun and entertainment to its customers.

The new fully-packed ring-back tunes, he said, is a consumer-friendly service designed to enhance the mobile phone experience of its subscribers by giving them the choice to personalize the tune callers hear every time a call is made to their Etisalat number.

According to him, it was designed to meet the desire of fun-loving customers, and affords subscribers the opportunity to assign special ring back tunes to friends as well as to a group of defined callers.

“To get started and add fun to your talk experience on Etisalat network, customers will simply choose from our various music catalogs and genres ranging from Nigerian, International to Top Hits and Pop Charts by dialing 251 or sending ‘RBTON’ as a text message to 251 and choosing from the list of tunes available,” he said.

Ammar equally said that the service was designed to provide fun and a whole world of entertainment to customers who want to express their feeling and interest through music.

Stressing that each download ring back tune would be available for 30 days after which the subscriber can either change to a new tune or renew the existing one.

Etisalat is a company driven by innovation. We are always ready to offer our subscribers new value for their money,” Ammar explained, pointing out those subscribers who do not wish to access the ring back tune package would retain the standard network tone available to all subscribers.

“It is our pleasure to provide a platform that will give our customers the desired fun, choice and entertainment,” Ammar said.

As said by him, customers will have the opportunity to download up to 10 tunes in their library, assign more than one tune to play at random, send a tune as a gift to a friend, assign different tunes to play to up to 10 different callers and assign different tunes for up to 10 groups of callers.

He explained that to download ring back tune via Short Messaging Service (SMS), customers are to simply text ‘download’ followed by the code of the preferred tune to 251 from an Etisalat line.

Citing for instance that in order to download the Banky W “0809ja” tune, subscribers simply be demanded to send ‘download7774’ as a text message to 251.

“Each tune downloaded cost N100 each per month,” he said, just as by dialing 251 from an Etisalat line, subscribers could browse a selection of music and listen to various tunes, create different groups with up to ten people each, assign different tunes to these individuals or groups and change settings at any time.
“All of these organizer services are for free at the moment,” he said.

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Glo connects Nigeria, Benin Rep on one-network

The Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom Limited, has connected Nigeria and Benin Republic on its one-network platform.

Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Globacom, Mr. Mohamed Jameel, said that subscribers who roam across the two countries would henceforth not pay any roaming charges as they would be charged the same rate they pay for local calls in their countries.

He also said that this offer is open for subscribers across its postpaid and prepaid on the network.

“From now on, there will be no more roaming charges for all Glo subscribers between Nigeria and Benin Republic. Just travel to and from these two countries any time with your postpaid or prepaid Glo line and pay existing local rates for your calls and SMS,” he declared.

Jameel noted that Glo subscribers roaming between these two countries from now on would enjoy this without charges as they could now receive calls free as part of Glo’s one network pricing strategy.  

He emphasized that the one-network concept was to enable Glo subscribers to enjoy an unbroken connection across the two countries. 

“We recognize the strong economic and cultural ties between Nigeria and Benin Republic. There is a high movement of people across these two countries. Our One Network service will therefore boost communication in the region as it makes it stress free and much cheaper,” Jameel asserted. According to him, this service would be extended to cover any country where Glo launched its services.

Globaco’s vision, he said, is to be the largest and most successful telecom network in Africa, just as its preparing to roll out services in Ghana this year and plans have been extended to other African countries soon.

In Benin Republic where Glo commenced operation on June 5, 2008, the network has made a remarkable impact on the telecoms market, stressing that its service became the choice network in that country within the first 100 days.  

With this, Glo Mobile Benin, he said, soon after endeared itself to Beninese as it became the first operator in that country to launch Per Second Billing (PSB) and several value added services including Magic Plus, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), GPRS, Easyshare and Ring Back Tune. It was also the first network to roll out services across the country at the same time.

Recalling that in Nigeria, Glo Mobile achieved a similar feat when, despite starting operations two years after other networks, it recorded 1 million subscribers in nine months but also became the fastest growing network on the continent.

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Zain outlines benefits of one4one offer

Management of Zain Nigeria has outlined benefits of One4One offer it recently introduced into the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) market.

Giving this outline through its spokesman, Mr. Emeka Oparah, Zain Nigeria recalled that the commencement of a new promo tagged One4One allows customers of the leading mobile network in Africa and the Middle East to get bonus minutes when they make calls to any Zain line.

He also said, that the promo rides on a strong selling proposition as it instantly takes a whopping 50 per cent burden off the wallet of every existing Zain customer and of course new subscriber of the company.

While the mechanics of the offer may appear very simple, he said, it could even be reduced to a poetic one-liner, customers of the second largest mobile operator in Nigeria, are beginning to develop an addiction for the offer because of the bountiful opportunities it throws up.

For instance, consumers have realized that the very essence of the promo rests on an equal plank as it harps on a philosophy that reflects the ‘sharing’ spirit.

Stressing that the promo captures, in an absolute sense, the beauty of an effective partnership as it thrives on a 50/50 relationship between the telco and its customers.

Additionally, he said with its extended application, customers of Zain get a bonus minute when they make a minute call to any Zain line.

He cited an instance, saying “if you make a 2-minute call to any Zain line, you only pay for one while Zain pays for the other minute within the same call. If a customer makes 10 minutes call to any Zain line, he only pays for 5 minutes while Zain bears the other remaining charge within that call. In fact, every time you call another Zain line, you pay for one minute and Zain pays for the next minute of the same call.”

He pointed out that the offer does not come with any covert caveat just as there are hardly any small prints in the section spelling out the lean terms and conditions of the promo. “Specifically, to benefit from the offer, a customer must make one complete minute call before he or she can enjoy the next one free minute call; the free minute will apply within the same call; offer applies to on-net calls made during peak and off-peak period; the reward is instant; Zain bears the cost of the free minutes and the offer only applies to on-net calls; i.e. when you call a Zain number,” he said.

Equally, customers are not allowed to accumulate or carry over the free minute to another call.

Explaining that the free minute could only be used within the same call just as the offer only applies to voice on-net calls.

“Normal charging will apply to On and Off net SMS. Offer is open to Pre and Post-paid subscribers but the following will be excluded: all classes of Payphone, Family and Friends and Happy Hour,” he enlightened.

Further, he said that another interesting dimension to the new promo is the timing, which is significant in many ways, noting that it came at a period when the global economic meltdown has splashed several financial roadblocks on the already stony path of countless Nigerians.

“These challenges range from job losses to slump in crude oil prices to an unpredictable exchange rate, crash in the stock market, high prices of consumer goods and unbearable house rents only to mention but a few. Without a doubt, these burdens are not just daunting but capable of causing frustration and despair. It is against this backcloth that Zain has resolved to extend a helping hand, thus allowing its customers save more while they transact their businesses and keep their friendship and family bonds much closer,” he said. 

Describing it as a unique offer, Oparah said the benefits are numerous including the clearly demonstration of the telco’s commitment to translate its brand philosophy of helping people everywhere Zain operates to see, experience and appreciate a “Wonderful World”.

“We have no doubt that this offer will offer some relief to homes and businesses at this critical time. Zain is introducing the Offer at this time because of the company’s desire to assist Nigerians to stay in touch with family, friends and business associates despite the effect of the current global economic realities,” Oparah said.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EXCLUSIVE! Nigeria missing in IPv6 movement

... As another digital divide looms

Another digital divide may be looming in Africa with Nigeria, the most populous nation on the continent, missing in action with regards to adoption of the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in the country.

Presently, only four African countries have existing national chapters on the new internet protocol introduced over 18 years ago in 1991, its specification was completed in 1997 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

IPv6 as backward compatible platform was designed to fix the shortcomings of IPv4, such as data security and maximum number of user addresses.

Whereas IPv6 is said to have virtually unlimited address it is expected to increase the address space from 32 to 128 bits, thus providing for all intents and purposes the number of networks and systems, that is four times larger than IPv4 address space.

Also, it supports quality of service (QoS) parameters for real-time audio and video, even as it was originally classified as “IP Next Generation” (IPng). IPv6 is anticipated to slowly replace IPv4, in less than 783 days to its exhaustion with the plans for the two to co-exist side by side for some years to come, according to the Japanese Intec Netcore Incorporated.

IPv6 was officially deployed in July 2004 when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) added IPv6 records to its Domain Name System (DNS) root server for the .jp (Japan) and .kr (Korea) country codes.

However, the IPv5 was an experimental streaming audio cum video protocol, which had nothing to do with the fundamental structure of IP addressing, according to ICANN.

But investigations by ITRealms Online at the weekend revealed that Nigeria is
notably missing as a member of the IPV6 forum at all level, especially since it has no national chapter, but could relate to the forum through the nearest national chapter, obviously in Ghana.

Also, our investigations showed that out of the 52 regional and national chapters currently alive within the IPV6 entities fashioning the future of new internet address, only four African countries seem to be active. These countries apart from Ghana include Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.

Presently active members of the IPv6 include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bretagne, California, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Egypt, Europe, Finland and France.

So, also, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latin America,Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, MidAtlantic IPv6 TF, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, and North America.

Others are Pacific Islands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, UK, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

Some of the stakeholders who spoke to ITRealms Online anonymously said that Nigeria’s inability to join now to start the campaign on the need to migrate to IPv6, may constitute another wave of digital divide, which the country is already battling to cash-up with the availability and penetration of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) spurred by liberalization of the telecom market.

They also warned that it may be shocking to note that there is no Internet user in the country that is IPv6 compliant, because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are yet to migrate their networks, hence drawing the vital attention to this platform.

The IPv6 Forum is a consortium of worldwide leading Internet vendors, industry subject matter experts, research & education networks, with a clear mission to advocate IPv6 by dramatically improving technology, market, and deployment, user and industry awareness of IPv6, creating a quality and secure new generation Internet and allowing world-wide equitable access to knowledge and technology, embracing a moral responsibility to the world.

To this end, the IPv6 forum has established an open, international forum of IPv6 expertise comprising shared IPv6 knowledge and experience among members, promoted new IPv6-based applications and global solutions, promoted interoperable implementations of Ipv6 standards, co-operated to achieve end-to-end quality of service and resolved issues that create barriers to IPv6 deployment.

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Know your Skype end user licence (4)

Internet Protocol (IP) Rights: means (i) patents, pending patent applications, designs, trade marks and trade names (whether registered or unregistered), copyright and related rights, database rights, knowhow and confidential information; (ii) all other intellectual property rights and similar or equivalent rights anywhere in the world which currently exist or are recognised in the future; and (iii) applications, extensions and renewals in relation to any such rights.

Password: refers to a code You select, which, in combination with the User ID, gives You access to Your User Account.

Skype: refers to the company established under the laws of Luxembourg, Skype Software S.a.r.l, with its address at 22/24 Boulevard Royal L-2449 Luxembourg (B100467), VAT no. (LU20180239).

Skype API: application program interface consisting of the set of routines utilized by the Skype Software to provide the Skype Software functionality for a given platform or operating system, Skype API being included in or linked to the Skype Software as well as any future versions, improvements, developments, programming fixes, updates and upgrades thereof.

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Local brand apathy: Like hardware, like software

Although, Nigerian computer hardware and software companies have tried to endear their products to their consumers over the years, they have continued to witness some measure of apathy which has persisted. But then, is the government doing enough to encourage Made in Nigeria IT products? Asks REMMY NWEKE.

A Lagos-based small enterprise with over 20 staff in the bid to empower its employees, entered a deal with a local Personal Computer (PC) assembly plant, otherwise called local Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), also located in the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.

Based on the deal specifications, employees of this company were to pay for their choice of PC, be it desktop or laptop by installment with the company offsetting about 20 per cent sum upfront, while the balance will be spread between 12 and 24 months. But as soon as it was announced to the staff, one after the other those interested turned the in-house System Analyst’s office to a ‘Mecca’ of sort with inquiries on the durability and workability of this local brand, compared to the foreign brand.

The initial fear was why some of the management team use the foreign brands while now asking them to buy from a local brand?

The System analyst, Mr. Vincent Dewu, happens to be a patriotic Nigerian who until his appointment into the company was one of the whiz-kids at the popular Computer Village in Ikeja-Lagos; where he has experimented on lots of PCs, both local and foreign brands.

However, for those who consulted him, he advised that they should go for the local brands. His reason was that by patronizing these brands, “You are helping to create jobs for our other extended relatives and encouraging the assembly plants to remain in business.”

Another reason offered by Mr. Dewu, is that as a local brand, the customer care centre is often around the corner instead of being limited to the highbrow areas like Victoria Island, Lekki, Abuja, Port Harcourt to name a few. Even as his third point is that the local brands were made from the same raw material with the so-called foreign brands, while the difference has to do with the names and model so as to be distinct as well as popularity.

Citing China and India, for instance, he noted that when they started, they were laughing stocks of the world, but overtime and taking into consideration market reports seriously, they improved upon those notable demerits of their products and now rank among the top economies in the world and strongholds of the Asian tigers of today.

So, he asked, when shall we be proud enough to patronize our own ‘Made in Nigeria,’ which is not even as bad as some of the elite thought they were. Stressing also that due to the peculiar power challenges facing Nigeria, the local PC brands took into cognizance, and came up with a concept to ensure that their PCs, most at times do not suffer from power fluctuation, thereby, making certain that local brands last as long as the foreign and even surpass foreign brands in durability.

Additionally, the local brands have inbuilt double-fan due to the tropical nature of Nigeria and West Africa generally.

But the truth is that all those who came to seek counsel from Mr. Dewu, left confused on whether to trust him or not, despite that he has worked in that company for over three years.

The aforementioned is the agonizing trauma the local brand operatives; from the chief executive officers down to the last man in the marketing unit go through trying to argue their ways into the hearts of Nigerians over local brands.

Today, Nigeria can at least boost of four locally known brands, namely Zinox, Omatek, Brian and SpeedStar (Beta) among the army of other unknown companies cloning PCs without brand names nationwide.

Apparently piqued by the non-patronage of local brands, the chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, advised Nigerians, recently, to emulate the Chinese and Indians in playing their roles as nationalists if Nigeria must emerge the black power that the world expected.

Giving this advice at a one-day seminar tagged Technology Outlook 2009 in Lagos, Ekeh said that Nigeria has a lot to learn from those two Asian countries to be technologically viable, decrying the attitude of Nigerians for foreign goods, relating it to a fad that feeds on the cultural inferiority complex of a colonized people.

“... We must take a look at China and India and copy their models if Nigeria must emerge the black power that the world is expecting,” Dr. Ekeh asserted. Laying emphasis on the fact that this has been the reason for Zinox’s desire to place a computer on every table in Nigeria, so as to enable Nigerians achieve their destinies of being the foremost black power in the world. Concurring that there are a good number of computer brands in the market today, Ekeh noted that it would not be too difficult to fill Nigerian tables with computers if we had to order just any computer in sight.

“…The national goal here include the creating of computer manufacturing capacities for Nigerians, the creation of millions of jobs for Nigerians, the establishment of an industrial infrastructure on which we can build a future Nigeria,” he affirmed Mr. Dewu’s position and cautioned that Nigeria as a nation will not achieve this dream without the patronage of local brands in the technology sector.

“This dream would never be built unless we consciously concede the computerization of Nigeria to Zinox and the other OEMs,” he said, urging government to ensure the stability of the Naira, as the instability would affect the dream of placing PC on every table in the country for the use of Nigerians. He maintained that this requires government involvement in the face of the on-going financial problems which is getting more complex by the day.

“What is the lending rate from banks to the manufacturing sector or are the manufacturers directed to borrow only from designated banks? Would the computer manufacturers, for example, be entitled to some tax exemptions because of the expensive trail blazing efforts of being a pioneer?” he asked, expressing doubt on how the nation would protect the computer manufacturers from the free fall of the Naira. He stressed that the entire production chain is agitated when Naira loses against the Dollar.

Hence, OEM like Zinox, would become incapacitated to deploy the computers on the precious Nigerian tables, saying “if we cannot forecast and control the cost of inventory, the market would be unable to buy the products if the pricing is unstable.” Ekeh insisted that Nigerians must be culturally attuned to grow Nigerian technology products, and wondered if we have the disposition to patronize our own products? He emphasized that Nigerians are luckier than most other climes where technology had to grow from the scratch.

“In the case of Zinox Computers we obtained all known international certifications for quality before we started production. We had to go the whole length in order to assuage the skepticism that would arise from a lack of self esteem among Nigerians,” he submitted.

In the same vein, the Group Managing Director (GMD) Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, urged Nigerians to celebrate local brands and patronize them as a way of creating wealth and preventing the country from being a dumping ground for anything foreign. She, also, implored the federal government to seek new ways of empowering entrepreneurs through policies so as to eliminate the many challenges confronting them.

Speaking at this year’s Economic Summit organized by the Trinity Leadership School in Lagos, recently, Mrs. Seriki advised young entrepreneurs to ensure they have the passion and focus in their endeavours.

“There has to be a public statement, the public sector can empower us more, we did not need to have started the hard way if the government itself bought what we were trying to build,” she said.

The Omatek boss also called on the banks to change their attitude towards startup entrepreneurs, especially the young ones, noting that banks hardly believe that customers are knowledgeable enough to deal with them.

“Again, I will like to appeal to banks that the kind of accounting officers we had in the past contributed to our success, because they will seat with you and plan with you, and then package it for you. Today, we no longer have that kind of accounting officers; they believe you do not know what you are doing. I am insisting on this because funding is key for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the information technology (IT) sub-sector,” she said.

Mrs. Seriki who dwelt on the ‘Importance and use of IT in a global world and the opportunities in a developing economy,’ said there is an urgent need for seminars to be organized for the public sector, which she think was the model China took and made local brands a government thing and a whole country’s affair.

She pointed out that the first few years will not be easy for any local brand to warm itself into the heart of the people for patronage and at the end of the day pricing will not be cheap either. Citing an instance, she said that often suppliers are required to buy upto 10,000 pieces of mother boards per month.

“And for a completely knocked down factory, the amount is enormous as we will need to buy several components from 13 or 14 different factories scattered in as many towns and provinces in Asia. Therefore, the supply chain is a challenge,” she lamented.

She further advised young startups to learn to use consultants in the particular area of business venture they engage in, stressing that there is a lot to be done in the IT sector and there is a lot to do in the SME scheme and entrepreneurship is something to be promoted now.

Equally commenting on the apathy facing local brands, the chief executive officer, Wadof Software, Mr. Wahab Animusarom, lamented the state of the Nigerian software industry, which he described as ‘endangered specie.’

According to him, the Nigerian software industry has been abandoned by the government that supposed to be protecting it and now left its fate in the hands of foreign software buccaneers from Asia, precisely from India and China; who are out to milk the country and make sure that the local software industry is dead and buried in no distance time. “Nigerian software industry has been abandoned by the government, and bullied by the private sector,” he decried.

Speaking on Nigerian Software at this year’s Titans of Tech lecture which held in Lagos, penultimate Tuesday, Mr. Animusarom said the time has come for Nigerian government and companies to optimize the abundant energy of youths in the country, especially those melting into what he described as ‘Yahoo, Yahoo energy’ to reposition the nation’s software industry by encouraging the development and use of local software industry through practical engagement.

Major challenges facing the local software industry, he said, has top on the list the internal discrimination, absence of a service culture, lack of project management skills, absence of a government framework to protect, guide and nurture the industry. Just as poor remuneration, ranks high in the list of challenges facing local software developers as the industry is regularly bereft of good hands.

He pointed out that the industry needed quality personnel, but currently is like an orphan. “Basically, we’re like orphans,” he declared, saying that good pay attracts quality staff.

Additionally, the Wadof boss lamented that over decades of local software existence, there is no Nigerian software company with pioneer status, even as the same status have since been awarded to several foreign companies in the country.

Mr. Animusarom attributed the success made by his company in recent times to the grace of God and exceptional character based on determination to improve its ruggedness. “You must resist corporate bullying,” he advised, while application must be developed in a way so as to solve a peculiar business problem.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), he said, must develop a framework that protects local brands, especially the software, advocating that there should be an executable ban on any foreign application with local equivalent.

For him, the supposed umbrella body of software developers under the aegis of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) is long dead, hence it has defeated its purpose and called on ISPON members to rally round once again to resuscitate a vibrant pressure group that will speak for them, because individually they may not achieve much, but ‘united we stand.’

He also noted that a situation whereby local software is priced below N1 million by corporate organization for a year of retainership – deployment and services, while its foreign equivalent attracts payment of about $5m in addition to about 50 per cent service charge by local representative, does not mean well for the growth of the industry locally.

Above all, government through its agencies like NITDA need to wake up, in order to sustain the achievements made so far and propelled by telecommunications liberalization, about eight years ago and carry its mandate to the letter as may be contained in the National IT policy, which review is since overdue.

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Stakeholders enroute Dakar for eLearning Africa-09

The annual symposium on electronic Learning (e-Learning), will next month gather stakeholders at the capital city of Senegal, Dakar, for eLearning Africa 2009.

The event scheduled to hold between May 27 and 29 at the Hotel Le Méridien in Dakar, is expected to attract who-is-who in the continent’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) inspired learning and is being organized in collaboration with the Senegalese state IT agency ADIE (Agence de l’Informatique de l’Etat).

A press statement from the organizers and made available to ITRealms Online said that the pan-African conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, is on its fourth year running.

ADIE Director, Tidiane Seck, affirmed that Senegal is delighted to once more host this year’s event.

“It will provide the opportunity to show what we can do, as well as discover the initiatives of other countries in terms of eTraining. I believe that experience-sharing is the best way to convince people who are reluctant or skeptical,” Seck said.

According to the director, ADIE’s mission is to encourage the use of new technology within government but also, more broadly, by all citizens.

Citing for instance that for this purpose, the agency has set up an online training platform for both government personnel and corporate staff where everyone could develop their skills throughout their careers.

Also, Seck noted that at eLearning Africa 2009, major education institutions from Senegal will present to an international audience what the country has done to train government civil servants as well as what is happening in universities and in the medical field.

In terms of infrastructure, the director said, this is possible thanks to the government’s intranet resource centre, which is currently being completed.

Equally, ADIE director disclosed that five Senegalese universities will very shortly be interconnected through fibre optics, thus being able to provide real-life teleconference experiences for training purposes. Pointing out that with such infrastructure available, a professor at Dakar University will be able to lecture to astudents in Ziguinchor or elsewhere in the country.

In the medical field, Seck said that information technology is already being used very broadly to exchange skills between establishments and also for training purposes, citing the instance of deploying ICT for telemedicine, saying it will be just some of the many successful experiences that will be shared at eLearning Africa.

ITRealms Online recalls that over the years, eLearning Africa has established itself as the key event on ICT for development, education and training on the African continent, with the mission of bringing people together who are actively engaged in education and in the implementation of learning technologies in schools, universities, corporate training programmes as well as in education in the public sector.

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Intel highlights merits of tech education

Largest semi conductor, Intel Corporation, has reiterated the strategic value of technology in educational development of any country, saying it is committed to Teach-Pre-Service programme recently launched.

The company also described these values as highly necessary toward raising the standard of education in Nigeria to a world class standard.

Country Manager, Intel Sub Sahara Africa, Devan Naidoo, said that it is necessary to consolidate on plans and series of activities in progress to permanently include the ‘teach pre-service’ programme into the nation’s teachers college curriculum.

This, he said, would enable thousands of Nigerian teachers in training to gain sound proficiency on use of Information Technology (IT) tools before graduation.

The Intel ‘teach pre-service’ programme, he noted was specially designed to equip teachers with computer proficiency while still in college and is also partnering in a train the trainers cascading order.

Additionally, he said, this would empower student-teachers to have acquired real-time IT skills and capability upon graduation from college, thereby speeding up target to train 150,000 teachers on proficient use of computer by the year 2012.

“Intel has launched the Teach Pre-Service programme in Nigeria and is seriously committed to key-in the program into the teacher training curriculum at the colleges of education where teachers will be taught how to teach learners using the online content available to them through the programme,” he said.

Intel, he said, is collaborating with stakeholders to take the programme to all the colleges, believing it will fast track Information and Technology growth which could tremendously impart the educational system for good.

Meanwhile, graphics chipmaker Nvidia recently countersued Intel for breach of contract, alleging that Intel made misleading statements designed to undermine Nvidia’s licensing rights.

The suit seeks to terminate Intel’s license to Nvidia’s patents related to graphics processing and three-dimensional computing and comes in response to a related suit by Intel last month.

Nvidia believes that without a licensing agreement, Intel’s line of integrated graphics chips violate Nvidia’s patent portfolio, according to Nvidia spokesman Hector Marinez.

The complaint represents the latest salvo in an escalating feud between the two chipmakers that has moved from the marketplace to the courtroom.

Intel asked a Delaware court in February to rule that its new generation of microprocessors, such as the Nehalem chip, are not covered under a 2004 cross-licensing agreement between the two companies.

That would prevent Nvidia from selling its chipsets that function alongside Intel’s new microprocessors.

Intel is the world’s number-one maker of PC microprocessors, with a more than 80 per cent market share, according to IDC.

In its countersuit, Nvidia said Intel has “manufactured” the licensing dispute as part of a “calculated strategy to eliminate Nvidia as a competitive threat”, and says it is fully licensed to continue making products that interact with Intel microprocessors.

The disagreement stems from the fact that Intel’s new generation of Nehalem microprocessors feature an integrated memory controller.

According to Intel, the 2004 licensing agreement only covers its previous generation of products, in which the memory controller was separate from the microprocessor.

“There is a substantial disagreement between Intel and Nvidia about their licensing rights under the agreement,” said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy.

“We’ve been trying multiple times, multiple ways to find a way to settle the argument,” Mulloy said. The suit simply asks the court to interpret the agreement, he said.

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Ekeh tasks Africans on technology spread

Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has tasked Africans on the quest for technology spread, saying it should be seen as a collective aspiration.

He made this call, while addressing an audience, last week during a continental tour to enshrine Bijimi Pro laptop, which covered Djibuoti, Addis Ababa and South Africa.

“The quest for technology advancement was a collective aspiration for all Africans,” he said.

He also said that Africans must pull their resources together in order to achieve a sustainable technological break through.

The Zinox chairman stressed that political and geographical boundaries must not be barriers to collective efforts in the quest for technology development on the continent.

“The peoples of Africa desire and deserve the good things of life propelled by modern technologies and their leaders must summon the will to support technology initiatives no matter where they come from in Africa,” he said.

As said by him, Zinox Computers latest model, the Bijimi, also called ‘digital bull,’ had remarkable penetration a fortnight ago with a record of 6,000 confirmed orders.

He affirmed that Zinox Bijimi model innovation marks the computer company as a listening organisation that has used the feedback from users to achieve technical improvement and enhance consumer benefits.

Just as Bijimi PRO and Bijimi Sage, were built on the success of the Zinox Divine Laptop, which has a reputation in the market as Nigeria’s Number 1 selling laptop.

Further, he said, Bijimi has unique capacities that set it apart from competition and on the way to another era of Zinox dominance of the mobile technology market with over 6,000 confirmed orders, just weeks after its launch.

Explaining that this Notebook which has been certified by Intel Corporation and Microsoft runs on the latest Intel Dual Core P8600 or T3400 processor, with 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, 15.4” display screen, Webcam, Bluetooth, Microsoft Vista Business/XP PRO and comes standard with additional battery that gives the user a minimum of 13hrs interruptible usage of this world-class model.

Also, he noted that Bijimi series are ideal for use in busy work places, schools and other areas where high productivity is expected.

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Oracle introduces 5 CRM modules

Oracle has introduced five Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products to boost customer relationship.

These applications include Oracle Self-Service E-Billing On Demand, Oracle Sales Library, Oracle CRM On Demand Deal Management, Oracle CRM On Demand Enterprise Disaster Recovery and Oracle AIA integration from Oracle CRM On Demand to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. 

Oracle also said that its advanced analytic and PCI DSS Level 1 certification help Oracle Self-Service E-Billing On Demand customers increase loyalty, accelerate payment collection and reduce costs.

Oracle Sales Library is a single repository of an organization’s sales materials that helps improve collaboration within and among sales teams, while increasing close rates. Sales reps can quickly and easily create targeted and effective presentations, as well as access, preview and download slides—or an entire presentation—to find relevant content. A rich set of social networking tools enables users to share, rate, review and tag slides so that everyone in an organization can leverage the most effective sales materials.

Oracle CRM On Demand Deal Management empowers the sales force to negotiate deals more effectively and maximize profitability. 

With a highly intuitive user interface, Deal Management features new deal scoring and price recommendation support; advanced what-if modeling and market information; and customer purchase history features, that can translate to maximized revenues and margins, more effective price negotiations and accelerated deal closures for customers. 

By providing annual disaster simulation, guaranteed recovery point objective and real-time database synchronization, Oracle CRM On Demand Enterprise Disaster Recovery users can be confident that risk mitigation, business continuity and compliance and regulatory processes are in place at any critical moment.

Oracle AIA integration from Oracle CRM On Demand to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne now introduces complete lead-to-quote and order business processes for JD EnterpriseOne 8.12 customers, as well as real-time synchronization, user interface integration into quotes and orders and data integration of accounts, contacts and products. 

By implementing this new integration or extending existing JD Edwards EnterpriseOne investments to deliver CRM when needed and maintaining a single view of the customer, organizations can improve customer satisfaction with more accurate, timely ordering, close deals more quickly with complete opportunity to quote and order process and save time and reduce business risk with productized integration. 

“These latest products are exemplary and demonstrate how Oracle innovates to deliver an unrivalled, complete CRM experience for maximum business value and benefits,” said Oracle Senior Vice President of CRM Anthony Lye. “Only Oracle can combine the resources, experience and vision to offer organizations across the board with the flexibility and options that positively impact business results at every customer touchpoint.”

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Probe salaries of Nigerian mega-CEOs – ATCON

President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem has raised an alarm over what he called unrealistic salaries of some of the chief executives of multinational corporations operating in Nigeria as well as those of mega-banking institutions in the country.

He made the call while speaking as the special guest of honour at the one-day annual lecture of Titans of Tech 2009 held at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Onikan-Lagos, recently, saying that if this is not checked, Nigeria may be tilting towards another level of meltdown other than what is being seen presently.

According to him, most of these chief executives, especially those in the mega-banking institutions are in out of reach affluence, which may have a long time effect.

He also said that the current ravaging global economic meltdown has negatively affected the industry, even though some school of thought may argue that Nigeria was already down before the meltdown was pronounced, yet evidence has shown that the nation’s kind of meltdown may be an accumulated one due to some factors.

These, he listed to include the daily depreciating and weakening value of Naira against the United States dollar as well as the nation’s import dependent economy.

He, further called for a probe of mega-banks salaries, so as to avert the kind of credit affluence experienced in developed countries where credit system was abused, so as to collate the relevant data that could help the system in positioning the national economy.

Dr. Ekuwem who also is the executive vice chairman, Teledom Group, said that the effect of meltdown on the industry has been more because Nigerian currency was weak against the dollar, assumed to be the international exchange trading currency.

According to him, 99 per cent of facilities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, for instance, are imported into the country, which does not augur well for the country.

“It means that our ICT industry is import dependent,” he said.

Therefore, he said, that Nigeria’s ICT industry is negatively affected by the global meltdown.

Export, he pointed, would improve the value of Naira, just like importation no matter how little at this time of recession, would continue to weaken the Naira.

He advised the government to focus more attention on how to improve the few science parks in the country and increase this quota.

This, he said, would help us to produce the likes of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), some antennas, local casing of some of the ICT tools which could be used for mobile phone covers or even computer covers.

He added his voice to condemn the non-patronage of local products, saying that the current patronage is insufficient to sustain local assembly plants.

“When we patronize locally produced goods, the profit stays here, especially when you give local companies contracts,” he said.

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WAFICT-09: Globacom clinches plantinum sponsor

Globacom, the Second National Operator (SNO) has clinched the platinum sponsorship of this year’s West African ICT Congress (WAFICT Congress 2009).

Disclosing this, the organizers of the event, IT & Telecom Digest, said that it is a clear demonstration of Globacom’s vision to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunications company.

The congress scheduled to hold in Lagos from June 2-4, 2009 alongside the ninth edition of West African International Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology exhibition (W.Afri.Tel), is expected to attract who-is-who in the ICT sector in the region.

Equally, the organizers said that speakers would be drawn from across the sub-region and beyond, just as participants for the conference are expected to cut across operating ICT and telecom companies, GSM and CDMA operators, the banking sector, the legal profession, the oil and gas sector, government agencies, regulatory bodies, consumer advocacy groups, the academia, value added service providers and Internet Service Providers, among others.

The latest sponsorship by Globacom for the Congress, the organisers said, goes to underscore the importance the company places in ensuring that the current growth in the telecom sector, especially in West Africa, continues on the upward side.

Noting though Glo entered the sector two years after the initial first licenses were issued and the winners began operations, Globacom signified it was going to decide and fuel competition in the sector when it pioneered per seconds billing in Nigeria.

“That singular action changed the game entirely; and Nigerians have continued to see more positive products and services being dished out by the company on a regular basis,” the organisers said in a press statement made available by Mkpa Abang.

Globacom has since flagged off its operations in Benin Republic and is almost set to begin operations in Ghana, obviously as part of its Africa-wide drive.

While many others are hooked onto the SAT-3, which is still more of a monopoly held by the first national operator, NITEL, Globacom has since set about building its own undersea cable, Glo 1, which is said to be near landing in Nigeria and therefore a stone throw from completion.

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Akunyili, Egwu lead stakeholders to ICT-Edu summit

Information and Communications Minister, Prof. (Mrs) Dora Akunyili and her counterpart in Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, are expected to lead the federal government team to a one-day Stakeholders’ Educational Summit on Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Lagos.

The event is being organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Confirming this development at a press conference, weekend, the first vice president, ATCON, Chief Bayo Banjo, said that Nigerian graduates should be globally competitive technically, and ICT provides a real platform to realise this.

He noted that for ICT sector in Nigeria to remain vibrant and ahead of other developed ICT economies, concentrated efforts must be made to reposition ICT education.

“We believe that if ICT education is given adequate attention as it is given in the developed economies, the negative effect of the global economic crisis can be minimized as our dependence will not entirely be on revenue from oil but also from ICTs,” he said.

Also speaking, ATCON president, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, reiterated the importance of manpower development in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, decrying the level of unemployable Nigerian university graduates.

According to him, this crisis is not helpful at all for the economy let alone ICT sector, lamenting that the situation had continued to worsen without committed efforts by major stakeholders between ICT and educational sectors as well as the government particularly.

He pointed out that in order to actualize and drive a successful national economy, a critical analysis has to be made and that is the onus of the ICT Education Summit.

He equally said the world is bent on globalization, which is driven by sufficiently developed human capacity, and Nigeria cannot claim to be vital in the scheme of things, especially ICT world without requisite education system in place to produce world-class graduates.

“It must be noted that ICT is the platform which drives other sectors of the national economy. However, in order to ensure sustainability of mass ICT revolution in Nigeria acknowledged worldwide as very vibrant in policy framework, institutional framework, legal framework, regulatory framework, among others, there must be a copious availability of critical mass of manpower to drive the digital revolution,” he said.

The ATCON boss emphasized that all successful economies are human driven, and it would be perilous to ignore critical development of human capital.

“At ATCON, for about a decade, we note with dismay that Nigeria’s ICT industry has continually been largely managed by expatriates. Such critical resources, which require colossal sum of money in foreign exchange to acquire, and this had no doubt resulted in capital flight,” he said.

Ekuwem said every import weakens the Naira and every export strengthen same, and a such employment of expatriates amplifies capital flight.

He said it was important that Nigerians know the full content of very segment of network, software, hardware, structural material and network roll-out in Nigeria, adding that this informed the stakeholders’ educational summit to be convened by the association towards the end of April.

Ekuwem said the summit would bring together stakeholders like the Minister for Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, among other players like the Nigerian Communications Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, national Information Technology Development Agency, Galaxy Backbone Plc, MTN Nigeria, among others.This year, with the theme “State of Nigerian Information Communication Technology Education: Challenges and Prospects and is slated to hold at the Fortune Hall, Golden Gate Chinese Restaurants, Ikoyi.

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Nigerian telecom, indicates success for Vision 2020 – Usman

Minister of National Planning Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, has said that the unprecedented successes recorded in the Nigerian telecom sector in just eight years is an indication that the objectives of Vision 2020, led by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua are realizable within the appointed time.

Speaking recently at the 5th All Nigerian Editors Conference in Kaduna, Dr. Usman enjoined sceptics not to underrate the capacity of Nigerians to pull surprises and rise to the occasion at very critical moments in our national development.

He contended that Nigerians should be optimistic as ten years is long enough to achieve the vision articulated in Vision 2020.

The former Minister of Finance said there was no need for critics to continue to dwell on the side of pessimism, insisting that the remaining ten years from now to 2020 was enough time to achieve the vision. The cardinal goal of the Yar’Adua government is to make Nigeria one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020.

“The giant leap recorded in the telecom sector was not achieved by expatriates but by Nigerians who showed uncommon commitment, self-belief and patriotism”, he said.

Dr. Usman, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission, said he was encouraged by the progress made in the telecom sector, which gives hope that Nigeria would make the top 20 bracket before the twilight of year 2020.  

In his paper entitled  “Vision 2020: Economic Growth and the Nigerian Editor,” said the growth recorded in the telecom sector within eight years is proof that with the right parametres Nigeria will migrate from its present 40th position to the top 20 bracket.The position of Dr. Usman was amplified by a number of editors at the event who argued that if the achievements made in the telecom sector is replicated in the other sectors of the economy, their will be no reason to doubt the possibility of Nigerian realizing Vision 2020.

While recounting their frustrations before the telecom revolution in Nigeria that began in 2001, the editors commended the Chief Executive of the NCC, Dr. Ndukwe, for leading this welcome revolution and praised his  doggedness, dedication and commitment that led to the empowerment of many Nigerian people and businesses, and urged the other sectors of the economy to emulate the sterling example of the telecom sector.Ndukwe who later presented a paper on the telecom industry performance, attributed the success of the sector to the transparency in the process of licensing and constant consultations in the process regulation.

He said the nation has witnessed major growth over the past eight years, rising from about 400,000 to 64 million subscriber network, with the concomitant huge private investments and enormous contributions to national GDP, but that the Commission will not rest on its oars as the need for more investments on optics fibre and broadband infrastructure in the country has continued to beckon.

He said going by the current levels of deployments, the commission is confident that Nigeria will achieve the telecom sectoral demand for Vision 2020.

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New Horizons bags double awards @ Titans

New Horizons Systems Solutions Limited has won the 2009 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Training Academy of the year, just as its Managing Director, Mr.  Timothy Olukayode Akano, was also awarded the ICT Personality of the Year Award at the Titans of Technology annual ICT merit award in Lagos.

According to the organizers, Technology Africa, the awards followed the release of the report by the planning committee, which showed that New Horizons excelled in ICT training in the country.

Reacting after receiving the awards, Mr. Akano said New Horizons, which began operation in the country over four years ago, is the first ICT training institution to integrate ICT certification based training with academic curricula in the tertiary, secondary and primary institutions of learning, with widest spread across the southwest and fastest growing impact among Nigerian youths.

He also said the institute trains well over 20,000 students annually in several educational institutions like Covenant University, Babcock University, Crawford University, Crescent University, Doregos Private Academy, Queensland Schools, Topmost, Adrao, Diamonds, among others.

Mr Akano further said two students, 12 year-old Davidson Osaremen, and 13 year-old Oluwaseun Alade, who were both trained by New Horizons, made about the highest marks in the international Microsoft Certified profe0ssional exams, thereby becoming the youngest Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) in Nigeria and Africa.

“What we are offering is the kind of IT training that will challenge people into creativity and designing of things by themselves,” he said.

He also said the company has gone ahead of the pack in the industry to acquire the master franchise of EC-Council, a leading global Information Security Science and e-business learning solution provider to give best-of-rest e-business and information security training as enjoyed by international bodies like the FBI, China police and blue chip companies across America and Asia.

“New Horizons has demonstrated within the very short period of entering the ICT Industry that it has what it takes to take the Nation’s ICT revolution to the highest heights by being the originator and trail-blazer in most of the innovations observed in recent times. The company, with over 60 national offices in six continents of the world, Africa inclusive, has proven to be an organization with a sound understanding of what is required to leapfrog Nigeria into the information age and thus richly deserves to be recognized,” he further said.

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