" ITREALMS: November 2010


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Monday, November 29, 2010

MultiChoice’s DTTV workshop opens in South Africa

All is now set for the kick-off of the two-day demonstrative workshop on Digital Terriestial Television (DTT) in Johannesburg, South Africa, by MultiChoice Africa group, which commenced today, reports Remmy Nweke in South Africa.

Head, Communications for MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Segun Fayose, informed that this workshop would pave the way for participants selected across the continent to understand better the path MultiChoice has been playing on digital migration in the region, since it was agreed upon by world leaders under the United Nations with deadline set at 2015.

Noteworthy is that African Information and Communications Ministers had resolved to bring this deadline to 2012 to enable the continent evaluate itself three-year earlier so as to ensure most of the nations meet up with this migration.

Also noted is that currently, South Africa is aggressively strategizing for this migration, while MultiChoice is reportedly on the forefront, while Nigeria is expected to publish its white paper on the presidential committee on digital migration being anxiously awaited by broadcasters and information stakeholders in Nigeria.

Reaffirming the need for the workshop, the Project Manager for DTT at MultiChoice Group, Ian Barnard said that technology is changing at such a rapid rate and dramatically changing media consumption habits too around the world.

Hence, MultiChoice Africa decided on the DTT technology workshop, which would include tour of the firm’s broadcast facilities in order to observe more closely the mechanism of DTT also known as DTTV.

“We want you to observe firsthand the deployment of this technology,” Barnard stated.

Already, some other participants have arrived for the workshop including two Ghanaian journalists, according to Head, MultiChoice South Africa, Ms Caroline Creasy , Head, Corporate Affairs for DSTv, the digital satellite television arm of MultiChoice Group.

ITRealms Online recalls that historically founded in 1986, MultiChoice became the first African pay-Television when Mnet was founded and in 1990 Mnet was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, while in 1992, it launched satellite services across 20 African countries and three years later in 1995, its DSTv made a debut, whereas in 1996, both Mnet and MultiChoice merged into MIH Holdings.

And today, MultiChoice prides itself as a provider of premium digital media entertainment, content and services to multiple devices which includes Pay TV subscriber services to over 2.4 million customers.

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Akunyili says Number Portability’ld expand customers choice

Federal Minister for Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, has said that the expected introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) plan would offer Nigerian telecom consumers a wide choice and better services.

Speaking at the rebranding of Zain to Airtel Nigeria at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Akunyili commended the new owners of Zain Nigeria and some 15 other countries on the continent for the successful launch of their new brand.

The introduction of MNP, she noted, underlines the commitment of the Federal government to ensure that increased competition expands the horizon for excellence in customer service and choice.

She expressed delight of Nigerians with affordable products and services as promised by the Airtel management, saying it would deepen its rural network coverage.

Particularly, Akunyuli noted that Mobile Number Portability would help increase competition among telecoms operators in the country as well as reduce tariff thereby driving affordability.

She pointed out that Airtel has keenly aligned with the government’s desire to introduce Mobile Number Portability, based on the fact that “we have noted with interest your call for Mobile Number Portability, which will ultimately help to increase competition among the operators and result in reduced tariffs. There are a few other initiatives you are pursuing in a bid to lower the tariff paid by customers on your network. Let me assure you that government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will continue to support you and indeed the industry.”

While assuring of the government’s support to the company through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), she beckoned on Airtel Nigeria to create more opportunities to empower more Nigerians to realize their entrepreneurial potentials.

Akunyili emphasized the need for more Nigerians to be given more leadership opportunities and roles in the organization as this would help improve their entrepreneurial skills.

“Nigeria is a big market for your operations, and we have some of the best talents resident within our country as human resources. We want to see more Nigerians rise to top positions in the organization. We want to see more investment in the country. We want you to create more opportunities to empower more Nigerians to realize their entrepreneurial potentials,” said Akunyili.

Earlier, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Enterprises, said: "Bharti began its African journey by promising to deliver world-class and affordable mobile services to customers and delighting them with innovative products. I believe we are taking a major step towards delivering on this by introducing the heart of our business - the Airtel brand - across our operations in Africa. Our Nigerian customers will now be able to enjoy the same best-in-class brand experience as our customers across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

He further added: “We remain committed to taking our network deeper into Africa, ensuring our services touch the common man and bridge the digital divide in the continent. I am confident that over the coming years Airtel will win the hearts of customers across Africa and emerge as one of most admired brands of the continent.”

With the unveiling of the new brand identity, Airtel becomes the master brand for all the group’s 19 operations in Asia and Africa covering over 200 million customers. In Nigeria, Airtel replaces the Zain brand and comes with the promise of delivering high quality customer benefits through the power of global Airtel brand.

The new Airtel brand comes with a promise to meet the emerging needs of customers with innovative, affordable and relevant solutions to empower consumers, giving them the freedom to do what they choose and provide them with the tools to meet life’s daily challenges.

The red primary colour of the logo reflects the warmth and vibrancy of the African continent. It is the colour of life and of the African sun at dusk. These qualities are reflected in Airtel’s brand personality of being brave and bold, sensitive and empathetic. The new curved addition to the logo is a symbol which will help ensure instant recognition across our diverse international markets.

Over the next couple of months Airtel will launch a number of world leading product innovations which focus on delivering relevant information for customers to enhance their quality of life and provide tools that will help them overcome their daily challenges.

ITRealms Online notes that Airtel is the new brand name for the 16 Zain operations across Africa which were acquired by Airtel International in June 2010, namely in: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Airtel International is a Bharti Airtel company.

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GloWatch to track mobile assets

The newly launched GloWatch is to track mobile assets nationwide, according to officials of the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom.

This, the SNO also said, is to check the high incidence of theft of mobile assets.

The new product assists subscribers to track the movement, speed and location of their mobile assets such as cars, buses, motorbikes and boats anywhere in the country. It is a GPS/GSM-powered device and works by delivering a stream of Short Messaging Service (SMS) communication between the mobile asset and the subscriber’s telephone set.

Head of Value Added Services, Globacom, Mr. Samson Isa, explained that GloWatch gives the user automated reports such as speed and trip reports as well as date and time of events if the device has been pre-set for such reporting.

“The device does not rely heavily on network resources as it uses only the Glo SMS platform. The service costs N500 for 300 SMS per month,” he said.

Also, he said the new product has a unique advantage over other tracking devices in the market, noting that while such other competing products only allow signal tracking, GloWatch enables the subscriber to listen-in and ‘eavesdrop’ on every conversation in the mobile asset at any point in time.

“The subscriber can monitor his mobile asset virtually anywhere in Nigeria as the Glo network extends all over the country. There are over 20,000 pre-identified land marks in Nigeria for ease of reference and location, which can equally be zoomed on to Google earth map. Pre-Loaded landmarks are also available, thus offering the subscriber a very user-friendly experience and option to track the asset with any mobile phone with a Glo SIM,” he said.

Equally, Isa said, another advantage of GloWatch is that it is easy to install and use. A subscriber could just walk into any Gloworld shop and have the tracking device installed on any mobile asset. The subscriber could also remotely demobilize the mobile asset when necessary.

“Criminals are getting more sophisticated and innocent people are made to suffer huge losses to thieves and armed robbers. GloWatch was, therefore, developed to help tackle the menace of thieves and third parties unto whom assets are entrusted. Our subscribers can now sleep with both eyes closed while GloWatch watches over their mobile assets,” Isa said.

Hence, he said, GloWatch is one more way Globacom is offering value to subscribers. It is in line with our mission to offer innovative and life-style changing products to our customers.

The service is offered through Tramigo, world’s bestselling vehicle tracking modem.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2011 Elections: NCS berates INEC over unprofessionalism

THE Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the unprofessional deployment of Information Technology (IT) for the 2011 elections.

For NCS, the electoral body has debased the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) Act 49 of 1993 by awarding contracts of its Direct Data Capturing Machines (DDCM) to two out of the three firms, namely Avante International Technology Incorporated and Haier Electrical Appliances Corps Limited, stressing the duo were not registered with the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN).

NCS president, Prof. Charles Uwadia raised this eye-brow in a chat with newsmen last weekend at the group’s national secretariat, accompanied by Deputy Provost, College of Fellow, Mr. Obi Okonkwo, First Vice President, Dr. David Adewumi, President, Prof. Charles Uwadia, Chairman, Publicity Committee, Mr. Tajudeen Ejalonibu and Chairman, Conferences Committee, Mr. Afolabi Salisu.

He noted that NCS, the umbrella body of all IT professionals in Nigeria, was established in 1978 with the aim of promoting the advancement of Computer Science, Information Technology and Systems and their application cum deployment to professional practice in education, government, the military, and industry.

According to him, in fulfillment of this mandate, NCS collaborates with government agencies in promoting and canvassing IT-driven solutions, including INEC.

He pointed out that the importance role of INEC in the nation’s democratic process are perhaps well known which led NCS to believe that many of the challenges facing INEC are best addressed through a well-thought-out coordinated application and deployment of IT.

"It is also our belief that only corporate bodies and individuals with requisite skills and expertise can successfully work with INEC in this regard," he said, recalling that in the past two years, NCS and INEC discussed on how best to deploy the capabilities of IT towards assisting the electoral process in the country.

Prof. Uwadia revealed that in July this year, during a courtesy visit to the current leadership under the chairmanship of Prof. Attahiru Jega, both parties reiterated the need to forge ahead in INEC’s efforts at using IT to deliver credible elections in 2011.

"It was also agreed at that meeting that an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be executed to serve as basis for further relationship," he declared in addition to four implementation committees set up to pave the way.

He lamented that while NCS was awaiting INEC’s assent to the MOU, earlier set to the chairman, a number of activities took place in quick succession.

These, he listed to include the "Appointment of an ICT Consultant / Adviser; Contracting three firms to deliver 132, 000 units Direct Data Capture Machines (DDCM) for the forthcoming compilation of fresh voters registers; and conducting of training for personnel who will use the DDCM."

And to their chagrin of NCS, the ICT Consultant/Adviser is not a registered member of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), in addition to the fact that two of the contracting firms, Messrs Avante International Technology incorporated and Haier electrical Appliances Corps Limited, were all not accredited by CPN.

The critical issue here, he said, is of computer professionalism as regulated under Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) Act 49 of 1993, which is the law of the federation.

NCS, therefore, demanded INEC to reverse itself by ensuring that all personnel carrying out core IT Professional duties in the Commission ‘must’ be registered professionals as stipulated in Act 49 of 1993; That All persons to interface and operate the DDCM ‘must’ be trained and certified by professional institutions registered by CPN; That all contracting firms who are not registered with CPN should have their contracts revoked.

Equally, NCS demanded that subsequently, only registered members of the computer profession should be considered for jobs involving computing machinery, stressing that INEC redress these identified lapses within one week or face legal action for non-conformity with the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as stipulated in Act 49 of 1993.

“We request INEC to be transparent and fully unfold its strategies for deploying IT for the entire electoral process so that professionals could offer advice where necessary," NCS concluded.

ITRealms Online recalls that specifically, NCS and INEC had held a retreat in Asaba, Delta State from November 13 through 16 in 2008, with a follow-up in Kaduna, Kaduna State between June 30 and July 2, 2009 to promote electronic voting through consensus building by involving major stakeholders in order to sensitize the Nigerian public on the need for the adoption of electronic voting in future elections.

However, the essence of this engagement, NCS said, has been to ensure that INEC is well guided in deploying IT to the electoral process so that ultimately, the results of future elections in Nigeria are seen to be accurate and truly reflect the wishes of the electorates.

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Nigeria wins hosting right for WAIGF 2011

The West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) consortium has finally given Nigeria the green light to host the sub-regional event on July 2011.

A top member of the consortium, Ms Judy Okite disclosed this at the weekend in an electronic mail made available to ITRealms Online.

Ms Okite said that finally, a host country and venue for 2011 has been selected.

While congratulating Nigeria, for winning of the hosting right, she said that the 2011 WAIGF would be located in the commercial nerve centre of the nation, Lagos.

She also noted that following the selection of Nigeria to host WAIGF 2011, scheduled to be at one of the five star hotels in the city of Lagos, Okite revealed that the three-day event would last between July 27 and 29, next year.

She affirmed that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would be the host of the event in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

As part of the hosting package, Nigeria is intended to cover the sponsorship for at least the accommodation of 15 international guest participants which include speakers and organizers, venue for the event; tea break and lunch for all participants on each day of the event; airport pick-up for all international participants; a cocktail dinner, interpreters for the event in addition to publicity for in local Nigeria media; and provision of conference materials for the participants.

ITRealms Online gathered that WAIGF has about eight African countries deeply involve including Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Togo, which usually starts its initiative plans activities through online discussions, surveys and national face to face forums.

Internet governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

Thus, the West Africa Internet Governance Forum is a project aimed at promoting Internet Governance issues in West Africa through a multi-stakeholder process.

The Project is run by a consortium led by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), whereas other members consist of African Network Information Center (AfriNIC), Panos Institute for West Africa, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Internet Society (ISOC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The project had in 2010 received support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which was hosted by Senegal tagged ‘Dakar 2010’ as the third edition of the regional meeting.

ITRealms Online recalls that Nigeria and two other African countries contested for the hosting right of the West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) in 2011 at the three-day WAIGF in Dakar, Senegal.

Other countries that contested alongside Nigeria for the hosting rights include Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

Commenting on the contest, while announcing the contenders, top figure of the organizing consortium and chairperson, Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, cautioned that WAIGF is not a mere government meeting but a multi-stakeholders’ forum.

“So, caution must be applied by potential hosting countries,” she said, stressing that if they want to host WAIGF they must have a very strong national Internet Governance Forum (IGF) team.
Noting that WAIGF has moved away from being an event to being a project, hence the need to bid for its hosting rights.

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Resourcery attains Oracle Gold partnership

Resourcery Plc has attained the Gold Partner Level of its technology partner Oracle, according to a senior research analyst with the firm, Olaseni Olorunfemi.

Resourcery, Olorunfemi said in Lagos, has a comprehensive access to the Oracle product portfolio and could deliver customized solutions to businesses that use Oracle as a strategic data source.

“Achievement of the Gold Partner Level is recognition by Oracle of Resourcery’s in-depth skills and investments in the chosen product focus areas,” Olorunfemi said.

Also, official said that Resourcery intends to continue its growth as a leading technology organization by providing comprehensive Oracle applications, middleware and database solutions spanning areas such as business intelligence (BI), customer relationship management (CRM) and document management to name a few.

The new Oracle Gold Partner level status, Olorunfemi said, allows Resourcery to broaden its solutions portfolio and sales opportunities, while increasing customer retention.

“With access to Oracle’s premier products, technical services, marketing and sales support, this new development will help Resourcery gain expertise across Oracle solutions, towards becoming a differentiator for its clients across various industries,” the analyst said.

ITRealms Online recalls that Oracle Partner Network is a global business network of companies who deliver innovative solutions based on Oracle software, just as the new Oracle Gold Partner would enhance Resourcery’s capabilities to meet customer needs and deliver superior business solutions.

The attainment of the Gold partnership is in line with the company’s strategic vision of becoming Africa’s leading provider of cutting-edge ICT solutions.

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Airtel completes rebranding of African operation

Zain Nigeria, last weekend, rebranded to its latest owners, the Airtel Nigeria with a promise of enthroning freedom to its customers on the continent of Africa.

This also brings to a completion the rebranding of Airtel’s African operation in 16 countries, which was acquired from Zain in June this year.

Group chairman of Bharti Airtel, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, said at the event, which held in Abuja over the weekend that they began their African journey by promising to deliver world-class and affordable mobile services to customers and delighting them with innovative products.

“I believe we are taking a major step towards delivering on this by introducing the heart of our business - the Airtel brand - across our operations in Africa. Our African customers will now be able to enjoy the same best-in-class brand experience as our customers across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he said.

Reiterating the commitment of the brand in taking its network deeper into Africa, Bharti Mittal assured that Airtel services would touch the common man and bridge the digital divide in the continent.

“I am confident that over the coming years Airtel will win the hearts of customers across Africa and emerge as one of most admired brands of the continent,” he declared.

On the new brand identity, he said that the new Airtel brand comes with a promise to meet the emerging needs of customers with innovative, affordable and relevant solutions to empower consumers, giving them the freedom to do what they choose and provide them with the tools to meet life’s daily challenges.

He explained that the red primary colour of the logo reflects the warmth and vibrancy of the African continent. “It is the colour of life and of the African sun at dusk. These qualities are reflected in Airtel’s brand personality of being brave and bold, sensitive and empathetic. The new curved addition to the logo is a symbol which will help ensure instant recognition across our diverse international markets,” he enlightened.

Elucidating that as part of the unveiling, Airtel also launched an ultra low cost handset package, which effectively provides a mobile phone free of charge to all new subscribers.

The package, launched in conjunction with Nokia, will be priced at about N3,500 (USD $23) and includes a brand new Nokia 1280 mobile phone, a free SIM card and the equivalent value in free Airtel talk time and SMS text messages.

Over the coming months, he said, Airtel would launch a number of world leading product innovations which focus on delivering relevant information for customers to enhance their quality of life and provide tools that will help them overcome their daily challenges.

As said by him, in the past four months, Airtel has already made tariff interventions in 11 of its 16 markets in Africa for the benefit of the subscribers.

“It has also signed agreements to extend its networks to the most remote areas which are still not connected with the outside world,” he affirmed.

Airtel is the new brand name for the 16 Zain operations across Africa, acquired by Airtel International in June 2010.

Airtel prides itself as being driven by the vision of providing affordable and innovative mobile services to all. With the rebranding completed, Airtel now has African operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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Y’ello bounty promo winners get prizes

Winners in the MTN Nigeria’s Y’ello Bounty promo have started to receive their prizes commencing with a presentation in Lagos.

Some of those who got their prizes in the promo include Omo Ewalefoh, Golden Tochukwu, Adebolawe Yusuf, Mary Oyewale and Harris Samuel Olaniyi, with each going home with a motorcycle. Five others also emerged namely Eboji Samuel, Sylvester Ohwofasa, John Elen,
Jamiu Alabi and Owoseje Babajide, who went home with a TEC power generating set each.

Additionally, winners chosen for the three DSTV set; seven mobile phones and nine laptops respectively were presented with their various prizes.

General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, reiterated the commitment of MTN to continuously enrich its customers at every given opportunity.

“For us at MTN, our subscribers are the most important group of people. They are our most valued stakeholders, and that is why when we promise to reward them, we ensure that we keep our pledge.”

Mr. Oyeyemi advised the lucky customers to make good use of the prizes they won. He also urged them to spread the good news around their neighbourhood so that those who are still in doubt will believe and participate.

Commenting, one of the customers who won a motorcycle, Mr. Adebowale Yusuf, expressed gratitude to God for using MTN to turn his life around.

Narrating how he had been struggling to survive since he completed his Ordinary National Diploma (OND) a year ago; Yusuf said noted that with his win in the promo, his life would change for good.

“My suffering has ended as I hope to personally use this bike for commercial purposes. I thank MTN profusely,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that the MTN Y’ello Bounty promotion is another platform used by the operator to reward loyal subscribers for their patronage.

The on-going promo is particularly targeted at adding value to the lives of subscribers in the spirit of sharing which comes with the festive season.

The next prize presentation it was gathered would hold in Ibadan, Oyo state capital next weekend, December 3, this year.

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Multi-Links Telkom to exit CDMA segment

Multi-Links Telkom Nigeria has commenced repositioning that would see to its exiting the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) segment in the country, alleging financial and commercial challenging.

The exit is expected to last for upward of four months.

Spokesperson of Multi-Links Telkom Nigeria, Mr. Vincent Raseroka accompanied by his counterpart at Telkom Group, Zeona Jacobs, said that the planned exit of CDMA segment has been approved by the telco’s board of directors.

He also said that the decision was entirely a business imperative for Telkom Group, especially when its market share has remained at 2.6 per cent, invariably dominated by the Global System for Mobile (GSM) technology.

“It is strategically, financially and commercially challenging for us to continue to do business in this segment,” Raseroka said, stressing that it is imperative for the operator to explore other options and chart a new path to growth.

He explained that Telkom has profitability prospect by streamlining its business on fixed infrastructure in the country.

According to him, a number of contracts have rendered Multi-Links Telkom’s CDMA business unprofitable and unsustainable, maintaining that they are still committed to ensure sustainable long-term benefits.

He insisted that the plans to exit CDMA must be conducted in a way that it would not affect the existing customers and employees who are rendering the CDMA services.

“Our existing customers on CDMA would continue to enjoy the same qualitative service during this phase as the company considers market segment migration,” he declared.

He assured that they would make the migration within the ambit of the laws regulating the industry in the country.

Also speaking, spokesperson for Telkom Group, Zeona Jacobs, said a number of expressions of interest have been received by the management of Telkom from both local and international industry players.

Jacobs said these interests would be evaluated and quantified appropriately before a final decision is reached on the myriad of options available to Telkom.

The chief corporate affairs officer, Mrs. Ijeoma Abazie in a related press statement made available to ITRealms Online, quoted the acting Group chief executive officer of Telkom, Mr. Jeffrey Hedberg as saying that this was one of the strategies to stabilize the group’s business across the continent.

“It is essential to stabilize the business by allocating our resources more efficiently,” he said,
Further, Hedberg was quoted as saying that the group is doing so by exiting CDMA segment in Nigeria in addition to closing down non-strategic parts of the business and focusing on international activities primarily on corporate customers.

This, he pointed out, would facilitate the group’s desire to focus and allocate capital appropriately.

“… To allocate capital more efficiently to those areas of the business that deliver a customer solution and drive revenue growth and margin,” he said.

Abazie emphasised that the latest development has turned Multi-Links Telkom into a beautiful bridge, especially given its over 8,200 kilometers of Optic Fibre cable transmission network.

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Ndukwe bags fresh honour @ Mkar University

Several months after exiting the Nigerian Communications Commission as the Executive Vice Chairman, honours have continued to come the way of Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, for his contributions to the communications industry.

The latest came last week Friday, at the University of Mkar, Benue State, conferring on Ndukwe an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the Senate and Governing Council of the University in recognition of the contributions he made to the advancement of tertiary education in the country, while serving as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Apart from giving life to the Communications industry which saw subscription leap from less than 500, 000 connected lines in the year 2000 to well over 80million in 2010, the Senate of the University noted that Nigeria has also built heavy telecommunications infrastructure backbone with two indigenous companies landing submarine cables from different parts of Europe.

But a major contribution by Ndukwe recognized by the University was his contributions to education in tertiary institutions.

Whereas at the NCC, Ndukwe initiated programmes like the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) which put computers and broadband facilities in a number of Secondary Schools and Higher Institutions across the country.

The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), they cited for instance, is today spear-heading this campaign in schools across Nigeria was established by law in his hey days at the NCC.

They highlighted the fact that aside the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) Abuja, but with big campuses now in Lagos and Kano which he caused to be set up to help cater for the much needed human capital in the telecommunications industry.

ITRealms Online recalls that recently, Dr. Ndukwe was made a Senior Fellow at the Lagos Business School of the Pan African University where he is charged with the heading and setting up of the Centre for Infrastructure, Policy, Regulation and Advancement of the institution.

Although the appointment is to tap into Ndukwe’s vast knowledge in Management and Entrepreneurship, it is also a befitting recognition of a man who has pledged to dedicate most of his life after the NCC to developing and training the Nigerian youth by way of preparing them for the employment world.

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eTranzact partners 4 banks on ATM CardlexCash

Electronic payment solution provider in the country, eTranzact International plc is partnering four top- rated banks in the country for the deployment of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) enabled CardlexCash solution.

Some of the partnering banks comprised of First Bank plc, Skye Bank plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Wema Bank Plc.

Making this disclosure in Lagos, weekend, the Business Development Manager, eTranzact, Mrs. Abimbola Reis, said that the eTranzact ATM CardlexCash is a solution intended to revolutionize the process of money transfer and ATM cash withdrawals.

She stressed that the solution facilitates the transfer of funds to the mobile phone and the funds could be withdrawn from the ATM without the use of a physical card.

“The ATMCardlexCash proposes a secure, faster and convenient process of ATM cash withdrawal and money transfer than going to a bank branch. With the eTranzact
ATMCardlexCash the recipient does not need to have a bank account, all he/she needs is to have a mobile phone,” Mrs. Reis said.

She noted that eTranzact was granted a patent to deploy the ATM CardlexCash solution by the patent office of the Republic of South Africa under the number 2009/00824.

As said by her, the eTranzact ATM CardlexCash is secure, simple, robust, cost effective, and user friendly.

She explained that on an ATM machine, a customer would usually insert his or her ATM card physically and enter relevant personal identification number (PIN) to complete transactions, but with the eTranzact ATM CardlexCash it gives the opportunity of cashing out money from the ATM without a card.

“With this innovative product, we are able to bridge the gap between the banked and the unbanked to ensure services that are secure, convenient and cost effective,” concluded Mrs.Reis.

Equally speaking, Head, e-Business at Wema Bank plc, Mr. Dele Adeyinka, described it as an innovative product that offer convenient, thus trailblazing with full potentials to deliver customer needs.

“It takes banking beyond borders. I cannot wait for over 80 million mobile users to catch the bug and start doing transactions without cards,” he said.

In a related development, the Managing Director, eTranzact International Plc, Mr. Valentine Obi, recently outlined some benefits of eTranzact’s Chip and Personal Identification Number (PIN) cards, known as Genesis, saying that the underlining essence is to protect the cardholders.

This, he also said, would engender a better service, thereby providing convenience to the customers, especially on the Genesis Chip & PIN cards.

“The Genesis Chip & Pin cards guarantees cardholders better security and convenience. Genesis is structured for the end users having security in place while being given good quality service,” he said.

Speaking in Lagos, Obi said that Genesis Chip & PIN cards, which are already in the Nigerian market is Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) compliant. He explained that Genesis Card produced by eTranzact under the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instructing all Nigerian banks and switches to replace the traditional magnetic stripe equipment with smartcard technology.

“The Chip and PIN is a two-match system whereby the Chip is accessed by a swipe-card reader to verify authenticity and the PIN is inputted to complete the transaction,” he said.

Obi stressed that Genesis card has a unique attribute solely for the safety of the customers and carriers of the Genesis card called the eTranzact Strong Authentication (ESA).

He reiterated that the Genesis card is made up of three ranges, namely the Premier, Advantage and Credit cards respectively.

He elucidated that Genesis Premier card is a Debit card tied to the customer bank account, while the Genesis Advantage is a prepaid which could be loaded or recharged through the branches of any of the 22 commercial banks connected to the eTranzact platform.

The Advantage Card, Obi said, is useful for other value added schemes such as Loyalty scheme and Discount scheme and Credit cards.

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TD, Task Systems cart home HP awards

Technology Distributions Limited, West Africa and Task Systems Limited, led the pack as Nigerian IT companies dominated the recent HP 2010 Awards held in Crystal Towers and Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

While TD won the HP Champion of Africa Award, PSG, in the Distributor category, Task Systems emerged the HP Champion of Africa in the PSG market in the Reseller category.

Presenting the award, District Manager, PSG, East and West Africa, Mr. Jason McMillan, cited a number of reasons why TD emerged the winner of the highest award, stressing that over the years TD has sustained its very high standards of service delivery which has ensured a dominance of the #1 position among HP Distributors in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Reacting to the awards, the Group Corporate Communications Adviser, Mr. Echika Ezuka, noted that the citation listed that Technology Distributions has severally won back to back the top awards for Revenue (2006), Top Performer (2007), Market Penetration (2008), Certification and HP Brand Growth (2009).

Also, the citation, he said, stated that TD has continued to make enviable and significant contributions to the growth of HP business from the Nigerian office and consolidating its position as the biggest and most enterprising HP Distributor in West Africa.

On the other hand, Task Systems Limited, Mr. Ezuka pointed out that the firm established in 1988 to address the ICT needs of corporate Nigeria in terms of availability and pricing of world-class ICT products, emerged the HP Champion of Africa in the PSG market in the Reseller category.

Equally, he noted that the citation referred to Task Systems as the leading provider of solutions and support in Africa whose relationship with HP precedes the merger era.

He further stated that Task has a history of winning all known Compaq Awards and has displayed a capacity for winning back to back Awards as HP Best Performer in Africa (2005), HP Preferred Partner in Africa (2006), and HP Top Revenue (2007) to emerge the most decorated HP reseller in Africa.

According to him, the strong performance from Nigerians at the awards confirmed the growing awareness by IT professionals and HP stakeholders from Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa that the potentials of Nigerian market could no longer be ignored.

Ezuka emphasised that the companies were happy to be honored again and again by HP, stressing said that Technology Distributions has dedicated its award to its resellers who have been outstanding in the market place; while Task has dedicated its award to her staff for their professionalism and proactive attitudes to developments in the market.

He revealed that both awards would make the companies even more responsive to customer needs and noted that the peculiar DNA shared by both companies would yield surpluses to patrons and partners alike.

Apart from the HP awards, he said, TD and Task have also won Awards from Microsoft, APC-Schneider, other OEMs and Professional bodies.

TD was founded in 1999 by a team of IT technocrats guided by insights from Nigeria’s foremost ICT pioneer, Leo Stan Ekeh.

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Maku opens ITEdge convergence forum

Arrangements have been advanced for the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku, to declare open the 4th IT Edge West Africa Convergence Forum, which holds this week Friday in Lagos.

The two-session forum with the theme: ‘Driving Convergence through Connectivity Infrastructure’ according to the organizers, the Know-How Media International owners of IT Edge news. com, is expected to witness high profile attendance.

The event being supported by Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Nigeria Communication Satellite Company (Nigcomsat Limited).

This year’s event, according to the chief executive officer, ITEdge, Mr. Segun Oruame, is holding jointly with the West Africa Top 50 Technology Business ceremony, the annual ranking of the sub-region top 50 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) companies in terms of their impact on the people and community of operation. The ranking is done by the IT Edge Intelligence Unit (IT-IU).

He also said that the top 50 rating is an aggregate of companies across West Africa in the technology business sector whose performance in 2009/2010 that made their marks on service excellence.

“The companies were rated on market spread and technical competence, functionality and relevance in terms of customers’ service and contribution to national economy in their respective areas of operation among other factors. The survey is annually conducted by IT-IU based on detailed analysis of available data on the ICT, technology business sector in 10 of the 14 ECOWAS countries,” he said.

He pointed out that the IT-IU gathers data used for the survey from sources that include basic information on each organisations directly from some of companies or third party information source including leading analyst firms such as Gartner Group and IDC, local newspapers and magazines, news websites and international news publications including Technology Times (Nigeria), IT Weekly (Dubai), Balancing Act, the Financial Times, ITRealms Online and the Economist in the UK, the Forbes Rich List, the Fortune 500, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

Confirmed speakers at the forum, he said, include Dr Sola Afolabi, immediate past Deputy Executive Secretary, Integration Programmes, ECOWAS Secretariat, Alhaji Ladi Ogunneye, past president of the Nigeria Computer Society and CEO of DataScience Limited, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, president of ATCON.

While Mr. Omo-Ettu is to speak on ‘IP Networks and the Future of Convergence – An ATCON Perspective;’ Mr. Sunday Folayan, Chief Executive Officer, Skannet Nigeria Limited,Ibadan, would dwell on ‘Broadband, Convergence and Africa’s New Connectivity Infrastructures: Skannet Perspectives;’ Mr. Gboyega Ojuri, CEO Junisat Solutions tends to question how the undersea cables would aid the last mile service delivery.

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