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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010: SIM card registration intrigues top issues (2)

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector may have start the year 2010, but top on the list of stakeholders was the SIM card registration writes REMMY NWEKE.

Anticipating Broadband!
Beginning with the much anticipated launch of the two submarine cables, several events that heralded the year, somewhat centered on the expected broadband to come. It was not surprising then that the founding chief executive officer, eShekels, Mr. Fola Odufuwa, chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo and president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chris Uwaje, were top on the list of speakers lined up for the inaugural edition of a Broadband forum billed for March 2010 by eWorld Magazine.

Aaron Ukodie, the Managing Editor of eWorld said Mr. Odufuwa spoke on ‘Keying Nigeria into Global Broadband Trends,’ chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) and Nigeria’s ICT Oracle, Mr. Chris Uwaje x-rayed Broadband Implication for the local environment.

Speaking on Broadband Ways To the 2015 Digital Harvest for the Digital Banquet, then ATCON president, Dr. Ekuwem said they see eWorld Forum “as a good step in the right direction because it will give the industry the privilege to plot both the present and the future of broadband in Nigeria”.

Additionally, there was a broadband summit put together by e-Business Magazine, which further strengthens the importance of broadband initiatives to the ICT sector in the country.

WSIS forum 2010 opens consultation:
The forum on the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) consultation opened its 2010 roundtable by calling for participation organized by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Participants dwelt in three-fold process consisting of an online discussion, a questionnaire and a review meeting, which hinged on the achievement of WSIS goals by 2015. The forum which held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 10 to 14, 2010, was regarded as an important opportunity to review the progress made in the WSIS implementation during the last five years and to reconsider strategies for the remaining five years.

Based on the outcomes of the 2009 WSIS Action Line Facilitators Meeting on May 22 2009, coupled with several exchanges among WSIS stakeholders, an open consultation, focusing on the themes of the 2010 forum was set up.

Gathering support for Haiti quake victims:
One thing that caught the attention of the Nigerian ICT sector during the year just ended 2010 was the concern to support for the Haiti quake victims. This began with the solicitation of aids for the earthquake victims in Haiti by the likes of Globacom Limited, one of the nation’s telecom operators. This, Glo management said was to assist victims through the raising of funds for their rehabilitation occasioned by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

The Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Mr. Mohamed Jameel had described the Haiti earthquake as one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent human history and more massive in repercussion than the Asian Tsunami of 2004. Pointing out that the Haitian earthquake disaster saw near total destruction of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince and the loss of an estimated 200,000 lives.

Jameel in his appeal said the support was to ensure that Nigerians have an opportunity to contribute their own quota to salvage and rehabilitation effort being launched globally for the people of Haiti.

“This is a human disaster of almost unimaginable proportions and most Nigerians who are willing to help do not know how to contribute towards the relief effort,” he had said and based on this, Glo decided to launch this appeal by creation of a short code through which Nigerians could make donations to help the Haitian people.

Also, he urged Nigerians, especially subscribers on Glo network to make contributions of a minimum of N50 by sending the word HAITI to the short code 33090 which was specially created for the Haiti support purpose. He emphasised that subscribers were free to donate as many times as they wish to the relief effort by sending multiple SMS’ at the cost of N50 per SMS.

All donations made by Nigerians through the short code, he said, will be presented on a monthly basis on behalf of the Nigerian people to the Nigerian Red Cross which is already on ground in Haiti via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Reassuring that none of the proceeds will be withheld as the project is being undertaken on compassionate grounds and in line with Glo’s corporate responsibility obligations, that Globacom has given support to an online campaign which will run through the social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter; while Classic 93.7 FM has committed to help raise awareness by giving free hypes and airtime.

Debut of Group Connect:
As the year 2010 gain momentum, MTN Nigeria introduced a new product known as ‘Group Connect’ to make telephone usage, mostly for a seamless conference calls at no extra cost beyond the cost of normal telephone calls.

Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer, MTN Group Connect, Mr. Derek Appiah had said the service, was another first from the stable of MTN Business, a division of MTN focused on providing a comprehensive range of business communication solutions to corporate Nigeria. He explained that with MTN Group Connect, companies, business people, professionals and other categories of telephone users will be able to hold secured, multi-party conversations over the phone, without the need to travel.

In his comment, the Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck had noted that this service was aimed at enhancing the efficiency of businesses in the country. “With this service, you will save time and money you could have otherwise spent on travelling to attend meetings at distant locations,” he said.

Cybercrime worries Naija IT professionals:
The rise in cybercrimes associated with the country became a subject for great concern for the members of the Nigerian Information Technology (IT) Professionals in diaspora, just as they tasked the United States government via the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to help Nigeria in curbing this upsurge in online crime.

The group had urged America to crack down on online crime from the closure of a US-based fraudulent site called t35.com. Even as they claimed that the site, t35.com has been replicating information purportedly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and electronic payment institutions like Interswitch.

Meanwhile, the Whois report on t35.com indicated that the registrant actually is based in the US, as one of the contributors urged those Nigerians residing in the States to take the issue up with the authorities, especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to act quickly.

“Can people in the US please take this up with either t35.com or FBI to disable the site or is t35 an accomplishment in this crime against people and government of Nigeria?” asked a contributor.

FG named Omatek, 3 others e-learning partners:
Last year, the Federal Government appointed some four Information Technology (IT) firms to implement the electronic learning (e-learning) projects of the government as part of the public, private partnership (PPP).

According to the immediate past Federal Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, these companies include Omatek Computers, Zinox Technologies, Galaxy Backbone and Calfa. He said the project partners were to put into operation both the hardware and software components depending on specialty with regards to the Federal Government’s e-learning scheme, which leads to the deployment of a healthy content and curriculum in addition to monitoring and evaluation to ensure continuity and seamless execution.

Egwu, who inaugurated the Policy Coordination and Implementation Committees on e-Learning Initiative, recently, informed that the purpose was to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), while increasing the number of students who are proficient IT users in furtherance to the realization of the roadmap for the Nigerian education sector.

Noting that the Education Roadmap clearly demonstrated a deep understanding of the key issues as challenges to the education sector and e-learning initiative is one of the strategies to be implemented over the next few years as part of efforts to reposition the sector.

DSA and April date for Nigeria IGF-10:
At the end of the first quarter, the organizers of the Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum, the DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), explained the through its Executive Director, Operations, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, that the timing of the forum follows the need to sell Nigeria’s position to the West African countries before the region session held in Dakar, Senegal, on August last year.

Other West African countries, she said, must be carried along in the nation’s bid to ensure that her own interest is well represented in the global session of the Internet Governance Forum, which held in Vilnius, Lithuania between September 14 and 17, 2010.

She noted that the global IGF for 2010 came much earlier than that of previous year, hence the choice to hold the Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum in April, in order to give time for Nigeria, recalling that the decision was for the forum to hold on Friday 16 with the theme ‘Five Years of IGF, the Way Forward for Nigeria.’

Stressing that following the success of 2009 edition, it was befitting to make certain the 2010 edition takes place in good time in order to ensure that those stakeholders planning to be at this year’s Internet Governance Forum, had most of the subject that needed trashing at heart.

She called to mind the fact that 2009 edition was presided over by chairman of the pioneer Internet Service Provider, Linkserve Group, Chief Chima Apugo Onyekwere with the participation of the Federal Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Mrs. Dora Akunyili and Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who were both adequately represented at the forum.

ITU to introduce life mimicking 3D system:
2010 also saw the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announcing plans to set stun Television viewers with high sophisticated broadcasting system with stereoscopic Third Dimension (3D), that mimics real life visual experience, according to the Study Group 6 of Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) in its 2010 report, led by Christoph Dosch.

The study outlined a roadmap for future third dimension television (3D TV) implementation, which envisages that the systems will be so smart they could accurately mimic the way human eyes and brains perceive the visual world. This new roadmap would see 3D TV technology rolled out in three successive generations, which is technically known as profiles.

They cited an instance of the first generation ‘plano-stereoscopic television’ which calls for two views to be delivered to viewers’ TV sets. Wearing special glasses similar to those used to watch 3D cinema, viewers will be able to see depth in the picture, although the view will remain the same when they move their heads in real life, and view changes when they move their heads.

The second generation will provide for multiple views, with head movement changing the view, for a viewing experience that more closely mimics real life. The third generation features systems that record the amplitude, frequency and phase of light waves, to reproduce almost completely human beings’ natural viewing environment. These kinds of highly advanced systems are technically some 15-20 years away.

Commenting, the Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, Mr. Valery Timofeev said the new ITU report establishes a clear framework for the development of new types of systems that will totally change the way we experience broadcast and multimedia content.

“It maps out an exciting vision that won’t just change the look of entertainment, but open up a whole range of exciting new possibilities in sectors from education and healthcare to traffic management,” he said.
New 3D TV technologies being developed under the auspices of ITU will also have major implications for the film and television production sector, as content will need to be filmed using special new equipment in order for viewers to enjoy the full 3D experience.

‘Free blackberry subscription’
The year 2010 witnessed the introduction of free blackberry subscription by one of the innovative mobile company, Etisalat Nigeria. This is the company said, was exhibition of commitment to the Nigeria telecom market.

Chief Marketing Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar noted that the company’s ongoing Blackberry service free promo is a reflection of Etisalat’s continuous drive to provide necessary tools and services for its customers to gain the competitive advantage in their business and family relationship. He also noted that it helps customers in expanding the value derivable from mobile telephony far beyond internet and data transmission but also enhanced connectivity.

Ammar said as subscribers who have benefited in the ongoing special promotion package that offers two months free subscription at the purchase of any of the blackberry devices; Bold 9000, Storm 9500 and Curve 8900 on the unique BlackBerry internet service plan, have continued to get commendation.

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