" ITREALMS: October 2011


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Monday, October 31, 2011

NCC prepares grounds for broadband plans

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is preparing grounds for a solid broadband plans for the country, insisting that Africa needs a unified broadband strategy.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah made this revelation at the recently ended West African ICT Congress in Lagos and represented by the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo.

The Commission, he said, has commenced preliminary studies and appraisals that would usher NCC on solid ground for full implementation of a broadband marshal plan for Nigeria.

“What we would stress today is the desire for the industry, especially the policy makers, investors, service providers, vendors and policy makers to begin to examine how these would affect the future of our telecommunications environment, and prepare themselves for the roles they will need to play for us to realize a collective success,” he said.

The success being envisaged by NCC in the sector, he said, is not such that only one institution would be expected to deliver.

“When we put broadband in the perspective of cross border implementation, it calls for harmonization of policies across the states or nations involved at regional or continental levels,” he said.

Therefore, he said, Africa and Nigeria need to evolve a uniform inter-regional policy framework such that when broadband is fully implemented in any of the nations, the benefits could easily spread to sister nations in the continent.

“A careful appraisal of the growth of broadband in developed countries can be traced to a semblance of policies accentuated by uniform level of development in terms of telecommunications and ICT infrastructures,” he noted.

Lamenting that the same could not be said of Africa where huge telephone traffic are not exchanged between neighbouring countries on the continent, when compared with the traffic that such countries exchange with countries in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle east countries.

“Most African countries are yet to be directly interconnected, which is the reason why it costs higher to make calls across the continent than it is to make calls to and from outside the continent,” he said, stressing that as Africans must collectively pursue a deliberate policy of liberalization that will attract service providers to go beyond their immediate environments and also allow interconnection within and among African countries.

Nigeria, he cited as an instance, has witnessed impressive investments in the area of submarine optics fibre cable along the coastlines, yet, there are about four major cables currently.

Ordinarily, Juwah pointed out that if Nigeria taps into the full potentials of these cables, with its direct connection to the international super-highway, the country would have achieved a lot in broadband penetration.

Decrying the fact that these cables have only reached the coastlines, while majority of the geographical land mass are yet to be connected because they are mostly landlocked, Juwah urged investors to take advantage of this by going extra mile to ensure that the rest of the countries’ are connected.

“It could be that such investors may need to be incentivized, but in what ways? This is where we hope the experts and stakeholders would come up with the appropriate recommendations that will guide regulatory actions and policies,” he said.

Juwah emphasized that service providers in Africa appear to have backed down from an earlier pursuit of deploying to as many African countries as possible.

Remmy Nweke:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

SA deploys technologies to boost health sector

The South African government has advanced plans to deploy appropriate technologies to boost its health care system.

South African Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi made this disclosure recently at the launch of Human Resource for Health Strategy in Wits University.

He also said that the health system must provide safe facilities which have the appropriate technology and materials for health workers to discharge their duties diligently.

“We have embarked on strategies to ensure that all these factors are addressed,” he said. According to him, there is a coordinated health facility planning that has developed revitalisation plans for hospitals and nursing colleges.

To this end, he said, some advisory committee has been put in place which produced an essential technology list.

This, he said, is a list of minimum equipment each facility must have to deliver quality and safe health care.

“An audit of more than 4000 facilities is currently underway, this audit assesses among others; human resources, facility management, supply and logistics, etc. We will be setting up teams to work closely with the facilities to develop quality improvement and health system strengthening plans for each facility,” he said.

The South African government, he said, believes this would result in well-equipped and better staffed facilities that will enable health workers to focus on what they know best, that is, delivering quality health care in facilities they are proud to be part of.

So far, he said, his office has presented a wide ranging interventions to address human resource challenges.

This, he said, involve a process of systematic planning integrating facility improvement, working with private providers, increasing the number of student intake, refurbishing institutions and constructing new faculties as part of our response to the Human Resource shortages we face.

Further, he said, the previous sections have addressed the push and pull factors within the HR system and have addressed individual and systematic issues.

One of the weaknesses at organisational level is the management skill at facility and district level. Studies have demonstrated that it is not only financial incentives that make them leave but sometimes how they are managed or “mismanaged”. The public health sector has to ensure that environment in which health workers operate is conducive.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Sanusi for AIT Infotech, TechAfrica roundtable

Two leading information communications technology (ICT) content providers, AIT Infotech and Technology Africa, are now set to host a breakfast forum with the Central Bank’s governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on evolving a cashless society.

A joint press statement made available to ITRealms Online endorsed by Bayero Agabi of Infotech Network and Don Pedro Aganbi of Technology Africa indicated that as the Nigerian Central Bank gets set to implement a measure that will encourage boom in electronic transaction otherwise referred to as cashless society issues of ICT infrastructure.

This, they stated would enable electronic transaction (e-transaction) laws and the political will to see it through.

As said by them, the talking point of the breakfast session with the CBN governor is evolving a cashless society in Nigeria, political or economic statement.

They alleged that cash is the blood wire of corruption, bribery and money laundering to name a few and by removing cash, definitely these vices aforementioned would find it difficult to survive.

The organizers further said that the challenge now is for all Nigerians to brace up for this new era in the economic development and banks to put in place necessary operational infrastructure to cope with the anticipated upsurge in the number of bank customers.

Equally, they said that the theme of the forum “Evolving a Cashless Society in Nigeria: Political Statement or Economic Benefit” is apt as it would lend weight to existing efforts to increase awareness of the issues, challenges, opportunities in growing a cashless society in Nigeria.

The forum would additionally provide a platform for government to present its plans and policies for a cashless society, and the private sector to provide insights into challenges, opportunities, and source of funds for infrastructural development, alternatives and enabling institutional legal frameworks.

The forum, they added, holds prospect for networking and forging strategic partnerships among key stakeholders in all the sectors of the economy.

The breakfast forum, they noted, would hold in Lagos on Friday, November 11, 2011, at the prestigious Golden Gate Restaurant Ikoyi-Lagos.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Schneider brings StruxureWare to data centres

Globally  acclaimed specialist in energy management for data communications, Schneider Electric, has introduced StruxureWare for Data Centers.

This comes in form of a management software suite designed to address all aspects of the data centre physical infrastructure needed to maximize availability and efficiency.

Confirming this, Mr. Kevin Brown, vice president, data Centre global offer and strategy, Schneider Electric, said the StruxureWare for Data Centers combines Schneider Electric’s Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Data Center Facility Management (DCFM) software tools.

These, he said, would provide data gathering, monitoring and automation, and planning and implementation functionalities enabling an integrated and multifaceted view of all the mission critical physical systems of the data centre. This new offering empowers data centre managers by giving them access to all the data and tools they need to operate data centers that are more reliable, efficient, productive, safe and green.

“Data centre environments traditionally rely on siloed management tools that require the knowledge and experience of numerous IT and facility professionals leveraging specialised management dashboards to obtain the information they need,” he said.

Brown also said that with StruxureWare for Data Centers, Schneider Electric is providing a toolset from which the data centre manager could access and manage across the domains of the IT room, building electrical power and power quality, facility and data centre cooling and physical security.

“This management software suite delivers comprehensive, accurate real time data enabling them to take action based on the complete picture of the data centre,” he said.

Further, he explained that the StruxureWare for Data Centers management software suite would offer a variety of software tools to improve both the monitoring and the operational aspects of comprehensive data centre management.

He outlined some of these tools include the StruxureWare for Data Centers: Monitoring Suite and Operations Suite.

On the monitoring suite, he said, it would offer a series of core and advanced options for real-time visualisation, notification and reporting of the physical facility and data centre systems for electrical power, cooling, security and IT infrastructure elements.

The monitoring suite, he pointed out further consist of StruxureWare Central which is formerly InfraStruXure Central; A fundamental, vendor-neutral software system that provides a unified view and analysis of complex IT physical infrastructure that communicates with building, power, enterprise and network management systems to ensure quality, and increase both energy and cost efficiencies.

“The new StruxureWare Central for Blackberry and iPhone apps provide data centre managers with the same active alarms, alarm history, device groups and current sensor values found in the StruxureWare Central desktop user interface without being tied to a computer screen,” he said among others.

While the StruxureWare for Data Centers: Operations Suite entails a second generation DCIM framework enabling customers to gain control of their day-to-day operations where capacity limitations, frequent changes and availability are daily challenges for data centre managers.

StruxureWare Operations, he said, is enterprise DCIM framework providing a scalable and fault tolerant solution encompassing all aspects of modern data centre management, ranging from asset and capacity control over dashboards to smart phone integration.

“The framework provides the ability to forecast future budgets for expanding and consolidating data centre operations as well as the impact these changes would have on various aspects of the facility,” he said.

Emphasising that through transparency into data centre key performance indicators (KPIs), customers are assisted in making informed decisions about service level agreements and controlling operational costs.

Remmy Nweke:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bindir advocates agenda 1777 for sustainable development

Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Umar Bindir, has advocated for the adoption of agenda 1777 to fast track the sustainable development process for Nigeria.

Speaking at the opening session of a two-day workshop for ECOWAS Network of Science Journalists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja at the weekend, enjoining African media practitioners to be innovative in reporting Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.

Bindir in his position for agenda 1777, noted that it would serve as a development paradigm for the continent and nation particularly.

According to him, the one (1) in the Agenda 1777 canvasses for  oneness and togetherness for the promotion of unity among African countries, citing Nigeria for an instance.

“We must understand that Nigeria is one and we must do away with tribalism, religious bigotry, geo-political zones and political leanings,” he declared.

Dr. Bindir explained that it’s high time for Nigerians to believe that in the next seven (7) years, this country should be able to establish seven (7) multinational companies that would give the world seven (7) international products.

He also advocated for special curricula to be introduced in the education system to build the kind of scientists Africa needs in 21st century.

He also said that reporting Science and Technology must be innovative, otherwise reporters would see more problems than solutions based on innovation, stressing that science journalists have to be strategic in reporting Science and Technology.

Additionally, the NOTAP Director-General said that Nigeria needs a baseline data to improve scientific and innovative development of the country, which has the potential of spreading across the countries in the sub-region.

Bindir pointed out that Science and Technology, should not be reported as ‘S & T’ but based on jobs and entrepreneurs for political buy-in.

Also speaking, the Director, Information Communication, Science and Technology Division (ISTD), Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mrs. Aida Opoku-Mensah, decried the fact that Africa is the only region yet to explore the great potentials of using science and technology as an engine of growth and development.

Opoku-Mensah, who was represented by the Regional Advisor, ISTD at ECA, Mr. Thierry Amoussougbo, noted that media needs to do a buy-in into the scientific developments to make the information relevant and access to the people of the continent.

She noted that technology and innovation have served as the foundations of social and economic well-being since the beginning of human civilization, with the birth of modern science in Europe in the seventeenth century, science, technology and innovation (STI).

These, she said, have emerged as essential for creating wealth and improving the quality of life of people and for the advancement of human society.

According to her, the importance of science, technology, innovation and knowledge for development cannot be understated.

“There centrality for the nations socio-economic development is undeniable,” she said, adding that African countries with STI capabilities have the capacity to develop and countries without STI capability do not.

“Indeed, Africa is the only region yet to fully exploit the great potentials of using science and technology as an engine of growth and development,” she said.

The scale of challenge facing Africa, she said in the area of science and technology is huge with some related to low investment in research and development, inadequate regulatory regimes, poor infrastructural base and a lack of access to helpful scientific ideas.

She pointed out that an estimated that Africa has 83 engineers for every one million people, the developed world as 1000 engineers per one million people.

Equally speaking, the Director and country representative, UNESCO, Dr. Joseph Ngu, said science journalists should stimulate public interest and debate on areas where science and technology could impact on social and economic well-being of the society.

He also charged media practitioners to look beyond the superficial to report o the real impact science and technology has on the people, adding that Africa’s development has been on the front burners of international conferences for decades and many development approaches have been prescribed and administered by experts in various fields of human endeavour.

Participants, he said, seek to support the vision of scientifically led development in Africa, but this could be achieved by intervening in aspect of communication of science to the stakeholders and also the role of science and technology for attaining peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development and promoting a dialogue among different cultures and knowledge systems in Africa.

He pointed out that the systematic application of scientific and technological (S&T) knowledge has been a major factor in the rapid and sustainable economic development of many developed countries, adding that the central role of S & T has therefore been stressed in many international, regional and national sustainable development action plans, such as the Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan for Action (CPA), the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Nigeria’s National  Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).

ITRealms Online recalls that the workshop was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Department of Human Resource Science and Technology (HRST) of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), will organize a science communication training workshop from 17-19 October 2011 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Remmy Nweke:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Total Telecom wins Commercial Service award

Total Telecom Solutions Limited has bagged the United States Commercial Service International Partner Award 2011.

This award was officially conferred on the company during a ceremony hosted by the US Commercial Service in Lagos recently.

Presenting the award to the Chief Executive Officer, Total Telecom, Mr. Sunday Gbenjo, the Senior Commercial Consultant of the US Commercial Service in Nigeria, Mr. Anayo Agu, noted that the company, an ATCON member-firm was recognized for its excellent entrepreneurship which resulted in the increase of US presence and huge share of Nigerian digital security market.

He explained that the US International Partnership Award was initiated by the US Commercial Service to recognize and honour Nigerian organizations which have set credible track records in doing credible businesses with their American counterparts.

This, he said, includes companies that have promoted American products in Nigeria and have recorded high volume of transactions leading to high presence of American products thereof.

He conveyed the goodwill of the US Embassy to the company for promoting US interest effectively in the Nigerian market, reiterating the confidence the US Commercial Service reposes on Total Telecom Solutions Limited.

Agu said the company has maintained a good record of business relationships with its American counterpart.

Further, Agu encouraged the company to keep the good record in the coming years, promising that the US Commercial Service would always give all forms of support to ensure that credible companies like Total Telecom Solutions Limited continues to leverage doing business with America.

Reacting to the honour Mr. Sunday Gbenjo, said his organization has been promoting US products effectively in the Nigerian market in the past five years, adding that the aggressive push of Motorola’s digital radio when others were trading on the analogue radio gave his company the edge in terms of volume of business and turnover.

“When our company recognized the uniqueness, ruggedness, reliability and cost effectiveness of Motorola’s digital radio, the management decided to promote the product and market it to our valued customers, and the result is witnessed in the volume of orders we placed for the product in Nigeria” he said.

Gbenjo also said his company would continue to offer only the best systems that would give real value for customers’ investments. He was delighted that his little efforts over the years have paid off with this recognition and award.

He said Total Telecom is committed to changing the old order in the telecommunication industry by offering to customers total quality services that include fast response to inquiries, competitive pricing, ready stocks, after sales supports (training and maintenance) as well as professional advice on value addition customers’ existing network. 

Pointing out that with the current security challenges in the country, Gbenjo believes that Nigeria needs the best technologies and equipments to monitor and fight criminal activities effectively in order to reassure foreign investors that the country is safe enough to protect their investments.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Expect Indian handsets in Nigeria soon – Sachdev

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, has urged Nigeria to leverage on the success story of Indian’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, disclosing that sooner than expected, there would be Indian handsets vendors in the country.

The high commissioner, made this call at the 2011 edition of the West African ICT Congress which ended in Lagos at the weekend, declaring “Soon in Nigeria; Indian Handsets Vendors.”

He also said in his paper entitled ‘Leveraging India ICT for Nigeria’ that India which has a population of 1.21 billion and assumed the second largest nation has a landmass of 3.2 mn sq kms, which tagged the 7th largest in the world.

He noted that currently the Nigeria-India relationship has resulted in India being the second largest trading partner worth $13.0bn, about N2,065 trillion in 2010 till date, stressing that India is the largest investor in Nigeria in 2010 with over $5 bn, an estimated N794.4 billion.

Sachdev further said that India ranks second largest employer  with over 100 Indian companies operating in the country across pole spot in Information Technology (IT), health, steel, power X-mission.

India’s ICT Sector, he said, has telecom as number 1 with current status of 850 million phones and ranks the second largest network in addition to being the world’s fastest growing subscriber base with 15 operators taunted as the world’s lowest call tariffs.

He pointed out that with the 2011 National Telecom Policy, there is an anticipation broadband-on-demand will reach 175 million by year 2017.

According to him, with raising of Rural Teledensity to 60 per cent by 2017, which is driven by  indigenise telecom equipment, and consolidation among telecom operators.

He noted that Nigeria-India ICT ties could be tracked down from, Multi-links to Airtel, lowering thresholds in the nation’s telecom sector, adding that wide presence of Indian telecom experts, while offering training of IT personnel in the country through NIIT and ApTech.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) delegation, he said, visited Nigeria in 2009 and 2011 to partner and mentor some local IT stakeholders.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Working Group on IDN outlines framework

Members of the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) would soon be voting on the recommendations made by the Working Group on Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) for country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) within the framework of the country code-based Policy Development Process (ccPDP).

A press statement from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) informed that the purpose of the IDN country code policy development process Working Group 2 (IDN ccPDP WG 2) is to report on and identify feasible recommendations for the inclusion of IDN ccTLDs.

The Working Group (WG) identified some clusters of issues including membership definition.

Accordingly the Working Group stated that the roles of members, eligibility and selection of councilors to the ccNSO Council, initiation of PDP, voting on policy development process, selection of councilors, quorum for voting and scope of PDP as defined in Annex C.

On the recommendation on membership definition, the Working Group stated that the definition in Article IX section 4.1 should be updated to maintain the one-to-one correspondence between the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Root Zone Database and membership in the ccNSO.

Additionally, the group recommended on eligibility and nomination of councilors as well as no changes in Bylaws needed.

On the recommendation on initiation of ccPDP, the group said that in order to maintain the envisioned balance and taking into account the leading principles.

They suggested that all members of the ccNSO should be entitled to call for the creation of an Issue Report; These members need to be from different Territories; The current minimum of 10 members to request the creation of an Issue Report should be maintained.

The majority of the WG members are of the view that with the inclusion of IDN ccTLD in the ccNSO the voting in the ccNSO should be based on the principle of one vote per Territory should be applied.

While minority of the WG members is of the view the voting should be based on the principle of one member one vote.

On one vote per territory with multiple members, the Working Group noted that if there are two or more ccTLD managers in a Territory who have become members of the ccNSO, for purposes of voting in the ccNSO an emissary for that Territory has to be appointed by all members from that Territory.

“It is a matter for the ccNSO members in the Territory how to designate such an emissary,” he said.

During the period, the group suggested that the emissary has not been appointed, the incumbent member of the ccNSO from that Territory is deemed to vote for that Territory, until such time the ccNSO Council is informed by all members from that Territory of the appointment of an emissary for the Territory.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Nokia lifts App developers with smart phones

Nokia West Africa, at the weekend rewarded some five application developers in Nigeria.

They include Ajibola Aiyedogbon, Seyi Eluwole, Oyewole Oyediran, Adesoye Gbolahan and Oluwarotimi Akintewe.

Speaking at the prize presentation ceremony in Lagos, the head, Nokia’s Ecosystem Developer Experience (EDX), Mr. Teemu Kiijarvi, said the move was one of the ways Nokia of demonstrating its commitment to support local developers in building innovative applications on its proprietary platform – the Nokia store.

He said, Nokia’s decision to support developers was based on the need to have a rich ecosystem of exciting locally-built applications to suit the needs of Nigerians, adding that two months ago, Nokia organized a free three-day training for over 200 Nigerian developers before the emergence of the selected winners.

Mr. Kiijarvi also denied speculations that Nokia was on the verge of facing out phones built on the Symbian platform, stressing that the mobile phone manufacturer has actually developed new Symbian updates, which have greatly improved the user-interface of most Nokia phones.

He explained that Nokia’s new monetization opportunities for developers, mostly in the region is tailored for local markets and include integrated operator billing with 112 operators in 36 markets, more than 25 times more operator billing integrations than Nokia’s nearest competitor. Nokia Store has seen integrated operator billing increase consumer transactions by up to four times and this, coupled with Nokia’s beta programs for in-app billing and in-app advertising, means more revenue opportunities for developers on Symbian.

Commenting on behalf of his colleagues, Mr. Ajibola Aiyedogbon whose application (My Cash) on expense tracking is already enjoying downloads on Nokia store commended Nokia for providing him with its platform to reach people with his application.

Also, he expressed delight that these downloads would ultimately be financially rewarding, calling on other developers to embrace the Nokia platform.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

GoTv debuts in Ibadan

GOTv, a low cost digital television service using the next generation Digital Video Broadcast, a standard (DVB-T2) has debut in Ibadan.

Proponents of GOTv, Details Nigeria, said it would offer the greatest selection of local channels made in Africa for Africa as well as great international channels.

General Manager of GOtv, Mayo Okunola, said that the launch represents one of the most advanced Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcast system and infrastructure established in Africa and the rest of the world till date.

“GOTv will deliver digital television to everyone and will enable them experience the digital television revolution in their homes. It supports the Nigerian government’s commitment to migrating from an analogue to digital by 2012” he said.

He added that the launch of GOtv will play a pivotal role towards contributing to this technological transformation and in the process will help the country to achieve its set target towards the migration to digital TV transmission.

He explained that GOtv is on the DVB-T2 technology standard which allows for up to 20 channels per frequency, this is different from DVB-T1 technology which only allows for 12 channels per frequency. 

Hence, he said, there is a dramatic improvement on the dividend of terrestrial frequencies available to countries when DVB-T2 is deployed.

“The new service is an exciting pay television service which delivers great value and will give television lovers access to news, children’s programming, documentaries, series and movies – opening up a world of new and exciting family entertainment at a price everyone can afford,” he said.

GOtv bouquets, he said, offer great family entertainment channels and viewers will be able to enjoy fantastic selection of local and international channels at a very pocket friendly price.

Some of the channels that will be available to subscribers include Discovery World, Super sports select, E! Entertainment, Channel O, Magic World, Africa magic +, eTV Africa, amongst others.

Equally speaking, the Marketing Manager, GOtv, Mr. Akin Salu said that the channels were carefully selected to meet different users’ needs and that subscribers would enjoy improved pictures and sound quality synonymous with digital television.

“GOtv is uniquely placed to become the home of African television. We firmly believe that there is enough rich content created here on the continent to make a case for packaging great African entertainment and we have committed ourselves to making this a reality thus, offering channels made in Africa for Africa,” said Akin.

For a special price of N9, 000, subscribers will have a digital TV-decoder, 3 months subscription at no charge, and enjoy a total of 33 channels for GOtv plus and 26 channels for GOtv.

He maintained that the new GOtv does not require a satellite dish and there is no installation cost, stressing that all it requires is a GOtv decoder and a stub or grid antenna.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D