Showing posts with label TECHNOLOGY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TECHNOLOGY. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tech startups: Inability to access domestic, foreign markets still challenging — Okeremi

Although start-ups in Nigeria and the rest of the African sub-region are  developing  real-world solutions expected to address local challenges, infrastructural challenges like  inability in accessing domestic and  foreign market, funding, mentor-ship, among others are still challenging to the growth of  startups in the region.

Towards digital economy
With no fewer than  forty start-ups  qualified to launch their  product on the DEMO Africa stage in September this financial year,  Yele Okeremi,  the Institute of Software Professional of Nigeria,  ISPON,  representative on the  Board of  the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, who disclosed this in an interview  with  Sunday Vanguard at the weekend  noted that  these  challenges  must be addressed if Nigeria and other African countries  must be a  digital economy  in the knowledge economy.
Potentials of software Nigeria

With global community heading to Nigeria  this September for Demo Africa,  Okeremi who is the Managing Director  of Precise Financial Systems Ltd, said with  optimum that  the event is expected to  unlock the potentials of software Nigeria.

To connect African startups

According to Okeremi who is the Chairman, local organizing committee of Demo Africa, the capacity building event  will  connect   African startups to the global technology  ecosystem.
“Demo Africa is an initiative of the US department of States for Africa.

“The idea of Demo Africa is to get young Africans who have the capability and technical know-how to perform well but who do not  probably have things like business mentorship or funding.

“And so, what the Demo tries to do is to bring the young kids together with investors and mentors and hope that their business or little idea that started small will be taken up to something that will change the world positively” he explained.

Prospects for the startups
“There are very high prospects for the startups. This is because these forty  finalists have been selected through many criteria. One is relevant to society. So, it shows clearly that any of the forty finalists could have the opportunity to change the world possibilities.

The Minister  for Communication Technology, Dr  Omobola Johnson, who is very passionate about youth capacity building had earlier commended the software incubators saying  that, “ Demo Africa  presents another opportunity for African tech startups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution.

Nigeria, Africa in ICT map
“Through innovation, we  will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map. Realizing the huge potential of the software industry, we have  put in place a set of initiatives that will assist  the  tech startups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth.”

It would be recalled that Nigeria topped the list in Demo Africa with a total number  of  fourteen  start-ups qualifying followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe have earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.(Vanguard)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Is talk cheap? Nigerians spend N447.8bn on recharge cards monthly’

A workshop organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, weekend, to educate Nigerian Legislators on some intricate parts of telecom business/investments, incidentally exposed that Nigerians make a massive monthly investment of over four hundred billion naira on recharge cards alone.\\This whopping sum, may have demystified the age long cliché that ‘Talk is cheap’. Besides, the investment on recharge cards, surprisingly dwarfed the ones made on House Rent, Petrol, Kerosene and electricity –options, known to have squeezed the economies of average Nigerians for several decades.
From the statistics of an ICT expert, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode of Aluko &Oyebode law firm, Nigerians spend 149.1bn on House rent, 128bn on Petrol, 144.8bn on Kerosene, and 91.8bn on electricity monthly.
At the workshop themed: “ICT infrastructure as key driver for economic development: what role for the legislature?” Oyebode reeled out these figures to postulate the impact of ICT infrastructure on economic development.

However, he noted that “a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, shows that broadband penetration contributes significantly to economic growth. But notwithstanding all of the potential of ICT to GDP, Nigeria still lags behind due to insufficient development of ICT infrastructure. Today, broadband penetration is estimated at 6% in Nigeria.
Another facilitator and Principal Partner, Kayafas Konsult Ltd, Mr Stephen Bello, also echoed Oyebode’s view that broadband is at its infancy in Nigeria with less than about 2% of the population having access to it.
He however added that the cost is still exorbitant even for corporate bodies. “We are still far from ITU targets which recommend that 50% of citizens and 40% of households by 2015 should have access to broadband. However, the recent policy framework and spectrum auction by NCC are designed to boost broadband availability in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah while briefing the legislators at the workshop said that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan seeks to promote broadband deployment, increase broadband adoption and usage, and ensure the availability of broadband services at affordable prices. Juwah argued that the effect of this would be an increase in competition in the industry, a downward impact on prices, and improved quality of services to subscribers.”

The workshop also provided operators the opportunity to give their perspectives on the Open Access Model of the NCC, meant to deepen broadband penetration. In a paper titled:Broadband and Infrastructure development in Nigeria: Operators’ perspective of the Open Access Model, Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms. Funke Opeke, contended that “operators have had a mixed reaction to the Open Access model. Large, incumbent operators with most of the existing infrastructure have not been very enthusiastic about the plan. Since open access will drive convergence of infrastructure costs to a common benchmark, it will become increasingly difficult to gain benefits from proprietary infrastructure, higher tariffs,  which make it difficult for new entrants/smaller players to participate in the telecoms value chain in Nigeria. Currently, the bigger you are, the more you can maximize value across the entire value chain, from value added services like ring tone, content distribution, to network connectivity services, corporate connectivity, Internet service.”

She also added that “open access implies barriers to entry will not be as high and thus new players could come into the market if they think they can do better without having to build out and replicate the infrastructure owned by any of the big boys. Smaller players are excited at the opportunity – but daunted by the challenges and need support. The example of Superflux is a good one. Indigenous entrepreneurs that are raising money locally will need support if we do not want to stifle their growth. This is a proven model in other parts of the world, so we need government to support them.”
Joseph Tegbe of KPMG, also made a case for the Open Access Model. Based on the various challenges in the country and the trend of deployments in other jurisdictions, he sought to convince the lawmakers that the Open Access Broadband Deployment Model is suited for Nigeria as it wouldthe gaps in broadband deployment, through the deployment of new fibre and leveraging existing fibre infrastructure;available the new network infrastructure and services to all telecom operators on a fair and non-discriminatory basis at a regulated price; minimise duplication of rollout and unnecessary environmental impact; Help realise the objectives of the National broadband plan with a minimum broadband speed of 1.5 Mbps to the general population; Facilitate faster and wider broadband penetration nationwide andsharing of infrastructure.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Africa; Mobile users to hit 930m, 2019 – Ericsson

Indications have emerged that mobile subscription in the Sub-Sahara Africa will hit an all-time high of 930 million by 2019, says Ericsson. Out of this number,732 million will come from mobile broadband subscription, mostly in 3G, with about 100 million in LTE services. The Head of the Sub-Saharan Africa region at Ericsson, Fredrik Jejdling announced this on Wednesday at the on-going African conference holding in Cape Town, South Africa. During the period under review, he said that there will be 476 million smartphones and mobile data traffic will grow 17 times by the date stated above. According to him, mobile banking and social networking will drive demand under the period in review. He stated that Ericsson had studied about 180 operators across the globe and had identified service enablers, network developers, and service creators as major strategic approaches for data growth. He said that service providers can team up with the enablers to achieve better results. Service creators, he said should develop their own applications to ease service delivery. He observed that several operators are going to scramble for subscribers over the next few years as the market gets more competitive. For operators to benefit from the imminent explosion from data demand, Jejdlig said, regulators must provide the enabling environment for this to happen. He noted that Africa’s biggest challenge in data coverage lies in the door coverage. To boost indoor coverage, he however, announced that Ericsson recently introduced a new device that can aid service operators provide uninterrupted indoor services in buildings, when attached to in-building CAT 5 cabling, as an online solution.-VANGUARD

Airtel unveils smartphones BBM plans

Lagos,Nigeria – Leading Telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria, has become the first service provider to create a special Blackberry Messenger (BBM) bundle for the teeming number of Nigerians who now use the Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for Android and iPhones. This bundle provides great opportunity and access for Airtel customers to chat with friends, family and loved ones, as much as they want with the monthly plans, which allow unrestricted data usage for BBM-related activity within a 30-day subscription window. To enjoy the special BlackBerry Messenger offering for smartphone users, customers are to dial *440*22#, *440*23# and *440*24# for the Monthly, Weekly and Daily plans respectively. The Airtel special BBM daily plan attracts N100 charge; the Weekly plan goes for N200 while customers can activate the Monthly plan for N300. All these plans enable customers enjoy a full month BlackBerry Messenger access. According to the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Airtel, Deepak Srivastava, the newly introduced BlackBerry Messenger Bundle for Smartphone, which is coming less than a month after global launch of service, affirms the company’s innovativeness and customer-centricity. He asserted that Airtel is always swift in its response to impact customers with the latest technology trends, especially those that provide them great telecoms experience. “The demand for BlackBerry Messenger on smartphones is unprecedented and as a company that thrives on innovation and customer satisfaction, we had to be swift in providing our customers with added value and further delight their BB service experience with the BBM bundle plans. In addition, the offering will enable our customers to experience the efficacy and robustness of Airtel’s 3.75g service”, he said.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Five Key Buiness Mistakes That Led to BlackBerry's Collapse

Watching BlackBerry stumble and fall during the last few years has not been pleasant. The company once stood at the top of the smartphone market. Its smartphones were carried by mobile professionals in the tens of millions. These devices were the envy of the office and the company helped push mobility in new and exciting directions.
And then everything went wrong.
The company made a number of mistakes along the way that led to its current position at the bottom of the smartphone market. It's still losing share. BlackBerry last week announced that it is exploring strategic options, including an outright sale of the company to investors or other third parties. BlackBerry is close to the end of the road and desperately seeking an escape route.
Here's how BlackBerry found itself trapped with nowhere to go.
1. It wrote off the iPhone.
Former BlackBerry co-CEO Mike Lazaridis scoffed at the original iPhone. He thought it was a toy. He derided its poor battery life and balked at the idea that anyone would want to type on glass when BlackBerrys offered full QWERTY keyboards.
The original iPhone may not be impressive by today's standards, but there's no denying that it forever altered the smartphone paradigm. It offered a big screen, a capable browser, and the best music/video experiences available from a mobile device, something that BlackBerrys (and most other smartphones at the time) did not.
As the saying goes, BlackBerry didn't adapt -- at least, not fast enough -- to the changes in the market. Classic Darwinism in action. (Nokia is guilty of this too.)
2. It wasted resources on the PlayBook.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is one of the biggest tech industry failures in recent memory. The company introduced the tablet during the fall of 2010 (following the debut of the original Apple iPad tablet earlier that year), and brought the PlayBook to market in April 2011.
BlackBerry's leadership probably thought it was responding to the Apple iPad is a timely manner, getting a competitive product to market as quickly as it could. It did this at the expense of its smartphones. BlackBerry pulled resources away from its smartphone development teams in the months leading up to the PlayBook's debut. Instead, it should have skipped the tablet altogether and focused on its core smartphone business, which was already in trouble. (Handset sales are historically responsible for 80% of BlackBerry's revenue.)
The one thing BlackBerry did right with the PlayBook was to base the operating system on QNX, which it had purchased earlier. QNX and PlayBook OS eventually led to the foundation of today's BlackBerry 10 operating system. If BlackBerry had only skipped the PlayBook and begun work on BlackBerry 10 right away, it might have had a better chance.
3. BlackBerry didn't fire Lazaridis and Balsillie soon enough.
BlackBerry's former CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, are far more responsible for the company's position today than is current CEO Thorsten Heins. Lazaridis and Balsillie were bullheaded and unwilling to change with the market. They ignored competitive threats from Apple and Google, they frittered away time and money pursuing the PlayBook, and by the time they realised their mistakes it was too late.
BlackBerry's board of directors should have recognised this sooner and done something about it. It was obvious to everyone else that Lazaridis and Balsillie didn't know how to handle the changing market.
Why did the board not see it? Had BlackBerry's board noticed the writing on the wall 12 months earlier, the company might be in a much better place right now. Was the board scared of what would happen if it fired the two founders of the company?
Lazaridis and Balsille stepped down from their co-CEO roles in December 2011, ceding control to Heins, who officially became CEO in January 2012. Heins hit the ground running, but BlackBerry was already too far behind to catch up.
4. It didn't take BYOD seriously.
One of BlackBerry's core strengths is the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The BES is the tool used by businesses to manage their fleets of BlackBerrys. It remains a capable and incredible service for mobile device management.
Once the iPhone and Android were proven enterprise devices able to run business apps, some businesses began to let employees pick their own smartphones. Guess what they picked? iPhones and Android smartphones, not BlackBerrys.
The problem is that BES was unable to manage the iPhone and Android devices in the way it can manage BlackBerrys. Enterprises began to allow mass adoptions of these competing products and had to choose other solutions to manage them. BlackBerry didn't add the ability to control the iPhone and Android smartphones to BES until BES 10 was released this year.
5. It delayed BlackBerry 10 until 2013.
BlackBerry debuted BlackBerry 10, its next-generation operating system, in January 2013. The first BB10 devices hit the market shortly thereafter. Of course, by this time, Apple's iOS was onto its sixth major generation, Google's Android was onto its fourth major generation, and even Microsoft's Windows Phone platform was on its third major generation. BlackBerry 10 would have been late to the game if it showed up in January 2012, let alone January 2013.
Of course, building an operating system from scratch is no easy task. Had Lazaridis and Balsillie reacted to the iPhone immediately in 2007 (or even to Android in late 2008), it's possible they could have gotten something improved to the market by early 2010. That alone could have helped significantly.
But they didn't. The company released two more iterative updates to its aging platform (BlackBerry OS6 and OS7). These were both significant improvements over BlackBerry OS5, but not nearly enough to compete with Android and iOS.
Along with the iterative OS updates, the company stuck with iterative hardware updates, too. The Bold, Curve, and Pearl lines remained essentially unchanged for years, despite the interesting and new form factors being introduced by makers of Android devices.
At the end of the day, BlackBerry's current predicament traces back to poor leadership. It's truly a shame, because the company had plenty going for it.
Now the company's fate is surrounded by questions. Will anyone buy it? If they do, what will become of the smartphone maker? Will it be sold in pieces, which seems likely, or as a single company? Will it be shut down or kept alive? There will be no fairy-tale ending for the former smartphone king.
• Culled from