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Avaya, iSON Technologies Partner on Digital Transformation across Africa

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Avaya, a global leader in business communications software, systems and services, and iSON Technologies, one of Africa’s largest ICT services companies, announced that they are working closely on key strategic accounts across Africa to help customers achieve their digital transformation objectives.

Enterprises in Africa are looking at digitization strategies to drive operational excellence, improve customer satisfaction and expand to play a greater part in the global economy. Avaya and iSON Technologies are now working together in 16 countries across the continent, the two companies said today, helping to transform the customer experience in a range of industries, including telecoms, banking and financial services.

Avaya’s client-tailored and result-oriented digital & smart services elevate organizations of every scale, accelerating their digital growth journeys with vertical, industry-focused solutions and services. Avaya is the only company today that specializes in complex business communications – internal for companies’ teams and external for their customers – based on open, mobile software platforms, with the network infrastructure to meet customers’ underlying needs.

iSON Technologies is one of Avaya’s most valued partners in the  African region, a winner of the “Strategic Win of the Year Award” at the Avaya Partner Forum event in 2015,recipient of the  Avaya Contact Center Partner of the year in 2013 and an Avaya Platinum Partner, the highest level. iSON has won multiple awards for its work with Avaya, having successfully delivered customer experience transformation in key industry verticals in Africa, including with one of the world’s leading international banking groups.

“Avaya’s successful transformation into a customer-centric company focuses on software and services, and the strength of its solutions fit well with ISON’s strategy of customer experience management. Today, iSON and Avaya are providing contact center solutions to some of the largest mobile communications companies in the world. We have deployed Avaya Aura Unified Communications and Contact Centre solutions to the company’s operations in several countries, giving Avaya and iSON a presence in all the leading service providers in Africa,” stated Jitendra Israni, Chief Executive Officer, iSON Technologies.

“As African nations and businesses look to expand and grow their economies, Avaya, together with ISON Technolgies, is helping organisations across the continent to progress on their digital transformation journeys. With Avaya able to deliver a complete solution for the customer experience, including voice and data and offering stable, reliable solutions, we are keen to extend the partnership with ISON Technologies further,” said Danny Drew, Managing Director, South Africa, Avaya.

New Software Stops Ransomware
Scientists at the University of Florida (UF) say they have developed software that can stop the growing problem of ransomware in its tracks.

Ransomware encrypts computer files and is used by hackers who then demand money in exchange for freeing the content.

It is becoming a huge problem globally.

The solution – dubbed CryptoDrop – detected the malware and stopped it after it had encrypted just a handful of files, said its developers.

Patrick Traynor, an associate professor in UF’s department of computer and information science, worked with PhD student Nolen Scaife and Henry Carter, from Villanova University, on the software.

“Our system is more of an early-warning system,” Mr Scaife said.

“It doesn’t prevent the ransomware from starting… it prevents the ransomware from completing its task… so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that’s on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom.”

In tests, CryptoDrop had spotted 100% of malware samples and stopped it after an average of 10 files had been encrypted, researchers said.

In May, the FBI issued a warning saying that the number of ransomware attacks had doubled in the past year and was expected to grow even more rapidly this year.

It said that it had received more than 2,400 complaints last year and estimated losses from such attacks at $24m (£18m) for individuals and businesses.

Governments, large companies, banks, hospitals and educational institutions are all among the victims of such attacks.

Richard Cassidy, an expert at security firm Alert Logic said of CryptoDrop: “Whilst the step taken by researchers at the University of Florida are indeed a novel way in which to detect and contain ransomware, it doesn’t serve as the ‘silver bullet’ for ransomware as a whole.”

“There are new variants being written all the time and ransomware writers will indeed take the time to dissect and understand how this new technology operates, creating versions that will attempt to either bypass detection, or at the very least search more effectively for likely sensitive files, before encrypting them, with the hope of having the biggest impact of securing a ransom payment.”

The team at UF currently has a prototype that works with Windows-based systems.

It is seeking a commercial partner for the software, having recently presented its paper on the technology at a conference in Japan.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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ISPON Makes Case for CPN Affiliates on NITDA’s Board

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Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), one of the affiliate bodies of the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), is worried about the continued absence of CPN representatives on the Board of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), months after the inauguration of its board members, describing the situation as unconstitutional and lopsided.

 

While NITDA is the government agency responsible for the implementation of the country’s policies on Information Technology (IT), CPN is a government agency saddled with the responsibility of registering and controlling all IT practitioners in the country.

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The NITDA Act states that four CPN representatives would be on the NITDA Board, which are selected from each affiliate member of CPN, of which ISPON is one of them.

 

This has been the tradition since the inception of NITDA, until this year, when the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu inaugurated the NITDA Board without CPN and its affiliate members, a situation that is giving ISPON and other affiliate members of CPN, some concerns.

 

Worried about the continuous absence of CPN members on NITDA Board, ISPON has called on the minister to quickly address the situation and correct the imbalance, inline with NITDA’s Act.

 

The former President of ISPON, James Emadoye who raised the concern during the official handing over of the administration of ISPON to the incoming President, Dr. Yele Okeremi in Lagos recently, urged the minister to revisit the inauguration and ensure that CPN members are on the Board of NITDA.

 

Okeremi who saw the situation as loss of permanent seats by the CPN, promised to engage the minister until the matter is resolved.

 

Narrating the circumstances that led to the absence of CPN members on NITDA’s Board, Emadoye said: “It is the responsibility of the minister to inaugurate members of the NITDA Board and the minister had called for the list from CPN, which was sent to him before the inauguration, but along the line NITDA instead on quota basis for the selection process and that someone from the North-west must be on the board, which negates the NITDA Act that clearly states that four professionals representing each of the geopolitical group will be nominated to the NITDA Board.

 

Emadoye insisted it was not proper to neglect the affiliates in the inauguration of NITDA Board and called on the minister to revisit the issue and address it amicably.

 

The Minister of Communications had in March this year, inaugurated a team of 16 board members that will drive the affairs of NITDA, without the four representatives from CPN.

 

Since then, stakeholders from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, have criticised the omission of CPN nominees, while blaming it on NITDA, whom they believed did not handle the entire process of the inauguration with the utmost national interest it deserved.

 

Giving reasons for the omission of CPN nominees, the Director, E-Government Development and Regulation at NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji told THISDAY that the omission of CPN nominees was as a result of a mix-up in the submission of names and that CPN has been further directed to rectify the list of its nominees, and resend same to the minister. According to Olatunji, as soon as the list is rectified and sent, the CPN members would be inaugurated into NITDA Board.

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Edo Innovation Hub Partners Siemens on ‘The Hack Edo Series’

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Sequel to its launch only last week, the Edo Innovates tech cluster has concluded modalities for The Hack Edo Series, a multi-dimensional initiative to identify and incubate the best ideas that tackle problems of power generation and distribution faced by individuals, businesses and the digital ecosystem, with a N3.5 million prize money.

In a statement by Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Skills Development and Jobs Creation, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said that The Hack Edo Series which is being organised in partnership with Impact Hub and Siemens Nigeria, will leverage innovation technology to identify solutions in the area of power generation, adding that N3.5 million in cash prizes will be won by the best ideas.

She said starts-ups or groups with ideas can apply on the Edo jobs website, as deadline for application is on June 30.

According to her, “through a series of practical Hackathons, the Hack Edo series aims to equip young Nigerian innovators with the skills necessary to make impact in their various communities.”

She said the series will help increase the number of individuals taking action on social and economic issues, build a collaborative community that tackles issues and identify the best ideas that will be supported through the incubation phase.

She said the hackathons will catalyse high-growth startups within Edo State, support development of ventures from ideation to commercialization and promote job creation and economic development, adding, “this will drive and ensure the increased adoption of local technology by government, corporates and development agencies across Edo state and Nigeria, strengthen and raise the standard of startups in the region and deliver positive social impact returns to communities and people across the region.”

It would be recalled that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, alongside Governor Godwin Obaseki, last week, launched the South-South Innovation Hub in the state, kicking off activities for the state’s fledging tech ecosystem at the remodeled Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).

The state government has partnered with over 25 technology firms in setting up the facility, which will serve as a one-stop shop for training, incubation, acceleration for start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.

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ReadyBargains, New Online Shopping Platform Begins Operations

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ReadyBargains online business has launched an online platform to allow Nigerians who love shopping online visit shops online, make purchases and get them delivered to their choice locations.

 

“Our goal is to meet the needs of different classes of people looking for good bargains,” Don Okhuofu, chairman, ReadyBargains, said during the launch of the platform recently.

 

“Customers using our platform have access to shop from different UK and US stores using a single cart and a $10 off cart coupon available to the first basket checked out by every customer.

 

“The products are delivered to our customers across the country at their door steps of collection points of their choices,” Okhuofu said.

 

According to him, the platform gives users a 10- 15 percent cost reduction, compared with that of competitors.

 

He noted that all users have access to an additional $10 off every purchases of above $100 made from Walmart, Tesco, Carters and Mothercare.

 

“The risks of getting fake products from our services are remote because users shop directly from the foreign stores themselves. We assure users of quality products because they deal directly with the producers,” he further said.

 

Speaking on the challenging environment for e-commerce operators in the country, Okhuofu stated that the seeming failure of e-commerce business was because of their cost/revenue structure.

 

 

 

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