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Data Science Nigeria to Raise New Generation of Datapreneurs

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Bayo Adekanmbi.

 
Young Nigerians in their hundreds participated in the maiden workshop for the Data Science Nigeria aimed at positioning the country to benefit from the growing global importance of data and data science in proffering solutions to the myriads of human challenges.
 
Speaking at the workshop in Lagos, the convener and moderator of the event, Bayo Adekanmbi, a C-Level Executive with MTN Nigeria, informed the capacity filled audience that the initiative, a professional-led approach is designed to train and mentor young Nigerians through face-to-face, virtual online classes, project-based support and holiday boot camps.

The ultimate intent of which is to raise a special breed of entrepreneurs who will set up data science based businesses and attract foreign exchange to the nation.

Adekanmbi disclosed that the initiative is a give-back project premised on what he has learnt across the world especially during his recent one-year PhD research sabbatical in the UK,  India and America said, “India is already tapping into the Data Science space and I believe Nigeria can become Africa’s data science outsourcing destination with our brilliant undergraduates, graduates and young analysts with degrees in Engineering/Sciences and other numerate subjects”.

According to him, data and data science will become the oil of the 21st century and Nigeria must join the league of countries that will be positioned for comparative advantage in data science. The workshop assembled leading lights in Data Science to mentor participants as panelists. These include Ngozi Dozie of OneFi Nigeria, Dr. Femi Oyenuga of Oracle, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder, Andela while a US-based Nigerian leading data scientist and IBM Distinguished Engineer/Chief Data Scientist,   Dr. Uyi Stewart inspired and motivated the audience with his presentation titled: Leveraging Data Science to enable Nigeria Leapfrog”

The panel analyzing the growing importance of data science submits that countries, organizations and individuals need to make smart and sharper decisions, to do these “they need data and data scientists”.  According to them, data science is the potpourri of information and insights intelligently brought together to add value to human life. This can be done by studying pattern over time in a bid to build intelligence.

However, to become proficient in data science, both soft and technical skills are needed. These include natural curiousity, communication, romance with data and attention to details.

Attention to details is critical, emphasized the Aboyeji (Andela) unfortunately, not many Nigerians are good at this, he said, “the world is still a secret, you make money by identifying those secrets and proffering solutions to solve the challenges”.
 
Delivering his keynote, Dr. Uyi who currently holds 10 patents in the US, said: “Nigeria is at the tipping point with two choices open to her: investing in infrastructure or invest in data which is technology that will bring about transformational change through killer applications”.

“Investing in infrastructure will only bring about incremental change, this is where most of us are right now” said Dr. Uyi “If we decided to invest in infrastructure we choose to compete with the Chinese, we have to maintain the structure unfortunately, we do not have maintenance culture. We can achieve progress through data not infrastructure”, he submitted.

According to the IBM Chief Scientist, “Data is the new basis of comparative advantage”, he disclosed that we are surrounded by a sea of data with 2.5 Gigabytes of data generated every day.

Considering the scenarios, “Nigeria’s immediate and strategic opportunity is to leapfrog to the next wave of IT by leveraging technology and cognitive system”, Dr. Uyi advised, adding that there should be a sense of urgency for data and data science. To make progress, he said participants must innovate on how they collect data, curate data, run analysis and the custom ability of the insights generated.

According to the data expert, Nigeria has a high potential for disruption through business model and technological innovation.

He cited models where data have been used as bedrock to bring about breakthrough developments in Agriculture (Kenya), Health –Ebola (Sierra Leone) and education. Other uses of data include e-government, smart city planning, security, tourism, to mention but a few.

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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E-Business

Virtual ‘Hawkers’ Will Soon Send Conventional Shop Owners Packing

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By Ugwoke Udoka

Stagnancy, well, describes the activities of some shop owners. Moving around in circles and not responsive to the advancement of technology and application of these reforms to their business activities would only mean doom. Hawkers, in this context, virtual are prone to limitless success.

Gone are the days when people scramble to site their shops in the best locations or save up a lot of cash to acquire capital to buy land space and erect structures or even pay a lot of rental fee for shops. People no longer want to go through the stress of paying transportation fares to visit shops, neither do they want to waste too much time walking from department to department in a mall, when a couple of clicks from the comfort of their homes could give them the same desired result and even more. Obviously, rising technology brings a rise in customer’s taste.

Apart from fierce competition coming from mall, honestly, statistics do not favour bricks and mortars shop owners.  A report by BigCommerce.com on ‘Customer location at time of purchase’, shows a quarter of online shoppers (25%) have made an online purchase from a brick-and-mortar store; 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed; Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly 3x as likely as Baby Boomers and Seniors to have made an online purchase from bed (59% v 21%); 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office and nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of Millennials and Gen Xers have made a purchase from the office.

The report continued: more than 15% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made a purchase from the office; 20% of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car (a +1 for mobile commerce); millennials and Gen Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom (31% v. 6%) than Baby Boomers and Seniors; one in ten customers admitted to buying something online after drinking alcohol; men are more than twice as likely as women to have made a purchase after consuming alcohol (14% to 6%); younger generations are 5x more likely to drink and shop than their older counterparts (15% to 3%) and parents are twice as likely as non-parents to have made an online purchase after drinking (15% v 7%).

As e-commerce platforms in Nigeria move towards maturity, shop owners found in their numerous numbers in Onitsha Main Market, Anambra; Alaba International Market, Lagos state; Ogbette Main Market, Enugu State; Ariaria Market, Abia State; Kurmi Market, Kano State and so many others across Nigeria, should start rethinking.

These e-commerce platforms or the ‘virtual hawkers’ including Jumia, Konga, JiJi, Uber and every other who without shop spaces, uses the digital marketing techniques (technology) to capture the attention of their target audience and deliver quality products and services to them, will eventually send them (shop owners) parking.

Trust me, every business is out to make profit.  As an accountant, I know that profits are made when you reduce the cost of production or increase price. The latter is usually the better option as the former scares the customers to the ever wide-open hands of the competitors.

An article published on THISDAY Newspapers on the 28th August, 2017 by Eromosele Abiodun stated that Nigeria’s E-commerce Market Value would hit #15.5 trillion in ten years, though its current worth is #4.01 trillion. Apparently, the current worth of virtual hawking would triple in the next ten years. Tell me, where would all the shops get their own profit from? Where would all the wealth go?

Who would you think stands a better chance of amassing more customers? A shop owner who spends a lot on land space, electricity bills, adverts and other promotion strategies or a virtual hawker who almost incurs none of these costs? Have you wondered why a lot of shops and malls including Shoprite and SPAR are adopting the technology mode of attracting and retaining customers? They are beginning to take a cue from virtual hawkers and promoting programmes and packages that would not require their malls to be visited by the customer. Looking at the transportation industry, clients no longer have to wait at car parks to get to their destination.

With technology, they get the virtual hawker come pick them at wherever location and take them to their destination at almost the same or a lesser amount than the car owners parks. Transport companies like Peace Mass Transit and God is Good Motors have packages like the online booking system which allows travelers to peruse dates and book tickets with a  couple of clicks. Potentially, this will replace the conventional means of going to the counter to buy tickets and having to struggle with your luggage past the flood of travelers.

Shop owners will continually pay cut-throat taxes to government officials. This has a lot of negative effect on the profitability of the business. Whereas, virtual hawkers do not actually pay as much taxes! Instead they re-invest their profit devoid of tax and continue building their riches while shop owners are muddled up in their mediocrity. Tell me, which would you prefer?

Salvaging this ugly situation lies with the development of applications tailored towards assisting shop owners go online. ICT Editor, Peter Oluka, advises that banks and other financial institutions have key roles to play; especially to encourage more financial inclusion, because it will enhance trust. “If you trust to buy online, potentially you are an online merchant”, Peter adds.

Unfortunately, ignorance is the greatest problem of majority of these bricks and mortars shop owners, and of course it’s not an excuse. There is need for continuous education and sensitization.

In my previous article on ‘the need to ignite technology consciousness in women and girls in the South East’ , I pointed that many females in the stated region are ignorant and continuous education is key; likewise, many shop owners need digital literacy to embrace e-commerce.

 

Ugwoke Peace Udoka, ACA, MNIMN, BSc (Marketing) University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, 2016. She can be reached via: ugwokepeace@gmail.com

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Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 2% in 4Q17

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Worldwide PC shipments totaled 71.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 2 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2016, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. For the year, 2017 PC shipments surpassed 262.5 million units, a 2.8 percent decline from 2016. It was the 13th consecutive quarter of declining global PC shipments, as well as the sixth year of annual declines. However, Gartner analysts said there were some signs for optimism.

“In the fourth quarter of 2017, there was PC shipment growth in Asia/Pacific, Japan and Latin America. There was only a moderate shipment decline in EMEA,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “However, the U.S. market saw a steep decline, which offset the generally positive results in other regions.

“The fourth quarter results confirmed again that PCs are no longer popular holiday gift items. This does not mean that PCs will disappear from households,” Kitagawa said. “Rather, the PC will become a more specialized, purpose-driven device. PC buyers will look for quality and functionality rather than looking for the lowest price, which will increase PC average selling prices (ASPs) and improve profitability in the long run. However, until this point is reached, the market will have to go through the shrinking phase caused by fewer PC users.”

HP Inc. moved into the No. 1 position in the fourth quarter of 2017, as its shipments grew 6.6 percent, and its market share totaled 22.5 percent. The company showed year-over-year growth in all regions, including the challenging U.S. market. For the fourth consecutive quarter, Lenovo experienced a decline in shipments. Lenovo had moderate growth in EMEA and Asia/Pacific, but shipments declined in North America.

Dell’s shipments grew slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017. Dell did well in EMEA, Asia/Pacific and Latin America, but it had weak results in North America. Generally, Dell has put a higher priority on profitability over market share.

PC Market Consolidation in 2017

For the year, worldwide PC shipments totaled 262.5 million units in 2017, a 2.8 percent decrease from 2016. As the PC industry continues to consolidate, the top four vendors in 2017 accounted for 64 percent of global PC shipments. In 2011, the top four vendors accounted for 45 percent of PC shipments.

“The top vendors have taken advantage of their volume operations to lower production costs, pushing small to midsize vendors out of the market,” Kitagawa said.

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E-conext Identifies 10 Top Online Courses for Future Jobs

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The ever-evolving job place, with growing access to the internet has driven E-conext to take a critical look at the nature of work, employment search and online education. The e-learning platform www.e-conext.com recently identified online courses which will help develop new skill sets and alleviate poverty with global opportunities to work from home in companies like Facebook, Amazon in Europe and America while in Nigeria.

Online learning is a form of distance education that uses the internet to promote interaction between students and content, teachers, and other students. E-conext provides top courses ranging from content writing to digital marketing, emotional intelligence, programming, data entry, software development, supply chain, networking and internet security, customer relationship management and safety health.

During an interactive session, Kennedy Ugege, Principal Consultant of Jungu Media and E-conext partner in Nigeria, sheds more light on different courses which are delivered via blogs, podcast, webinars, online chats, discussion boards and virtual study jams:

– Content writing involves producing documents that are suited to the requirements, comprehension level, and background of its readers. The course trains participants how to avoid common writing pitfalls, and structure your writing effectively.

– Digital Marketing provides goals and methods so you can plan the best strategy and mix for different organizations. It surveys a variety of methods and tools for reaching customers at every stage of their decision-making process, with a focus on social media marketing.

– Emotional Intelligence explores the power of emotions and the concept of emotional intelligence via discussions of competencies in the areas of self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management.

– Programming on various levels of Java Programming for beginners, intermediate and advanced participants. The course is just as helpful for a beginner as it is for systems engineers, web application developers, mobile app developers, software engineers and other potential student with a technical background.

– Data Entry basically teaches the act of entering information into electronic formats by using word processing or data processing software.

– Software Development looks at the common set of methodologies used when creating programs with a variety of programming languages. Here you will explore how to create programs, what decision structures are, and identify the basics of object-oriented programming.

–  Supply Chain demonstrates to consumers the suppliers and sub-contractors that companies engage vis-à-vis favorable human rights practices. The course also sheds more light on corporate social responsibility in this context, confronting exploitation in labor and supply chains against human trafficking activities.

– Networking and Internet Security is the concept of network architecture bringing together network devices, services, models, cabling, topologies and the different WAN technologies to configure network services such as DHCP and DNS.

– Customer Relationship Management helps professional workers find better ways to manage and grow their business while training others to effectively utilize the features of a Free CRM software.

– Health & Safety provides an in depth guide to the responsibilities of employers and employees at work and everyone in the workplace.

The E-conext platform parades a diverse and multinational team of experts across the globe with the central hub in Zurich, Switzerland. The online platform has a software group with over 20 years of industry experience and a client base spanning more than 10 countries on a month-by-month increase.

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