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IBM Chief Urges Nigeria to Invest in Data Science against Infrastructure

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Dr. Uyi Stewart, a US-based Nigerian leading data scientist and Chief Data Scientist, IBM, has urged Nigeria to invest more in data science rather than infrastructure in order to achieve development.

He stated this at a workshop for Data Science entrepreneurs in Lagos, according to him, ‘We have a lot of challenges as a nation whether is in public sector, healthcare, agriculture, financial inclusion or education across every walk of life.

Even in Lagos, look at mobility, our ability to travel from one place to the other, we need to star to make smart decisions.

Farmer need to make smart decisions in other to farm better, worker need to make smart decisions in other to be able to reach at work on time. Even parents need to make smart decisions about their finances so that they do not just stay at the same level.

“Across all these dimensions that I have talked about, the key is really the ability to have the right data, run the right kind of insight of the data, generate the right kind of decision support and then let the humans make the decision. Even in government, government also needs to be supported in order to make the right kind of decision for the population and that can only come from data. We can’t formulate policy on emotions; we have to formulate policies based on data. So across every work or life data is valuable but the key is our ability to mine and analyse the data,” he said.
 
On the challenge of access data, he said that he key is the time to value. “Let’s take a scenario, I have data, I am company X and you come to me and you say ‘Give me your data’. I am going to ask you, what’s in it for me? I believe people are willing to share their data. But, innovation has to be two sides; it has to be business model and technology. We always go to them and say “Give me you data, I want to build this App” without laying on the table what’s in it for them. If you can show what business model underlying what you are doing and you can show value for the person you are asking data from, you will get the data.”
 
Stewart further explained that the issue of data credibility borders on data quality. “Actually they are two sides – data quality and data provenance. Provenance means when I get the data, it can percolate all the way and be consistent without somebody changing it. These are issues that machine learning thankfully allows us to address. Even if you say, “I don’t want to go into machine learning”, there is something that is called crowdsourcing which is also an approach to do data quality. It’s inexpensive. What that does is that it brings people together to validate an imprint in a democratic way. All of us cannot agree to lie. So, we need to focus on instruments either through technology or simple innovative ideas like crowdsourcing to ensure we have the right kind of data quality. It is central otherwise garbage in, garbage out.”

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E-Business

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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