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Nigeria, Best Place to Plant Seeds for Next Wave of African Entrepreneurs -Russ Fisher-Ives

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By Chukwuemeka fred agbata

Any nation that wishes to advance technologically and play big, in the games of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, AI, must invest significantly in Education and make it possible for more students to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, subjects.

This is exactly what Russ Fisher-Ives, Co-Founder and his fellow Co-Founders are doing, with RoboRaves International. I recently had a chat with Russ on his thoughts on the future of Robotics in Africa.

Russ stated that, Robotics brings technology for the 21st Century. “As we move to make our machines smaller, so, they run more efficiently, they use resources better. We start to take our old machines and we start to bring in computer coding, micro-processors, so, our old machines become smart machines”, he stressed. This, he said is done, by understanding sensors, how to code and how to write the instructions. He explained that, after getting your instructions in, you then, find out whether it does what you want.

Russ stated that, talking about coding, the idea is to engage kids with Robotics, so that, they can get excited. “They take a little bit of knowledge and they get all excited to do something with it and ask to be taught more”, he emphasized.

On why Robotics in Nigeria, Russ is of the opinion that, this is because, Nigeria is the fastest growing country on the African continent and has a very huge young population and it has got the opportunities to bring skills for employment. “And when you plant the seeds in the minds of curious kids, not the adults, although we need the adults, but the curiosity in kids, then,  you have gardens full of ideas”, he stressed. He opined that, with this, Nigeria is the best place to plant the seeds for the next wave of entrepreneurs for Africa.

He stated that, the very first RoboRave was in 2001, carried out with 25 High School kids and it has expanded now to many other countries. On the funding of the RoboRave initiative, Russ stated that the project gets funding from registration and from different events that it carries out and donations from companies and Foundations. He emphasized that RoboRaves is constantly looking for resources. He gave the example of SONY, an international company, that has just signed for sponsorship of RoboRave in China.

Russ is of the opinion that, RoboRave is capable of improving the number of women in technology. He explained the strategy being used at RoboRave in getting the female gender to participate in the early years of RoboRave. He, however, emphasized that, it is not about bringing the girls alone, rather, it is about valuing what they do and listening to what they know. “You can’t stop passion. It’s a fire that burns”, he stressed.

On the reach of RoboRave, Russ stated that it has been able to reach close to about 200,000 kids, so far. He explained that, the Chinese has made RoboRave an official Robotics program for all of China. He stated that China has a lot of kids that play locally, but never come to the full event.

Russ, while demonstrating the workings of a Robot, stated that, it is all about input, processing and output. On the fear that, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will, eventually, take all the jobs of mankind, Russ is of the opinion that, it is a question with so many dimensions. “The bottom line is that, we are the ones that are coding. We control the information that goes in. The real issue is that, we are now building Robots that are learning from their environment and are writing their own codes”, he stressed.

“So, do we have the possibility of having Robots acquiring more skills than we put into them? Yes”, he declared.

He emphasized that, what we should now be aiming for, is how to effectively control the Robots and how to shut them off. “This is why we need to teach the kids the ethics of Robotics, which is the new challenge that RoboRave is aiming to achieve in 2018”, he concluded.

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E-Business

Go Rentals Targets Nigeria in African Operations Expansion Plan

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At its annual partner results event this week, Go Rentals CEO Evan Berger announced its 2018/19 expansion plans into Africa for its Technology Rental services.

“Our pilot expansion began in 2016/2017, fuelled by a multinational client’s need to train thousands of staff on SAP throughout Africa and Southern Africa, and was missing a cost-effective hardware solution.

The key driver for selecting Go Rentals for this project was reliability and our ability to handle complex logistics for moving IT hardware,” says Berger. “Working on the continent presents many challenges in import/export, technical skills, asset tracking, contingency planning, just to name a few challenges our innovations addressed.”

2017 saw the roll-out of projects in Namibia, Zambia, Angola and Lesotho in 2017, with infrastructure projects already completed in Botswana, Swaziland, Nigeria, Botswana, Mauritius, Madagascar, DRC, Ghana and Uganda.

“Through the partnerships established in these regions, we are now expanding broader operations,” says Managing Director Clayton Heldsinger.” The expansion at this stage focuses on providing IT infrastructure for large-scale training projects, elections, and other temporary infrastructure requirements.”

Temporary infrastructure projects are largely considered infeasible in many regions due to the lack of availability of stock, challenging logistics, high costs and availability of skills.

“Unlike service delivery to an office environment, where project delays are common, the number one factor to consider in a special infrastructure project like training or an election is that the event must happen on the given day,” says Heldsinger.

“The IT costs pale in comparison to the investment the client has made in venues, human resources, travel and accommodation costs and more. Our IT has to be ready, and we know how. ”

“Using our expertise, systems and blueprint developed in South Africa, we began doing the same in other countries throughout Africa, with remarkable success,” explains Berger.

Go Rentals has a winning formula for delivering temporary projects that require challenging logistics. These include mass training infrastructure, national elections, World Cup, temporary offices, rural installations and other projects.

If your corporation has a requirement for reliable infrastructure supply, delivery and support in Africa, contact Heldsinger or Ron Keschner, Sales Director at Go Rentals.

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IBM Study Unveils Hidden Costs of Data Breach

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IBM Security has released a global study examining the full financial impact of a data breach on a company’s bottom line.

The study found that hidden costs in data breaches — e.g., lost business, negative impact on reputation and employee time spent on recovery — can be a huge factor. In a “mega breach” of 1 million or more records, one-third of the cost derived from lost business.

And the cost is on the rise; since the 2017 report, the average cost of a data breach globally has increased 6.4 percent, to $3.86 million, according to IBM. The number of mega breaches is also up — from nine in 2013 to 16 in 2017.

The study, sponsored by IBM and conducted by Ponemon Institute, also reveals that:

– Average cost of a data breach involving 1 million records is nearly $40 million.

– Estimated cost of a breach involving 50 million records is $350 million.

– Average time to detect and contain a mega breach (365 days) is 99 days longer than for a smaller-scale breach.

– In a mega breach, the greatest cost is from lost business, estimated at nearly $118 million for a breach of 50 million records.

A major factor in lost business cost is customer turnover — a recent IBM/Harris poll found that 75 percent of consumers in the U.S. say that they will not do business with companies that they do not trust to protect their data.

“The truth is there are many hidden expenses which must be taken into account, such as reputational damage, customer turnover, and operational costs,” said Wendi Whitmore, global lead for IBM X-Force incident response and intelligence services. “Knowing where the costs lie and how to reduce them can help companies invest their resources more strategically and lower the huge financial risks at stake.”

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Global Accelerex Trains Nigerian Security Agencies on Cyber Crime

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Global Accelerex Limited, a Central Bank of Nigeria-licenced Payment Terminal Service Provider and Payment Solution Service Provider, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, is set to train members of Nigeria’s Security Agencies on Cybercrime.

The event, which will hold on July 25, 2018 at Ladi Kwali Conference Center, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, will enrich participants’ knowledge of the cyberspace and increase their versatility in dealing with on-line crime.

This collaboration, first of its kind in the e-payment industry, is borne out of the company’s desire to rid the nation of cyber criminals who continue to bring the country’s name into disrepute.

In addition to learning about cyber vulnerability, attendees will also learn about insider threats and sophisticated cyber adversaries.

The forum will host more than 30 participants including officials of the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Armed Forces, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, State Security Service, National Intelligence Agency and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Others are Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Defence Intelligence Agency and Nigerian Custom Service.

“We applaud the effort of the Nigerian government in combating cybercrime and securing lives and property in the country. Global Accelerex is driven to compliment this effort to ensure that Nigeria is rid of these miscreants so that citizens can enjoy the cyberspace with the peace of mind they deserve.

It is absolutely critical that we support security operations so that Nigerians can use the internet freely, which is why this training is vital”, stated Stanley Peters, Chief Technology Officer of the company.

The National Security Adviser commends the initiative by Global Accelerex, saying that the move will definitely impact positively on the officers and the nation in general.

He added that continuous training is critical to stay ahead of criminals even as he revealed that attendees have shown a high level of enthusiasm at this unique opportunity.

Keynote speakers that will bring their experience to bear are Mr. Tahmeed Rab, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Kaizen Solutions Group, Baltimore, USA and Mr. Peter Obadare, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Digital Encode.

Both experts are acclaimed for their ground-breaking achievements in cyber security, risk and compliance, mobile forensics, network and system consulting.

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