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Professionals Not Fully Recognised for IT Projects, Implementation

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Aside describing information technology practitioner of non-CPN certification, or NCS membership an impostor, the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) believes that professionals have not been given fair share of IT projects for implementation by successive governments in the country.

Professor Sola Aderounmu, NCS President said it has become imperative for anyone or corporate body bidding for ICT/IT projects must be a member of the professional body, as a measure to curb such projects failures in the country.

The president represented by Iyiola Ayoola, executive secretary of NCS during a chat with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek spoke on critically issues in the IT industry in the country. Excerpts.

Theme for 2017 NCS Int’l Conference
“Over the years, Nigeria has depended on crude oil and this time there must be massive diversification to the information technology which is the mainstream of any economy in today’s world. This informed why NCS choose its theme for this year’s international conference to reflect on ICT and innovation for achieving the SGDs; ICT encompasses every sphere of the economy.

Why Diversifying to ICT Has Delayed in Nigeria
“ICT, as the case may be, it’s not really in the hands of the technocrats or professionals. The implementers are not given the opportunity because everybody is ascribing the responsibility to themselves. That is the bane of ICT development in the country viz-a-viz using ICT for national development. Once it becomes all comers affair, the professionals will be reduced to the background. Only about last three years that other professionals have seen reasons to side the NCS advocacy for us to have ICT/IT in the hands of professionals. If a quack doctor is caught today, everybody will frown at it, but when a quack IT professional is caught, the society tends to easily condone such illegality. It cuts across policy formulators to implementers. The NCS has been on vanguard (advocating) for things be done properly.

“Let us ensure square pegs are fitted into the red holes; unfortunately, the sector has been turn into Tom, Dick and Harry game. Anybody can acquire system from anywhere. A situation where someone who studied Yoruba is implementing ICT projects and when you probe into that, the answer you get is: oh, he is certified in IT. They travel to Dubai, China and other countries, procure hardware and package as their handiwork. That should be discouraged, if we are interested in developing our ICT sector. When government is giving out contract, everybody wants to get a cut from the cake. We are now ‘shouting’ for local content development and recognition.

“It has not been benchmarked; everybody runs to the Presidency to get contract. Come on, who are you! Before now, government would announce for everybody to bid for contracts. And once the contracts are won, most of them are delivered in sub-standard manner.

What is the Standard?
“Anybody bidding for ICT/IT projects must be a member of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). Why do we insist? NCS tries to distinguish who is qualified or not. It is important to know the pedigree of people (in the industry) before they are allowed to deliver certain projects. That’s why most IT projects are delivered half-way or abandoned. The industry must be sanitized in such manner that whoever is implementing project does not import e-wastes, outdated products; who will buy nineteenth century products now! This is the true way for this country to move forward. Continuing without standardization is clinching to under-development.

How Do We Start In Setting Standards For National IT Implementation?
“We partake in Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and other certifications and they have really helped us as a nation. Nevertheless, it will not be out of place if we implement national IT certifications or standardization. Ideally, that is the policy thrust of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and we at NCS are happy that the current DG is seriously looking at that direction. To groom professionals, it behooves on the Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria)-CPN to regulate the industry.

“They ought to be the ‘eye’ of the industry in fishing out professionals who can be presented to the government as credible enough to execute IT projects. ICT/IT professional is the one who is fully registered by the CPN. By implication, you are a certified professional. Without that, you are not considered a professional. CPN has a template to get you certified. And for you to be certified, you must first be a member of NCS. What are our criteria for registration? First, membership. Who are the members? There are three categories of membership- Affiliate, studentship and Corporate. We also have the Fellows as highest echelon of the membership.

NCS Plans to Woo Non-Professionalised IT Practitioners
“It is the CPN that is not doing the job. It is in the CPN Act of 1993 that one cannot practice without been certified by the CPN. If you have not obtained any degree, CPN organizes professional/certification exams. Therefore, CPN needs to sit up; NCS has been the one doing the ‘shouting’ for professionalization of this industry. NCS is the brain behind the formation of NCS. We wanted to be chartered which led to CPN’s creation.

Assessment of ICT Industry in Last Two Years
“We are not yet where we ought to; just setting the process in motion. But, in the last decade we weren’t here. It also depends on the yardstick we are using to measure. We will definitely get there, though the level of progression may not be geometrical. For example, the level of awareness on local content has not been dominant as it is today. Secondly, about eight years ago when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wanted to procure computers for its electoral exercises, we insisted on allowing local OEMs to deliver the machines. Zinox and others bided, but as the process progressed they wanted to sideline Zinox. At a point they said 80/20 foreign to indigenous companies, we still refused.

“Eventually, they listened and Zinox was given the opportunity. It was a monumental achievement for the industry. Since then, things have improved. Sometime, last year, the Federal Government indicated interest in acquiring 500,000 computers under its employment scheme, and NCS has not rested on its oars to ensuring that indigenous OEMs are given opportunity to supply the sets.

“That is how we can help naira regain its feet. We have technicians, the way-withal to develop solutions to our needs. Nigerians are resilient; rare will you see any international body or intelligent agencies of nations without a Nigerian coding. But within the country so many things are militating against us; chiefly, selfish interest! Otherwise, we have the human capacity to match any nation. That is why we are shouting: allow our professionals handle these projects.

Are We Meeting Up with International Standards?
“Quote me anywhere, as software engineer; our solutions can compete anywhere in the world. I don’t see anywhere in the world we are rated as number two. Go to American defense you will see Nigerians writing codes. In terms of code, we don’t develop substandard solutions. But when you are talking about OEMs, we have not perfected that aspect of development, and the reasons are obvious. The business environment is still hostile. For example, where is our Silicon Valley situated? It is when we have and transform the raw materials that we can beat our cheats and say we are there.

Nigeria En-Route to E-Voting
“Personally, I have been meditating on the technological solutions to multifaceted challenges Nigeria face today. We are a peculiar people living in this country. To be honest with you, IT cannot survive without human beings. The humans factor in Nigeria is making IT not to work. Thank God IT is taking a new dimension where we are talking about artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), Smart cities, machine learning, Big data, etc., these will drastically reduce human interference and ‘corrupting’ of IT efficiency.

“We are all political in our approach to issues. When you introduce politics you would want it to dance to the political inclinations, therefore, manipulations bring marginalization. If that structure is ‘pulled down’ with the help of artificial intelligence, then the human inclinations can be tuned down. But, the ‘cruel’ ways we do things, it will be difficult to implement e-voting in all honesty, at the moment. The step starts with putting structures in place to minimize the interference of humans in our elections.

Where Do We Start to Implementing e-Voting?
“I ask myself such questions daily. It is crucial that we first identify ourselves whether for elections or for security purposes. The data to be generated through national identity numbering must be used in planning. Without that, there is no way you can have a good election or e-voting; it is not going to be possible! The database must be up to 90% ready before INEC can think of e-voting.

“Today, we hear INEC saying anybody above 18 years can vote, then, people are fortifying their ages either for over/under declaration. And such practice can never eliminate dual voting. If you have 2000 voters in INEC database making up a ward, somebody can just declare any age, whereas if the person had been registered under NIMC project, the system will automatically knock him out. That is when the credibility of INEC can be established as far as conducing elections in Nigeria is concerned. Any data/information that cannot be verified is dunk data. That is the basis for our inability to go with e-voting.

Smart City Concepts in Redefining Governance
“To a lay man, smart city is when everything is ‘joined’ together. But smart city entails ‘smart nation’- a society where everything is computerized, networked or talk to each other. Smart city will come as the advent of Internet of Things. NCS is in the forefront of enlightening the community about the concept. In October 2016, the Lagos State Chapter of NCS had a-day workshop where components of smart city where discussed and what the State Government is doing in that regard.

“At the Federal Government level, we are also leading discussion on how to develop a smart nation, starting with e-Governance. The whistleblower is part of the gains of smart city concept likewise the TSA. Do not forget, when the incumbent government came in to office we sent proposals to the SGF’s office and recently we sent others to the Ministry of Communications and they are opening up to discussions.

Need for National Stakeholders Dialogue On Curriculum Redesign
“There is need for declaration of state of emergency in our education system. It does not incline to only ICT; every sphere of our educational curriculum needs overhaul. We have demeaned education in this country; not that what the schools are teaching are not good enough, but how impactful to decision making and relevance to today’s society. Simply put, I support a call for stakeholders meeting where we can define the curriculum we need. The Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Universities, CPN, NITDA are also trying, but we need to do more.

“This is one what we ought to have done in the past twenty years. We have neglected our functions and responsibilities and only now it has decayed we have started thinking. During my days as a lecturer at the university; because I came from the industry I was able to tell the students what are the required in the industry.

“Some of them ran away, while few came closer. The truth is that the act of programming is the nucleus of computer science studies; whether networking or hardware, you must be able to program to synthesize with your solution. Most of the students have not realized this truth; they usually run away because it is mathematical. They want an easy pass to the industry to quickly make money. Things are not done that way.

Expectations of NCS as Construction of Headquarters Commences
“When the incumbent president was inaugurated he listed three key agenda. He has actually vigorously pursued the agenda: advocacy, which has been massive; improved membership registration and the NCS physical (presence) which is refereed to having a structure on ground that can be identified with Society. It is called the centre for innovation and incubation. NCS family is happy that the project which its groundbreaking was conducted last year, work has commenced in earnest.

“Plans for the project commenced in 2005. For now, we cannot say how much it will gulp because of the economy has not been stable. Prices of building material keep changing. Only determination will see us through, even as we rely on our corporate members and government agencies like the NCC and NITDA.  The project is massive on the six floor building.

NCS’ Innovation & Incubation Centre
“We called it innovation and incubation centre in the sense that we realized that university ‘products’ are not abreast with the industry requirements. Therefore, we want to be incubating them from here with the help of industry (corporate) members. It is a centre where industry needs shall be met; once you tell the fresh graduates/undergraduates what you need they put hands on it”. 

 

 

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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Canon showcases cutting edge technology at CABSAT 2018

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By peter oluka

Canon showcased its latest industry-leading innovations at CABSAT 2018, the leading broadcast, satellite and creative media event in the Middle East and Africa region.

The leader in imaging solutions also provided visitors with the opportunity to experience its full range of security solutions, Pro Video portfolio and professional imaging products first-hand at dedicated shooting areas and end to end workflow scenarios.

At the three-day event, Canon unveiled the latest additions to its Pro-Video segment with the launch of its 4K XF Series cameras, XF405 and XF400, which is in addition to the recent launch of the EOS C200, the 4K compact digital cinema camera from the esteemed Cinema EOS range. Under the XA series, XA-11 and XA-15 mark their entry into the region along with the low light network camera with remarkable performance, the ME20F-SHN.

The company also presented evolved and seamless workflow solutions that enable more efficient and cost-effective production for broadcasters and filmmakers.

Speaking about the event Roman Troedthandl, managing director – Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) said, “Canon’s presence in CABSAT, which is considered to be one of the most important events in broadcast and media technology regionally and globally; is integral to showcasing our commitment towards playing a vital role in the cinema industry. Celebrating the incredible potential of filmmakers in Africa, Canon is set on clearing any hardships they may face enroute, through offering all the necessary technical and technological support they require, and this year we are going even further and extending our participation towards supporting young and aspiring filmmakers.”

“We also understand that there is an increasing integration of 4K into mainstream television dramas, documentaries and movies, and we are committed to continually evolving to meet the fluctuating needs of broadcasters and filmmakers with the latest additions to our innovative Cinema EOS series. As well as consistently strengthening and enhancing our partnerships with Tier 1 partners in markets like Nigeria, Morocco, West Africa and Egypt while hand in hand expanding our presence through an extended network of Tier 2 partners in Egypt, Nigeria and Morocco,” Troedthandl added.

Designed to benefit broadcasters and filmmakers alike, The EOS C200 is the first Cinema EOS camera to feature the revolutionary Cinema RAW light format which provides the same flexibility in colour grading as Cinema RAW in a smaller file size, enabling filmmakers to record internally to a CFast 2.0™ card.

Canon Team at the conference

Delivering incredible low-light performance and perfect for critical surveillance operations, the ME20F-SHN produces full colour and Full HD resolution images in limited light scenarios and packs in network capability and built-in video analytics into a lightweight and compact body. These innovations also support the convenience of seamless network integration with the ability to fit directly into existing workflows.

In addition to showcasing its full range of 4K, Full HD and HDR products, Canon also provided broadcast and cinematography professionals with a variety of end to end workflow scenarios including shooting experiences as well as review and editing processes. The ecosystem of videography was brought to life via a touch and try product section, dedicated shooting areas of Maasai Mara and a bakery area, a security zone and a chroma key area. Canon had also teamed up with the global leader in manual and robotic camera support systems, Vinten, to demonstrate the versatility of the ME200 and C200.

“Canon is set on becoming even more than a technical partner to customers in the African continent. We understand that the region is flourishing and becoming one of the rapidly growing media markets in the world; thus, we will continue expanding our footprint in the market via encouraging young talents and catering to their technical as well as support-related needs.” Said Somesh Adukia, sales & marketing director B2C – Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA). “We are very excited to be hosting a specific panel discussion during CABSAT that tackles the future of the filmmaking industry in Africa, as well as reviving our support to the youth by engaging them in a Canon Filmmaking Challenge; one of many initiatives which have been set to further support the filmmaking ecosystem in the region” He added.

Bringing the event to a successful closure, Canon awarded the shortlisted filmmakers for their efforts in bringing their stories to life. The announcement was made during the panel discussion which covered the future of the filmmaking industry in Africa alongside 3 prominent actors Injy El Mokkadem from Egypt, Omar Lotfi from Morocco and TY Bello from Nigeria.

Where the first-place winner, (Youness Hamiddine) from Morocco was awarded a (5D Mark 4) Canon camera. The second place winner (May El Hossamy) from Egypt and the third place winner (Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo) from Nigeria have both also received a (6D Mark 2) Canon camera.

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TrillzApp Unveiled, Assists Event Managers Harness Feedback

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By peter oluka

A robust and smart mobile app that uses location technology to give users notification of events happening in their location and based on interests, TrillzApp has been launched.

In addition to aiding users to book events seamlessly online, TrillzApp which was developed by five students, was designed to help users keep tabs on happenings in their area while helping them express their thoughts about events through ratings, comments and chats.

Chatting with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Stanley Ezeh, TrillzApp’s team lead, Critical Analyst, Business co-founder, said, “TrillzApp solves a number of needs, namely: keeping track of events and opportunities in particular areas; connect with people and places in a particular and seamless Ticket sales and event management. Furthermore, it helps event organizers get feedback from attendees.”

He said that the app taps from the power of Google Maps; gigantic map software that has a number of applications and has been designed to be used in various apps that require map services. “TrillzApp only uses some features of the Google maps to further assist users in getting directions to venues of events and happenings among others. Google maps has no local content for events; neither does it provide an avenue for users to interact with one another. Therefore, we are in no form of competition with Google”, Ezeh added.

The Team Lead who explained that TrillzApp beta version was launched in November 2017; in December of the same year, the app was out of Beta.

However, the only available version of the app is Android version. “iOS version will be released soon”, he told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, but without stating that “Sponsoring the TrillzApp project hasn’t been easy especially as we are students. Initially, being part of the Roar Nigeria Incubation Hub was supposed to be a plus to us since we were promised funding, support, training and mentorship, but due to unknown logistic and administrative reasons, these promises have barely been fulfilled and the funds have not been disbursed to us.

“Because we were determined and passionate to make an impact in our society by helping young people discover opportunities, events and happenings in different locations, we devised various strategies to help us raise funds on our own.

“We often had to skip meals and deprive ourselves of certain luxury and privileges to be able to squeeze out money from our meagre monthly allowances from our parents. Sometimes, we had to do some extra jobs for friends to get funds to complement funds raised from family”.

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Queen Elizabeth (II) Honours Interswitch Chairman, Ken Olisa with Knighthood

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Sir Ken Olisa the recently appointed Chairman of Interswitch has been honoured with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

 

The Nigerian-born British Businessman and Philanthropist has been recognized, amongst other notable individuals, in Queen Elizabeth (II)’s New Year Honours.

 

Sir Olisa is a British businessman with a career in technology that commenced at IBM and spans well over 40 years.

 

He founded and led the technology merchant bank Interregnum and is also the founder and chairman of Restoration Partners, an independent boutique technology merchant bank, reputed as architects of the Virtual Technology Cluster model.

 

He is currently a Director of Thomson Reuters.

 

In 2015, he became the first black Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London having been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen.

 

By this development, Olisa, the first British-born black man to serve as a Director of a FTSE-100 business is now officially honoured with a Knighthood for services to Business and Philanthropy in the United Kingdom.

 

An advocate of social inclusion, he is Chair of the Shaw Trust, supporting the disabled and chronically unemployed to find work; founding Chair of the Powerlist Foundation, supporting future leaders from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and disadvantaged backgrounds; a former Governor of the Peabody Trust; and a former Non-Executive Director of the West Lambeth NHS Trust.

 

Mitchell Elegbe, Group CEO of Interswitch, Commenting on the development, said that “Sir Ken has distinguished himself in professional and social spheres with a remarkable pedigree of service in the public domain.

 

“A leading light and embodiment of the maxim, “Do well, and do good”, He has not only charted an impressive course across the business terrain, but has also done notable social good; actively championing, and investing in many charities and non-profit organizations which work to mitigate the disadvantages faced by so many in his society.

 

“We are extremely proud of this most recent recognition and knighthood by The Queen for his services, and it is a great way to start the new year, both for Sir Ken and for Interswitch.”

 

Interswitch founded in 2002, is active across the entire payments value chain and currently processes over 4 billion unique transactions yearly, with a value of over USD 38 billion.

 

A recognized leader in the payments space in Nigeria, the company has sustained impressive business growth in recent years, garnering acclaim from Deloitte and others as one of Africa’s fastest growing technology business.

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