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QuickHelp, Web-based Directory Service, Launches in Nigeria

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A mobile and web-bas­ed directory service, QuickHelp Nigeria that assists people to locate businesses around them seamle­ssly and effortless­ly has berthed in Ni­geria.

 

Speaking at the inauguration at Civil Hive, Yaba, Lagos recently, Tosin Odubela, CEO and Team Lead, said QuickHe­lp also provides add­itional services such as airtime credit, ticketing, taxi or bike hiring service­s.

 

According to Odubela, QuickHelp, which has been operational for two years, has secured a merger/acq­uisition deal with 1001 Squared AI Glob­al (Canada) and leve­rages on Artificial Intelligence (AI) te­mchnology to provide these services.

 

Odubela said, “While QuickHelp seems to be like Nigeria’s version of Google, it could do better than Google functions because it is locali­sed to the country’s terrains and situat­ions because it gives everyone, like the SMEs a chance and a lot of exposure, with everybody happy, unlike the others that give only a few­.”

 

He explained: QuickH­elp can rapidly help boost businesses. Premium business ent­ries enjoy instant notification of service requests, advert opportunities on the SMS platform, on the website or on the mobile app.

 

“QuickHelp is design­ed to get businesses discovered and rap­idly help gain tract­ion! The QuickHelp database of artisans, SMEs and company profiles is always up­dated, so you are ar­med with the desired business contact. Moreover, you can ju­mp in and become lis­ted by just trying ‘I want to register my business.’”

 

Listing additional services, he said QuickHelp provides ins­tant job opportuniti­es for prospective QuickHelp Community Directory Manager, who oversees the busi­nesses within a radi­us of five kilo­metres from their registered contact add­ress.

 

“QuickHelp,” he said “offers pre-paid benefits too, for pre­mium end-users, like being able to make a request without having airtime, while also providing voice and logistics supp­ort within the target community for pre­mium users of the platform.

 

He said the company plans to operate in the three major lan­guages of the countr­y, and has therefore, contacted linguists to design a text-­to-speech in indigen­ous languages, to be able to capture a larger clientele.

 

In response to how much acceptability it has attracted from the organised priva­te sector, Odubela said, while some companies in the country have not yet seen the opportunity offe­red by artificial in­telligence, some ban­ks have, however, em­braced QuickHelp. “U­BA and Diamond Banks have latched onto our services,” he sa­id.

 

Odubela also explain­ed its association with 1001 Squared AI Global (Canada). “We are an arm of 1001­Squared AI Nigeria, which is a social enterprise with the goal to facilitate and advance the use of artificial intellig­ence applications to enhance and improve the quality of edu­cation, especially in under-privileged and under-served are­as of the world.”

 

He enthused: “With our deal with 1001 Sq­uared AI Global we’­ve got enough to make us change the worl­d! Quick Help could become the Google of Nigeria and indeed Africa because we have been mandated by 1001 Squared AI Glob­al to spread to other countries in the Afr­ican continent.”

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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F5 Reports Rising Multi-Cloud Adoption

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More and more businesses globally are moving to a multi-cloud situation to deploy or access services.

 

This is according to F5 Networks’ recent report, ‘The State of Application Delivery 2018’ (SOAD), in which more than 50 percent of the respondents, representing IT professionals from all over the globe, said they use between two and six cloud environments.

 

The F5 report, now in its fourth year, surveys more than 3,400 industry peers, evaluating the state of application services and looking into motivations underlying the deployment of application services.

 

It covered more than 300 organisations across a broad spectrum of vertical markets such as banking and finance, telecommunications, public sector and consumer products.

 

The five key findings revolved around the issues of digital transformation, inspiring new architectures and IT optimisation initiatives; multi-cloud deployment, which enables the best cloud for the app; application services as the gateways to the future; the fact that IT optimisation drives the use of automisation; and the relationship between security confidence and the rise of multi-cloud.

 

The survey notes that, according to 49 percent of respondents, digital transformation is encouraging the delivery of applications from the cloud. Simon McCullough, major channel account manager at F5, noted that attacks on applications are becoming more complex, leading to organisations transforming the traditional perimeter to include the new everyday reality of users accessing applications from anywhere, at any time, and from any device.

 

He added, “A key finding of this year’s SOAD report was the continuous increase in multi-cloud deployments, which enable organisations to select the cloud platform that best meets the requirements of a specific application. This scenario, however, which allows a company to transform their application portfolio to compete in today’s digital economy, also increases the challenges that many companies face in managing their operations across multiple clouds and, consequently, their security.”

 

The report saw that nearly nine out of 10 respondents are now using multiple clouds as a result of their ‘best-of-breed’ strategy for each application deployment. Forty nine percent of overall survey respondents are moving to deliver apps from the public cloud. Over half (59 percent) reported that they are utilising two to six clouds.

 

The report notes: “Applications streamline processes, provide new services and offerings, and enhance customer experiences… IT decisions get made based on app requirements. At the same time, the speed and scale required from the digital economy is moving IT off premises and into the cloud. This means that cloud decisions are made on a case by case, per-application basis according to 56 percent of the respondents. As customers have on average over 200 applications, with varying requirements, it’s no surprise that most respondents are operating in multi-cloud environments.”

 

“The power of apps in the business world is unmistakable,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, a value-added distributor of F5 in Africa. “The right technology should support apps to optimise a business and not hamper productivity.  Our mission is to empower a business’ limitless potential, and we recommend F5’s app security solutions to move your business forward, making your people more productive and creating a better experience for your customers.”

 

F5 security solutions have been developed to offer customers complete visibility and control at scale. “Applications ‒ along with their users and data ‒ are exposed to enormous risk as they travel from device to data centre server and back again. Unpredictable and stealthy cyber threats continue to disrupt user availability and exploit financial information and intellectual property. F5 secures access to applications from anywhere while protecting them wherever they reside. F5 helps businesses protect sensitive data and intellectual property while minimising application downtime and maximising end-user productivity,” concluded McCullough.

 

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Technology is Future of FICA, Digitised Customer Onboarding

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Simon Slater, chief operating officer at e4

Digitisation is transforming business and impacting consumers through every stage of their daily lives.

 

While rapidly becoming a way of life, onboarding consumers digitally is still in its infancy, but is becoming a major focus for every financial institution across the country.

 

According to Simon Slater, chief operating officer at e4, a digital solutions company, the amendment of FICA, which now incorporates a risk-based approach to customer due-diligence, enables Accountable Institutions (AIs) to adopt their own, more flexible approach.

 

He said this move will quickly solve onboarding challenges as AIs, such as the banks, embrace the vital role technology can play in the process.

 

Slater said that technology’s role in addressing FICA requirements is rapidly growing because AIs now have more flexibility to manage compliance and risk independently.

 

The FICA amendment, he said, has seen a swift uptake in the use of technology solutions: “In part prompted by the rise of the fintech companies and the potential challenges posed by several new digital challenger banks, the major incumbent banks have all risen to the challenge of addressing both onboarding and compliance utilising technology solutions.”

 

The strength of these technology solutions, according to Slater, often lies in the use of data sources combined with intelligent rules engines, to verify customer information behind a great front-end channel. It is here that artificial intelligence will also start to feature more in onboarding solutions.

 

There are several components to the ultimate onboarding technology solution according to Slater.

 

Centred on the customer, the solution requires a simple web front-end or mobile app, that is easy to use and intuitive.

 

Proof of identity is next, and the solution will need a direct link to Home Affairs to verify a person’s identity. Depending on the channel, this can include the use of fingerprint biometrics, which provides a very strong real-time check, coupled with or alternatively using up to three-way facial matching of a customer’s image (enabling a ‘virtual’ face-to-face process).

 

A virtual video link can also be offered, coupled with liveness detection to cater for all risk levels of customer verification. Finally, technology can now also solve the challenges around income, affordability and employment verification.

 

To solve proof of residence, Slater said these types of technology solutions are reinventing the process digitally at new levels: “We have managed to create a marketplace for address providers to compete on a price and quality basis, to enable AIs to verify digital evidence for proof of residence, against multiple sources of addresses. This is the level of onboarding that suddenly becomes possible in a digital environment.”

 

Real-time approval via instant processing of new customer applications is the ultimate goal of digitised onboarding. Slater says that from a FICA perspective, the next goal is to assist AIs to address the ongoing verification of existing customers.

 

Often referred to as Know Your Customer (KYC), the technology solutions developed to onboard new customers can also be utilised to refresh a customer’s data based on their risk profile.  This is the road ahead.”

 

Slater is very upbeat about the future of new technology within AIs.  Sustainable solutions to help solve the ability of AIs to onboard a customer and meet their FICA requirements are finally available.

 

 

 

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CWG to Launch Entersekt Product Line into Nigerian Market

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CWG Plc, a pan-African provider of information and communications technology, has announced a strategic partnership with Entersekt, a globally recognized innovator in mobile-first fintech solutions.

In line with its commitment to continuously offer cutting-edge technology solutions, CWG will provide Entersekt’s full suite of mobile-centred security and payments enablement products to banks and other enterprises in Nigeria and beyond, either as a hosted solution or on-premises implementation.

Adewale Adeyipo, ED–VP Sales and Marketing at CWG said, “This is a major step towards ensuring that our customers can operate in conformity to relevant global practices and regulations by rolling out market-leading online and mobile experiences at competitive prices, without exposing their users to fraud.”

CWG’s rollout of Entersekt technology begins with Transakt, a sophisticated app-based mobile identity and authentication product.

Available as a software development kit or stand-alone mobile app, Transakt is used by tens of millions of smart phone users around the world to safely log into their online and mobile banking, verify payments and other sensitive transactions, and communicate privately with their service providers.

Users approve or reject in-app authentication prompts with one tap. [Watch: 50-second explainer video.]

About 90 percent of Nigeria’s 113 million strong mobile subscriber base use feature phones, which do not support apps, so user-initiated USSD banking and payments are extremely popular in the country.

To help banks secure this channel, CWG will offer Interakt, which counters man-in-the-middle and other fraudulent attacks through real-time SIM-swap checking and multi-factor transaction authentication. CWG will work in tandem with local mobile VAS aggregators to enable Interakt at mobile networks in the region.

Mobile payments are exploding but responding quickly to technological developments and unpredictable changes in consumer preferences can be risky – and expensive.

Entersekt’s product Connekt helps financial services providers launch new payment services within their existing banking apps quickly and seamlessly.

Depending on the country, it can enable all major QR-code–based mobile payment services; card issuer wallets for Mastercard, Visa, and American Express tap-to-pay purchases; a host of third-party wallets; web payments; and 3-D Secure 1.0 and 3-D Secure 2.0 protected card-not-present payments.

Connekt does the work of bridging all of these disparate technologies. “It’s a converged payments platform that chimes perfectly with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy, which aims to reduce use of cash by significantly boosting mobile payments penetration,” explained Adeyipo. “It makes mobile payments services easy to deploy and even easier to use.”

Speaking of the partnership, Pattison Mutambiranwa, SVP Middle East and Africa at Entersekt, said, “It pays to work with the best.

Like Entersekt in South Africa, CWG counts up to 60 percent of domestic banks as customers. It is deeply knowledgeable of the financial sector’s needs, not only in Nigeria but right across West, Central, and East Africa.

We’ve enjoyed every minute working with such a dynamic and experienced team, and I’m confident our combined competencies will work wonders for organizations deploying our technology.”

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