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Roar Nigeria Hub Hosts Facebook Stakeholders Roundtable @ University of Nigeria

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The University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) went agog with activities as it recently, welcomed a team from the global giant Facebook.

The Public Policy Director for Facebook Africa, Ebele Okobi led the team who visited Roar Nigeria Hub for a stakeholder’s roundtable.

The visitors were first received by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Benjamin Ozumba starting with a courtesy call at the Vice Chancellor’s conference room.

After a brief tour of the Lion Laptop Assembly Plant and the Lion Science Park they were welcomed at Roar Nigeria Hub for the planned stakeholder roundtable hosted by Charles Emembolu, Co-Founder and Director of Roar Nigeria.

The roundtable had the academia, private and government representatives drawn from across eight states of the South South and South East Nigeria including innovation hub, business leaders, academia, investors, technology community, members of the SSE Angel Network (SSEAN), and other national technology leaders were in attendance.

Discussions focused on policy issues, technology commercialization, knowledge transfer, academic research, mentorship opportunities and the engagement strategy for the technology giant.

Roar Nigeria is a private sector led incubator opened in 2016 as a collaboration with University of Nigeria and recently partnered Facebook under the NG Hub program to foster businesses that leverage deep technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Drones, etc).

Ebele Okobi, in her remarks, appreciated the university management for its effort in creating an enabling environment for innovation to thrive in the academia and explained the purpose of the visit. “We realize the critical role of policy in creating an environment that maximizes the potential for technology to drive forward economic, social and academic advancement”, she said.

She shared details of some of the partnerships Facebook had launched in Nigeria while stating that the visit was to explore better ways of partnering African institutions and organisations such as Roar Nigeria at the policy level.

The University of Nigeria boasts a lot of firsts in the technology and innovation space with the Lion Laptops being assembled locally at UNN; the Roar Nigeria Hub, West Africa’s first full-fledged university embedded business and technology incubator and very recently the Lion Science Park.

These novelty projects have been delivered under the remarkable leadership of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba and mostly working with a triple helix concept.

“I consider this engagement a milestone in our journey to bring academia to the forefront of technology and innovation advancement in Nigeria.

The significance of this roundtable has been the ability to have top level policy makers and influencers from institutions such as Facebook, State Governments, Regional Businesses, Student Leaders, Chambers of Commerce, Investors and Universities discussing research, technology, innovation, commercialization as tools for national development.

It helps us to reimagine Africa” Charles Emembolu who is also a director of the Lion Science Park said.

“In order to restore the dignity of man, we have to make the University of Nigeria the home of innovation in Africa.

That is a journey we (UNN) embarked upon in 2014 and I am happy that global brands such as Facebook are taking note of these efforts” says Prof Benjamin Ozumba who was happy with the visit of the Facebook policy leadership and other stakeholders at UNN.

The Lion Laptop assembly plant currently assembles affordable laptops and plans to increase local content to 35% starting from 2019. Also, the Lion Science Park (LSP), which inaugurated its board last month has attracted top companies to its stable.

Mirai Denchi, a Japanese company, Huawei Authorised Information Network Academy (HAINA) and a host of other local companies are in different phases of residency at the Park. LSP was recently registered by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) which the global body for science parks.

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CcHUB Launches Africa’s First ‘Design Lab’ in Kigali

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CcHUB has launched the ‘CcHUB Design Lab’. The design lab is an unprecedented next step in Africa’s growing tech sector, and is set to become a leading creative space where its multidisciplinary team of product designers and engineers will collaborate with scientists and stakeholders globally, to explore the application of emerging technologies that will solve Africa’s systemic problems in Public Health, Education, Governance and the Private Sector.

The new state-of-the-art lab, located in Kigali, Rwanda, sees CcHUB, the leading innovation centre dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity, expand its physical presence to another African country, for the first time in its eight year history.

CcHUB is now looking to partner with both public and private industry bodies from across the continent.

Commenting on the official launch, H.E. Paula Ingabire says “CcHUB’s expansion into Kigali, marked with the launch of the Design Lab today, is an exciting landmark for Rwanda’s burgeoning tech community.

Rwanda is keen on collaborating with world-class partners to establish ourselves as a leading destination that nurtures innovation-driven enterprises. We see technology as an integral gateway and means of developing society – an ethos and mission shared by CcHUB.

As we strive to become a knowledge-based economy, we will continue to build long-lasting, strategic partnerships that celebrate excellence, forge ahead with progress and that are, essentially, a force for good that will impact thousands of people across the continent.”

To coincide with the launch, CcHUB will announce the Rwanda Biomedical Centre as its first local company to partner, joining the likes of Go-Ga Lab, Nimcure and Safe Online.

With an unrivalled track record of supporting tech-enabled companies connected with civic society, CcHUB boasts a pre-incubation portfolio of over 60 companies, including digital blood bank, Lifebank, recycling venture, WeCyclers and Budgit, a web platform that simplifies the Nigerian budget and public data.

The Design Lab, which further reinforces CcHUB’s commitment to solving Africa’s biggest development and social challenges, will be powered by a multidisciplinary design team of designers and engineers. Using design and innovation, the three key sectors of focus are:

Public Health: Focused on digital epidemiology by collaborating with a cross-sector of stakeholders including scientists, researchers, health professionals and developers to use technology in accelerating the adoption of locally-created solutions for better detection and surveillance of diseases, and improving adherence to treatment.

Education: Focused on improving students’ interests, participation and learning outcomes in STEM education, with attention paid to teaching methods and use of creative content.

Governance: Focused on the role of technology in helping the government promote participatory governance, transparency and more effective public services for social and economic prosperity.

On the launch of the Design Lab, ‘Bosun Tijani, CcHUB’s Co-founder and CEO comments, “We’ve been building tech businesses alongside African entrepreneurs for almost a decade and in that time, we’ve identified a common challenge that businesses face when it comes to sustainable growth – Design and Innovation.

“With the CcHUB Design lab, we will be collaborating with organisations that may not have the capacity to design, build and innovate as quick as leaner startups would.

“The lab will also build on CcHUB’s extensive global and pan-African network of partners, research institutes and governmental organisations to execute practical design projects that will solve some of our social and business challenges at scale”

“Whilst our work from the lab will focus on the entire continent, we chose Rwanda as the country to operate from because of the ease of doing business in the country.

“Additionally, by collaborating with the Government of Rwanda, whose vision aligns with ours, we hope to find solutions that will enable socio-economic development, productivity and development across Africa.”

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Canon Unveils its imageRUNNER ADVANCE Third Generation Platform

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Canon Central and North Africa, a leader in imaging solutions, is proud to announce the next edition of its third generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE platform with new version 3.8 firmware. This extensive portfolio of 26 products and 7 series, offers cutting edge security and an intuitive interface across all devices.

Developed with Canon’s entire Multi-Function Printers (MFP) range in mind, the 3rd edition of the third generation platform provides upgrades across every device in the award-winning imageRUNNER ADVANCE series.

Somesh Adukia, Sales & Marketing Director, Canon Central and North Africa said, “Committed to addressing the issues faced by organisations in this digital era, our latest innovation is designed to enhance productivity within the most demanding office environments while also ensuring comprehensive security in a connected landscape.

Through our connected MFP strategy we strive to make the digital office ecosystem more agile and seamless to ultimately deliver a matchless user experience.”

Secure by Design

With data protection becoming an increasingly high priority for businesses of all sizes, the 3rd edition imageRUNNER ADVANCE incorporates a range of preventative measures to empower businesses to get ahead of security vulnerabilities. Building on Canon’s history of delivering best in class security solutions, the latest generation of devices still integrates the highly important security functions from previous editions, including Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Encryption with FIPS140-2 validation to automatically encrypt data.

Additional security features now include verification of system at start up. Users can safely open programmes based on Root of Trust (ROT). This innate security feature hinders hackers from being able to side-step the security mechanisms of MFPs, which hold some of an organisations most valuable information.

The new Syslog data provides real time security information about the device, which can be analysed by a capable third-party solution using industry recognised standards. Additionally, Syslog functionality enhances the portfolio’s integration with any Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) server.

This ultimately enables the administrator to analyse actual and potential security issues for real-time prevention or forensic analysis following a breach.  With greater transparency, data breaches become simple to thoroughly investigate and manage.

Digital certificates provide the means to encrypt data and verify the integrity of scanned documents or emails created by imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices.  Using automated security certificate enrolment with either Simple Certificate Enrolment Protocol (SCEP) or Network Device Enrolment Service (NDES), minimises administration requirements by autonomously updating the device with the latest security certificates.

“Advanced security features on the latest platform, across all network connected devices, protect the business’ most valuable asset – data,” comments Somesh Adukia, Sales & Marketing Director. Canon Central and North Africa

In the coming months, Canon plans to offer further development in the information security market landscape by continuing to enhance its product integration in areas such as runtime detection to further protect against intrusion.

The latest edition of imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices are intuitively designed for optimal user experience.  A new home user interface provides a customisable and flexible experience, enabling the streamlining of tasks and workflows. Combining Main Menu functions with the Quick Menu and a new timeline feature the latest platform allows devices to store user behaviour, providing shortcuts for past or repetitive jobs.

Responding to the need of businesses to improve agility and their capacity to operate from anywhere, the devices will be fitted with a QR-Code Direct Connection, allowing iOS users to set Wi-Fi for direct connection through either a default iOS camera app or Canon PRINT Business (CPB) camera feature, improving mobile interaction and flexibility.

An OCR mode is available during scanning to provide accurate identification of 25 European languages. This advanced personalisation and connectivity across the entire device portfolio represents significantly improved productivity for the entire workforce.

Device management for modern working

To further support its customers, Canon’s BLI award-winning [1] cloud-based solution uniFLOW Online is being updated alongside the latest portfolio. Businesses will benefit from increased synergy between hardware and software to streamline internal processes.

uniFLOW Online 2019.1 offers additional functionality such as Print from Cloud and compatibility with a range of service providers including Box, Dropbox, Evernote®, Google Drive™, Microsoft OneDrive®, and Microsoft SharePoint® Online.

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Google, UBA Collaborate to Provide Free Wi-Fi to Customers

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United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Africa’s global bank, has collaborated with Google and ISP partner to launch Google Station in 11 key UBA branches in Lagos State as part of plans to roll out 200 stations in the country.

 

Google Station, a platform for providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places, began in Lagos last year, and extended to Abuja in December in partnership with Backbone Connectivity Network.

 

This google-powered initiative would allow customers access to internet connectivity within the 11 branches and its environs, thereby facilitating their day-to-day businesses and activities, while ensuring unhindered connectivity.

 

The 11 branches where the hotspot will be located are: UBA Bank Road, 810-811 Bank Road, Daleko; UBA Matori, 21 Fatai Atere street; UBA Surulere, 152 Ogunlana Drive; UBA Allen, 13 Allen Avenue, Ikeja; UBA Tisco Plaza, Alausa; UBA Apapa, 11-13 Warehouse Road, Apapa; UBA Marina, 55 Marina, Lagos Island; UBA HQ, Broad Street, Marina; UBA Lekki Admiralty; UBA Oke Arin and UBA Aspamda Plaza, Trade Fair.

 

At the official launch which took place in UBA’s Head Office, Mr. Chuks Nweke, UBA’s Executive Director/ Group Chief Executive Officer, expressed UBA’s excitement over the collaboration, adding that the move will go a long way to present opportunities far beyond the imagination of both organisations.

 

He noted that the challenges of financial inclusion which the USSD platform has not been able to solve will be eased through the Google Station, as the financially excluded will now be able to access the internet and enjoy the services provided free of charge.

 

He said, “It is an interesting platform which will ultimately benefit everyone. It is a win-win for everyone. Customers will have ease of doing businesses, especially with the growing use of smart phones, and the 52 million Nigerians who have otherwise been financially excluded will now have access to data through this collaboration and can carry out their transactions with ease.

 

“Interestingly, SMEs, who previously had challenges with funding can now do other things which they couldn’t achieve before, such as accounting services and others. Also, UBA recently launched an educational app, and so, students will be able to use these Google Station platform to carry out their necessary research from the comfort of their homes, it is an awesome opportunity with benefits for everyone which we are presenting to our customers in line with our customer 1st philosophy.

 

Dupe Olusola. Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, said in addition to the 11 locations, the organisations are looking to expand beyond the shores of Nigeria to other African countries where UBA operates. She added that by the collaboration, the initiative will help ease the burden off customers while also presenting them with opportunities to excel beyond boundaries.

 

Google Station is a simple set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots, and aims to provide fast and reliable Wi-Fi in more places where more people spend time, such as bus stations, shopping malls, airports and public transit stations.

 

Specifically, the Wi-Fi service is available free of charge and partners leverage Google Station’s business model, which enables venues, system integrators, businesses and ISPs with access to fibre to setup, maintain and monetise their Wi-Fi networks.

 

Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google Nigeria’s Country Director, noted that the institutions remained focused on providing internet services to users for free.

She said, “With the help of our partners, we are offering high-quality internet access in heavily-trafficked areas like airports, markets, malls and bus stations throughout the country, especially in areas where there were no internet connections before.

 

“Even with the amazing progress on expanding mobile internet, we are finding that public Wi-Fi remains a crucial step in getting free, high quality internet to everyone,” she explained.

 

Josh Woodward, director, Product Management, who spoke generally on the benefits of the high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in public places said the collaboration will aim to solve a basic need and allow customers access to connectivity to assist them in their day-to-day businesses and activities.

 

He said, “Deploying Google Station in collaboration with UBA and 21st Century is an important step to connecting the next billion users. As a result of the locations enables us to be up-and-running in no time. Even more, their WiFi signal ensures connectivity to Google Station hotspots so users can do a lot of things online and be constantly connected.”

 

 

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