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Sidmach, First Nigerian Company to Host ‘Un-Influx Hackathon’



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For the first time Nigeria will host United Nations-Influx Hackathon, Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, has been chosen as the camp for the three-day event commencing Friday, March 10, 2017.

For a few decades now, the United Nations and the people they represent have felt disconnected from each other. In 2012, Max Kalis, founder of Influx Trust, felt it was time to re-instate the UN’s identity as the middle man between the people and the government.

It was then that Influx Trust, a community that supports better engagement between the UN and the public using innovative technology, was born.

Since then, Influx Trust has actively been connecting people from all over the world with the United Nations, and the United Nations with the people they represent.

The UN-Influx Hackathon is aimed at creating a network of movers and shakers around the world to connect, create and collaborate for more impactful solutions to local and global challenges.

The annual hackathon which holds in Nigeria for the first time will focus on ninth (9) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN: ‘Industry Innovation & Infrastructure’ and intended for young Nigerians to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey and receive the resources to become social entrepreneurs that really makes difference to the world.

Speaking on the coming event, Mr. Peter Arogundade, managing director of Sidmach Technologies, said that the Company was privileged to host the Lagos session of the event holding simultaneously in nine regions, across five continents, with over 1000 hackers expected to participate.

“This is a huge and defining moment for Sidmach to have been selected to host the ‘The UN SDG Action Campaign’ where 50 indigenous hackers are will connect, create and collaborate during a 48-hour global hackathon around 3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; to actually give answers to various social challenges faced in this region”.

Speakers and mentors expected at the sessions include, Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, director of Public Sector Business at Microsoft Nigeria; Dotun Olowoporoku – Founding Partner, Starta; Onyeka Akumah, founder, FarmCrowdy; Babatunde Oladosu – corporate finance professional, PWC and Ayo Dawodu – Co-founder, Loystar.

Others are Tope Hassan, founder of ISOKO Y’AFRIKA; Daniel Oparison, leads Brand and Marketing strategy at Paga and Innocent Chukwuma – Director, West Africa Ford Foundation.

Meanwhile, the judges are: Opeyemi Awoyemi, co-founder,; Mark Essien, founder of; Olusola Amusan, author of ‘Are You Branded or Stranded’; Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, PhD, part-time faculty in Ethics, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, Lagos Business School (LBS).

The event partners are Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited; Leadspace; Printivo; Passion Incubator; Starta; Microsoft and Giga Layer.

Expatiating on the plans for winners, Mr. Akintunde Opawole, marketing officer at Sidmach Technologies, told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek they are expected to undergo mentorship programmes at the United Nations headquarters on how to kick-start their businesses.

“As hosts,” Opawole “Sidmach wants to contribute towards the nation’s IT ecosystem, especially in finding lasting solutions to the infrastructural challenges. So, it’s part of our CSR”.

Other centres where the hackathon will hold are Bahrain, Bali, Chandigarh, Geneva, Lisbon, London, New York City and Rio De Janeiro.


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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Big Data, Analytics Revenues to Reach $260bn by 2022 – Report



Worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics solutions will total $166 billion this year, an increase of 11.7% over 2017.

This is according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC’s) Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide, which notes that global organisations are turning to high-level big data and analytics solutions to navigate the convergence of their physical and digital worlds.

Over the 2017-2022 forecast period, revenues for big data and business analytics solutions are expected to reach $260 billion in 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%, notes IDC.

“The industries making the largest investments in big data and business analytics solutions throughout the forecast are banking, discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, professional services, and federal or central government.

“Combined, these five industries will account for nearly half ($81 billion) of global big data and analytics revenues this year.

“They will also be the industries with the largest big data and analytics opportunity in 2022, when their total investment will be $129 billion. The industries that will deliver the fastest revenue growth are retail (13.5% CAGR), banking (13.2% CAGR) and professional services (12.9% CAGR),” reveals IDC.

Opportunity for all

In terms of company size, the report found that very large businesses (those with more than 1 000 employees), will be responsible for nearly two thirds of the big data and analytics opportunity throughout the forecast period.

Small and medium-sized businesses will also be significant contributors to big data and analytics revenues, with nearly a quarter of global revenues coming from companies with fewer than 500 employees, according to the report.

Jessica Goepfert, programme vice-president, customer insights and analysis at IDC, says big data is becoming less of an experimental endeavour and more of a practical pursuit within organisations.

“This transformation takes a different shape, depending on the industry. For instance, within banking and retail, two of the fastest growth areas for big data and analytics investments are all about managing and reinvigorating the customer experience.

“Whereas, in manufacturing, firms are reinventing themselves to essentially be high-tech companies, using their products as a platform to enable and deliver digital services.”

Furthermore, the report found that two of the fastest-growing big data and analytics technology categories will be cognitive or artificial intelligence (AI) software platforms and non-relational analytic databases.

Industry adoption

Earlier this year, multinational computer technology corporation, Oracle forecast that 2018 will be the year when laggards finally make the move to cloud; late adopters of big data will see immense benefits straight away; and those using AI will drive the most insights.

“The telecommunications and banking industries were the early adopters of big data in the MEA region. In banking, big data is being used to create a complete profile of the customer from multiple sources of data, including different bank accounts, spending habits and open social media profiles. Industries like agriculture, retail and mining could benefit greatly through implementing big data strategies this year,” notes Oracle.

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EMVCo Unveils 3DS Test Platform



EMVCo has announced the availability of the full EMV 3-D Secure Test Platform, which enables the functional testing of EMV 3DS solutions.

According to a statement, 3DS product providers can now confirm whether their solutions will perform in accordance with the EMV 3-D Secure Protocol and Core Functions Specification v2.1.0, or its EMV 3-D Secure – SDK Specification, and receive Letters of Approval from EMVCo.

EMV 3DS is a messaging protocol that enables consumers to authenticate themselves with their card issuer when making card-not-present e-commerce purchases.

“EMV 3DS promotes consumer familiarity, convenience and security across the rapidly advancing e-commerce environment,” said EMVCo executive committee chair Stephanie Ericksen. “The availability of a functional testing framework for EMV 3DS is an important step towards the development of a globally interoperable, secure remote payments ecosystem.”

EMVCo has also partnered with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council to align EMVCo 3DS testing activity with PCI SSC 3DS security standards and assessment programs.

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Critical Factors to Fuel the Data-Driven Enterprise



Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited

Successful digital businesses depend on data to provide the insights necessary to deliver new innovations, products, and services.


But those insights are only as good as the underlying data. As the number of business decision-makers who depend on real-time data increases, the issue of data governance grows increasingly important.


Data governance is the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of all data used in an enterprise. A good data governance plan will include the existence of a governing body, a defined set of procedures and a plan to execute these procedures.


This is according to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited Africa, in a comment on an article written by John Walton from Information Management. The article notes that, “The term ‘data rich, information poor’ refers to organisations that have not established the critical components needed to transform their data into actionable insights.… To become data-driven, organisations must provide decision-makers with timely access to clean, consistent, reliable and actionable information, while avoiding the myriad challenges that lie in the way.”

Commenting on the article, Jacobsz clarified, “In 2011, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is generally regarded as being the inventor of the World Wide Web, commented that data was the ‘new raw material of the 21st century’, likening it to the significance, in the past, of raw commodities such as iron, aluminium and petroleum products, which are all used to produce various processed manufactured goods.


“This interesting comment from Sir Berners-Lee sums up the true importance of data in today’s world, in which we value data for its ability to present insights that in turn help to guide business decision-makers. The right data at the right time can present critical deciding factors that can leap-frog a business ahead of its rivals. However, as we know, the quality of our output begins with the quality of our input. This is where data governance comes into its own: it is key to delivering consistent and reliable information.”


The author sets out eight critical elements that underpin a successful, long-term information management strategy, as follows:



Any enterprise information management initiative must blend strong C-Suite sponsorship with representatives from all areas of the business to create a blended team of clinical, IT, and business stakeholders.


Data governance

In order to make accurate business decisions, it’s essential that leadership has access to clean, consistent, and reliable information.


Master data management (MDM)

MDM is closely intertwined with data governance, and is a set of tools and associated methodologies that foster the integration and maintenance of master data. Data stewards must be able to easily maintain the master data domains for which they are responsible.


Metadata management

Metadata management helps companies develop a more holistic understanding of their data by providing easy access to data definitions, formulas, and other essential details. These solutions also facilitate data lineage, which provides a visual depiction of the data’s origin and any changes that occurred prior to it appearing on an executive dashboard or report, which works to create a high degree of data transparency.


Business intelligence (BI)

BI tools enable users to drill down into subsets of information, conduct ad hoc queries, run predictive modelling, and a variety of other functionalities essential to becoming truly data-driven. A key challenge hindering more widespread BI adoption is that many organisations have a poor information management platform, also known as data architecture.


Data architecture

The journey from raw data into actionable analytics is a complicated process. To be successful, companies should adopt a three-tiered data architecture approach in which each layer is designed and modelled to meet specific objectives, namely a “landing area”, a “conformance layer” and finally an “analytic layer,” in which data is transformed into a usable format for BI initiatives.


Data acquisition

In order to populate the data architecture, companies need access to data acquisition tools, also known as Extraction/Transformation/Load, or ETL, tools. Additionally, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive strategy to detect changes in the source system data.


Technical architecture

In order to meet the demand for high performance and reliability, a robust technical architecture composed of dedicated, properly configured servers is required.


As stated in the article, attempts by business owners to become data-driven are often handicapped by ambiguity surrounding the project. Another factor that hampers the move to a data-driven enterprise is a lack of awareness and understanding of the people, processes and technology considerations that are required to make these initiatives successful.


“A data governance strategy makes sure that data is handled in a proper and compliant manner across the business, and is the foundation of effective data management. Data management sets out to ensure that an organisation has different types of data stored in the right place, and that it is being used for the correct reasons. Data management oversees the discarding of unnecessary data, and that data flows through the business cos-effectively and efficiently. In South Africa, the looming implementation of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) reminds us of the importance of data governance,” concluded Jacobsz.


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