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Global Mobility Report: Nigeria ranks fourth highest in the World

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A multinational networking and Telecommmunications company, Ericsson, on Friday said that Nigeria ranked fourth among the top five countries with the highest net addition of mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2018.

Ericsson made this known in its global mobility report for June 2018 released on its website.

The report says that Nigeria had 3million in the first quarter compared to China which came first with 53million, followed by India with 16million, Indonesia 6million and Bangladesh 2 million.

The first quarter of 2018 saw the addition of 98 million new subscriptions, with China, India , Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh leading the pack, the report said.

According to the mobility report, there are around 5.3 billion subscribers globally compared to 7.9 billion subscriptions.

Ericsson’s mobility report also forecast that there would be 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2023 globally.

Mobile broadband subscriptions will reach 8.3 billion, accounting for close to 95 percent of all mobile subscriptions, it added.

The report also said that the number of unique mobile subscribers was estimated to reach 6.1 billion by the end of the forecast period.

Mobile broadband would complement fixed broadband in some segments and would be the dominant mode of access in others, the report said.

It also said that the subscription for PCs and tablets with mobile capabilities were expected to show moderate growth reaching 320 million in 2023.

The report further said that smart phone penetration continues to rise, driven by the increasing affordability of devices.

The report forecasts that the number of smart phone subscriptions would reach 7.2 billion in 2023 and almost all would be for mobile broadband.

It said the Middle East and Africa, which comprises of over 70 countries, at the end of 2017 had 20 percent mobile subscriptions for Long Term Evolution(LTE) while sub- Saharan Africa accounted for 5 percent LTE subscriptions.

The report also stated that the region was anticipated to evolve over the forecast period while 90 percent of subscriptions are expected to be for mobile broadband by 2023.

According to the mobility report, the driving force behind this shift include a young and growing population with increasing digital skills as well as more affordable smart phones.

The reports also stated that in the Middle East and North Africa, significant 5G subscription volumes are expected in 2021 and in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

The Ericsson report further stated that first-generation 5G data-only devices are expected from the second half of 2018.

The first commercial smart phones supporting 5G in the mid-bands are expected early next year while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019.

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Operators, Others Left Out in New National Broadband Council

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Key stakeholders in the country’s information and communications technology have been left out in the newly reconstituted Nigeria National Broadband Council, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.

 

A document of the new council sited by Nigeria CommunicationsWeek which contains list of members of the council revealed that no telecommunications operators in the country and industry associations such as Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) among others are represented in the council as against the practice in the old council membership where telecommunications operators and representative of ATCON, ALTON and others were represented.

 

The present scenario raises doubt over the ability of the council to supervise effectively the implementation of the national broadband plan to achieve 30 percent broadband penetrative by 2018 without the people that will implement the policy.

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Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON who was a member of the defunct Council and now excluded from the new one, said: “I am of the view that critical industry players should be members of the council otherwise it will be more of an advisory council than implementation council. The object of the council is to make things happen and it is operators that can make things happen, they are the ones that understand the challenges of the industry in terms of providing broadband services in the country.

 

“If operators were not carried along there is the tendency that the council will loss vital information in the process of writing report for the implementation of the broadband plan. We as operators will cooperate with them to ensure that the objectives of the plan are realized, but, the ideal practice would have been to involve operators as members of the council just like the old council,” he said.

 

National Broadband council sees to the implementation of National Broadband plan, the council plays a supervisory role in the implementation of the plan. Although, the council does not implement, implementations are done by operators, various ministries as well as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

 

It is the job of the council to ensure that different time line as contained in the National Broadband Plan are achieved, where there is delay, the council invites the agency responsible to ensure that any obstacle responsible for the delay is removed.

Lanre Ajayi, former president, ATCON who was a member of the old council representing ATCON, said that it is ideal and appropriate for operators playing in the deployment of broadband services to be represented in the council if the council wants to achieve its objective and functions effective.

 

“In absence of the operators that will implement the Broadband policy and industry associations expected to represent the views of its members, I wonder how the new National Broadband Council will function effectively, this means that they will not get the right input to perform their role,” he noted.

 

Members of the new council consist mainly of Communications ministry, Nigerian Communications Commission and representatives of some agencies under the ministry of Communications.

 

 

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Hitachi Solutions to Spur Companies toward Digital Transformation

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(L-R) Wale Awosokanre – Managing Director, Hitachi Vantara – West Africa, Alexander Jenewein – Managing Director, Hitachi Vantara – Sub-Saharan Africa,Ambassador Yutaka Kikuta , Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakeem Fahm, Honorable commissioner of Science and Technology, Stephen Lewis, CTO & Customer Advocacy, Emerging Markets, EMEA Hitachi Vantara, JP Smith, Director –Emerging EMEA Global Field and Industry Solutions, Hitachi Vantara and Manfred Gramlich, Specialist | Data Intelligence MEP | SSAF - Hitachi Vantara at ’Hitachi Insights Day Event’ organized by Hitachi Vantara at Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, V.I. Lagos

Mr. JP Smith, Director, Emerging EMEA Global Field and Industry Solutions, Hitachi Vantara has urged companies to drive their institutions with data in order to achieve innovations and revenue growth in businesses.

He made this call recently at ’Hitachi Insights Day Event’ organized by Hitachi Vantara at Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, V.I. Lagos

The purpose of Insight day event was to help organizations scale into the untapped potential of data by riding on Hitachi Vantara’s experience on how they store, enrich, activate and monetize data from the business landscape.

Speaking on the topic: ’Data-Driven Insight: Drive Smarter Decisions,’ said solutions such as Hitachi Vantara provides businesses which are always under pressure meet up with set goals and objectives.

Smith said with digital transformation, business can accelerate cost efficiency and time to market by automating operations and processes.

He also noted that data transformation would help increase loyalty and grow revenue by improving customer experience and unlock further innovations.

Also, Mr. Alexander Jenewein, Managing Director, Sub Saharan Africa, Hitachi Vantara, said the vision of Hitachi is to bring solutions to their customers to derive values from their in house data.

This, he said they want to achieve by using their existing data and infrastructure that they already have and set them up to derive digital transformation.

“We can only do that by looking at the data they have in various silos and bring those silos together and ultimately correlate the data to get them derive business outcome.

“So, we in the Hitachi Vantara have the solutions from data center modernization which is the first step to ultimately bring the data center to the modern age and ultimately honour the existing environment and the infrastructure they have invested in but then build on that to derive a more flexible environment and solution,” Jenewein said.

Earlier, Wale Awosokanre, Regional Managing Director, West Africa, Hitachi Vantara, said that they are pioneers in the business of ensuring that companies get value in whatever they do; from operation to information technology point of view.

Awosokanre also stated they have experience in the business and IT end of things to be able to fix things together and add value to their customers.

In his remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, applauded Hitachi for their contributions towards helping the state achieve its smart city initiative.

Fahm, however, enjoined other companies to emulate Hitachi Vantara and invest more in technology in the state.

He said: “When you take a look at the Lagos state, the population is about 22million and it continues to grow.

“We are still managing the state with minimal technology but we cannot continue that way.

“We have to invest more on technology and that is why we are moving heavily into the use of technology to manage the state.

“Lagos state economy is larger than all the other countries in west Africa combined.

“So, we need to build technology to manage not only the e-Government initiatives but other activities.

“Lagos is always open for business and we are building applications on e government, e-health, e-survey and so on.

“Lagos state is encouraging companies like Hitachi to continue to invest in the state,” Fahm said.

On the credibility of Hitachi solutions, the Senior Specialist Solutions Consultant, Hitachi Vantara, Mr. Samson Okpara, said Hitachi is known to be ethical company.

He said: “When we are talking about data integrity, we sign MoU for non disclosure of agreement and that is signed between both parties to understand that their data will not be shared between a third party,” Okpara said.

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OAU, Unilag students win BlueChip Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition

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Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria and some of the Winners at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

After an intensive 5-day learning bootcamp, Olajide Abdulrazzaq Folarin (from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State), Sadiq Aderinto and Stanley Obumneme Dukor (both of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos) jointly won the first Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Sponsored by Bluechip Technologies and organised by Data Science Nigeria, the three first-place winners individually earned the highest score for machine learning algorithm development.

 

The bootcamp was facilitated by 11 visiting international experts in artificial intelligence, 5 online tutors and 15 Nigerian-based business leaders.

 

More than 10,000 students from 95 campuses participated in the 4-stage competition. It included a pre-qualification pre-study, a quiz, a Kaggle competition and a validation call.

 

The top 85 students competed at the 5-day all-expenses-paid bootcamp at the Peninsula Resort, Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos, from 10-14 October 2018.

 

At the bootcamp, the students were immersed in intensive sessions of theoretical learning, use case applications, face-to-face teaching, virtual online classes, and a hands-on hackathon using the newly launched Zindi platform for real-time model evaluation.

 

Distinguished data scientists from leading global institutions including Google’s AI Lab, GitHub, MIIA and Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA facilitated the sessions.

 

Leading executives from the Nigerian banking, telecommunications, energy, and investment sectors shared their invaluable contextual insights with the students.

 

The Inter-Campus Machine Learning competition strives to increase Nigeria’s experience and expertise in data science and to enhance the opportunities and employability of Nigerian students through an incentivized exposure to advanced world-class knowledge.

 

Data Science is now the world’s no. 1 career, and is critical to high-impact transformation and innovation in Nigeria and worldwide.

 

In order to ensure the maximum inclusive participation, all the participants who travelled to the bootcamp from outside Lagos received full travel grant, while 10 additional special provisions were made for ladies who did not meet the cut-off selection mark.

 

The bootcamp included participants from all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

 

Mr Bayo Adekanmbi, convener, Data Science Nigeria, in his welcome speech, said, “in our quest to play big in the Artificial Intelligence space, we must raise our game and combine the best of theoretical knowledge and real use cases with solution orientation, hence our tutorial approach of having world-class experts from leading AI centres in the world and local business leaders at the bootcamp”.

 

Olumide Soyombo, the co-founder of Bluechip Technologies Limited, shared Bluechip’s 10-year story and inspired the participants about the possibilities of artificial intelligence and how the students could leverage their knowledge to become technology entrepreneurs.

 

A group photograph of facilitators and participants at the Inter-campus Machine Learning competition.

 

Mr. Soyombo emphasized the importance of collaborative learning, network building and high-quality solution orientation.

 

He said, “We are proud to sponsor the 1st ever Intercampus Machine Learning Competition as part of our 10th anniversary, which is a demonstration of our commitment to knowledge development, especially in strategic areas like AI which will shape the future and make the world a better place”.

 

Kazeem Tewogbade, the managing director of Bluechip Technologies Limited, said “Bluechip Technologies is excited to have created a platform that brought together some of the world’s best and Nigeria’s budding talent across over 90 higher institutions.

 

“We are convinced that Nigeria is raising a new breed of experts that will play big on the global space”.

 

Each of the three winners received $1,000 US dollars and an opportunity for a short-term internship at the Bluechip technology firm.

 

In addition, campus volunteers from the universities with the highest number of participants in the pre-qualification process were also rewarded for promoting and mobilizing participation in the competition.

 

The University of Lagos, Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomoso, and the University of Ibadan campus volunteers received N150,000, N100,000 and N50,000 respectively.

 

Some of the speakers at the bootcamp included Matt Grasser, Director, Inclusive Fintech, Bankable Frontiers Associate, USA; Moustapha Cisse PhD, Google AI Lab; Professor Tom Dietterich, Distinguished Professor and Director, Oregon State University and the founder of  BigML; Dr Emmanuel Doro, Principal Data Scientist, Jet.com, USA; Dr Sulaimon Afolabi, Argility, South Africa; Ekow Duker, ex-Chief Analytics Officer of Barclays Africa/MD IxioAnalytics, South Africa;

 

Other were Dr Jacques Ludik, CEO of Cortex Logic, South Africa; Karim Beguir, the founder/CEO of Instadeep AI, London; Omoju Miller PhD, Senior Data Scientist, GitHub, USA; Abiodun Modupe, PhD Researcher, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Adewale Akinfaderin, Graduate Researcher, FSU & Senior Data Scientist, Lowe’s Inc., USA; Osayi Igharo, Founding and Managing partner, Ripple VC, San Francisco, SA; Robert John, Chief Data Scientist at Enter5ive and.

 

In addition to theoretical and hands-on exploration of topics like Anomaly detection, unsupervised classification, sequential rule mining, Deep Learning theories, Deep learning in Natural language processing; the bootcamp attendees spent time brainstorming on real business problems which were facilitated by the leadership teams of companies like FCMB (credit risk scoring), Terragon Group (AdTech recommendation), Guardian News (recommendation system), Octave Analytics (Financial inclusion geomapping), Axa Mansard (AI for insurance) and Microsoft (possibilities in MS Azure).

 

The bootcamp focused on applying Artificial Intelligence to a real-world problem of financial inclusion in Nigeria.

 

The bootcamp’s Machine Learning Hackathon was based on loan default models for an anonymised real-world dataset of low-income customers and required the participants to use geographical data (longitude and latitude), historical usage and mobile phone behaviour to determine the likely risk of loan defaults, as captured here.

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