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Google Meet, Premium Video Conferencing Solution Now Free for Everyone, Everywhere

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Google Cloud has announced that it’s making Google Meet, a premium video-conferencing solution, free for everyone, everywhere.

 

The company in a statement released on Wednesday said that availability of the solution will be roll out over the coming weeks.

 

“Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users.

 

“These include features like scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including the expanded tiled view”.

 

Javier Soltero, VP of G Suite said, “With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party and the security needed for a video call with your doctor.”

 

Google has invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world, and in recent months has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful.

 

Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected.

 

Starting next week, Google will be gradually expanding Meet’s availability to more and more people over the following weeks.

 

While users might not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, they can sign up to be notified when it’s available.

 

Here are a few ways individuals, teams and organisations can use Meet for free.

 

Individual users: Once the roll out is complete, anyone with an email address will be able to use Meet for free via meet.google.com and the Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone—whether it’s a virtual yoga class, weekly book club, neighborhood meeting, or any other reason to connect with others. Using the new Meet experience will require a free Google Account, which only takes a minute to create using your work or personal email address of choice. This step is required as a security measure, and you only need to sign up once. Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though we will not enforce this time limit until after September 30.

 

Teams that are not G Suite customers: For organizations that aren’t already G Suite customers, today we’re announcing a new edition called G Suite Essentials, which also includes Google Drive for easy and secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration. It’s perfect for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording. Through Sept. 30, we’re providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge. If you’re interested in G Suite Essentials, complete this form to get in touch with our sales team.

 

Existing G Suite customers: G Suite’s 6 million existing customers already have access to Meet. Admins simply need to enable Meet by following instructions outlined on our Help Center. G Suite is also providing three ways for new and current enterprise customers to access Meet through September 30 including: free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract, and free G Suite Essentials for new enterprise customers.

 

Schools and higher education institutions: Meet is included in G Suite for Education, a suite of free Google apps tailored specifically for schools, which serves over 120 million students and teachers globally for high-quality virtual classes, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and even school socials.

 

“As digital communication has become a vital part of everyone’s lives, there is an increased demand for video-conferencing solutions that provide security and reliability together with popular features like tiled view,” says Jim Lundy, CEO, Lead Analyst at Aragon Research.

 

“We’re seeing enterprises and consumers alike choose Google Meet for its ability to securely support a high volume of users, while still providing robust functionality.

 

“Combined with its integration with widely used G Suite tools like Gmail and Calendar, users see Meet as a compelling video communications solution.”


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Huawei Launches Mondia Pay on Huawei Mobile Services in Nigeria, Others

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Huawei, in cooperation with digital payment entity, Mondia Pay, now offers Direct Carrier Billing service (DCB), for seamless, contactless payments for users in the MEA region through Huawei Mobile Services (HMS).

Mondia Pay is a leader in the digital payment space and provides a simple, fast and secure way for consumers to pay for services using their mobile phone.

Huawei has been working closely with Mondia Pay, the MEA region’s top digital payments fintech company, as part of its commitment to supporting developers in the MEA region. This strategic partnership will allow for increased DCB coverage and IAP (In-App Purchase) kit capabilities for global developers.

As a result, Huawei and smartphone HONOR users in almost 20 countries including, Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Madagascar, Liberia, and Botswana, will be able to make cashless payments securely without the need for bank cards by downloading the app from Huawei’s Application Store, AppGallery. In addition, Mondia Pay will also market Huawei’s games content in Egypt.

The number of mobile internet subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa has quadrupled since the start of 2010 (World Bank Data) and, for many consumers, it’s the only way they can get online. With low credit card penetration rates in most markets, contactless, online payment solutions can reach wider audiences looking to consume digital content.

“This new partnership with Huawei is an endorsement of Mondia Pay’s industry expertise and deep routed knowledge of Africa. Customers across the continent will benefit from our fully integrated digital payment technology to make frictionless payments in a fast, safe and secure manner. We also support the natural progression towards cashless societies, fast-tracked by current affairs such as COVID-19,” said Simon Rahmann, CEO Mondia Pay.

Mondia Pay is available on Huawei’s AppGallery as direct carrier billing and e-wallet services to facilitate online consumer payments. Huawei’s AppGallery allows users to explore the best local and global apps.

Adam Xiao, Managing Director, HMS and Consumer Cloud Service for Huawei Consumer Business Group MEA, said: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with Mondia Pay to provide our users across the MEA region with even more payment options.

Mondia Pay allows for contactless payment without the need for bank cards in a safe and secure manner that protects the privacy of users. This partnership is part of Huawei’s ongoing commitment to make it easier for local and global developers to offer their services to millions more people in the MEA region.”


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Sub-Saharan Africa 5G Connections to Reach 18m by 2025 – Report

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Mobile technologies and services are expected to significantly increase in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 137 million new mobile subscribers forecast to be added in the region by 2025.

An estimated 27% (165 million) of total mobile connections will be made on 4G and 3% (18.4 million) on 5G, by this period.

This is according to the latest “Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2020” research report released by the GSM Association (GSMA) to coincide with the GSMA Thrive Africa virtual event.

It consists of an in-depth study that explores the latest data, forecasts and mobile trends for the region.

According to the report, mobile-enabled platforms and services will increasingly disrupt traditional value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa, as it remains the fastest-growing mobile region globally, with 477 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2019.

The additional 137 million subscribers expected over the next five years will take the total mobile subscriber base to just over 614 million, representing around half the population in the region and a CAGR growth rate of 4.3%.

While spectrum availability will promote strong growth in 4G and 5G connectivity over the next few years, 3G mobile connections will continue to dominate the region, says the GSMA.

The report calculates the strong growth in mobile connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa will generate around $184 billion in economic value contributed to the region’s GDP by 2024.

“The findings from our Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa report clearly show the importance and value of digital connectivity,” says Akinwale Goodluck, head of Africa, GSMA.

“Realising the full potential of a progressive digital future requires an informed policy debate. Governments and policymakers should implement policies to enhance access to connectivity and drive investment in more resilient digital infrastructure for the future.

This is crucial to reactivating the region’s economy post-COVID-19 despite the sizable contribution mobile technologies and services generated in 2019, growing at 9% of regional GDP.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital landscape around the world, and the mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa has largely risen to the challenge of keeping individuals and businesses connected during the pandemic, despite changes in data consumption patterns, the report points out.

However, with nearly 800 million people in the region still not connected to the mobile Internet, it has never been more urgent to close the digital divide, it advises.

Mobile money services, infrastructure and mobile-based content/services, as well as the application of mobile big data for social good, are expected to record the highest rise in the next five years, notes the report.

“The 2020s will see strong growth in the number of Africans connected to mobile broadband. As 4G and 5G grow together throughout the decade to come, spectrum preparation can drive cost-efficiency and promote growth,” according to the GSMA.

“Efficient and effective management of spectrum is also key to maximise the opportunities that mobile connectivity can bring to society. Making sure the required spectrum resources are available under the right conditions will lower broadband costs, increase coverage and boost connectivity.”

In 2018, mobile technologies and services supported almost 3.5 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with almost $15.6 billion raised through taxation, according a previous report.

As countries increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services, this is expected to significantly boost the informal economy, which accounts for a large part of the mobile ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa, notes the GMSA.

Nigeria and Ethiopia will record the fastest growth rates of mobile connectivity, between now and 2025, growing at 19% and 11% respectively, it adds.


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Ndukwe Reveals Secret of MTN’s Dominance Of Nigeria’s Telecoms Space

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Dr Ernest Ndukwe, Erstwhile Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been speaking on why foremost telecommunications services provider, MTN, has continued to dominate the Nigerian telecom space like a colossus.

Ndukwe, speaking on Tuesday as a guest at the Virtual Digital Africa VIP Leadership Series powered by Digital Africa, organisers of the annual Digital Africa Conference & Exhibitions, noted that three factors – strong financial position, good management and discipline in terms of managing resources, separate MTN from the rest of the pack.

“I think it is important to say that MTN is a particularly disciplined company right from its roots; it has always been a well-run organization. It has not had the board squabbles of its competitions. Since the first board of MTN (Nigeria), some of the board members just retired last year (2019). Meanwhile, their competitions have had various owners, various quarrels, and various issues,” he said.

Ndukwe, who is the Chairman of MTN Nigeria Board, said that nobody can be blamed for this position as the way organisations manage their affairs translates to the kind of position they occupy in the business environment.

“One thing that people don’t know also is that for the first five years of existence of MTN in Nigeria, it did not pay dividends to its shareholders. They recognized the importance of scale and were pumping in all the earnings, all the profits into building networks. They started building their own microwave links; they started building their own fibre optic links all across the country because it’s a matter of planning.

“Let it be said that technology changes, the best company today might not be the best company tomorrow. A few years ago, Facebook was not on the reckoning but today, is a much bigger company. People might not make it in terms of telecommunications service delivery because in certain countries, there is actually a certain number after which the market gets saturated. There are opportunities in the technology space; all that is needed is for operators to discover them and leverage.

“When Zoom started, no person knew it was going to scale to the level it has now reached; thanks to Coronavirus. People should continue to look for opportunities and niche markets and go there because that’s where they can scale. There are many companies that are doing very well in the financial technology space in the country too.”

Dr. Ndukwe also talked about NITEL, 5G, the Stock Market, companies he admires in Nigeria and the concept of a single African Telecoms network.


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