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Innovation, Creativity on Display @ IBM “CogniHack Lagos 2016”

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The abundance and quality of talent in the country’s local technology space was showcased recently to the friendly geeks at IBM.

Showcasing its ongoing investment in the local technology space, IBM chose Africa’s most populous city to convene “CogniHack Lagos 2016”, a software coding competition, specifically designed to brush up the cloud and cognitive computing skills of the software development community.

“CogniHack Lagos 2016”, the coding challenge assembled scores of pre-selected local talent – from idea generators, to app designers, freelance programmers, budding software designers and creative hacks.

They came from academia; independent software vendors from places as far as Ibadan, Abeokuta, Abuja, Gusau in Zamfara state, and Zaria in Kaduna state, including a coding teams from local start-ups Software Alliance, Relational Technologies, Andela (which recently got a multi-million-dollar boost from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg), and United Kingdom-based team of Nigerian-born developers.

Their collective tasks was to collaborate on developing solutions for the financial services sector, using IBM’s BlueMix development platform, Watson Developer Cloud and other IBM and third party cloud-based tools.

Their resultant applications will be web and mobile ready. And they had less than 72 hours to come up with their mobile and web-based blueprints.

The young innovators were challenged to unleash their software design and coding skills on building software solutions around customer engagement and customer insights.

But before even getting them to work in teams at its Client and Innovation Center in Lagos (venue of the coding competition), it had curated a series of banking industry challenges and issues from local banks for the constructive teams (white hackers) to work on, pooling them into easily addressable hackathon prompts.

In layman’s terms these hackathon prompts reflect the current headaches of the Nigerian and regional banking industry. Contemporary mobile and electronic banking issues like customer service, money management, bill payments, storage, connecting farmers to sellers etc.

Two banking technology experts, Henry Ideozu and Victor Okigbo representing Heritage Bank and Access Bank respectively, also enriched the coding contest with their savvy technical expertise, retail banking use cases and insights.

Eventually, at the end of the competition, IBM found app designs from three teams worthy of commercial progression, based on the fact that “their ideas and solutions were viable, innovative, scalable and had a path to potential profitability for banking institutions.,” according to Tomi Akingbade, Associate Partner at IBM’s Watson Transformations team for the financial services sector.

“Team CogniBank” emerged tops, with the best software design, according to the CogniHack jury comprising of techies from IBM and banking industry.

Aimed primarily at improving customer satisfaction levels, their application deploys information retrieval concepts to support and optimize usage of the internet banking and mobile banking delivery channels.

The CogniBank application is built around IBM’s Watson Artificial Intelligence platform, enabling prompt and relevant response to customer queries.

After “Team CogniBank”, the second and third place teams were “Team Genie” and “Team Growphile” respectively. Interestingly both teams come from the stables of Andela.    

“IBM promotes talent wherever it can be found. These days, we are focused on leveraging cognitive technologies to transform businesses…clearly with the right support and technology platform, the potentials of Nigeria’s digitally savvy youth can be unleashed to achieve positive impact,” Akingbade says.

IBM expects the software ideas from these innovative teams to blossom into winning solutions and successful enterprises, able to partner with IBM to deliver technology solution and services for humanity.  

The three top teams, CogniBank, Genie and Growphile, will have the opportunity to co-present their solutions to business, technology and public sector leaders at the IBM Business Connect Nigeria 2016 event in Lagos later this week.

No doubt, the Nigerian technology space continues to develop at a fast pace thanks largely to progressive investments that breed successful collaboration between global corporations and indigenous IT institutions and individuals. IBM continues to raise the bar in technology innovation promotion and management with its interesting hackathons.

“CogniHack Lagos 2016” is IBM’s latest hackathon effort on Nigerian soil. About two years ago, the technology giant flagged off its pan-African hackathon series in Lagos with “IBM Lagos Hackathon”, a four-day technology training and ideas incubation programme which developed applications for Mobile Payments and Smarter Government Solutions.

IBM, a global leader cloud and cognitive computing company, currently invests over $6 billion annually in technology research and technology.

Notwithstanding Nigeria’s current harsh economic climate, the country’s IT ecosystem is a fertile ground for solid long term returns. The results of IBM’s ongoing investments in Nigeria’s IT space can only mean one thing – positive growth for the local IT economy.


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Join Inlaks Live TechTalk Edition on Hyosung’s Revolutionary MV 100 ATM Model

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Inlaks, the leading Information Technology Systems Integrator specialised in the deployment of highly scalable ICT Infrastructure solutions, will on Monday September 28, deploy the second edition of its virtual thought leadership segment called “TechTalk”.

Techtalk which was formerly a pre-recorded segment hosted on the organisations YouTube channel has now transitioned into a live virtual event across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The virtual edition kicked off in August 2020 with a segment on Financial Crime Mitigation, honing in on the superiority of Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation Solution with Emmanuel Orororo, Sales Manager, Financial Business, Inlaks.

The 2nd edition of Tech Talk promises to offer the same measure of insights as it dives into the world of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) with a focus on MoniValue 100, a revolutionary ATM solution by Hyosung TNS. The MoniValue 100 is especially adapted to the present times as it is a cardless, contactless and changeless solution.

Join this virtual event live by logging on to any of the social media pages below on Monday, 28th September 2020. YouTube: Inlaks, Facebook: InlaksNg, Twitter: Inlaks, Instagram: InlaksNg

Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company partners with leading OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers.

Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure Solutions Provider, helping customers effectively seize new market and service opportunities.

With an impressive customer base that includes six Central Banks in West Africa, 18 of the 24 banks in Nigeria and other major customers in the West African region, Inlaks has become the dominant Information Technology Company in Africa.

Inlaks’ customers cut across various segments including Banking, Telecommunication, Oil/Gas, Power, Utilities and the Distribution sectors of the economy. For more information, please visit www.inlaks.com


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Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

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There were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA) detections over a 7-month period in Nigeria, according to Kaspersky security solutions.

Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports

Elsewhere in South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections, showing the growing desperation of the attacks.

The company reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.

These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the “grey zone” programmes that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.

Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programmes that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves.

However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.

calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, Kaspersky researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware.

They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.

“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals. The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.

By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware.

Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.

Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.

Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances, Kaspersky said.


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Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

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Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.

Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech

The agreement — which also included Twitter and YouTube — laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online.

In July, hundreds of advertisers including big-name consumer brands suspended advertising with Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, saying the social-media titan should do more to stamp out hatred and misinformation on its platform.

And earlier this month a group of celebrities — including Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — stopped using Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours, to push a similar message.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) said in a statement Wednesday: “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, in collaboration with marketers and agencies through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”

The alliance was founded by the WFA and includes other major trade bodies.

According to the WFA, key areas of agreement included applying the alliance’s common definitions of harmful content; developing reporting standards for such content; establishing independent oversight; and rolling out tools for keeping advertisements away from harmful content.

The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.

“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA.

Luis Di Como, executive vice-president of global media at Unilever, a major advertiser, sounded a note of cautious optimism.

He said: “The issues within the online ecosystem are complicated, and whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Speaking in July, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he remained adamant that the company did not want hate speech on the social network.

On Wednesday, the company’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”

 


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