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ITU Launches New Challenge on Internet of Things for Social Good

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ITU Telecom Young Innovators Competition has launched its fourth challenge in the 2014 edition. It calls for young people aged between 18 and 30 from around the world to submit ideas for concepts of start-ups aimed at using the Internet of Things (IoT) for social good in order to significantly improve the lives of people globally.

Run in partnership with the IEEE Internet of Things (IoT) Initiative Working Group, the challenge opens the way for two winning concepts for start-ups to attend ITU Telecom World 2014, the leading platform for debate, networking and showcasing for the global ICT community, that will be held in Doha, Qatar, 7 – 10 December 2014.

Challenge-4 seeks ideas on how benefits from the ‘Internet of Things’ can be used for social good and spread to countries around the world, especially to emerging economies where development is currently slower due to the cost of the technology, lack of underlying infrastructure and the need for strong, widespread connectivity.

Ideas may focus on methods to expand access to existing technology, such as near-field communication, RFID or QR codes, or might involve applying IoT technology to specific fields, such as agriculture, water management, transportation or other areas of particular relevance to developing communities. Ideas on developing an “Intranet of Things” – local networks of IoT devices functioning on a smaller scale to serve a concrete social purpose – are particularly welcome.

The IoT refers to the ability to connect and interact digitally with physical objects around the world, bringing together sensing, communications and information infrastructures with unprecedented potential to initiate a paradigm shift in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and customer services.

According to speakers at ITU Telecom World 2013, its market value is estimated at over USD 14 trillion, representing between 15 and 25 billion devices by 2015.

“The Internet of Things is one of the most exciting areas of technology today,” said Blaise Judja-Sato, ITU Telecom Executive Manager. “It is vital that its implementation and the benefits arising from it are not limited to developed, wealthy economies. The potential impact of IoT technologies, solutions and applications in emerging markets is tremendous – from reducing the risk of famine to amplifying currently scarce resources in healthcare or increasing efficient, sustainable energy production.”

“The Internet of Things offers tremendous business opportunities, but it also presents challenges for engineers, who must build ever more complex systems, deal with interoperability, privacy, regulatory and energy efficiency issues, and determine ways to analyse the deluge of data,” said Roberto Minerva, chairman of the IEEE IoT Initiative to drive the evolution and deployment of successful IoT solutions in academic and industrial environments, and speaker at ITU Telecom World 2014.

“IEEE is excited to be involved in the ITU Young Innovators Competition, as the need to identify the next generation of engineering talent to develop IoT technologies for the benefit of humanity is extremely important.”

Challenge-4 is a co-creation challenge calling for applicants to submit ideas and to discuss, exchange views and contribute collaboratively. The ideas with the greatest potential will be developed into concepts under the guidance of expert facilitators over the dedicated crowdsourcing platform at https://ideas.itu.int. 

Experts from the IEEE IoT Initiative, ITU and other prominent partners currently working on IoT will conduct online facilitation. Two winners of the Challenge will attend ITU Telecom World 2014 to pitch ideas before industry and government leaders, participate in workshops, benefit from a year of ongoing mentorship, and win up to USD 5000 in seed funding.


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NCC Holds First Virtual Bi-Annual Meeting with Telcos

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and senior executives of telecommunication companies on complaints management recently held the regular bi-annual meeting, in compliance with COVID-19 management protocols instituted by the Federal Government.

NCC Holds First Virtual Bi-Annual Meeting with Telcos

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

At the meeting, which focused on consumer relations and complaint management processes, the NCC and the telecom service providers agreed that the compensation policy should be revisited and complied with at all times.

This is to ensure full compliance with the new Complaint Categories and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA) consented to by the NCC and the service providers in the telecommunication ecosystem.

Additionally, it was decided that the Commission and telecom service providers will hold follow-up discussions on “Fair Usage Policy” on unlimited data bundles/data rollover, in order to provide a clearer explanation and better understanding of the processes and procedures of the policy for the benefit of the consumers.

The Commission hereby wishes to restate that its direction of June 2018 to service providers to commence implementation of data rollover from 26 June 2018, remains in force.

In other words, a subscriber’s unused data must be rolled over to his/her subsequent data subscription.

Therefore, the Commission urges service providers to continue to inform and educate subscribers on the procedures and processes for data rollover.

Service providers also agreed to ensure that senior-level customer relations officers support their respective complaints management teams, to resolve complaints that were not resolved to the satisfaction of the consumers when such complaints were first reported.

The service providers also promised to ensure that complaints are resolved in both the letter and spirit of the recently-reviewed Service Level Agreement (SLA).

With respect to services subscribed to through third parties (such as banks), which are not rendered, the meeting resolved that telecom service providers should explore initiating service level agreement with banks to ensure uniformity and speed in the resolution of complaints relating to billing.

All parties to the meeting equally agreed that telecom service providers will carry out pervasive consumer education and enlightenment campaigns about their products and services to ensure their subscribers have the information they require to make informed decisions and get value for money spent.

The commission wishes to state that it was very pleased with the impressive attendance, participation, and the quality of decisions taken at the bi-annual meeting.

The NCC is, therefore, determined to continue to work closely with the service providers and other stakeholders in the Nigerian telecom sector in order to improve on the quality of service, and by implication, the quality of consumer experience.

The bi-annual meeting, which has held regularly since 2018, focuses on ensuring improvement in Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) in the telecom industry.

It has served as a veritable platform for the Commission and service providers to discuss and agree on measures that will enhance prompt and effective consumer complaint resolution in telecom service provision in Nigeria.

 


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Ericsson Launches Integrated Packet Core Firewall to Boost 5G Core Security

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Ericsson is advancing 5G core network security for communications service providers (CSPs) through the launch of the cloud native Ericsson Packet Core Firewall.

Core network security is a key factor in CSPs’ forward business planning as they pursue innovative new business opportunities powered by 5G and emerging technologies.

Ericsson’s new solution, part of the Ericsson 5G platform, is aimed at enabling CSPs to pursue those opportunities not only through the best packet core network security capabilities, but also in the most cost-effective way for their business.

Powered by A10 Networks’ advanced security technology, the Ericsson Packet Core Firewall solution is already seamlessly integrated with Ericsson Packet Core Gateway in  Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core offering. The solution also supports end-to-end network slicing and edge computing.

The cloud native offering is optimized to scale with user plane to the edge of the network to cater for secure core network 5G use cases. By protecting a communications service provider’s core network – including sensitive service provider data and customer data – the all-in-one solution secures 5G service availability.

The solution delivers more than 50 percent total cost of ownership reduction over dedicated user plane security solutions, while maintaining 5G latency. This is enabled through a single CNF (Cloud Native Network Function) solution with simplified maintenance and orchestration.

Folke Anger, Head of Packet Core Solutions, Ericsson, says: “Securing service availability in 5G requires a holistic view beyond dedicated security solutions.

“We are now launching the Ericsson Packet Core Firewall seamlessly integrated into our Packet Core Gateway. This will provide our customers with substantial total cost of ownership improvements while ensuring their 5G services to the edge.”

Patrick Donegan, Founder and Principal Analyst, HardenStance, says: “Telecom operators need to think differently about how they implement security with a 5G Core. Ericsson’s Packet Core Gateway together with Packet Core Firewall integrates user plane and security functions in a single Cloud native Network Function (CNF).

“This allows significant TCO savings and is well optimized for edge use cases. It also enables automated, closed-loop, threat mitigation independent of transport equipment vendor.”

Dhrupad Trivedi, CEO and Board Chair, A10 Networks, says: “Mobile operators are transitioning to more cloud native and distributed architectures to support 5G. This increases the critical need for security and network availability.

“A10 is excited to expand our partnership with Ericsson to enable current and emerging 5G use cases. The Ericsson Packet Core Firewall powered by A10 Networks is ready for cloud native deployments and addresses the evolving business needs for operators.”


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Anambra Indicates Interest to Host NITDA’s South-East Zonal Office

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The Anambra State Government has indicated interest to provide enabling environment for the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) to situate its South-East Zonal Office in the State.

The State, also among other requests, expressed willingness to host some of NITDA’s events, programmes and establishment of information Technology hub in the State.

The State made the requests during a working visit to NITDA by Mr Theo Manfa, managing director/chief executive officer, Anambra State Information and Communication Technology Agency, (ANSICTA).

Mr Manfa in his address,  expressed that the call for special requests by the state is necessitated by the fact that the state “has long been known as a home of innovation and entrepreneurship, through the various markets like Onitsha and Nnewi and the plethora of locally produced goods they spawned over time.”

He said that innovation and entrepreneurship are important elements to drive the digital economy which the nation is striving to create adding that the state has been watching with keen interest the activities of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NITDA which necessitated the intended partnership.

While itemizing the identified possible areas of collaboration, Mr Manfa said that the state would like to partner NITDA on the newly launched Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture, (NGEA), training of youths in hardware and software skills, entrenchment of e-Government culture and learning interventions for secondary school students with the aid of Unity Board.

In his remark, Dr Vincent Olatunji, director, e-Government Development and Regulations, who represented Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the meeting said it is gratifying to know that the state is keenly following the activities of the Agency in its drive to achieving digital economy for the nation.

He commended the state for developing its ICT policy to serve as road map on how the state would execute its IT plans adding that ANSICTA should ensure it drives the policy for the state.

While assuring the state that all its requests are not beyond what the Agency could provide, he enjoined it to formally write to the Agency by itemizing and prioritizing the area of collaborations.

The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of Award of Appreciation for his outstanding achievements in driving the digital economy.


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