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Ndukwe, Ekuwem Reminisce On ICT Milestones, Praise Ukodie for His Book

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Engineer. Ernest  Ndukwe and Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, two key players in the remarkable days of the ICT industry, when a motley of events, activities, workshops, exhibitions, and conferences stirred the birth of the ICT industry, and set it on the current growth trajectory, went memory lane yesterday, at the launch of a book written by Aaron Ukodie.

The book is titled: Nigeria Drivers of Digital Prosperity: The Trajectories of The Digital Evolution, Sector Analysis and Players Contributions.

Ndukwe, was former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), while Ekuwem, who founded a telecom firm, Teledom International, was at various times president of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Nigerian Internet Group (NIG).

Ndukwe is currently chairman of MTN Nigeria. Ekuwem is Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government.

Both also poured praises on Ukodie, for his exemplary courage and tenacity in writing books, mostly on the ICT industry, a feat Ekuwem particularly referred to as a mark of a true intellectual.

Ndukwe took note of the quality of the book, especially the quality of the print saying “many books come out badly, but this one came out well”.

He said he has been planning to write a book on his days at NCC, as many have been asking him to do, but Aaron has further gingered him to write it.

“I am still preparing to write a book about my tenure at the NCC. This book (Aaron’s book) has gotten me out of my slumber; many people are on my neck to put my experiences on paper. There are many perspectives.  When I write my own I will talk in detail about the many battles we fought at the NCC”.

He said, Aaron “provided the bridge that connected all those years together and the last section –of the book— talked about the role of the media.

“I must commend them for their work over the years. Aaron talked of many battles, indeed there were.

“He talked about the one where we were at the hotel where the auction was to take place. There was indeed a call and an attempt to stop the auction.

“When I got that call from… Aaron has bitted me to it… it was going to be one of the highlights of my books…

“when I got the call I had some stubborn streak in me to continue. I had determined that we were not going to stop the auction. I called the chairman ( late Alhaji Ahmed Joda).

“He was more settled than me. He asked if I had the phone number of the Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“My brother worked at the presidency as his physician, so he gave us the VP’s number.  When we called him, I was very impressed with his reaction.  He asked if somebody asked that you stop the auction, for what.

“He said he was the last person that saw the President (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) and they never discussed anything like that.

“I think that was courageous. I think that was a mark of a decision-maker. Some other people would have said wait let me confirm”.

Ndukwe said the reason they wanted to stop the process was that some people wanted two companies to be disqualified. If we did that then only three that would be left would automatically get the three licenses that were on offer.

He said because of the courage the Atiku demonstrated the process continued. He said some other persons would have said wait let me confirm that from the president.

Ndukwe said there were other times some ministers wanted to scuttle the process and the matter went to the president, but he stood his ground.

“I was not desperate for the position of EVC.  I was the MD of a company and I was already living in a big house in Ikoyi. What I really wanted to be at the time was MD of NITEL, and not EVC of NCC, a regulatory body, because NITEL had huge prospects but it was being badly managed.

When Iromantu ( Ogbonnaya)  was EVC I wrote several papers on deregulation and liberalization, so it was possible they wanted me to go and do what I have been talking about.

One thing we insisted on was the independence of the regulator. The independence of the regulator is very important. It does not have to do with the party you belong or the person you are related to.

In his comment,  Ekuwem said he was motivated to attend the book launch because “it was important to celebrate the past, because if we lose sight of what led us to where we are today; the men and women that drove the prosperity the way he Aaron used that word, then we have lost something important.

Ekuwem praised the role of the media saying the media drove the narrative towards where we are today and Ndukwe was supporting them.

He went memory lane to mention some of those key media men: Sonny Aragba Akpore, Tayo Adewusi, Remmy Nweke, Ufuoma Dairo, Shina Badaru, Bayero Agabi, Don Pedro-Aganbi, Sylvester Ebhodaghe, Biyi …, Mkpe Abang, who worked assiduously, and Ndukwe was supporting them to attend conferences and workshops.

He said the media helped the NCC to drive thirst and amplify passion, to get the market ready for where we are today. He also remembered such key industry players as Engineer Ogbonaya Iromantu, Engr. Emmanuel Nnama, Dr. Eugene Juwah, Shola Taylor, Johnson Asinugo, and Professor Gabriel Ajayi.

“We use to hold workshops for federal permanent secretaries on the use of the computers, myself and Professor Ajayi, helping them on how to use and move the cursor and mouse. It was that bad then. It was a status symbol to have a computer that was not being used. Computers were covered with dust.

He urged Ndukwe to write his own book because it would inspire the young ones.

Commenting on the Ukodie book, Ekuwem said; “Very few people do not shy away to put their thoughts on paper because you would be challenged. It is a mark of an intellectual, for having the audacity to put your thoughts on paper”.

He reminded the NCC not to rest on its oars because “we are not there yet”.  According to him the public services is still deplore ICT tools and applications for productivity and governance.

“We have security challenges today. How can you have security challenge and you have 4G, 5G and you cannot capture them”.

He spoke of the Telecom Summit which the NCC used to organize during the years of Ndukwe, which provided stakeholders to interrogate the NCC and galvanize ideas.

“Don’t be afraid of exchanging ideas, you will not lose anything”, he urged the NCC. He said we do not yet have the applications and tools to boost productivity, and wealth creation, create jobs, take youths out of the job market and secure our country.


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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. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Nigerians Rush as Konga Slashes Prices of Starlink Satellite Internet Kits by 50 Percent

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Konga’s latest addition to its family of technology products, Starlink Satellite Internet Kits, has been met with overwhelming customer demand. The company is Starlink’s only authorised Shop-In-Shop eCommerce partner in Nigeria and provides immediate warranties on all Starlink kits bought from Konga.

Since the e-commerce giant broke the news of the price slash at 9pm on Tuesday night, shoppers in need of reliable, fast, low-latency internet services have trooped to konga.com to grab their share of the unbeatable deal on offer for the Space X engineered satellite kit. Until March of this year, the internet kits had been selling for N800,000 due to the devaluation of the Naira, and now go for N440,000 with the local currency regaining its strength.

As the clock races and limited stock runs out, our investigation confirms that those who purchased Starlink on Konga have begun to receive same-day delivery shipping for their orders in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Rivers State.

On its e-commerce website, the unprecedented surge in demand for the product saw web traffic triple in 4 hours as customers took advantage of the great pricing and seamless order process available via the authentic official Starlink store in Nigeria on Konga.

Konga is yet to reveal how many units of the product it will be releasing to the market at the current discounted price; however, insider reports indicate that there is limited stock available for a short time at this amount. For this reason, customers are encouraged to place their orders immediately.

According to the Head of Business for Konga’s commercial unit, Emmanuel Ekwedike, the online shopping platform always delivers deals that make sense. With the Starlink kits, while customers can buy online and have the orders shipped to their homes and offices nationwide, they can also visit any Konga retail outlet around the country to make an instant purchase.

In February, Konga announced the launch of Starlink kits on its platform with an initial selling price of N378,000 to great reviews. As the month advances, the excitement is still running high as users get high-end quality experiences from purchasing genuine kits and other products with global warranty at its retail outlets and online via the e-commerce portal.

Konga.com is Nigeria’s largest customer centric omnichannel online mall. It launched operations in July 2012 and is on a mission to become the engine of commerce and trade in Africa.

Starlink kits provide high-speed internet services to users around the world through advanced low-latency satellite technology, as a solution to internet disruptions caused by fibre cuts.


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New Salesforce-WhatsApp Integration brings Marketing and Service Conversations together

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Salesforce, the #1 AI CRM, announced the general availability of Unified Conversations for WhatsApp, which transforms one-way marketing promotions or service requests into dynamic, two-way conversations from a single WhatsApp number.

Instead of managing separate threads for promotions and support, customers can automatically receive personalised opt-in marketing promotions and individual support all within a single WhatsApp chat between a brand and customer.

This allows companies like Agibank to use data stored in Salesforce from across their more than 900 hubs within WhatsApp to deliver personalised loan proposals, resolve concerns faster, and better support customers — all in a single conversation.

Why it matters: Seventy-nine percent of customers expect consistent interactions across departments and 75% want to communicate with brands using messaging. However, businesses aren’t meeting these expectations. Customers report that disconnected experiences are their top frustration when dealing with an organisation.

Salesforce perspective: “With more than two billion people using WhatsApp today, Salesforce’s new Unified Conversations for WhatsApp enables brands to connect with their customers where they are and have a single, connected, and trusted experience,” said Steve Hammond, EVP and GM, Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

“This helps brands break down barriers across their company and build stronger relationships throughout their customer’s journey, including natural handoffs from marketing to service teams, by driving the right personalised engagement, no matter where they are in the customer journey, at the right time and in the right context.”

Go deeper: Unified Conversations for WhatsApp is powered by Salesforce Data Cloud. Data Cloud allows companies to bring all of their trapped data into Salesforce and build a unified customer profile across all products, services, and interactions. This allows marketers and service agents to work off the same, shared customer profile and provides them with the relevant context needed to deliver trusted experiences across both departments in a single chat thread.

Innovation in action: By combining marketing and service conversations together in Unified Conversations for WhatsApp:

  • Marketers can segment audiences and create content for marketing campaigns while giving service agents a window into customers’ interactions to provide recommended next best actions using a single WhatsApp number.

  • Inside one WhatsApp conversation, healthcare organisations can schedule, confirm, and provide follow-up support for procedures and appointments.

  • Financial service institutions can prevent fraud by offering a single experience in WhatsApp to proactively verify and provide assistance for unusual transactions.

  • Travellers can respond to personalised trip offers and book experiences through chatbot-powered prompts in WhatsApp.

 


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Meta to Blur Nude Photos on Instagram for Teen Safety

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Meta the owner of Instagram is introducing a new safety feature to help protect teenagers from seeing unwanted nude photos in their direct messages.

Meta to Blur Nude Photos on Instagram for Teen Safety

The feature will automatically blur out nude images if the recipient is identified as a teenager.

Meta said this safety measure is aimed at addressing three main problems.

First, teenagers sometimes receive nude photos that they didn’t ask for and don’t want to see.

Second, sending nude photos of teenagers, even if it’s the teenagers themselves sending them, can be against the law. And third, there are scams where teenagers, especially boys, are tricked into sending explicit photos and then blackmailed.

The tech giant is under mounting pressure in the United States and Europe over allegations that its apps were addictive and have fueled mental health issues among young people.

Meta said the protection feature for Instagram’s direct messages would use on-device machine learning to analyze whether an image sent through the service contains nudity.

Meta, the company that owns Instagram, will use this technology to detect nude photos in direct messages. If the recipient is flagged as a teenager based on their birthdate, the photo will be blurred, and a warning message will appear.

Attorneys general of 33 U.S. states, including California and New York, sued the company in October, saying it repeatedly misled the public about the dangers of its platforms.

In Europe, the European Commission has sought information on how Meta protects children from illegal and harmful content.

 

 


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