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Need for Infrastructure that Supports Convergence-Chiakpo

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Endy Chiakpo is the country general manager, IBM Nigeria and West Africa.  He has a 20-year career with IBM in Nigeria and the U.S, spanning hardware and software as systems engineer, senior engineering manager and programme director. He was part of the team that crafted the IBM Linux strategy and the successfully commercialized IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. He has scores of technical publications and holds invention patents. Chiakpo spoke on a range of issues.

Extracting Value from Smarter Infrastructure
We have long known that organizations are living systems – made up of smaller components and systems.  As the world becomes smarter – and more human beings, man-made systems, and natural systems become interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent – we begin to achieve unprecedented freedom to build, assemble, reassemble, loosely couple, and link resources in the organization.  Organizations that are prospering most are those that are dynamic and resilient enough to stay ahead of the change required of them. And it is not just about pervasive connectivity.  For the first time, massively powerful computers can be applied affordably to processing, modeling, forecasting and analysing just about any workload or task.  New approaches to service delivery are taking hold, like cloud computing models – creating a new kind of user experience – particularly in the consumer Web space – in search, social networking, retail and productivity applications.  From the user perspective, cloud computing holds promise for organisations large and small to acquire services without needing to understand the underlying technology.  Utility wires, cars and packaged goods are becoming increasingly “instrumented” with sensors, transistors, or RFID tags.  We are all now “interconnected” no matter where we are, thanks to the Internet.  We are also becoming ever more “intelligent” because of advanced software that communicates with vast supercomputing data centres.
Major Shift Underway
There is rapidly accelerating change unfolding.  There are mergers of hundred year old companies, creation of new industries and the demise of others.  There is also the emergence of new economies, the opening of long isolated markets, the imposition of new government regulations and the relaxation of others and so on.  Today, the PC model of the 1980s and the highly distributed model of the 90’s must be replaced by a new, more integrated paradigm.  This new computing model or paradigm is based on openness, networks, powerful new technology and the integration of digital intelligence into the fabric of everyday work and life. Given our service delivery challenges in Nigeria across education, power, transport and e-government infrastructure, we are best placed to leapfrog old technology to latest technology that is based on common, standardized set of applications.  New technology allows for the running of business processes on consolidated platforms, unleashing potential synergies and operational efficiencies
Change Gap
Recent surveys indicate that 98% of CEOs plan business model changes and 83% expect substantial change.  But the gap between those who expect change and those who believe they can handle it has tripled in the past two years.  For instance, take the utility industry.  Who would not want to better manage demand with available capacity rather than build expensive new power plants?  Or if you actually knew what consumer demand was, automatically reroute power rather than overload the grid and end up with another power outage. So what is holding them back? To do that, they would have to take their IT assets out of their silos.  Utilities have to take their business or “operational” assets – that network of power plants and distribution systems – out of their silos. They could then integrate them into a “smarter grid” which would allow them to manage all those transformers and breakers, and even the smart metres and thermostats in our homes and harvest all that intelligence from their IT systems. In the food industry, consumer pressure and government regulations now mandate that food producers ensure the safety of the food supply across the supply chain.  So what is holding back the food industry?  The way the food companies monitor and control the temperature of their perishable goods is not working.  They do not have an infrastructure in place that connects the farm to the truck to the supermarket shelves. So whether it is food or utilities – while they are totally different industries, they all share something in common.  What is holding them back is what we call a “change gap.”  Their business or “operations” and IT assets are highly fragmented and highly distributed thereby creating an environment that has business and IT operations working in silos.  There is a large gap between our progress digitizing and instrumenting critical applications and processes and the rigidity of the underlying infrastructure. 
Smart Infrastructure for Smart World
What is needed today in this digitally-connected world is an infrastructure that supports the convergence of business and IT needs and assets, creating integrated “smart” assets that will enable organisations to reduce costs, manage risk and improve service while reducing costs. The key requirements that such an infrastructure has to address include the integration of digital and physical infrastructure, the need to manage, store, and analyse a massive amount of data and reduce huge inefficiencies of energy, data centre and server utilization.  The underlying technical capabilities that allow for the development of such a converged, dynamic and smart infrastructure include: Virtualization – breaking out of the barriers of physical devices in a data centre, servers, storage, networks, data and applications giving businesses improved Total Cost of Ownership, resiliency and flexibility; Energy Efficiency – optimizing the energy efficiency of the IT infrastructure to reduce costs, resolve space, power, and cooling constraints; Service Management – integrated visibility, control and automation across all of the business and IT infrastructure components that support differentiated service delivery and accelerated business growth; Asset Management – enhanced asset reliability, availability and uptime that underpin quality delivery of service according to the priorities of the business while also maximising return on lifetime asset investment along with inventory optimisation, labour efficiency, and mitigating the risk of equipment failures that jeopardise the environment and the health and safety of people; Security – adopt a new approach to managing risk and security across organisations, processes, and information as the IT and business infrastructure become more interconnected; Business Resiliency – build in capabilities to rapidly adapt and respond to risks, as well as opportunities, in order to maintain continuous business operations, reduce operational costs, and enable growth in an increasingly connected world; and Information Infrastructure – supported by a resilient infrastructure for securely storing and managing information and mitigating business risks.
These are unique and challenging, yet exciting times.  These times have great possibilities. Smart systems are transforming energy grids, traffic systems and supply chains. They are ensuring the security of financial transactions and the safety of our food supply. They are changing our business models and how we work together.  Rising cost pressures, higher service expectations, new risks and threats and emerging smarter and more adaptive technologies, such as cloud computing, virtualisation, and Web 2.0 are some of the driving forces that are further accelerating the need for this change.  In fact, in this globally integrated economy, a converged and dynamic infrastructure that enables a business access, and extracts value from all types of assets, whether it’s physical, digital, or virtual is becoming the basis of competitive advantage


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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Facebook to Open Office in Lagos

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As part of its continued commitment and on-going investment in Africa, Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.

Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.

Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.

Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.

“All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance.

Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”

Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally.

This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID.

The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms.

“The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”


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Victor Osimhen Set Make His Debut For Napoli As Lampard Up Against Familiar Foes

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Football fans will enjoy another great weekend of football action as the new football season in Europe continues this weekend on DStv and GOtv.

The pick of Premier League matches this weekend is the meeting of Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 20 September, which will air live at 4:30pm on SS Premier League.

The Reds completed a league ‘double’ over the Blues last season, with the teams’ most recent meeting a 5-3 win for the Merseyside club in July.

Liverpool supporters have been concerned at their club’s relative lack of action in the transfer market (certainly compared to Chelsea, who have recruited heavily and brought in world-class talent such as Moroccan attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech, for example), but manager Jurgen Klopp insists he prefers working with a smaller group of players.

Lille’s Victor Osimhen in action during a UEFA Champions League soccer group stage match between Valencia CF and OSC Lille at Mestalla stadium on 05 November 2019. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Elsewhere, Manchester United will open their campaign with a clash at home to Crystal Palace in the early-evening kick-off on Saturday 19 September, on SS Premier League at 5:30pm.

It will be the first chance for new Red Devils signing Donny van de Beek to have a taste of competitive English football.

Also on Saturday, Everton will face West Bromwich Albion at 12:20pm while Leeds United will face Fulham at 3pm with the day closing off with Arsenal vs West Ham United at 8pm, all on SS Premier League.

The Premier League matches for the weekend will continue on Sunday 20 September with Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur at 12pm, Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion at 2pm and Leicester City vs Burnley at 7pm, all live on SS Premier League. On Monday 21 September, Aston Vila vs Sheffield United will air at 6pm and Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City at 8:15pm both live on SS Premier League.

This weekend’s La Liga sees the return to action for champions Real Madrid, who open the defence of their title with a match away to Real Sociedad at Sam Sebastian on the evening of Sunday 20 September showing live on SS La Liga, SS GOtv La Liga and SS GOtv Football at 8:00pm.

La Liga is packed this weekend with other exciting matches airing live on SS La Liga and SS GOtv La Liga. Getafe vs Osasuna will air at 8pm on Friday 18 September, while Villarreal v Eibar at 3pm and Celta Vigo vs Valencia at 8pm will both air on Saturday 19 September.

On Sunday 29 September, Huesca will clash with Cadiz at 3pm and Granada will face Deportivo Alaves at 5:30pm. GOtv will crown the weekend matches with Real Betis vs Real Valladolid at 8pm on Monday 21 September

Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma (left) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

The headline match from Italy’s topflight this weekend sees champions Juventus open the defence of their title with a match at home to Sampdoria in the late kick-off on Sunday 20 September at 7:45pm on SS Football, SS Variety 3 and SS GOtv Select 1.

All eyes will be on new manager, Andrea Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri at the head of the Bianconeri in the off season.

Another key game this weekend will give Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen the chance to make his competitive debut for Napoli when they face Parma on Sunday afternoon, having joined the club for a huge fee from Lille a few weeks back. This will air at 11:30am live on SS Football, SS Variety 3, SS GOtv Select 1 and SS GOtv Football.

SuperSport remains the only platform to get English commentary from the legendary La Liga.

Don’t miss the 2020-21 football season on SuperSport on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstvafrica.com and www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade and join in on the excitement. While you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.

 


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