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The “App Economy” will Drive Innovation in Africa

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The mobile economy has finally arrived in Africa. Anyone who doubts should simply take a look around them. The millennial generation have become the leading purveyors of the emerging “App Economy”.

They are driving the boom in mobile services and reinventing the way businesses engage with their internal and external audiences and stakeholders.

To compete in this new “app economy,” telcos will need to invest in gaining market share” through mobile applications, services, advertising and the customer data that powers them.Mobile point of sale is also set to take off in the enterprise.

By the end of 2015, nearly 50% of enterprises with 2,500 or more employees will have some variation of a mobile point of sale (mPoS) deployment.

More than 80 percent of market-leading organisations[M1]  globally already recognise that mobile is fundamentally changing the way they do business.By providing apps and services that directly support the devices and connectivity of their core businesses, Africa’s telcos can improve customer satisfaction, decrease the cost of customer service, andgenerate sizable efficiency dividends to their customer retention and employee productivity.

The mobile ecosystem is therefore poised to create new economies driven by a new set of rules. Not one African nation has escaped the movement to mobile.

The dynamics of mobile growth on the continent will continue to provide good study material for savants of global telecommunications, especially when you look at how mobile has helped to transform the national gross domestic picture of nations and the personal economies of citizens at the bottom of the pyramid.

Take a look at Nigeria, a nation of about 170 million people. Nigeria’s mobile uptake has been one of the fastest in the emerging market over the last 12 years, growing from just under 500,000 lines in 2001 to its current 120 million lines.

In the Indian Island nation of Mauritius (population 1.3 million), the impact of mobile has been no less significant. Rated as one of the easiest countries to do business in in Africa, Mauritius has clearly benefitted from the adoption of new technologies like mobile and bio-technology in its agriculture sector.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Africa’s cellular network operators have been able to benefit from rapid growth in mobile subscriptions.

But traditional telco business models rely on high demand for voice and messaging services, which still comprise over 90 percent [A2] of mobile revenues in many markets in the region.

Analysts estimate that data will make up almost 27 percent of telco service revenues in Africa by 2018[M3] .

However, as the adoption of smart devices mobile data grows, telcos face increasing competition from over-the-top (OTT) providers offering free apps for messaging and VoIP calls.

The telco industry can benefit significantly from embracing this mobile disruption.In the African markets where 80 percent of consumers have no bank accounts,[M4] for example, telcos have already disrupted financial services providers with mobile money services.

With their knowledge and control over mobile networks and infrastructure, telcos also occupy a prime position to facilitate the mobile transformations of other industries; from retailers adopting enterprise mobile solutions to manage back-end logistics, to governments seeking to offer the same ease of use and convenience that citizens already expect from the private sector.

For example, in Ghana, Surfline Communicationsis using an IBM cloud solution to support critical back-end processes.

This IBM technology is helping Surfline not only to focus on mobile innovations for its own customers, but also support the infrastructural and implementation needs of Ghana’s businesses and government agencies as they start to invest more heavily in mobile services.

Adopting a mobile mindset
For most Africans, mobile devices are the primary technology platform. African telcoswould do well to consider the frictions experienced by prepaid customers, who account for 9 in every 10 Africans with a mobile device[M5] .

Prepaid customers with medium to high spending –particularly those using smart devices – typically want flexibility in their service consumption.

However, these same customers face the inconvenience of frequentlytopping up their accounts using vouchers, a legacy procedure that has not changed in the past 15 years.

This can be transformed with asimple smartphone app which automatically tops-up a customer’s prepaid account from their mobile wallet, when it hits a certain threshold. It would save telcos the significant margins that typically go to retailer-middlemen selling prepaid credits; and create a new source of revenue for banks enabling direct access to bank accounts to top-up. 

Bharti Airtel, a leading Indian telco, offers customers an award-winning app built with IBM technology which lets them manage multiple services (and even add new ones).

For Africa’s phone companies, the capacity to act local and think in global terms would be crucial test of their market relevance.

As other parts of the world continue to pivot to mobile, the telcos in Africa have a valuable blank slate on which to develop new products and services (and even new business models, based on open software design and collaboration), with relevance to a range of other industries in the region and around the world.

These telcos have a natural advantage to take the lead in mobile services innovation, thanks to their history of control over the device and the network.

Rui Serra is IBM Territory Manager – Central Africa (Angola, Indian Ocean Islands & SADC Region).


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FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

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Federal government on Tuesday announced that it has developed initiatives for the adoption of Artificial Intelligence technology in Nigeria.

FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

 

The establishment of a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria (CFAIR) is also expected soon.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said that AI applications enable innovative solutions, improve risk assessment, better planning, and faster knowledge-sharing.

Abdullahi Usman Gambo, director of IT Infrastructure Solution, NITDA, spoke at a workshop in commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He noted that AI would open up opportunities for access to information and also help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) in the 2030 Agenda.

Gambo said: “Artificial Intelligence is poised to revolutionize the way we go about our daily lives – from governance to business, legislation to medicine to defence, etc. We can all agree that AI is humanity’s new frontier.

“We have developed initiatives for adoption of emerging technologies such as AI, strengthen cybersecurity, digital skills for digitally excluded citizens while enhancing the regulatory and market environment to increase access to ICTs, and promote seamless access to information.

“We believe AI and associated emerging technologies will completely enhance the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of information gathering during the exchange of data or the ways of communication,” he said.

Delivering his paper, Yushau Shuaib, publisher of PRNigeria, described access to information as the right of the citizens to accurate, transparent, and timely facts and figures.

The former National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman stated that governments at all levels have obligations to communicate with people, while the public has the right to know and criticize authorities through constructive engagement.

The media executive, however, appealed to Nigerians not to use social media platforms for fake news dissemination.

“The merits of new media on affordability, accessibility and instant delivery are occasionally marred by the fact that social media is sometimes used to spread fake news”, he said.

Shuaib called for collaboration of stakeholders in ensuring appropriate legislation through public awareness campaigns in order to improve access to universal information.


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Samsung Unveils Technologically Advanced 2020 Consumer Products

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Samsung Electronics Nigeria has unveiled its 2020 consumer products range. The launch which held in Victoria Island, Lagos showcased the latest in its revolutionary and innovative QLED and Crystal UHD Television Series  along with Wind Free Air Conditioners, Side by Side Refrigerators and Drum Washing Machines.

Keeping with its resolve to utilize its transformative ideas and technologies to shape the future and inspire the whole world, Samsung has once again demonstrated its determination to continuously redefine the living space and entertainment of its customers.

According to Mr. Caden Chiyeon Yu, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics Nigeria, “QLED uses exceptional and revolutionary technology which offers an unparalleled visual and auditory adventure from the comfort of your living room. QLED series is available in 4K or 8K and from 58″ to 98”, and was designed with options to fit any space and budget”. For Crystal UHD Television, Mr. Yu said, with cutting-edge Crystal Display, the new Crystal UHD TV will bring high-resolution content to life in a whole new way, delivering a viewing experience like never before in a mainstream UHD TV.

Also showcased at the launch were the new Windfree Air Conditioner, Drum Washing Machines and Side by Side refrigerators. The Windfree Air Conditioner is designed specially with the latest technology to provide coolness in quick time while ensuring that users don’t experience any chills through out its use. It also has an in-built digital inverter which reduces energy consumption by 73 percent. .

The newly introduced drum washing machine of 2020 from Samsung is very efficient and is built with eco bubble technolgy which allows it to provide cleaning of very dirty garments or clothes without the use of water.  Futhermore, the new Side by Side Refrigetor was built with Spacemax technology which has enabled  Samsung to offer more spacious interior without increasing the external dimentions or compromising energy efficiency.

Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Oluwaremilekun Adesola-Ogunsan, Head, Consumer Electronics, Samsung Nigeria stated that “Samsung understands the economic diffulties currently being experienced in the country and has consistently produced pocket friendly premium consumer products. We are very consistent in our approach as we understand that our customers like the good things of life and we have provided that without compromising our standards”. “So I can say boldy that there is a Samsung for everybody regardless of your income stream” She added.

In 2019, the Samsung consumer range of products received universal praise for its innovative quality and design and numerous pioneering features. This year Samsung has added even more beneficial features which its customers will appreciate in great deal.

 


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CWG Plc Empowers Small Businesses in Nigeria with SME Solution

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Pan-African Information and Communications Technology Company, CWG Plc has said the essence of its Enterprise Resource Planning Solution (SMERP) that runs on the cloud is to empower small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and offer them the required tools to manage their entire business.

Mr. Dolapo Orogbemi, Product Manager for SMERP, who disclosed this recently to the media, noted that with SMEs contributing massively to Nigeria’s economy and creating both direct and indirect jobs, SMERP was designed intentionally to help SMEs thrive.

“Since inception, it has been the number one goal for us here at CWG because we have always identified the potential for SMEs once they are provided with the right support.

Thus, SMERP was designed to make available enabling tools for all SMEs across Africa at a relatively affordable price and to also make their business operations lean where they can save more resources to increase profitability,” he said.

Dolapo explained that in support of SMEs, SMERP has provided an effective ERP tailored to the SME market, providing services such as Inventory Management, E-commerce platform, Accounting, Point of Sale and Customer Relationship Management tool.

He argued that one of the major reasons SMEs don’t survive beyond the early stage of their business is due to inadequate funding to scale the business and this has become a default gap in the SME sector.

But with the CWG’s SMERP solution, SMEs can take proper records of their day-to-day business transactions to present to financial institutions as proof of profitability and project business growth for them.

According to him, SMERP’s competitive edge is based on value to the SMEs where they can have access to a complete ERP solution at an affordable price, stressing that the solution enables each SME with special requirements to execute their business needs.

For more information on SMERP kindly visit www.smerp.ng to start a 14-days free trial.


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