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U-blox Out With UMTS/HSPA Wireless Modules

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u-blox, Swiss-based, a global leader in positioning and wireless modules and semiconductors for the consumer, industrial and automotive markets, has announced the expansion of its industry-standard LISA 3G module series with two new products: the LISA-U260 supporting frequency bands II and V used mainly in the Americas, and LISA-U270 supporting bands I and VIII used mainly in EMEA and most of Asia.

 The modems provide high-speed data and voice connectivity used in diverse M2M applications.

“The LISA-U260 and U270 expand our LISA modem series to allow our customers to choose a module that precisely meets their cost/feature requirements”, said Thomas Nigg, VP Product Marketing at u-blox, “The new modules provide a low-cost option for UMTS connectivity for devices meant to function in specific regions and operator networks.”

These two new LISA modules complement u-blox’ current line of LISA-U200/U230 universal UMTS modules which support all 6 global UMTS bands, and LISA-C200 CDMA modem dedicated for devices operating in the USA.

The modems are targeted at machine-to machine solutions like security systems, fixed wireless terminals and metering, as well as automotive applications such as in-car infotainment, connected navigation, emergency call, fleet management, and anti-theft systems.  Other applications include mobile Internet terminals, tablet computers and personal tracking devices.

The LISA Leadless Chip Carrier (LCC) form factor enables easy manufacturing and quality control, and supports simple migration from u-blox’ LEON GSM/GPRS modules. Support for A-GPS and u-blox’ unique CellLocateTM positioning technology is embedded to facilitate advanced telematics applications including indoor positioning. Features include compatibility with quad-band GPRS/EDGE, low power (idle mode 1.5 mA) and operating temperature -40 to +85 deg. C.

RIL software for Android and Embedded Windows is available free of charge.

LISA modules are manufactured in ISO/TS 16949 certified sites. Each module is intensively inspected and tested during production. The modules are fully qualified according to ISO 16750 – Environmental conditions and electrical testing for electrical and electronic equipment for road vehicles to provide high durability and reliability


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How to Address Data Privacy Concerns in the Workplace and Maximize Employee Trust

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By Andrew Bourne, Region Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation

As businesses look to overcome the challenges of 2020, they’ll have a number of goals in mind. For some, it will be about survival while others will work towards rebuilding and reversing any losses they might have made in 2020. Whatever state a business finds itself in this year, it cannot afford to ignore data privacy as a key priority especially, now that global and local news networks are covering online privacy quite extensively.

In fact, if a business really cares about having a successful 2021, it needs to prioritise data privacy as its number one focus. Doing so won’t only help businesses side-step some of the issues and expenses associated with data breaches, it’ll also help increase brand confidence among customers, employees and other stakeholders.

Employee privacy should hold the same importance as customer data privacy

Safeguarding employee privacy is becoming critical in a world that’s going all-digital, in order to cater to an increasingly mobile and highly distributed workforce. A recommended step for a privacy-first approach is making sure that your employees’ personal information is stored in a secure, encrypted server. Aside from that, here are a few basic practices you can follow to ensure secure handling of employees’ personal data:

1) Constantly communicate and ensure your employees are always in the know – When onboarding new employees and whenever changes are made to policies, employers should clearly spell out their data collection and monitoring practices. Businesses should require employees to review the policy and also consider posting a detailed ‘privacy notice’ on internal forums for quick reference.

If your recently instituted COVID-based health and wellness programmes include the additional collection of new datasets like travel history and family health statuses, then the general consent proffered by the employment contract might not suffice. Plan beforehand and try to obtain specific consent from employees through advance notices.

2) Conduct privacy impact assessments for your third-party technologies – As we become more reliant on third-party video conferencing tools and remote collaboration applications like Zoom, Slack, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, it becomes necessary to reevaluate the vendors’ privacy policies and understand how these platforms handle your employees’ data. In most cases, the long-winded privacy statements never give us a clear picture of what the tech giants do with the collected data or if they employ safety measures such as end-to-end encryption and host-proof hosting.

3) Deploy employee monitoring tools judiciously – Remote working has sparked an ethical debate about whether employers should use remote monitoring software to supervise workforce productivity levels. Today, we have tools that randomly take screenshots of employees’ device screens and even monitor how much time they spend on certain websites.

While workplace analytics is critical to scrutinise collaboration patterns and will inevitably become an integral part of HRM strategies, imposing privacy-invasive tools into your employees’ life can result in a severe backlash down the line. This isn’t a hypothetical scenario either. In October just last year, H&M was fined US$41-million for violating its workers’ privacy.

The all seeing eye

While it is vitally important to know what is going on in your business, using potentially invasive monitoring tools to measure work hours or monitor background activity doesn’t instil confidence or trust in employees. It’s not a perfect metric to measure productivity and work effectiveness. Instead, consider quantifying workforce performance based on output quality and timely accomplishments and for any form of monitoring, it always is best to provide your employees with an opt-in before execution.

Protecting your most valuable asset

It’s become almost a cliche to say that employees are your most valuable asset. Truth is, they really are. By protecting the privacy of your employees, you demonstrate your commitment to them as an employer and cement a culture of company loyalty. This, in turn, will make it simpler to attract and retain top talent, something that’s vital to remaining competitive.


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Chappal Petroleum Development Company Appoints Ufoma Immanuel as MD

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Ufoma Joseph Immanuel has been appointed as the Managing Director of Chappal Petroleum Development Company ‘Chappal’, effective January 2021.

Ufoma is also one of the founding partners of Chappal, an ESG focused energy independent established to extract deep value from distressed brownfield Upstream opportunities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Chappal Development Company will focus on the challenges faced in the continued development of mature assets, like produced water management, evacuation logistics, gas development, capex optimisation and infrastructure replacement.

Prior to joining Chappal, Ufoma was the CFO of Energy Link Infrastructure (“ELI”) and instrumental in the milestone breakthrough for the organization as the first Nigeria company to have a Terminal Establishment Order and Oil Pipeline License issued to a single entity.

At ELI, after pioneering the concept of the Alternative Crude Oil Evacuation System (“ACOES”) for the Oil Mining Lease Number 18 (OML 18) Joint Venture (Nigerian National Petroleum Company and Eroton Exploration and Production Company), he led the financing of the project and oversaw the development.

The ACOES system is a 50-kilometer subsea pipeline to a dedicated 2 million barrel per day Crude Oil Floating, Storage, Offshore (FSO) Facility offshore Nigeria.

Ufoma was the former Head of Corporate Finance and Strategy at Eroton Exploration and Production. He led the transition team at Eroton, following its acquisition of OML 18 from SPDC and oversaw hydrocarbon accounting, offtake and crude handling arrangements operations alongside the development and management of the opex and capex budgets for the asset.

Ufoma was also responsible for managing the Reserve Based Lending Syndicate that executed successful hedging programs that saw Eroton avoid the oil price crash 2014-2017.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr. Austin Avuru, the Chairman of Chappal, stated “Ufoma is a renowned industry professional with years of experience in financial planning. Over the past few years, he led notable projects for some organisations within the Nigerian oil and gas sector. With his extensive financial and managerial experience notably in the development and management of strategic opportunities, we are confident that Chappal will be rightly positioned to meet the expectations of its stakeholders.


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CBN Meeting and NSE in Focus

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

Nigerian stocks struggled for direction on Tuesday as investors adopted a guarded approach ahead of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s interest rate decision this week.

After claiming the title as the world’s best-performing stock market in 2020, equity bulls in Nigeria seem to be missing with the NSE All-Share Index down only 0.36% year-to-date. While appetite towards the local stocks was fuelled by a sense of optimism over Nigeria’s economic outlook, the primary driver behind such gains last year revolved around the bond markets. It must be kept in mind that investors were hunting for gains at a time where the country’s fixed income markets offered negative real yields. Given how this has drained demand for Naira bonds, they may remain unloved and depressed over the coming months.

The Central Bank of Nigeria is unlikely to change its monetary policy stance this week with interest rates expected to remain unchanged at 11.5%. While central banks across the globe have embraced looser monetary policy and lower interest rates, the CBN may not have the breathing space. Inflation which has accelerated to a 34 month high of 14.9% in November is likely to push higher amid dollar shortages. On top of this, the country is still battling with COVID-19 with a new variant emerging a few backs back.

On the bright side, Oil prices are trading to levels not seen since February 2018 amid signs of tightening global supply. For emerging market oil producers like Nigeria, this is a welcome development and could boost optimism over the growth outlook for 2021. While prices could push higher in the near term, surging coronavirus cases and lockdowns across the globe may fuel fears around weak oil demand. Oil is up almost 10% since the start of the year with the commodity’s near-term outlook likely to be influenced by the pending OPEC monthly market report on Thursday.

Away from Nigeria, things are set to heat up in Washington after Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach U.S President Donald Trump for a second time, setting the stage for a vote on Wednesday. The idea of Democrats pushing for the removal of Trump who has less than two weeks left in his term is likely to fuel risk aversion and spur demand for safe-haven assets. If this becomes reality, the move would mark a first in history as no president has ever been impeached twice.


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