By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, FUT Minna, Prof. Abdullahi Bala on Monday led a team of researchers comprised of students and scientists from the university to present two technology innovation projects funded by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
The two projects, Seamless multiple operator enabled SIM cards Mobile Communication Enabled Walking Stick, which are being sponsored by the NCC at the tune of N4.7million are designed to address the issue of subscribers using multiple phones and sim cards due to poor quality of service in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted by the commission.
Presenting the novel devices, the lead researcher and head, depertment of Mechatronics engineering FUT Minna, Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu explained that the first project, The Seamless Data and Voice Connection Over Multiple Operator Enabled SIM Card enables a subscriber have one sim card for all networks or one mobile phone with one sim card for all networks.
The device applies to all available network in a particular location.
‘‘We are talking about disrupting the eco-system in the telecommunication industry in the sense that with just one sim card, you can access the available networks without porting or buying multiple SIMS.
‘‘People carry a lot of phones or Sims as a result of quality of service and you are not certain of the network strength of an area, So using basic engineering and the technology behind Mobile phone, we infused in it Artificial Intelligence, AI system to be able the device take intelligent decision on behalf of the user to switch from the network with poor quality of service to another with better quality service.
‘‘What this means is that subscribers are now the king and can enjoy quality of service even without having more than one phone and the product will soon hit the market.’’
On the second innovation, Development of Mobile Communication Enabled Walking Stick, Prof. Aibinu said the innovation with mobile phone imbedded was designed to aid the user, especially the aged and the blind/disabled persons navigate through dangerous sports, and at the same time make calls when necessary.
‘‘The Walking Stick is about having a walking stick that has anything you can imagine, your mobile phone is embedded in it, obstacle avoidance and then it has means of communicating with your headgear giver.’’
The Vice Chancellor of the University, represented by Deputy Director, Research, in the institution, Prof Moses Olutoye, in his remarks said the essence of the innovations is to disrupt the existing technology.
He described The Walking Stick as an equipment that can be used when one is alone at old age or when one is in danger.
He explained that the it was designed to look like a walking stick because it was designed to make calls, and also with some devices that can detect obstacles in case the user is approaching a danger point.
‘‘It is enabled for the blind and the disabled to avoid obstacles. Even, the blind or disabled people can use it too to help them when they are approaching obstacle. It guides them to know when to change their path,’’ he added.
Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta who expressed satisfaction with the feat attained by the institution said the NCC sponsored the projects in keeping with the consideration for National Roaming Plan that is being promoted now by the commission.
He commended the team for living up to its tasks of utilizing the N4.7million grant to innovate a disruptive technology that could enhance the existing quality of service in the country.
Prof. Danabba, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska said since the innovation is looking into the future it would be of immense benefit to the telecom industry because the industry is very dynamic.
‘‘A device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.
‘‘We are really pleased today with the results shown by FUT Minna. It shows that they have been able to accomplish every single thing with the grants given by the NCC.
‘‘They are visionary enough to look beyond what we expect them to do, and they are determined to take it to the next level.
‘‘You notice today, there are phones that have multiple SIM cards you have to consciously choose the SIM you want but their project on Super SIM card can automatically select the SIM with the available network based on pre-determined instructions, so it is very relevant.
‘‘The industry is very dynamic and this certainly looks at the future, a device that selects any network that is available is something that all the network operators will accept and it is in keeping with the consideration for national roaming that is being promoted now by the commission.
‘‘We had hoped they would conclude the project within a year so that they will get more but it has taken the last three years. But we are happy because research work like this is usually on-going all the time.
‘‘We will encourage them to get investors who will continue to explore their possibility. It is something that is keeping to the mandate of the commission, the eight point agenda of the current leadership.’’