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NERDS UNITE: New techs’ll grow the economy – Opeke

… As Avanti, MainOne set to connect rural communities to the net

By Juliet Umeh

Chief Executive Officer, CEO, MainOne, Funke Opeke, has underlined the need for businesses in Nigeria to adopt new technologies to avoid falling behind the rest of the world in technological advancement.

•CEO, Mainone, Funke Opeke

Opeke, at the MainOne’s annual tech conference, Nerds Unite, which held recently in Lagos, said: “A connected Nigeria is a more economically prosperous Nigeria; a better educated Nigeria and a Nigeria where access to social services and health services are able to reach more of our population which in itself adds to more prosperity for Nigeria.”

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She added that the opportunity to use technology to drive economic development is her company’s vision towards a connected Nigeria’.

Nerds Unite 2019, hosted mid-level & top level IT executives, start-up innovators and IT enthusiasts who discussed emerging trends in the IT industry and how they affect Nigeria and Africa under the theme: Accelerating Digital Transformation.

The event featured IT specialists including ICT journalist and Forbes magazine contributor, Toby Shapshak, Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Communications, Libby Barr; CEO, Wakanow, Obinna Ekezie, CEO, Kobo 360, Ife Oyedele and  CTO, Terragon Group, Deji Balogun among others.

Artificial Intelligence

At the event, discussions centred on the importance of applying technology to every facet of life in line with digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

The keynote speaker at the event, Toby Shapshak, highlighted reasons why a connected Africa is the way to move the continent forward. He pointed out the peculiar situation of Africa and why it is important for Africa to utilise her strength, innovate and catch up with the rest of the world.

During a panel discussion on ‘how Artificial Intelligence, AI, can revolutionise your business model and create new revenue streams,’ Bayo Adekanbi, Chief Transformation Officer at MTN Nigeria, said that there is more to gain from artificial intelligence and charged companies to take advantage of those gains.

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There were also discussions around cloud technology and cyber security. The panellists lamented the challenges involved in cloud technology and cyber security especially IT illiteracy, with humorous attention drawn to the question, “When it rains, what happens to my data in the cloud?” But they agreed that cloud adoption is on the increase and emphasized the role of partnerships among global players and local cloud providers with issues such as latency and lack of government support affecting growth.

Avanti, MainOne partnership

Meanwhile, MainOne, having seen the need for using technology to champion rural development, immediately at the event, signed an agreement with European satellite data provider, Avanti, to improve broadband penetration in Nigeria’s rural communities, especially the hard to reach areas.

The agreement is aimed at giving the rural dwellers a sense of belonging in the area of internet connectivity. The partnership is mainly aimed at providing the latest KA-band based satellite communication services to enterprises located in remote areas of the country.

The companies made this announcement over the weekend at Nerds Unite, an annual IT conference hosted by MainOne.

They explained that MainOne will leverage Avanti’s newest satellite, HYLAS 4, launched in April 2018 to enable highly flexible capacity services with 100 per cent country coverage of Nigeria.

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Such coverage, according to them, is most critical and will accelerate the time to deploy internet broadband services into remote areas that are difficult to reach by fibre infrastructure. The partnership will also include the deployment of Avanti’s ECO initiative, which bundles broadband access, solar power and embedded Wi-Fi services for schools and small communities, ideal for deployment in remote parts of the country where power availability and connectivity services remain a challenge.

Gateway Earth Station, GES

The partnership is also backed with the commissioning and launch of Avanti’s new Gateway Earth Station (GES) in Nigeria, hosted at MainOne’s Tier III Data Centre ‘MDXi’.

Chief Operating Officer at Avanti, Libby Barr, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with MainOne and look forward to building a strong relationship to enable rollout of satellite broadband services across West Africa.”

Also, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke, added: “Our partnership with Avanti provides Nigeria the opportunity to accelerate expansion of broadband internet via satellite, to bridge the digital gap and improve digital transformation for more Nigerians. Such services are most critical for the Oil and Gas sector, and for the delivery of social and educational services into rural areas of the country.”

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