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Google introduces Nigerian-voiced travel mode maps for motorcycles, cars



Google Nigeria has introduced dedicated travel mode in Google Maps to provide directions and navigation for motorcycles, cars in a Nigerian voice.

The Google Nigeria Country Director, Mrs Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor disclosed this in Lagos while announcing newly introduced products and features by Google in Nigeria and across Africa,

Apart from the navigation instructions in a Nigerian voice for motorcycle and car driving modes, Ehimuan-Chiazor said Google has also introduced new Street View imagery, Gallery Go, Google Go updates and Google Lens.

Other products according to her were, Bolo and a Nigerian culinary experience from Google Arts and Culture.

“Every day, people in Nigeria, Africa and around the world turn to Google for help and we hope that the products and updates we are announcing today will make Google even more helpful for fueling people’s hustles and getting things done.

“We remain committed to bringing the transformational power of technology to everyone in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” she said.

Ehimuan-Chiazo pointed out that in 2017, Google made a commitment to train 10 million people in Africa on digital skills over five years, and to date, four million Africans had been trained.

She added that Google committed additional 4 million dollar to support youth empowerment, gender equality and agriculture, alongside piloting new initiatives to power the social impact ecosystem and promote researches for African youth.

Mr Ramesh Nagarajan, Director Product Management, Google Maps disclosed that in the next few months, Google will introduce a new directions experience in Lagos for informal transit which would bring “Danfo’’ routes into Google Maps.

“Danfo’’ is a popular Lagos commercial shuttle and a staple of the cosmopolitan city painted in yellow and white.

Nagarajan said that to help make it easier to visually explore places in Nigeria, Google was publishing more panoramic imagery on Street View.

He said that starting with imagery of Lagos two years ago, Google had added Street View imagery of Abuja, Benin City, Enugu and Ibadan – with almost 12 thousand kilometers of roads added.

“We are targeting 56million Nigerian students every year with this curiculum and this is done in collaboration with the Public and Private Development Centre, Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Ben Greenwood, Product Manager Next Billion Users said Google launched the “Gallery Go’’, a fast and smart photo gallery designed for users who do npot have a reliable internet connection.

He explained that the product was introduced because with the growth of Android, more and more Nigerians had phones that take pictures, but not everyone had access to reliable, high-speed internet or cloud backup to quickly find a photo.

Greenwood said that Gallery Go brought many of the best features of Google Photos on device, to help them find, edit and manage their photos even when they are offline.

He said the App was only 10MB to keep the phone light and fast, so that one could spend more time capturing memories.

“Gallery Go is available today on Google Play for devices running Android 8.1 (Oreo) or higher and will come pre-installed as the gallery app on the Itel S15 and select A55 devices, which will be available in Nigeria soon,” he said.

He added that Google launched Google Go last year, making it easier for people to discover the best of the internet even on low-RAM smartphones or unstable network connections.

“Today, Google announced updates to make Google Go even more useful. The Discovered feed has been integrated within Google Go to help people stay in the know with their interests.

“It provides an ongoing look at the things they care about, like the latest content on their football team, people of interest, music and news stories.

“From next week, users will also be able to access the Assistant directly from Google Go in a new Nigerian voice.

“Using only their voice, they will be able to ask Google to call their mum, play the latest Burna Boy video, or find the best Jollof in town,” he said.

In his own contribution, Mr Nitin Kashyap, said that the introduction of Google Lens inside Google Go, would help people read, translate, and search the words they see simply by using their camera.

“Users can open Lens, point it at a sign, and listen to the words read out loud. If they don’t speak the language, they can translate it into their own.

“Today, Google is also launching support for Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo,’’ he said..

Kashyap said that “Bolo’’, another feature introduced by Google is a speech-based reading app that helps kids learn how to read in English and encourages them to read out loud.

He said the App provides individual with customised feedback to help improve their reading capabilities.

“We launched Bolo in India earlier this year and today, we are bringing it to Nigeria and Ghana,” he said.

Mr Laurent Gaveau, Head of Lab, Google Arts and Culture, said that the Google Arts & Culture, had cooked up a project, ‘Come Chop Bellefull: A Taste of Nigeria’, which pays tribute to Nigeria’s vibrant and diverse food culture.

He said the initiative has to do with rich food culture of Nigeria, containing 2000 high resolution images and 30 stories created in collaboration with the Centenary Project at the Pan-Atlantic University.

Science & Technology

British High Commission seeks partnership with NCC on digital access



The British High Commission (BHC) says it is seeks partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to deepen conversations in execution of Global Digital Access Programme initiated by Her Majesty’s Government.

Mr Guy Harrison, Head of Prosperity, BHC, made this known during a courtesy visit at the NCC’s Head Office in Abuja on Monday.

Harrison, accompanied by Mr Idongesit Udoh, Digital Access Programme Adviser and Mrs Grace Olomiwe, the Digital, Press and Public Affairs Officer at BHC, informed NCC about components of the Programme.

According to him, the central interest is digital access.

“Peripherally, the programme will also involve security support as well as support to the business ecosystem.

“The implementation of the programme will be expressed in form of technical assistance on policy that focuses on expanding digital access, to enhance job creation and economic development in Nigeria,” he said.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta expressed appreciation to BHC for the initiative.

Danbatta noted that NCC efforts were aimed ensuring connectivity across Nigeria, especially to link identified access gaps with existing connectivity networks.

He said that the assistance came at an auspicious time and promised that the commission would review the proposition and liaise with the appropriate departments of the Nigerian government to institute processes.

Danbatta explained that the processes connected with partnership would help to ensure proper and speedy take-off of the programme.

“The NCC will review the proposition and liaise with appropriate departments of the Nigerian government to institute processes, which will ensure proper and speedy take-off of the programme,’’ he said.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Dada Ahmed

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Science & Technology

Commission to train politicians for improved advocacy, advancement in science sector- Hamdy




Abuja, Nov. 18, 2018 African Union Scientific, Technical Research Commission (AU- STRC), Abuja is working toward building the capacities of politicians across the African for them to improve on their advocacy, through policy-making process, for the advancement of science sector.

The Executive Director of the commission, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja on Monday.

“Politicians are the policy makers, so we intend to carry them along so we can have people advocating the advancement of the sciences in government to boost good governance.

“This is also to ensure that Nigeria will, in no distant future, be one of the best continents in Africa in terms of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

“We are also brainstorming on how best to move from STI concepts to conceptualisation and implementation of these STI concepts,’’ Hamdy said.

The executive director said that the growth of STI in Africa was very vital in achieving sustainable development in the continent.

He said the commission, in a bid to implement its policies, had in the past one year trained over 100 scientists and engineers in various fields of science.

Hamdy urged the government across the continent to continue to support local industries, to accelerate Africa to a knowledge-based and innovation-led economy.

He said the commission had held series of meeting with stakeholders in science sector for them to communicate issues bedeviling the science sector to government to address them.

Hamdy also said the commission was committed to implementing the Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA 2024) at all levels of the AU member states.

“The STISA-2024 is one of the core functions of the AU-STRC and it is very important to implement the several programmes and projects contained in the policy manual at all levels of the economy, not just the science sector.’’

NAN reports that the STISA 2024 is a policy analysis adopted by  AU in 2014, outlining the key socio-economic priority areas African governments must collectively address through scientific research and development.

It is one of the first of 10-year (2014-2024) incremental phasing strategies that respond to the demand for STI across various socio-economic and development sectors in Africa, embedding STI concepts  into these sectors.

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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Science & Technology

ICT firm unveils mobile app to boost e-commerce, telecommunications



An Information Technology (IT) firm, International Labour Reward (ILR) Group of Companies on Saturday unveiled ILR Biz App, a multi-solution provider business hub app to facilitate and promote e-commerce, telecommunications and agriculture.

Speaking at the launch of the App in Lagos, Mr Michael Oluwafemi, the Group Managing Director of the company, said the firm was poised at deepening financial technology of the country and reward users accordingly.

Oluwafemi said that what differentiated the ILR mobile app from other financial apps was that it ensured that users were rewarded with whatever transactions they used the app for within and outside the country.

According to him, anyone that registers and uses the platform for transactions will get value for using it from whatever that accrues to the firm more than whatever any banking app could offer.

“ILR is a global project. Today, we are launching our new solution product called ILR Biz. It is a mobile application solution that provides solutions to all essential services and needs of the people.

“It is an all-inclusive reward system for all transactions done on the app. It is not networking or multi-level marketing but a reward system.

“All we want to do is to make life better for people and ensure users get better value for all they do.

“You get rewarded for making use of the platform and if you convince another person to join in using the app, you also get rewarded.

“ILR is a registered organisation with group of companies, the firm focuses on production, processing and distribution.

“The organisation currently operates in these major sectors: Agriculture, real estate, printing press, super markets, engineering services, telecommunications, recharge services, cooperatives society.

“All we need to do is to download ILR app on Google play Store on mobile phone to get started, register for free but activate with N3,000 which covers a debit card valid for three years,” Oluwafemi said.

According to him, the app is an all in one business platform that provides users with efficient value added services which include e-commerce, agro mart, recharge services, sending money, real estate among others.

The director said that the firm’s objective was to create a global community with the mission to provide the needs of its community and also feed them through agricultural programmes.

He said that the firm also aimed at providing jobs for the teaming youths of the country and also contributed to the national development of the country.

He said that the firm was not a pyramid scheme or networking or multi-level marketing but only provided a platform to reward anybody in the community with a token which could be moved into a wallet system for cashing or investment purposes.

“You can create money for yourself on this platform and send money from the wallet to anyone anywhere at just N50 per transaction,” he said.

He added that the firm also had POS services with several POS agents.

Contributing, Mr Hakeem Abdulkareem, the ILR Director of ICT and Cyber Security said that the app was changing the situation where winners take it all in other apps used for financial transactions by ensuring users get rewarded.

According to Abdulkareem, as ILR gets profit, people using the platform are also rewarded, saying every token given to users as reward can be moved into wallet system and virtual account for transactions, investment, cashing or transfer to people.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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NACCIMA president charges FG, states to patronise Innoson motors



Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has called on the federal and state governments to massively patronise Innoson motors.

Iya-Aliyu made the call on Thursday while inaugurating a newly installed automated bus manufacturing plant at Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) plant, Nnewi in Anambra.

She said: “I want to advise Nigerians, including state and federal governments, to massively patronise Innoson vehicles.

“The kind of vehicles manufactured here can march any vehicle produced anywhere in the world and I am elated to be part of this history-making venture.”

Iya-Aliyu opined that supporting indigenous businesses, such as IVM, had the potential to create jobs and reduce unemployment

She said that the growth of indigenous businesses could also improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and fast-track industrialization.

According to her, the nation’s quest to develop the private sector can only be realised, if Nigerians support made-in-Nigeria products.

She further called on government at all levels to provide conducive environment for indigenous businesses to flourish.

The NACCIMA boss announced at the event that Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM, had been named the chairman of the chamber’s automobile committee.

She said that with the new assignment, Chukwuma and his new committee, “are now in-charge of certifying vehicles imported into Nigeria.”

She expressed the confidence that the new plant would boost the company’s production capacity.

In a speech, Chukwuma said the plant had the capacity to produce up to 15 vehicles daily and more than 5,450 annually.

He said, “A major benefit of this new plant is that it will reduce production cost, especially for buses in the country.”

He said that his firm planned to replicate the success of the bus production on SUV, MPV and Sedans production lines.

“Our target is to ensure that an average Nigerian can afford a brand new car,” Chukwuma said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was attended by national and state officials of NACCIMA.

NAN further reports that the IVM Nnewi, which was inaugurated on Oct. 15, 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, now has three automated plants at Umudim and Nnewi, both in Anambra.

(Edited by Sam Oditah)

Pic shows NACCIMA President, Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu (4th l-r), flanked by Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Plant (3rd l-r), and other NACCIMA officials, during the inauguration of a new Innoson automobile plant at Nnewi, on Thursday. Pic by NAN Awka.

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Pantami directs NCC to address issues of automatic voicemails on existing phonelines



The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to immediately ensure that issues regarding automatic voicemails are addressed on all existing phone lines in the country.

In a statement signed by Mrs Uwa Suleiman, Spokesperson to the Minister, Pantami’s said attention was drawn to the latest trend of financial exploitation by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.

He said the exploitation was through the automatic activation of the Voicemail Service on their platforms.

The Minister explained that based on the recent reports reaching his office, the practice has gained momentum in recent times, adding that voicemail service should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default.

Pantami described the act as worrisome and totally unacceptable, that telecoms subscribers incur financial charges, for a service they are compelled to use by default.

According to him, Voicemail is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria, coupled with the language challenge among rural dwellers, who mostly do not understand the language deployed by these networks.

“It is apparent, that the recent clampdown on the exploitative activities of some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, has beamed the searchlight on the sector properly.

“The subscribers should be given the option of accessing the service via an activation code.

“Some unpatriotic elements in the system are devising subtle, ingenious methods of defrauding Nigerians.

“The Ministry under my leadership will neither overlook any acts, regardless of how subtle, that undermine the Anti-Corruption Crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari, nor condone any attempts to defraud Nigerians and all subscribers.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected, while providing a conducive business environment for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), in line with global best practice,” he said.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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Science & Technology

International GIS Day: Expert calls for GIS inculcation in STEM study



Mr David Afolayan, a Geographic Information System (GIS) expert, has called for the inculcation of GIS into the study of STEM subjects to fast track development in Nigeria.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Afolayan made the call in Ibadan on Wednesday at an event organised to celebrate the International GIS Day.

Afolayan enjoined government to encourage GIS-supported education system as seen in developed countries.

“Presently, GIS is in the Geography curriculum, but in most developed countries, it was not limited to the subject alone.

“It is actually promoted as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tool, where students are exposed to the technology across the world.

“Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a technological framework that unlocks a better understanding of our world.

“It is a robust tool that supports decision-making by providing an effective platform to analyse and understand precise locations of information.

“The knowledge of GIS provides a solid foundation for STEM. It’s proper and early introduction to students will expand their career opportunities in fields that are rewarding,” he said.

Afolayan said that the International GIS Day, observed on Nov. 13 of every year, was aimed at promoting the technology available to solve spatial problems.

He said that 10 private and public secondary schools in Ibadan city were invited for the event, in collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Geographers to demonstrate to students the practical aspect of GIS which they had learnt in school.

NAN reports that the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘The Mappier World’.

Afolayan said that this year marks the 20th annual international GIS Day celebration for the purpose of creating awareness.

He said that Oyo was one of the states in Nigeria which had deployed GIS technology to solve flood problems.

“There has been an intervention on flood and GIS technology was used to map the whole city. Presently, the state is developing the master plan for the city, including drainage and waste master plans,” he said.

The GIS expert noted that some climate change and global warming effect currently being experienced could be solved with GIS technology.

Mr Israel Abioye and Mrs Beatrice Odetayo, two of the teachers, who spoke with NAN at the event, said GIS should be encouraged in the education system in the country due to its significance to the environment.

“Government can improve on STEM study by incorporating GIS into it,” they both said.

Some of the students, who participated at the event, described it as an eye opener to the possibilities available through technology.

NAN reports that the event featured GIS demonstrations such as Map Art Exhibition, 3D Simulation, Competitive Games, Digital Experience and career talk.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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