MainOne Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 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. Opeke made this known at MainOne’s annual tech conference, Nerds Unite, which held recently in Lagos with the theme ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation.
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.
The event featured IT specialist including Toby Shapshak, ICT journalist and thought leader, Libby Barr; Chief Operating Officer, Avanti Communications, Obinna Ekezie; CEO, Wakanow, Ife Oyedele; CEO, Kobo 360, Deji Balogun; and CTO, Terragon Group among others. At the event, IT experts discussed 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 way to move the continent forward. He pointed out the peculiar situation of Africa and why it is important for Africa to utilize her strength, innovate and catch up with the rest of the world.
The first session, which was titled “Connecting the Next Billion to the Internet and Beyond to Transform the Face of Africa,” was moderated by Shapshak. The speakers for this session included Libby Barr, COO of Avanti Comm, and Funke Opeke who tackled connectivity in Africa and the use of connectivity and technology to drive development in Nigeria. According to Opeke, “A connected Nigeria is a more economically prosperous Nigeria. It is a better educated Nigeria, it is 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.” She added that the opportunity to use technology to drive economic development is the vision of what ‘we have for a connected Nigeria’. During a panel discussion on ‘how AI can revolutionize 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 than there is to lose, and that man would have to adapt to leverage these gains. This session was chaired by Dr. Olayinka David-West of the Lagos Business School, with Bayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer at MTN; Deji Balogun, CTO Terragon Group; and Ernest Terry, from Flutterwave as panelists. A third session focused on cloud technology and cybersecurity. It was chaired by Ms Funke Opeke and the panelists included Niyi Ajao from NIBSS and Adedayo Adesanya, Lead Consultant at Virtual Nigeria. The panelists lamented the challenges involved in cloud technology and cybersecurity 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. In the final panel at the event, speakers gave insights and advice to questions asked by start-up founders and tech enthusiast, reminding them to “be comfortable making mistakes” and not to be discouraged by rejection. To a question put to the panel members by Aaron Fu of MEST Africa on whether to focus on making money or building userbase, Maya Horgan Famodu, MD, Ingressive says, “numbers are important…but you have to pay your bills.” The event also featured exciting attractions like a raffle draw where lucky winners went home with gifts like Playstation 4, LG 43-inch TV, Apple smartwatch, among others and included an after-event party.