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Opportunity for young startups, as tech fair backs innovations

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In a bid to improve standard of living, whilst encouraging affordable, fast and professional ways to achieve sustainability in business through technology, experts have urged Nigerians to move with latest trends and technological advancements.

The charge came at the 2019 Zenith Bank Tech Fair held recently at the Land Mark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, where participants discussed various aspects of technological developments and how they contribute in flourishing civilisation. Held under the theme Future Forward, the initiative aims at bringing to the fore technology innovations across every aspect of life.

In his remark, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, said, “The world has gone digital and Nigeria economy is now being digitised. The youths on daily basis create new innovations, hence the need for the initiative to sponsor the innovative ideas of young Nigerians. We want to support them in the area of disruptive innovations and technologies such as artificial intelligence and various forms of innovations. We believe in the years to come, Nigeria will build its own Silicon Valley through sponsoring more innovations and creativities in the area of entertainment, technology, agriculture and others. This is why we encourage our youths to come up with various disruptive technologies and innovations that will channel Nigeria to the direction of global economy.”

Addressing the panel, the bank’s GMD/CEO, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said the project has come up with a hacker thon to identify those who have potentials for inauguration and creativity in terms of design.

“The essence of this hacker thon is for those who will be eventual winners. Of course, the bank is going to be providing support to incubate them and see how we can get them to grow bigger and better than what they are now.”

He urged Nigerians to be aware of new trends in technology, adding, “If everyone is talking about 5G and moving ahead, what you see in the digital space is that, if you fail to adapt to the latest technology, you will soon become irrelevant.”

Speaking at the event, Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, said technology has transformed the way we live, work, do business and interact with one another.

“There are lots of sophistication in the technology space like artificial intelligence and machine learning being used in part of Africa, Nigeria, and across multiple sectors, including agriculture. We are seeing cassava farmers in part of Africa using machine learning to detect diseases. This is made available to them through an interface, which is the mobile phone; a device that almost everyone has access to. We are seeing advancements in cloud technology, security systems and others. This is why we encourage Nigerians to move at the pace of the developed world,” she said.

On his part, Country General Manager, IBM Nigeria, Dipo Faulkner, who spoke on the need for artificial intelligence in the next industrial revolution said, “Amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping civilisation flourish like never before. Artificial intelligence is not magic; these robots are taught to learn, to feel and to understand just like humans, and could be of great advantage as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial.”

Faulkner noted major expected benefits of artificial intelligence, including improvements in quality of life and manufacturing of new products and services.

Speaking on the economic benefits of data and data monetisation, the Country Managing Director, Oracle, Adebayo Sanni said there is a rise in data capital, adding that intelligent data monetisation will help drive changes that will benefit business organisations and their customers.


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