A technology enthusiast, Mrs Roseline Ilori, has reiterated the need for government at all levels as well as stakeholders in investing massively in technology; not just software development, but in robotics, artificial intelligence, bio-medicine, voice biometrics and a host of other technology spectra.
Ilori, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bridge57 Solutions Limited, made the call in a statement in Lagos.
According to her, such investments will shore up manufacturing competitiveness via authentication and traceability of goods and services, improve physical security and cyber security, among others.
Ilori said that government needs to be more proactive in making the Nigerian technology environment more friendly, seeing that the growth and young people’s interest in technology were massive.
She noted that Nigerian technology experts were the most sought-after in developed economies as the relocation syndrome had taken up to half of the technology brains the country possessed.
“The fact is that the environment we are in is not conducive enough for technology to thrive, so the government has to do more in that regard to bring out more technology to the fore.
“The ‘Japa Syndrome’ has been a major challenge affecting our human capital potential, hence, the need to grow more of these professionals internally so that when some leave, many more would be around to keep the country going.
According to the Bridge57 boss, Nigeria still lags behind earnestly in terms of innovation as she submitted that, unlike the notion many are having, technology is quite different from innovation.
She noted; “In terms of innovation, we are still very far in Nigeria. For instance, while I had the opportunity to go through some training on innovation in some international organizations, I realized that many people talk about innovation but very few people do innovation as a lot of people don’t really understand what innovation means.
“For technology, yes we are doing well, but for innovation as a practice itself, we still lag behind. Innovation is not just about technology, it is deeper than that. Innovation can be applied to processes, products, marketing and to different areas of business models. But technology can use innovation, when people often mention innovation, people assume that it is technology, but they are two different things. They both need each other in a way to flourish.”
However, the technology expert also advised government to remodel the Nigerian educational curriculum across levels to accommodate the practical aspects of technology to engender early exposure to the nitty-gritty of technology and innovation.
She said that the need to expose, encourage and sensitise the Nigerian child through the educational system from a tender age, was due to the massive economic potential of technology and its ability to solve almost every problem across sectors.
“Technology as of today is beyond computers and smartphones as it encompasses a whole lot which if youths are properly exposed to practice can yield massive economic potential and gains for the country.
“We must, therefore, rework the curriculum to accommodate technology, innovation and robotics beyond the surface use of computers.
“In our universities, a lot is going on technologically that the government can take advantage of, but they must first invest enormous resources right from the universities to open the minds of students to the practical aspects of technology.
“More practical approach that is relatable to real life more than the abstract classes the Nigerian child is used to is what is needed to open up their minds to the endless possibilities of technology,” she said.
Ilori said that government funding upon disbursement must be put to good use to secure the future of technology and educate more persons that were willing to use their intelligence for the development of the nation.
She charged young girls with interest in the technology industry, perceived to be a male dominant industry, to take the bulls by the horn, even if they might be few in number and assert their competencies and capabilities.
“Funding is key and the cash flow is the blood of any business and this is necessary to build start-ups that are innovation-driven.
Speaking on Bridge57 Solutions, where she had implemented diverse business initiatives and products for several organizations, NGOs, and government parastatals using strategic foresight, drive and determination, Ilori said the organisation was established with the aim of organising workshops, using innovative practices, methodology and tools to improve the Nigerian technology environment.
“I have been in the technology space for 18 years now in Nigeria and several other countries in Africa where we have deployed a lot of solutions in the past. I decided to start Bridge57 Solutions because I saw that there are more problems to be solved in Nigeria and in Africa at large. Our problems are in abundance if I can put it that way. But where there are problems, there are opportunities as well. So I was looking for the opportunity to solve more problems on a more largest scale. That was one of the things that prompted me. I see there are lots of opportunities that would enable more entrepreneurs to be born.
“At Bridge57, there are two pillars; innovation and technology and in between them is digital transformation. Those are the two pillars our business is being built on.
“We have a lot of international partners that we work with that are technology providers. We partner with them in order to bring such technology that does not exist here. For instance, looking at voice biometric for example, we have a solution in voice biometrics. It would surprise you to know that our voices are as unique as our fingerprints. We can use that to help people using services but they are not very literate. Some people have problems with remembering their PINs, because they are not literate, and you see people that are not so literate telling people their passwords and therefore exposing themselves. How can we that voice for example in terms of security, as we have a lot of security issues in our society?
“These are some of the problems that this technology as simple as might seem can solve. Aside the voice technology, there is a technology that uses artificial intelligence, AI. There is a partner we are working with, we use what we call AI that can identify moving objects. It can actually tell if the person is a male or female. These are some of the innovations we do at Bridge57,” Ilori submitted.