Nigeria at outskirts of mobile IoT, AI services
The deployment of mobile Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence services in Nigeria has been described as sluggish compared to giant strides by some African countries.
According to the AI Maturity Report in South Africa, commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Ernst & Young, ‘AI pilots and experimentation are now prolific across South African companies, with businesses showing a willingness to embrace AI and experiment using new technology.
In fact, 46% of South African companies say they are already actively piloting AI within their organisations.The study is based on surveys, interviews and case studies from 112 companies across the Middle East and Africa (MEA).
Reacting to why AI and mobile IoT services are not visible in Nigeria as well not focus of operators, Oladipo Raji, president/CEO, InfraFocus Technologies, told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that the biggest problems operators face in the launch of services on the new applications is connectivity and power issues.
“Imagine what happens in a house that is driven by IoT application when network fails or there is power outage how would people inside the house come out in the case of emergence. Why don’t we have electric trains in Nigeria? It is not rocket science only that there is no solid IT infrastructure on where the solution will ride as well power challenge.
“Most companies don’t have the financial capacity to build their own connectivity infrastructure for these services that is why you see them cluster around urban areas where such infrastructure is available,” he said. Raji cited example of his company’s subsidiary, SmartFocus which spent three years to build infrastructure for its mobile IoT service ‘SmartHome’.
He explained that SmartHome solution allows subscribers to control their devices at home with a smartphone from anywhere in the world.
“The connectivity infrastructure we have built for this solution can’t take care of the whole of Lagos if they are to subscribe to it. Ideally, government should provide this type of infrastructure or enabling environment for operators to build capacity, but the case is different in Nigeria,” he noted.
He also decried none regulation of data service provision in the country which according to him has resulted to the death of many internet service providers.
“Data is free for all. This should not be so, NCC tried to correct it with data floor policy which didn’t work. The idea of four GSM operators selling mobile data to their subscriber and as well sale to corporate offices will not move the sector forward,” he said.
Engr. Samuel Adeleke, managing director, Steineng Ltd berated mobile operators for not doing enough to develop data segment of their services.
“What will drive the next economy is data, but operators are frustrating the impending data revolution through capping of data service to subscribers. They don’t allow subscribers unlimited data service, it is a case of a very wide good road and they are given tricycle to ride on it.
“They need to increase capacity reduce access rate and increase access, this will make subscribers addicted to the service and use more. Profitability is economy of scale,” he explained.