It’s been a tech-filled 2016! Besides the everyday metro and political stories that shaped 2016, there are also great strides in the technology industry in Nigeria. Some of which include:
Mark Zuckerberg’s Visit to Nigeria: Billionaire founder of Facebook, one of the world’s most prolific social media sites, was in Nigeria August 30. His point of meeting was with tech entrepreneurs and youth in Yaba, Lagos. Yaba is considered to be the tech center of Nigeria and houses numerous creative spaces and tech start-ups. Mark has been engaging Nigerian entrepreneurs and startups for a while, with the recent $24 million investment in Andela from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative being a prime indicator. Facebook also launched Free Basics in Nigeria a few months back.
2. Hausa Incorporated Into Facebook: Shortly after his visit to Nigeria, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg added Hausa language, Fula, and two others, Maltese and Corsican to Facebook, making the social media platform become available in more than 100 languages. The addition has halted the disappearance of some of the added languages.
3. Whatsapp Introduced Video Calling: After months in the beta stage, the Facebook-owned tech giant rolled out the update on November 15 to its more than one billion monthly users. With the video calling, WhatsApp is belatedly catching up with a number of rivals, including Facebook’s own Messenger app, for example, as well as Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, Viber, LINE and Google’s recently launched Duo, to name a few. Users are now able to make video calls across Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone devices.
The new functionality looks similar to the normal voice calling feature, however a picture-in-picture feed will allow you to see yourself and who you’re talking to.
4. Nigeria Joins Digital Braodcasting World: After several years of unsuccessful move by successive administrations to switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has at last edged the country into the league of digital world. Nigeria transited from analogue to digital television viewing on April 30, 2016 in the city of Jos, the Plateau State Capital when it launched the pilot phase of the Federal Government’s digital transmission project that kick started the digitisation process in Nigeria.
The switchover to Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT, was a necessity for Nigeria as a signatory to the International Broadcast Union Agreement tagged: “Geneva 2006” which mandated all countries to switchover to avoid signal interference from other countries. Indeed, the switchover is sure to enable viewers enjoy up to 15 free-to-air channels as against the four channels they enjoyed prior to the launch. It will be recalled that Nigeria’s journey to the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting started in 2006 when the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, Council adopted its Resolution 1185 to transit from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting.
5. Nigerian Mobile Telecommunications Launched Network on 4G: Globacom set the pace in the telecommunications industry by becoming the first operator in the country to launch a nationwide mobile 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. The 4G LTE offers instant efficient broadband internet to millions of Nigerians at speedsthat are several times faster than the 3G network. This will enable subscribers on the network to download ultra high definition videos in seconds. Shortly after Glo, MTN and Etisalat also followed suit.