A technology enthusiast, Ms. Roseline Ilori, has reiterated the need for governments at all levels and stakeholders to consider more investment in technology; not just in software development, but also in robotics, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, voice biometrics, and a host of other spectrums of technology.
Ms 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, among other things, strengthen the competitiveness of manufacturing through authentication and traceability of goods and services and improve physical and cyber security.
She said the government needs to be more proactive to make Nigeria’s tech environment friendlier as there is tremendous growth and interest in technology among young people.
She noted that Nigerian tech professionals are most in demand in developed countries as relocation syndrome has consumed up to half of the country’s tech professionals.
“The fact is that the environment we are in is not conducive enough for technology to thrive, so the government needs to do more in that regard to bring more technology to the fore.
“The ‘Japa Syndrome’ was a major challenge that affected our human capital potential, hence the need to train more of these professionals in-house so that when some leave there would be many more to keep the country running.
According to the Bridge57 chief, Nigeria is still seriously lagging behind in innovation, as she has argued that contrary to what many have imagined, technology is quite different from innovation.
She remarked; “In terms of innovation, we are still very far in Nigeria. For example, when I had the opportunity to attend training courses on innovation in some international organizations, I realized that many people talk about innovation, but very few people innovate because many people do not really understand what innovation means.
“We’re doing well in technology, but we’re still lagging behind in innovation as a practice. Innovation isn’t just about technology, it goes deeper. Innovation can be applied to processes, products, marketing and different areas of business models. But technology can harness innovation; When people often talk about innovation, they assume it’s about technology, but those are two different things. Both need each other to thrive.”
However, the technology expert also advised the government to redesign the Nigerian education curriculum at all levels to include the practical aspects of technology to enable early exposure to the key points of technology and innovation.
She said the need to expose, encourage and raise awareness of the Nigerian child through the education system from an early age is due to the huge economic potential of the technology and its ability to solve almost any problem in any field.
“Today’s technology goes beyond computers and smartphones as it encompasses a whole lot that, if properly put into practice by young people, can bring enormous economic potential and benefits to the country.
“We therefore need to overhaul the curriculum to accommodate technology, innovation and robotics beyond the superficial use of computers.
“There is a lot of technology happening at our universities that the government can leverage, but they must first invest enormous resources directly from the universities to open students’ minds to the practical aspects of the technology.
“A more hands-on approach, more relevant to real life than the abstract classes the Nigerian child is used to, is required to open their minds to the endless possibilities of technology,” she said.
Ms Ilori said that once the government funding is disbursed, it must be used wisely to ensure the future of technology and educate more people who are willing to use their intelligence for the nation’s development.
She urged young girls interested in what is perceived as a male-dominated technology industry to take the bulls by the horns, even if they are few, and assert their skills and abilities.
“Funding is key and cash flow is the blood of any business and this is necessary to build innovation-driven startups.
Speaking about Bridge57 Solutions, where she had implemented various business initiatives and products for multiple organizations, NGOs and semi-governmental government agencies with strategic vision, dynamism and determination, Ilori said the organization was founded to organize workshops and promote innovative practices, methodologies and Employ tools to improve the Nigerian technology environment.
“I have been in the technology space for 18 years in Nigeria and several other countries in Africa where we have deployed many solutions in the past. I decided to start Bridge57 Solutions because I saw that there were more problems to solve in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole. Our problems abound, if I may say so. But where there are problems, there are also opportunities. So I was looking for a way to solve more problems on a larger scale. That was one of the things that prompted me. I see that there are many opportunities that would allow for more entrepreneurs to be born.
“There are two pillars at Bridge57; Innovation and technology and in between the digital transformation. These are the two pillars on which our business is built.
“We have many international partners that we work with who are technology providers. We work with them to bring such technology that is not here. For example, if we look at voice biometrics, we have a solution in voice biometrics. It would surprise you that our voices are as unique as our fingerprints. We can use that to help people using services but they are not very educated. Some people have trouble remembering their PINs because they can’t read and write, and you see people who aren’t as literate telling others their passwords and exposing themselves. For example, how can we use this voice in relation to security since we have many security issues in our society?
“These are some of the problems that this technology, as simple as it may seem, can solve. In addition to language technology, there is a technology that uses artificial intelligence, AI. There is a partner we are working with, we are using AI to identify moving objects. It can detect whether the person is male or female. These are some of the innovations we are making at Bridge57,” added Ms. Ilori.