Technology enthusiast Ms. Roseline Ilori reiterated the need for government at all levels and stakeholders to consider more investment in technology; not just software development, but also robotics, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, voice biometrics, and a host of other technology spectrums.
Ms Ilori, Founder and CEO of Bridge57 Solutions Limited, made the call in a statement in Lagos.
According to her, such investments will strengthen the competitiveness of manufacturing through authentication and traceability of goods and services and improve physical and cyber security, among others.
She said the government needs to be more proactive in making the Nigerian tech environment friendlier as the growth and interest in technology among young people is massive.
She noted that Nigerian tech experts were the most sought after in developed economies as outsourcing syndrome had taken over half of the country’s tech brains.
“The fact is that the environment we find ourselves in is not conducive enough for technology to flourish, so the government needs to do more in this regard to bring more technology to the fore.
“The ‘Japa Syndrome’ has been a major challenge affecting our human capital potential, hence the need to develop more of these professionals internally so that when some leave many more would be there to keep the country running.
According to the boss of Bridge57, Nigeria still lags seriously behind when it comes to innovation as she claimed that contrary to the notion many have, technology is quite different from innovation.
She noted; “In terms of innovation, we are still very far in Nigeria. For example, while I had the opportunity to undergo training on innovation in some international organizations, I realized that many people talk about innovation, but very few people do innovation, because many people don’t really understand what innovation means.
“For technology, yes, we are doing well, but for innovation as a practice itself, we are still lagging behind. Innovation is not just about technology, it goes deeper than that. Innovation can be applied to processes, products, marketing and different areas of business models. But technology can use innovation; when people often talk about innovation, they assume it’s about technology, but those are two different things. They both need each other to thrive.
However, the technology expert also advised the government to reshape the Nigerian educational curriculum at all levels to accommodate the practical aspects of technology to engender early exposure to the details of technology and innovation.
She said the need to expose, encourage and sensitize the Nigerian child through the education system from an early age was due to the massive economic potential of technology and its ability to solve almost all problems in all sectors.
“Today’s technology goes beyond computers and smartphones as it encompasses many things which, if properly exposed to the practice, can generate enormous economic potential and gains for the country.
“So we need to rework the program to incorporate technology, innovation and robotics beyond the superficial use of computers.
“In our universities there is a lot going on technologically that the government can take advantage of, but first they need to invest huge resources directly from the universities to open the minds of students to the practicalities of technology.
“A more hands-on approach that relates to real life more than the abstract lessons the Nigerian child is used to is what is needed to open their minds to the endless possibilities of technology,” she said.
Ms. Ilori said government funding, once disbursed, must be used wisely to ensure the future of technology and educate more people willing to use their intelligence for the development of the nation.
She charged young girls interested in the tech industry, perceived as a male-dominated industry, to take the bulls by the horns, even if they were few in number, and assert their skills and abilities.
“Funding is essential, and cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, and it is necessary to create innovation-driven start-ups.
Speaking on Bridge57 Solutions, where she had implemented various business initiatives and products for several organizations, NGOs and parastatal government agencies using strategic foresight, drive and determination, Ilori said the organization was created to organize workshops, using innovative practices, methodology and tools to improve the Nigerian technological environment.
“I have been working in technology for 18 years now 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 in general. Our problems are many, if I can put it that way. But where there are problems, there are also opportunities. So I was looking for the opportunity to solve more problems on a larger scale. It’s one of the things that pushed me. I see that there are many opportunities that would allow more entrepreneurs to be born.
“At Bridge57, there are two pillars; innovation and technology and between them is digital transformation. These are the two pillars on which our company is based.
“We work with many international partners who are technology providers. We partner with them to bring such technology that does not exist here. For example, regarding voice biometrics, we have a solution in voice biometrics. You’d be surprised that our voices are as unique as our fingerprints. It can be used to help people who use the services, but they are not very literate. Some people have trouble remembering their PIN because they can’t read it, and you see people who can’t read their password and therefore put themselves at risk. How can we use this voice, for example, in terms of security, when we have a lot of security problems in our society?
“These are some of the problems that this technology, as simple as it sounds, can solve. Apart from voice technology, there is a technology that uses artificial intelligence, AI. There’s a partner we’re working with, we’re using AI to identify moving objects. He can tell if the person is male or female. These are some innovations that we are doing at Bridge57,” Ms. Ilori said.