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MTN’s mPulse Hackathon Offers Funding For Solutions To COVID-19 Challenges

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MTN’s mPulse Hackathon Offers Funding For Solutions To COVID-19 Challenges, SiliconNigeria

As countries grapple with the realities of the new normal, MTN Nigeria has initiated a call for entries for its mPulse hackathon, themed “Beyond COVID-19.”

The project aims at encouraging young innovators in primary and secondary schools who can navigate the barriers of remote engagement to create solutions that can mitigate various challenges imposed by COVID-19.

Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, Bayo Adekanmbi, emphasised the need for an evolving educational platform to train young Nigerians. “We’re all figuring out lifehacks to help us cope with the new normal resulting from the pandemic. But for members of Gen Z, given the peculiarity of their exposure to technology, they are uniquely equipped to profer solutions to the challenges imposed by COVID. 

This unique virtual hackathon is designed to engage young inventors stimulating the development of home-grown-technological innovation, to effectively deal with the challenges of COVID-19. We look forward to seeing several incredible solutions put forward, and working with the finalist to develop them further,” he said.

Entries to the MTN mPulse Hackathon close on December 6, 2020. The top ten innovators will be selected to pitch their solutions to a panel of judges at a live Hackathon on December 19 where the top three winning solutions will be chosen. The ten finalists will proceed to an exclusive MTN GAP Bootcamp in collaboration with TechQuest STEM Academy where their solutions will be refined for optimal impact. 

This STEM programme is designed to spot bright young innovators across the country. Finalists will receive cash, prizes and funding support to launch their solutions on the market with a total value of over 10 million naira.

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IT in Healthcare

54gene Unveils World-class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State, Nigeria

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54gene Unveils World class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State Nigeria, SiliconNigeria

54gene has unveiled its new lab in Lagos State, Nigeria, capable of human whole genome sequencing and a variety of other scientific investigations. Hosting a suite of world-class molecular genomics capabilities, including the Illumina Novaseq 6000 and NextSeq 550Dx the lab is part of 54gene’s mission to enable Africans to conduct genomics research and will be fully operational from January 2021.

The new lab, recently inspected by the Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, is geared to crucially expedite internal and external research projects designed to facilitate precision medicine for Africans and the global population. 

54gene is currently conducting research to discover novel biological insights based on genetic modifiers, by deriving information from its unique and rich data set. This will allow the company’s researchers to determine the underlying drivers of infectious and noncommunicable diseases prevalent on the African continent as well as genetic variants unique to its population. The new lab strengthens 54gene’s capacity to enable more research that yields insights from the world’s most diverse populations to solve some of the biggest global healthcare challenges.

Commenting on the significance of 54gene’s advanced molecular capabilities, Founder & CEO, Dr Abasi Ene-Obong said: “Over the last two years, our growth has been underpinned by a supremely experienced world class team, and the collaboration of key stakeholders on the continent. I am proud of the impact our work is making scientifically and economically on the African continent and globally; and the many scientists around the world, who collaborate with 54gene. 

“Our vision is not just to address the health disparities in Africa but to distinctly advance research in some of the most common and rare diseases that affect the global population. To do this we need to scale our operations and continue to collaborate on cutting edge research. The possibilities are immense and we look forward to expanding this impact even more.”

Visiting the Molecular Genetics Operations labs and the Biobank, the Honourable Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Emmanuel Akinola Abayomi, said, “This is quite an impressive setup,

and I am happy that 54gene has chosen Lagos as its base. I believe this is going to be a mutually

beneficial arrangement as Lagos is keen to promote a medical innovation hub in the State. We will continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector, like 54gene, to flourish, while ensuring that the public’s interests are adequately protected. We look forward to partnering with 54gene and other stakeholders alike to power innovation and a sustainable bio economy.”

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IT in Healthcare

Mastercard Foundation, Firm To Provide Free 2.5m PPEs To Nigerians

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Mastercard Foundation Firm To Provide Free 2.5m PPEs To Nigerians, SiliconNigeria

Mastercard Foundation has partnered with My World of Bags (MWOB), a bag design and manufacturing company, to distribute about 2.5 million personal protective equipment (PPEs) in an effort to promote health safety for Nigerians amidst the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The initiative by the two organisations called Project SafeUp, will see the free personal protective equipment distributed among health workers and the general public across South West Nigeria. 

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, MWOB retooled its factory to focus on the production of PPE and established key partnerships with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with the intention of producing 2.5 million items to be distributed within the next four to six months.

Speaking during a virtual meeting, the operations manager, MWOB, Adetoun Ademuyiwa, reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. She stated, “As a company, we are proud to be a part of the solution to contribute to the efforts of the authorities and health bodies to protect our health workers and our citizens from the devastating impact of COVID-19. 

“We believe that a country is only as strong as the health and wellness of its citizens. We are grateful to the Mastercard Foundation for their support and look forward to continuing to work with them to improve the welfare of our citizens.”

Country Head, Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson,  said, “At the Mastercard Foundation, we believe that this initiative will help to reduce these adverse effects by enabling people to safely return to their regular routines (education and work) with the use of PPE; improving the economic outcomes of low-income subgroups and women in particular; and contributing to slowing down the spread of the virus.”

Project SafeUp is committed to enhancing the use of Personal Protective Equipment by Nigerians and to reducing the spread of COVID-19 by sensitizing the public on the critical need to incorporate preventative measures in their day-to-day activities.

“The pandemic has had adverse effects on individuals and organizations across the country, but for many entrepreneurs and small business owners who make up most of the Nigerian population, and who rely on day-to-day incomes to survive, it has been particularly detrimental. 

The Project SafeUp will cover state; including Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti as well as to other areas in need across the country. The PPE that will be produced includes reusable non-surgical masks, face shields, gowns and scrubs, and shoe and head covers. 

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Nokia Develops Analytics-based Thermal Detection to Fight COVID

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Nokia Develops Analytics-based Thermal Detection to Fight COVID, SiliconNigeria

Nokia today announced an automated, zero-touch elevated temperature detection solution designed to help spot potential COVID-19 infections in facilities with thousands of people.

 The Nokia Automated Analytics Solution for Access Control streamlines and fully automates the process of identifying people with elevated temperatures and confirms mask compliance, in large environments with multiple accesses.  

Leveraging advanced analytics, a business rules engine, centralized management, machine learning and ubiquitous connectivity, the Nokia solution dramatically reduces the cost of detection and ensures business continuity and supply chain resilience during the pandemic. Organizations can also expand the solution to support other ongoing use cases to protect employees and building assets, including predictive surveillance, machine maintenance and security threats.  

Amit Shah, head of Analytics and IoT for Nokia, said: “Whether in factories, ports, offices, airports, schools, or outdoor screening centers, mission-critical networks and digital automation solutions play a leading role in ensuring supply resilience, business continuity, and workers’ safety in real-time. Our Nokia Automated Analytics Solution brings centralized data, analytics, and an automation management system, allowing large organizations to make intelligent decisions to protect their people and facilities during and in a post-pandemic world, while respecting individual privacy.”  

The technology uses an open architecture and has a rich suite of analytics with a flexible set of automation workflows and rules to adapt the solution to each enterprise’s needs. The company has successfully deployed the solution at multiple locations, including its own Chennai factory to monitor employee safety and plans to deploy the solution for enterprise customers across multiple industry segments.

Sudarshan Pitty, Head of the Nokia Chennai Factory, said: “As the factory reopened to production and over 1,000 employees returned to work, we abided by local regulations for monitoring temperatures and mask usage for every single person entering and leaving the site. The Nokia Automated Analytics Solution has enabled us to ensure regulatory compliance in an automated way, round the clock with zero misses in real-time. This solution has enabled us to boost employee availability by reducing the waiting time in queues and removing the need to assign additional staff to carry out manual checks.”

 The Nokia Automated Analytic Solution uses a thermal camera to capture video footage and takes individual temperature readings (accurate to +/- 0.3 degrees Celsius) for every person that enters the screening site. The analytics engine quickly processes the video clip to determine whether the individuals require additional screening, or are not complying with mask-wearing rules. Through its centralized management approach the solution triggers an institution’s chosen operational workflow. If an irregularity is detected, a centralized, enterprise-wide view is presented and a real-time SMS or email alert is automatically sent to personnel in the field to initiate track-and-trace or post-detection actions. The entire process takes place in near-real time and the human-less operation enables scaling to very large environments with thousands of people and multiple access points.

 Leo Gergs, ABI Research, Research Analyst, said: “The Nokia Automated Analytics Solution for Access Control is a great example of the important role that network infrastructure vendors can play in fighting the spread of a global pandemic, such as Covid-19. Furthermore, the modular architecture allows easy repurposing of the solution to use cases such as port or smart city traffic monitoring and therefore to address the ever-increasing demand for automated data analytics capabilities, which will continue to rise in line with further enterprise digitalization.”

 Pop-up connectionless outdoor test centers have been a common way to complete COVID-19 testing. Nokia can leverage its Nokia Digital Automation Cloud private wireless network solution to provide seamless outdoor connectivity for these operations.

 Once concerns about COVID-19 subside, organizations can repurpose the solution to support other use cases to protect employees, site visitors and facilities, including predictive surveillance and machine maintenance, security threats and anomaly detection, and customized industry-specific analytics.

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