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Household Internet Access in Urban Areas Twice as High as in Rural Areas- ITU

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Household Internet Access in Urban Areas Twice as High as in Rural Areas- ITU, SiliconNigeria

While virtually all urban areas in the world are covered by a mobile-broadband network, worrying gaps in connectivity and Internet access persist in rural areas, according to Measuring Digital Development: Facts and figures 2020, a new report launched today by the International Telecommunication Union.

This matters even more due to the COVID-19 crisis. Connectivity gaps in rural areas are particularly pronounced in least developed countries (LDCs), where 17 per cent of the rural population live in areas with no mobile coverage at all, and 19 per cent of the rural population is covered by only a 2G network. 

Furthermore, according to 2019 data, globally about 72 per cent of households in urban areas has access to the Internet at home, almost twice as much as in rural areas (38 per cent). 

“How much longer can we tolerate the significant gap in household connectivity between urban and rural areas,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “In the age of COVID-19, where so many are working and studying from home, this edition of Measuring Digital Development: Facts and figures sends the clear message that accelerating infrastructure roll-out is one of the most urgent and defining issues of our time.” 

“This edition of Measuring Digital Development: Facts and figures is released at a challenging time as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on lives, societies and economies around the world,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“For the first time, our research contains estimates of the connectivity status of small island developing states and landlocked developing countries, in addition to least developed countries: this is a very important milestone in our efforts to achieve sustainable development for all.” 

The research reveals that about a quarter of the population in LDCs and LLDCs, and about 15 per cent of the population in SIDS do not have access to a mobile-broadband network, thus falling short of the Sustainable Development Goals Target 9.c to significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.  

Internet use prevalent among youth 

Not surprisingly, Internet use is consistently more widespread among young people, irrespective of region or level of development. Whereas just over half of the total global population is using the Internet, the proportion of Internet use increases to almost 70 per cent among young people aged 15-24 years.  

In LDCs, 38 per cent of youth are using the Internet, whereas the overall share of people using it, including youth, stands at 19 per cent. In developed countries, virtually all young persons are using the Internet, while the highest youth/overall ratio is present in Asia and the Pacific.  

Slower infrastructure roll-out and other barriers to Internet use 

The latest ITU data demonstrate that the roll-out of mobile-broadband networks has been slowing in 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, 4G network coverage doubled globally and almost 85 per cent of the global population will be covered by a 4G network at the end of 2020.

Yet, annual growth has been slowing down gradually since 2017, and 2020 coverage is only 1.3 percentage points higher than 2019.

In addition to infrastructure roll-out, the digital gender divide, lack of digital skills and affordability continue to be major barriers to meaningful participation in a digital society, especially in the developing world where mobile telephony and Internet access remain too expensive for many. 

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Nigeria, Kenya, SA Most Affected By Malware Hiding in Devices-Study

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Nigeria Kenya SA Most Affected By Malware Hiding in Devices-Kaspersky, SiliconNigeria
  • In 2020, 25% of Kaspersky private users in South Africa, 40% in Kenya and 38% in Nigeria were attacked by such threats

There is a common misconception that the most dangerous threats to encounter on modern users’ digital journeys are likely to appear during Internet surfing.

The reality however, based on the most recent analysis of cyberattacks in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria within 2020 by Kaspersky experts demonstrates that users are in fact more likely to face malware related attacks hidden within their devices.

Such threats are classified as ‘local’, which means they are detected either on users’ devices or on portable data storage devices, such as flash drives. In 2020, 25% of Kaspersky private users in South Africa, 40% in Kenya and 38% in Nigeria were attacked by such threats. To provide a comparison, web attacks only affected 9% of users in South Africa, 11% in Kenya and 8% in Nigeria.

When looking at corporate users in these regions, the numbers are similar: 23% of corporate users in South Africa, 29% in Kenya and 35% in Nigeria encountered such local threats within 2020.

Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the sophistication of such threats – which may be hiding on the user’s device within a seemingly legitimate file for a while, to fly under the radar, and only strike later.

“The cyber threat landscape across Africa is constantly evolving,” says Denis Parinov, a cybersecurity expert at Kaspersky. “A few years ago, there were much more drive-by attacks – cases when different malicious software is downloaded and being run while the user simply browses the Internet. Nowadays, most of the web-threats “stays in browser”: they specialise in content replacement, browser locking or clickjacking, online-skimming, cookie stuffing, etc.

“Now the situation when a user could download a malicious file directly is not too often. It’s more common for a malware to be disguised as something else to hide from the security solutions, remaining an unseen threat to users. The good news however is that modern security solutions are too advanced for such malware to fly under radars – it is more likely to be blocked either during the initial scan of the file by a security solution that happens by default, or within the very moment such programs attempt to launch.”

To protect against cyber threats including malware, Kaspersky recommends keeping to the following guidelines:

  • Do not follow dubious links from letters, messages in instant messengers or SMS
  • Regularly install updates for the operating system and applications
  • Install applications only from official stores
  • Use complex and different passwords for accounts
  • Regularly copy important data from your device to the cloud, to a USB flash drive or hard drive
  • Do not give applications access to those functions that they do not need
  • Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Internet Security (https://bit.ly/3168MCA)

In addition, companies are encouraged to provide training to improve cyber literacy among their employees. For example, the automated platform Kaspersky ASAP (https://bit.ly/3cZ8frF) helps to develop safe behaviour skills and form sustainable cybersecurity habits. The solution allows the company to assess the current knowledge of an employee in the field of cybersecurity, and in accordance with this, determine the set of skills that the employee needs, depending on job duties and risk profile, and build a timetable for the program.

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Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets

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Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets, SiliconNigeria

Facebook has announced the launch of Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa, a new, lightweight version of the Instagram app for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.

The new version of Instagram Lite for Android is less than 2MB in size, making it fast to install and quick to load. It also has improved speed, performance, and responsiveness. Instagram Lite not only works similarly to the Instagram app for Android, but it allows the Instagram experience to remain fast and reliable for more people, no matter what device, platform and network they use. 

Commenting on the rationale for introducing the app to Sub-Saharan Africa, Engineering Manager for Instagram Lite, Peter Shin said, “Connectivity in the region can be unstable, slow and expensive, making it challenging for people to have a high-quality Instagram experience. Many people were already familiar with the concept of a Lite app after the successful roll-out of Facebook Lite some years ago. We started testing the new version of Instagram Lite when people across the continent started asking for a Lite app for Android. The feedback was very positive and we are excited to launch it across the continent today”. 

“Our team aims to leave no one behind, so today we are very excited to bring Instagram Lite to people in over 170 countries, including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.

Instagram Lite is similar to the core Instagram app experience, though some features are not currently supported, such as Reels creation, Shopping, and IGTV. Instagram Lite is likely to gain appeal to users in locations with limited bandwidth or high data costs, especially in the developing world. 

Instagram Lite is currently rolling out in over 170 countries, and Facebook remains committed to building and improving the app to help everyone in the world connect to the people and things they love. 

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The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace

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The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

The Ericsson IndustryLab report, The Dematerialized Office explores the white-collar employee perspective on a potential future reality where digital technology by 2030 could interact with our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

The pandemic as a digital tipping point

Welcome to the future workplace. But what does that workplace look like?
 
We surveyed over 8,400 white collar workers who are early adopters of AR, VR or virtual assistants from 16 countries, representing around 133 million people, about their expectations of the future workspace. They anticipate:

  • A digital workstation that transforms with each task
  • A virtual cake from a colleague that you can even taste
  • Interactive digital meetings with people rather than being passively stuck behind a screen all day
  • But also, future business that takes place digitally, where you can visit virtual stores and warehouses

This year’s pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. In our report we present a vision of the internet of senses in the 2030 workplace and explore the challenges and opportunities that this could present.

Download the Report

Key findings from the report

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria01. Employees want an internet of senses for work

Imagine a fully immersive office experience, where all sensory experiences are digitally interactive. By 2030, the dematerialized office may be a reality. And for those working from home, the full-sense digital home office will also get a boost. In fact, half of respondents want a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere. Today, companies direct their funds into maintaining physical office space, but in the future, respondents hope this will be geared towards improving their home office environment.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

02. The pandemic has become a digital tipping point

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. After months of working on their computers at home, constantly engaged in video meetings in their sometimes chaotic home environments, nearly 6 in 10 foresee a permanent increase in online meetings. They are also realizing that while connectivity is more important than ever before, digital meetings need to evolve before they become as effective as the real thing. There is simply a need for tools that better support remote interaction.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

03. The sustainable dematerialized office

Dematerialization of the office will be driven by efficiency gains and sales, but the environment is also expected to benefit. With virtual offices for example, there would be no need to commute, or for companies to keep physical office spaces running. As many as 77 percent indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make companies more sustainable.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

04. Virtual interaction with clients and colleagues

How about a team building trip to Pompeii? What if Vesuvius suddenly erupted and engulfed you in lava, there would be a lot to talk about around the virtual water cooler later. Team building becomes more important when there are fewer physical meetings, but virtual interaction has other benefits for companies too. 50 percent are saying that digital temperature will be used to more immersively engage customers by 2030. Providing immersive full-sense sales environments, such as a virtual shopping mall or warehouse will enable customers to digitally try before they buy.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

05. A taste of the future

Not a fan of the food in the canteen? Respondents think internet of senses technology will also be used inside companies and could help with this. 73 percent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

06. Security and privacy are key barriers

Privacy is increasingly set to become a critical challenge filled with paradoxes over the next decade. While many employees see the benefits of enhanced technology there is also a lot of fear. As digital interaction moves beyond sound and vision to incorporate all our senses, and potentially also enables functionality such as thought control of devices, the avenues for fraud, manipulation and identity theft will grow exponentially. While 66 percent think that by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset, that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset. The challenge will be in finding a balance that allows for fast adoption of digital technology in the workplace, while also respecting the integrity of employees.

The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace, SiliconNigeria

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