The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has demonstrated how human can depend on technology to perform major tasks and it will become more normalised.
Suffice to say, digital technology is changing the face of businesses including industrial and manufacturing across the world due to the convergence of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, among other evolution, has enabled smart factories and the quantum leap into industry 4.0.
At the heart of these innovations is data, but a comprised data will affect the result of production and in turn affect the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
To this end, Information Technology experts gathered (virtually) under the umbrella of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) to x-ray different issues confronting individuals, businesses, tertiary institutions and the nation at large, if we must be among the top industrialized nations in the world.
The 15th International Conference of NCS was organized under the leadership of the 21st National Executive Council (NEC) led by Professor Adesina Sodiya as President with the theme as ‘Emerging Applications and Technologies for Industry 4.0 (EATI’2020)”.
During the opening ceremony, the keynote was presented by Christopher Painter, a globally recognized leader and expert on cybersecurity and cyber policy, Cyber Diplomacy and combatting cybercrime.
Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of digital economy – Painter
Painter said that Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of digital economy hence lack of safe digital gateways creates distrust in the system.
According to the keynote speaker, cybersecurity enables innovation and economic growth at large. He stressed a need for multi-stakeholder approach to enable every cybersecurity related issues be treated with urgency.
Painter who has been operating in the cybersecurity space in the last 30 years, said, “As Nigeria diversifies and embraced digital economy approach, cybersecurity has to be treated with seriousness especially at the highest decision making levels of the economy.
“Nigeria has national cybersecurity law, however, the need now is to align the cybersecurity strategy with the digital economy blueprint”.
The keynote speaker applauded the ngCERT approach, while he called for improved Public Private Partnerships, diplomatic responses and capacity development to achieve the economic focus.
We are getting youths prepared for Industry 4.0 via D.E.E.L initiative – Dare
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD), Mr. Sunday Dare, said that they are working assiduously with all intents and purposes committed to creating opportunities that would improve the economic prosperity, social engagements of the youths and enhance national cohesion; through youth focused programmes and initiatives, combined with sporting activities/events in and outside country.
The Minister said that the D.E.E.L initiative (Digital skill and literacy, E for Entrepreneurship, E for Employment while L stands for Literacy and mentoring), which is the umbrella term that encapsulate other skill acquisition programmes of the Ministry, was carefully crafted to address the burning issues of unemployment and employability of the Nigerian youths.
According to him, these deliberate policies and initiatives would create entrepreneurs and leaders for mentoring in the country even in the era of Industry 4.0.
He added that the Ministry has partnered several corporate organizations for actualization of its vision to train and enhance capacity of the youth on digital skills to make them self-reliant, improve their entrepreneurial capacity and employability via the experiences garnered in corporate organizations under W.E.P. Some of these organizations include IBM, Junior Achiever, Nestlé Inc. and the MTN.
The Minister also applauded NCS for the choice of theme for the international conference, adding that efforts must be geared towards supporting young people to acquire digital skills relevant in the era of industry 4.0 must be embraced.
Post-COVID-19 economy will dominantly be powered by innovative technology – Inuwa
The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashif Inuwa Abdullahi, said that COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented paradigm shift in the way we live, work and play and has forced us to embrace new practices’
The new normal, the DG, who was represented by the Director, ITIS Department, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi, said, “will dominantly be powered by innovative technology, and it will accelerate the development of the Digital Economy”.
“As the pandemic makes digital services more profound, we understood the convenience of remote engagement, and its drawbacks are now less disturbing, we believe there is going to be a silver lining in COVID-19”, he added.
Nigeria must be prepared as Industry 4.0 evolves at exponential rate, disrupting industries – Prof. Sodiya
Welcoming the participants from within and outside Nigeria, the President, Nigeria Computer Society, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, said they have indeed made the conference truly international in all standards.
According to him, more than 40% of manuscripts submitted for this conference came from outside Nigeria.
“We received articles from all over the world including United Kingdom, Sweden, Iran, Norway, Pakistan, Malaysia, South Africa, Qatar, Slovenia and Australia.
“Let me remind us that we initially settled for Owerri as venue, but later changed to Uyo when the former governor of the state was removed from office. Thereafter, Covid-19 pandemic came and completely changed our life styles. Covid-19 has prevented us from coming together physically to professionally interact, network, associate and even socialize. As the masters of Information Technology (IT), we have deployed IT to carefully and effectively realise the usual experiences at our physical conferences. For over 40 years of existence, this is the first time in history of NCS that we are having a virtual conference. This was a bit challenging, but we are always up to the task. The only thing that is constant in this world is change and IT professionals are major change actors.
“The fourth Industrial Revolution is emerging and evolving at an exponential rate and disrupting industries in every country.
“This is actually leading to the transformation of entire systems of production, management and governance. While many organizations are still feeling indifferent about this new revolution, others are implementing changes and preparing for the future of smart manufacturing and business processes.
“This conference will discuss the current perspectives and future directions of industry 4.0, as well the effective transformation strategies.
“The opportunities and benefits of complete transformation to industry 4.0 will be presented at this conference.
“The developmental implications and relevant of robotics, autonomous design, augmented reality, IOT, big data analytics and artificial intelligent on performance and value chain will also discussed.
“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria Computer Society that selected articles will be published in the Springer indexed Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing. We have carefully chosen top-level technology experts in and outside Nigeria as our speakers.
In addition, the assembly showcases the traditional programmes such as Grand Finale of the IT Quiz Competitions, NCS Scholarship Fund, Induction of New Members, Fellows’ Forum and Annual General Meeting and the closing with an interesting Online Dinner and Award Night.
NACOSS members represent the future – Prof. Osofisan
Interestingly, the College of Fellows of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), took a giant step to ensure that students in the Computer Science discipline across the country have opportunity to participate during the conference.
One hundred members of the Nigeria Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS) were sponsored by the College to Fellows. Speaking on this, the Provost, Professor Adenike Osofisan, said the gesture was borne out of the need to provide opportunities for young professionals to learn from industry stakeholders.
She urged NACOSS members to pay attention to the evolving technologies, adding that nearly all the promises of emerging technology are reliant on the edge.
Therefore, they can fundamentally transform how people and machines interact with digital services, advance human progress and shape the future.
She urged them to pay attention to features of new AR and VR uses, to enhanced efficiency and control in healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, retail, financial services, telco and much more.
NCS as a forward-looking body is living up to its billing – Prof. Uwadia
Without doubt, NCS as a forward-looking body is living up to its billing as the national platform for the promotion and advancement of Information Technology profession in Nigeria, says the President and Chairman-in-Council, Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN), Professor Charles Uwadia.
Professor Uwadia stated this in his goodwill message, stressing that over the years, this Conference has always provided a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from government, industry, academia, multilateral agencies, international organizations, youth groups and civil society to share knowledge and experiences towards leveraging IT Innovation to achieve sustainable and inclusive societies.
Speaking to the conference theme, he said, “The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) therefore, is a journey to the transformation of the industry to an autonomous industry that will be integrated into the digital economy. Emerging Applications and Technologies for Industry 4.0 is dedicated to addressing the strategies and challenges of developing autonomous digital economy in line with the aspiration of the Federal Government as already enunciated by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the able leadership of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS”.
This is the first NCS virtual international conference and it is unique – Rex
The Chairman, Conferences Committee of NCS, Mr. Ayodeji Rex Abitogun described the conference as unique and historic.
“This event is unique in many ways; it is not just our 15th international conference but the first without our usual physical contact- it is our first virtual international conference.
“The conference is also historic, as it is holding amidst global pandemic giving opportunity to learn something new and do things differently. The theme “Emerging Applications and Technologies for Industry 4.0” was carefully chosen to address the gap in our connected world,” Mr. Abitogun said.
According to him, industry 4.0 or Fourth Industrial Revolution is about enhancement of computers and automation with smart and autonomous systems catalyzed by data and machine learning.
“While a lot of organisations and individuals are still in denial of how the fourth industrial revolution could add value to their business or how best to adopt it for their unique use cases, others are already on the fast lane embracing the future with smart devices.
“As a nation therefore, we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch others grow. Through critical thinking and scientific method, the manufacturing sector must build synergy with professionals and the academia to develop local solutions for global challenge. We must adopt modern technology in our production value chain. This will provide opportunities for our large youth population in the area of job creation, poverty eradication and wealth creation.
“The novel Coronal Virus pandemic ravaging the world, again reminds us as technology professionals of our role in building smart solutions for economic transformation. Failure of most developing countries to either prevent or respond to the pandemic due to inadequate skills and resources reiterate the need for paradigm shift in the manufacturing sector”, he added.
The conference therefore provided a platform for global thought leaders, policy and decision makers, captains of industry, professionals, and the academia to brainstorm on issues of concern and proffer practicable and actionable ideas.
With close to fifty presentations, three plenary and nine parallel sessions, EATI’2020 conference was value packed and knowledge driven.
Some of the dignitaries and special guests for this year’s Conference are but not limited to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr, Isa Ali (Pantami); Director General, National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi; Executive Vice-Chairman Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umaru Garba Danbatta; Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Muhammad Bello Abubakar; Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale; Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, Senator Yakubu Oseni; Chairman, House Committee on ICT, Ho. Abubakra Lad, Managing Director, First Bank Nig. Plc, Dr. Adesolaa Adeduntan; Managing Director / CEO, eTranzact, Mr. Niyi Toluwalope; President, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Engr. Mansur Ahmed; MD, Nestle, Mauricio Alarcon; MD, Nigeria Bottling Company, Matthieu Seguin; MD. Chevron, Mr. Jeffrey Ewing; MD, Shell Petroleum, Mr. Osaige Okunbor; MD, Nigeran Breweries Plc.; President, Association of Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Teniola; President Nigeria Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed; and President, Nigeria Institute of Directors, Chief Chris Okunowo.
Some of the NCS’ international partners and speakers include the President of International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), Professor Mike Hinchey; Professor Xiaodong Liu, IEEE Senior Member, Edinburgh Napier University; Prof. Jemal H. Abawajy (SMIEE) of Deakin University, Australia and Editor-in-Chief of Intelligent Systems and Computing, Prof. Kacprzyk, Janusz