Mozilla Launches $250,000 Equal Rating Innovation Challenge

Mozilla calls upon innovators to challenge existing approaches; Submissions open on November 1st

Mozilla announces the launch of its global Equal Rating Innovation Challenge, a competition which invites contributions on ways to provide unfettered access to the open Internet for anyone across the globe. As part of its initiative, Mozilla is asking entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and innovators to propose creative and scalable ideas for connecting more people to the Internet, built on local knowledge and expertise.

The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge will support promising solutions through expert mentorship and funding of US$250,000 in prize monies split into three categories – Best Overall (based on scalability), Best Overall Runner-up and Most Novel Solution (based on experiment with a potential high reward).

“At Mozilla, we believe the Internet is most powerful when anyone – regardless of gender, income, or geography – can participate equally. However, the digital divide remains a clear and persistent reality,” said Mozilla’s Chief Innovation Officer, Katharina Borchert, in a blog post. Further, she says, “This challenge is designed to spur innovations for bringing the members of the Next Billion online. The Equal Rating Innovation Challenge is focused on identifying creative new solutions to connect the unconnected. These solutions may range from consumer products and novel mobile services to new business models and infrastructure proposals.”

Mozilla has launched www.EqualRating.com, a website offering educational content and background information to support the challenge. In the coming weeks, Mozilla will also stream a series of webinars stream to further inform potential applicants about the challenge details.

Katharina Borchert added, “Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time. No one organization or effort can tackle it alone. We must come together and collaborate to build innovative and scalable ways to bring Internet access to the Next Billion – and the other billions, as well.”

Submissions are open from November 1, 2016 to January 6, 2017 and will be judged by a group of external experts. The first round of selections will be announced by mid-January 2017. Selected finalists will receive mentorship for their projects before they demonstrate their ideas in March 2017. Final winners will be announced by end of March 2017.

Interested innovators can submit their ideas and contact EqualRating@Mozilla.com for further details.

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Smile Launches 0702Smile SIM

4G/LTE Mobile Network Operator, Smile Communications Nigeria Limited today in Lagos unveiled its 0702 number range, as a further push to express its status as an innovative full telecommunications services provider.

The unveiling is seen as a move to address the misconception that the company, which has been in operation since 2013 in Nigeria, is an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

According to Mr. Godfrey Efeurhobo, Smile’s Managing Director, Smile is the first Telecommunications service provider in West Africa to deploy the 4G LTE that enables it to provide the most advanced telecommunications technologies and standards available anywhere in the world using the 4G LTE network technology.

“The launch of the true 4G LTE network in Nigeria and indeed in West Africa in 2013 revolutionized the way Nigerians access the Internet. We have in the recent past unveiled a number of innovative Voice and Data services and we are only reinforcing our 0702 number range,” he said.

The 0702 number range comes with the lowest call tariff that allows Smile’s customers to make calls at 8kobo per second to any network from within and outside the country at the same rate, using SmileVoice App on any Smart Phone, and its 4G LTE SIM on Voice over LTE compatible handset.

Efeurhobo added that Smile 0702 number range offers the best value proposition and experience to customers in Nigeria. “The Nigerian consumers can put their Smile 4G LTE Sim in the LTE handset, use their handset to make calls locally and to anywhere in the world, for Internet, video/music streaming/downloads and SMSs, all using one Smile bundle plan, which is a first in this market,” he explained.

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Jumia Travel Launches New Web Extranet For Hotel Managers

Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel-booking company, has officially launched the web version of the Extranet App, an application that aims to give more flexibility and independence to hotel managers.

Jumia Travel is seeking to further empower its hotel partners across all markets with top-notch technology by unveiling the Web Extranet, a web version of the previously launched Extranet App on Android. The tool allows hotel managers to confirm and view their incoming Jumia Travel reservations, change their rates and update availability.

According to Charles de Moucheron, Chief Operating Officer at Jumia Travel, the portal is working on direct integration with existing partner hotel systems to manage bookings, update rates and availability. “After integrating the first channel managers in May 2016, we are now integrating multiple hospitality software solutions for our hotels partners to work better with us. The Web Extranet is built on the latest technology that delivers the shortest loading time currently available in the market. This is customized to accommodate even markets where internet speed is still limited,” he said.

The new version is a so-called progressive web application, which delivers an app-like experience to the user. With a market that is highly characterized by a “mobile-first” adaptation, the tool is mobile-optimized, which means the app size can adapt to any screen size; be it on the mobile, smartphone, tablet or desktop.

“It’s like giving me the total control of my Hotel on your platform on the go, anywhere I am in the world”, Jadas Jean, General Manager, Ibis Lagos ikeja. The sentiments are echoed by Morning sides Suites Frontdesk Supervisor Samson Aiyelabola, who notes that “the Web Extranet is user friendly and simple to control critical aspect of the business.”

New features such as reviews, statistics and a finance section where hotels can review their invoices will soon be introduced. The launch of the Web Extranet is part of a wider program by Jumia Travel to bring on board the latest technology to the hospitality industry in order to democratize travel in Africa.

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Benefits Of Driving With Uber: Why Drivers Choose Uber

Uber connects tens of thousands of people in Nigeria to safe, reliable
and affordable transportation at the tap of a button, in fact, Uber has
travelled approximately 9 000 000 km since their launch in Nigeria. But
Uber is much more than getting a ride, it is also about providing
economic opportunities by simply opening an app, which helps people to
either support their families or to earn additional income. Just in 2015
alone, Uber enabled over 1000 economic opportunities across Nigeria.

Uber has allowed people who have never considered driving for a living
to use the platform to become their own boss, to work flexibly and make
money to achieve their goals and support their families.

As a driver-partner, one can look forward to the following:

Be your own boss
As an independent contractor with Uber, driver-partners have the freedom
and flexibility to drive whenever they have time. They are able to set
their own schedule because there are no minimum times for operating.
Choosing your own hours makes it possible for drivers to be there for
all of life’s most important moments. Individuals who own their own
transportation companies can still carry on and use the Uber app to
connect their drivers with riders and grow their small businesses.

Upskilling the industry
Driver-partners are important to Uber, therefore Uber is committed to
upskilling drivers with the skills they need to run their own
businesses. This includes skills linked to operating on the platform,
such as  guidance for  using a smartphone efficiently, GPS and
navigation, health and safety best practices, working with email or tips
on how to improve service to riders.

Helping grow your business
Lagos and Abuja are buzzing and Uber makes it easy for drivers to
connect to riders looking for affordable and safe transport. Uber has
connected with great corporate partners across Nigeria to provide tools
for Nigerians to get started with their own small businesses, which is a
great first step to becoming their own boss.

With some of these corporate partnerships, drivers are able to purchase
mobile phones at an affordable rate, maintenance packages, discounted
lifestyle membership fees at select gyms and other perks.  Drivers also
have access to the Uber’s marketplace, where companies can list
offerings for the driver-partner community which includes discounted
vehicle financing, insurance and vehicle purchasing deals.

In addition to this, Uber has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers
(PwC) so all driver-partners in Nigeria, whether they use the platform
part or full-time, are not burdened with the intricacies of tax
compliance. This partnership means driver-partners can become
knowledgeable on their tax compliance with the local regulations.

Uber is efficient
Uber’s technology is designed to help drivers by giving them the
flexibility to set their own schedule while boosting demand so drivers
spend more time moving people and less time sitting idle, which means
drivers are able to take more money home.

This also mean it’s better for Nigeria, with fewer km’s spent driving to
pick up points which results in fewer emissions and less unnecessary
congestion on Nigeria’s roads.

No discrimination
With Uber there is no discrimination or favouritism, the platform is
open to all who want to use the app to increase their chances for profit
and will work with them to provide them with the tools to build their
own small businesses. When there are more drivers working on the Uber
platform this means better coverage across Lagos and Abuja and less time
waiting times for riders. Faster pick ups lead to happier riders, who
tell their friends.

Ebi Atawodi, General Manager for Uber West Africa explains, “With over
20% of partners being previously unemployed, we’re proud that the Uber
platform enables driver-partners to not only be their own bosses, work
at their own hours and set their own targets, but also to make a good
living for themselves and their families.”

Uber is committed to offering the people of Nigeria a new way to work,
on their terms, and in doing so boosting the incomes of thousands of
Nigerian families who need it most.

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Smile Partners Lenovo To Enhance Voice Calls Via Internet

Smile Nigeria has struck a partnership deal with Lenovo Technologies West Africa that would allow the 4G LTE Internet service provider to provide the best telecommunications solutions and enhance the reach of its 4GLTE services and voice calls on mobile broadband.

The partnership means Smile has expanded the reach of its services: data, voice & video calls and SMS to the unique Lenovo A2020 (Vibe C) smartphone. The Lenovo Vibe C Smartphone comes with the added value of a Smile 4GLTE SIM card, 2GB data bonus and 30 Minutes and 30 SMS on activation with the SmileVoice App.

The Lenovo Vibe C sports a 5-inch HD diagonal display, 5-megapixel rear facing camera and a 2-megapixel front facing camera. An onboard storage capacity of 8 GB resides in the device, but can be expanded up to 32 GB using a microSD card, a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ quad-core processor with Android™ 5.1, Lollipop flavor as Operating System.

This latest partnership not only underscores the noble pedigree and innovative streak of both companies but also accentuates their determination to serve the best interest of their customers. The device bundle will be available across partner outlets across Nigeria from October 1, 2016.

A statement by Smile Nigeria noted that the company is specifically focused on the importance of partnerships of this nature to drive the penetration of mobile broadband in Nigeria and deliver on the end-to-end needs of the customer.  The partnership is designed to expand the reach of SmileVoice, mobile broadband services and enhance its benefits to a wider spectrum of the Nigerian market.

It noted that the partnership with Lenovo accords with Smile’s transformative objective of using the best and most innovative technologies to provide its customers with high quality, easy to use and affordable communication services in furtherance of its vision of being the broadband provider of choice in Nigeria that enables its customers to fully benefit from the Internet world.

As recent as July this year, Smile made a historic breakthrough in the Nigerian telecoms market with the introduction of the lowest call tariff that allows its customers to make calls at 8kobo per second to any network from within and outside the country at the same rate, using SmileVoice App. The SmileVoice allows thousands of Nigerians to enjoy seamless, SuperClear voice and video calls to their loved ones to and from anywhere in the world.

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Nigerian Tech Entrepreneur Wins Facebook-sponsored Innovation Challenge

A Nigerian tech entrepreneur, Godwin Benson, has won the Internet.org innovation challenge for education.

Benson is the creator of Tuteria Nigeria, an online platform that links up those interested in learning to potential tutors.

Mark Zuckerberg, who met with Benson during his visit to Nigeria, shared news of the innovator’s achievement.

Besides Benson, five other tech startups emerged winners of the innovation challenge.

They are; Esoko, Hyperion Development, MPedigree Goldkeys, SaferMom, and mPharma Mutti.

Zuckerberg wrote: “Last month in Abuja, Nigeria, I met Godwin Benson. Godwin founded Tuteria Nigeria, an online platform that connects people seeking to learn with people nearby who can teach them.

“Tuteria Nigeria won one of six awards for the Internet.org Innovation Challenge for services that provide education and economic development opportunities across the African continent.

“These services are all examples of the great work being done by entrepreneurs across the African continent to strengthen their communities and create opportunity.

“Congratulations to the winners and all the other entrepreneurs who are doing this important work”, said Zuckerberg.

Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected internet services to less developed countries.

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Yahoo Grants Access To US Intelligence Agencies To Search User’s Mails – Report

Internet technology giant Yahoo reportedly built a custom software program in 2015 to scan all users’ incoming emails so as to comply with a classified order from U.S. intelligence.

A report says U.S. company has searched hundreds of millions of customers’ email accounts since April, 2015 at the request of the National Security Agency (NSA) or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It reported that the company’s decision to obey the order prompted at least two officials, including then-chief information security officer Alex Stamos, to leave in 2015 over ethical issues concerning the program.

“It was likely to be the first known case that a U.S. company agreed to an intelligence agency’s order by searching all incoming messages.

“But it was unclear what information the intelligence agencies were looking for and also what data Yahoo may have handed over.

“Yahoo is a law-abiding company, and complies with the laws of the U.S.,’’ the company said in a statement, declining any further comment.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to a request for comment.

According to U.S. laws, the country’s intelligence agencies have the right to order phone and Internet companies to provide customer data when they believe there are possible connections with terror actions.

It was not known whether other U.S. email providers received similar requests from the intelligence community.

Google, which runs Gmail, said in a statement that the company never received such a request.

“But if we did, our response would be simple: ‘no way,’’ it said.

Microsoft said they have never engaged in the secret scanning of email traffic like what has been reported today about Yahoo.

U.S. authorities have frequently come under fire for violations of citizens’ right of privacy in the name of social security.

Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, called the order “unprecedented and unconstitutional.’’

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court,’’ he said in a statement.(Xinhua/NAN)

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Twitter Extends Tweets Beyond 140 Characters

Twitter announced Monday it was easing its 140-character limit on tweets, in the latest effort to broaden the appeal and boost the user base of the social network.

The new policy announced in May and now in effect no longer factors in certain add-ons, including pictures, into a message’s length.

“Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now,” said an official tweet from San Francisco-based Twitter.

Media attachments such as photos, videos and polls are exempted from the character limit, as well as tweets that are quoted in a retweet.

The move comes as Twitter’s efforts to increase its user base and engagement have been sputtering, raising questions about its growth trend as it seeks to keep pace in the fast-moving world of social media.

The latest move eases but does not eliminate the 140-character limit, which was put in place due to mobile phone text messaging constraints when Twitter launched in 2006.

Analysts have said Twitter needs to find new ways to boost its appeal beyond a core of celebrities, politicians and journalists, with its user base stagnant for the past year.

In its last quarterly update, Twitter said the number of monthly active users edged up to 313 million, up three percent from a year ago and only slightly more than the 310 million in the prior quarter.

Twitter has yet to post a profit, even as it has ramped up its efforts in advertising.

Amid reports that Twitter may be seeking ways to cut costs or even sell itself, the San Francisco-based service has been adding new features including live video.

Twitter drew more than two million people to its first broadcast of an NFL football game last week, part of a range of new sports content available through the network.

It also is offering users live-streamed video programs on technology, media and business in partnership with the streaming platform Cheddar.

– ‘Too little, too late’ –

Analysts remain cautious about Twitter’s ability to break out of its rut and accelerate growth. It is far behind Facebook, which has an audience of over 1.7 billion, and Facebook-owned Instagram, with some 500 million.

“Anything that can make Twitter easier to use will be a benefit to both Twitter and its users,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst who follows social media at the research firm eMarketer.

“It might bring some people back who got frustrated with (tweet limitations). That said, I’m not sure how many people will use this as an opportunity to try Twitter if they haven’t already started using it. Things like NFL streaming will be a much better draw for new users.”

Last month, eMarketer said Twitter’s share of US social network users will decline to 28.1 percent this year and will continue to drop through 2020, as it loses users to Snapchat, Instagram, and messaging apps.

The relaxing of the tweet limit “may be too little, too late,” said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

“All this would have been good five years ago. It’s a good tactical adjustment but it doesn’t change the dynamics of the industry or where Twitter is.”

Analyst Youssef Squali at Cantor Fitzgerald said Twitter needs to prove itself soon or face pressure from shareholders.

In a research note last week, Squali said the NFL broadcast was positive but that “this may be management’s last opportunity to reignite growth in users, engagement and monetization.”

He added that “failure to do so is likely to embolden shareholders to pressure the board to evaluate alternatives” which mean selling or finding a merger partner.

AFP

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2016 Edition of Lagos Start Up Week Begins September 24

the 2016 edition of the Lagos startup week set to return on September 24 and will run through to September 30th, 2016.

The 2016 edition with the theme, “Be Inspired”. is aimed at leaving entrepreneurs fired up and inspired to take on new challenges and initiatives even in a difficult economy.

Riding from the success of the 2015 edition which was had over 20 events including pitches, panel discussions, showcases, meetups and other activities where over 60 startups were featured and 1000+ entrepreneurs  attended, the 2016 edition promises to further establish Africa, particularly Lagos, in its rightful place in the world of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Organiser of Lagos StartupWeek, Olumide Olayinka said “this year’s events are Community led, all about building each other up and fostering the growth of a supportive environment to launch new businesses; whilst ensuring viable start-ups are linked up to willing investors and mentors alike”

He further added that “The present Nigerian economy however tough presents tremendous opportunities for Startups to capitalise and establish leading positions in the market place.”

Along with the usual panel discussion, pitches and conference style talks, this year’s event features free masterclasses targeted at startups, product launches and a Startup Exhibition. An interesting lineup of speakers which include successful startup founders, local and international investors, industry giants and domain experts have been put together for this week.

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Mark Zuckerberg Excited Over Game Built By 11 Year Old Nigeria Boy

The lad pictured above is Olatayo Sobomehin, an 11 years old who built Spike Rush, an infinite, side-scrolling game.

Named after needle spikerush (a plant), the game is set in a magical forest where spikes are everywhere.

Players have super powers to help them learn to survive in the forest. At random times, the gravity reverses and players must live upside down.

The players must ensure the spikes don’t defeat them. To do this, they must swipe up to jump over the spikes, swipe left and right to move back and forth, and double tap to activate special powers.

Mark Zuckerberg, who only just got back from visiting Lagos, Nairobi and Abuja, caught up with Tayo recently and was impressed with his game.

Mark expressed his excitement about Spike Rush on his Facebook page (as he always does).

“I got my first computer when I was Tayo’s age, and just like him I started out coding games. I’ve always thought building simple games was the gateway to building more complex apps. My first games were simpler than Tayo’s, but no matter your level, there’s nothing like playing something you built yourself,” Mark said.

He added, “I’m looking forward to seeing what Tayo builds next!”

The app is doing fairly well on the Apple App Store. Now that Mark has endorsed it (sort of), I expect “fairly well” to become “paranormally well” in no time.

Tayo, who might be associated with East Palo Alto-based StreetCode, is just a reminder that coding and programming should be introduced to young lads. This, amongst other things, will prepare them for a future that’ll most definitely be about technology!

Lagos-based CcHUB is already preparing kids for the future through its Summer Coding Camp (Mark Zuckerberg met some of the kids) and Maker Club. Same thing can be said of Jos-based nHub, which runs the SevoCoder program.

Credit: Techloy

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Facebook Introduces ‘Blueprint Certification’ For Advertisers And Marketers

Facebook has announced the launch of Blueprint Certification, a global credentialing program for digital advertising professionals created to get the most out of the social media giant’s powerful marketing platform.

This certification helps digital professionals differentiate themselves in a competitive job market, providing the advertising industry with a better understanding of Facebook ads to help maximize ROI and give businesses a way to select and retain people with expertise in the Facebook family of products and services.

Blueprint Certification is not only the most rigorous and reliable measure of Facebook advertising competency; it is also the only one officially recognized.

“Facebook is committed to helping all marketers succeed using Facebook and Instagram marketing solutions with our Blueprint e-learning platform, and through new education opportunities like Blueprint Certification,” says Katherine Shappley, SMB Regional Director, North America at Facebook. “We continue to look for innovative ways to help small businesses grow by connecting them with new people – around the corner or around the world.”

As the most advanced-level program, Blueprint Certification demonstrates expertise across the Facebook family of products and services, including advertising on Instagram and Messenger.

With over one million course enrolments, Blueprint has helped marketing professionals and people from businesses of all sizes succeed through Blueprint e-learning modules and from the hands-on training at Blueprint live.

In 2015, Facebook launched the Blueprint e-learning platform to help marketers around the world succeed by providing the tools and training needed to learn how Facebook and Instagram can help grow their business.

With 3 million active advertisers on Facebook and over 60 million Pages, Facebook wants to ensure that all advertisers have the opportunity to better drive value for their business through Facebook’s advertising products.

How Blueprint Certification works

There are currently two certification paths available; the Facebook  Certified Planning Professional and the Facebook Certified Buying Professional.

Once an individual has selected their certification path, they’ll have the opportunity to prepare for and take two secure, proctored exams – the Facebook Advertising Core Competencies exam, and then the exam in their chosen specialty.

These exams have been designed to rigorously measure advanced-level competency in understanding and applying the skills required for the associated job roles. In most cases the exams can be taken with an online proctor in the convenience and privacy of one’s office or home.

Once the exams are passed, the individual will receive a digital badge that can be uniquely verified online by anyone they choose to share it with. The Blueprint Certification badge can be posted on Facebook and other social media, embedded in a website or blog or include it in an email signature or electronic résumé.

Recertification requirements must be completed annually to demonstrate ongoing proficiency and maintain certification status as the Facebook family of products and services continues to evolve.

Blueprint Certification is now available worldwide. All exams are initially available in English, with other languages rolling out as they become available.

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10 Useful Apps To Help You Find Your Missing iPhone

Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone app allows you to use another iOS (iPhone Operating Software) device to locate your missing iPhone on a map, protect your private data, display a message, play a sound at full volume (for few minutes) even if your missing iPhone was set to silent and remotely lock your device.

GadgetTrak

GadgetTrak app increases your chances of recovering your lost or stolen iPhone by generating location reports, sending a discreet message to your device, and snapping a photo of the thief with the built-in camera. With its restriction on “Deleting Apps,” the thief will not be able to delete GadgetTrak from your iPhone.

Device Locator

Device Locator allows you to track the location of your misplaced iPhone, sound an alarm on your lost or stolen iPhone, take a photo of the user remotely and send a message with sound. There are no monthly or yearly fees involved.

iHound

iHound helps locate and keep your iPhone safe with remote locking, remote data erasing, location tracking and siren alerts playing. It’s a free download but users are required to subscribe at least three months.

If Found+  

If Found+ replaces your iPhone background wallpaper with a message if you have lost your iPhone. Even if your iPhone is locked with a passcode, a Good Samaritan can reach you if he/she finds your phone.

Mobile Spy

Mobile Spy allows you to monitor your iPhone in real time by providing reports of incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, GPS locations, contact list, e-mails, website URLs, photos and videos.

Phone Trace 4

Phone Trace 4 tracks your lost or stolen iPhone’s real-time location reports and provides you with the new number of the person who is holding on to your iPhone. It also can send emails, SMS and some commands remotely.

Motion Alarm

Motion Alarm plays a customised alarm to alert you or the unauthorised iPhone holder when a preset level of movement is reached. It also provides GPS tracking so you will be able to receive a position report in your email Inbox.

Navizon

Navizon marks the positions of your lost/stolen iPhone with a real-time and accurate live locating system.

Find My Friends

Besides Find My iPhone, the ‘Find My Friends’ app can be used as an iPhone device tracker as well. By using your family members’ or friends’ iPhone (which has been accepted and added previously), you will be able to see your iPhone’s location on a list or on a map.

  • Additional information: Hongkiat.com
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