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Friday 5th March, 2021

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Innovation

African Messaging App, Ayoba Assures Users Of Privacy And Security Protection

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As people everywhere ramp up their usage of instant messaging and more and more are choosing Ayoba, MTN Group said it is proud to partner with this unique instant messaging platform localised for the needs of consumers across Africa.

Launched in 2019 to improve access to affordable communications, Ayoba is active in 17 MTN markets and is also available to download onto Android smartphones in numerous other markets from Google Play and via the Ayoba website www.ayoba.me as an over-the-top (OTT) offering.

Ayoba is focused on protecting users’ privacy and security:  it is not possible for messages in the app to be read by anyone else or to be shared with any third parties, including MTN.

The app features peer-to-peer private messaging which is end-to-end encrypted; Ayoba treats data with the utmost care and respect in line with its privacy policy.

All the content available on Ayoba channels is curated and reviewed to ensure that it’s 100% family-friendly and safe for younger users.

A team of editors checks every post on Ayoba content channels before it goes live across over 100 content channels and 120 games.

Ayoba has also recently launched an in-app assistant, Aya, to guide new users on how to use the instant messaging app.

Aya appears automatically in the app and can run a variety of interactive tutorials for key features within Ayoba.

Ayoba users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files, voice notes and even their location, and can also subscribe to live channels.

Localised content is available through these channels that aim to entertain, educate and empower communities.

Since 2020, as COVID-19 spread across the world, Ayoba’s daily lifeline data allocations on MTN’s networks in most markets allowed users free connections with family and provided them with zero-rated access to credible information through special COVID-19 channels.

The app supports over 20 local languages spoken across MTN’s markets, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French, Arabic, Portuguese, and English.

At the end of June 2020, Ayoba had two million active users.

In November 2020, Ayoba was named the ‘Best Mobile App of the Year’ at the Africa Digital Awards 2020, acknowledging Africa’s first super-app, which offers users free instant messaging, mobile commerce and interactive entertainment.

Ayoba is a free instant messaging (IM) application developed and owned by SIMFY AFRICA, based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Although Africa is one continent, it is also the home to hundreds of unique cultures. Ayoba celebrates the diversity of Africa by providing a world-class messaging platform that reflects local needs and aspirations.

Ayoba’s inclusive approach to technology means that its users will be able to communicate with anyone with a mobile device, even if they don’t have the Ayoba app.

During an initial promotional period, this communication is made available at no cost, across selected mobile network operators.

Ayoba launched its first strategic partnership with MTN in Cameroon on the 4 May 2019.

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WhatsApp Launches Video And Voice Calls On Desktop Version

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Users will be able to video call between desktop and mobile devices….Photo credit: WhatsApp Blog/Sky News

WhatsApp is allowing users to make video and voice call on their desktop for the first time, according to a report in Sky News.

The messaging service plans to rival the likes of Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s FaceTime by offering people the chance to voice or video call on a larger screen.

WhatsApp said it made the move following a “significant increase” in people making calls on the platform during the coronavirus pandemic when other video calling services like Zoom have also seen huge spikes in popularity.

Group calls will still have to be made on mobile devices, but the Facebook-owned app has confirmed it is planning to expand its desktop offering to group calls in the future.

“Answering on a bigger screen makes it easier to work with colleagues, see your family more clearly on a bigger canvas or free up your hands to move around a room while talking,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a blog post.

“To make desktop calling more useful, we made sure it works seamlessly for both portrait and landscape orientation appears in a resizable standalone window on your computer screen, and is set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows.”

It comes after a backlash over privacy changes on WhatsApp enforced by its parent company Facebook, which required a second attempt to get users to agree to them.

WhatsApp broke its worldwide record for voice and video calls on New Year’s Eve 2020 when 1.4 billion people used the app to speak to their loved ones.

“With so many people still apart from their loved ones, and adjusting to new ways of working, we want conversations on WhatsApp to feel as close to in-person as possible, regardless of where you are in the world or the tech you’re using,” the company added.

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Innovation

Microsoft Planning To Add AI-Powered Text Predictions To Word

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Microsoft plans to add AI-powered text predictions to Word in March.

The software giant first rolled out the feature to 50% of Windows Beta Channels last year.

But an update to the Microsoft 365 roadmap spotted by TechRadar shows the company intends to offer it to all Word users next month.

The feature uses machine learning to make writing suggestions based on the text a user typed.

According to Microsoft, “Text predictions help users write more efficiently by predicting text quickly and accurately.

“The feature reduces spelling and grammar errors and learns overtime to give the best recommendations based on your writing style.”

The update will provide a similar tool to Smart Compose suggestions offered by Word rival Google Docs.

Once the feature launches, users will start seeing the predictions as they type a document.

You can press the TAB key to accept the suggestions and the ESC key to reject them.

Microsoft says that the tool improves over time, but users will be able to turn it off if it’s proving more of a hindrance than a help.

 

 

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NITDA DG Explains How Digital Economy Is Transforming The Nigerian Nation

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, NITDA DG

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has said that digital economy innovation and entrepreneurship play a huge role in creating value and prosperity in any nation.

Abdullahi, who spoke on Thursday at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, Abuja, the first of its kind in Africa, noted that today, the digital economy is the fastest growing economy in Nigeria and in the world in general.

He said that the centre is critical for Nigeria’s journey to digital economy, explaining the enormous investment in the initiative by NITDA and opined that to sustain and consolidate the growth, there is need to ignite innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital space.

“COVID-19 has impacted our lives in an unprecedented way, many aspects of our lives – work, education, economy, entertainment, have moved online. According to data compiled by Visual Capitalist, in a single internet minute in 2020, consumer spent more than 1m USD, over 42 million messages shared via WhatsApp, more than 1.4 million people make video or voice call, over 150,000 messages shared on Facebook, more than 319 new accounts created on Tweeter, Linkedin users apply for over 69,000 jobs, more than 6,500 packages shipped by Amazon and over 200,000 people participate in Zoom meetings.

“Digital economy is mainly driven by rapid business innovation, using digital technology to deliver the new customer value proposition, new business model, new organizational structure, new customer experience, operational excellence and enhanced products and services.

“This cannot be achieved in isolation; we need innovation ecosystem. It is obvious innovation is not evenly distributed globally but there is something common among all innovative countries. They all have a strong innovation ecosystem. To build a vibrant innovation ecosystem in Nigeria we have keyed into the MIT program called REAP – Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program.

“REAP is a global capstone initiative that provides an opportunity for communities to engage with MIT in an evidence-based and practical approach to strengthen the innovation ecosystem. This centre will serve as a platform for the MIT-REAP initiative.

“Innovation is a process of taking an idea from inception to impact. To express it in a mathematical formula innovation is invention multiply by commercialization. It is a product of invention and commercialization. This means innovation is zero when the invention is zero or when commercialization is zero. You must have the two to be innovative. Commercialization is about entrepreneurship, it is about starting and growing a new business.

“According to MIT, there are two types of entrepreneurship, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Innovation Driven Enterprise (IDE). SME is short term, linear growth and target local market while IDE is long term, exponential growth and target global market. Our centre will focus on IDE because IDE is the game changer when it comes to value and prosperity creation. It is through IDEs you can have unicorn companies, a privately owned company with more $1B valuation,” Abdullahi said.

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