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NCC applauds academia on innovation

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By Patrick Obi, Lagos

Nigerian communication commission, NCC, has described the academia as a key driver of innovation in all spheres of human endeavor.

The Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the remark at the roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders in the southwest region held in Lagos yesterday, said that in specific terms, the ideas, inventions and improvements that emanate from the academia are required by industry for improved efficiencies and productivity. 

He said with these in mind, the regulator as a critical component of any ecosystem aims to ensure all stakeholders are protected and the industry nurtured for maximum benefit to business and society.

Danbatta who was represented by the Executive commissioner, Technical services, Engr. Ubale Maska, said the commission has been driving an industry that is now undoubtedly the main catalyst for social and economic transformation in the country adding that the advancement of technology across several spheres of human endeavor has created new industries, opportunities, new knowledge areas and challenges. 

He noted that it has increased the speed at which alignment between the different stakeholders in the economy needs to take place to ensure no aspect of our development is left lagging. 

According to him, “Traditionally, as we all know, Regulation lags innovation. Thus, in the fast evolving technology ecosystem, the need for regulators to raise their game to ensure regulations are relevant to existing realities is pertinent. This will ensure that the maximum benefit in innovation can be harnessed, and the potential risks mitigated on a timely basis.

“Similarly, the growth of new technologies such as internet of things (loT), Artificial intelligence (Al), Cloud Computing, increased delivery of speed by various broadband technologies like 4G and 5G technologies, advancement in processor and other electronics technologies have led to huge opportunities and risks. 

“Hence, the need for collaboration between academia, industry and regulators to ensure these technologies can be properly-harnessed and standards built in such a way that is beneficial to all stakeholders. The potential opportunities and important aspects that should be considered by all stakeholders are critical aspects that academia are invited to research and proffer pragmatic solutions.

“The future is something we should be ready for, and adapt to, or we should see the future as something which we can create. And i believe this morning i am in the presence of people who believe in improving the future through research and innovation. In this regard, I want to look at three (3) areas which are fundamental to the future. Firstly, I want to briefly look at innovation in terms of new ideas in Information and Communication Technologies. 

‘Secondly, l want to look at Industry growth in terms of building capabilities and stronger industry systems through a collaborative, academia-industry-led approach. I will also want to look at sustainability. For technology to be sustainable, it should imply that using it does not have any long-term adverse effect on the environment. And thirdly, perhaps the most important for this forum, I want to look at the role of the regulator in promoting synergy between the academia and the Industry.

“Innovation is seen as a way to breakout from the old and embrace the new technologies. ”Innovate or Die” is a slogan used by many business enterprises. In order to survive, the industry needs to embrace innovation. If I take this into perspective, innovation to telecommunication companies can be a linear machine to deliver what they deliver best.

“Every telecom provider will aspire to transform into that new agile future-looking Telecommunication Company. Recognizing this increasing phenomenon, the Commission has, among other things, directed funds to encourage innovation by boosting research and development in Universities across the country. I am glad to say that our Universities are making good progress in Information and Communication Technology Research and development.

“Faced with the challenges which are posed by the theme of this Forum, it is clear that, the Commission, will have to make a commitment not only to the success of the Industry, but also to facilitate the contributions from academia, ensure sustainability and economic growth. The Commission strives to ensure the engagement of all stakeholders on improving efficiency and impacting consumers positively.

“The Telecommunications industry for example has enormous potential for enabling environmental, social and economic benefits through broadband connectivity. As it continues to experience exponential traffic growth, network energy consumption is emerging as a critical issue. ln the last two decades, Telecommunication has emerged as a key driver of economic and social development in an increasingly knowledge-intensive global scenario. it is said that ”The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”. 

“To sustain the standard of living ofan ever-increasing Nigerian population, a strategy for continual development in Telecommunication technology needs to be given attention and timely research in that area be conducted by the academia that will result in minimal impact on the environment. information and telecommunication Technology can bring about social benefit as well as economic development.

“I would like to highlight, that research contribution towards lndustry and sustainable technological development should not occur exclusively by means of efforts developed in laboratory or publication ofpapers. We need to collaborate, with an emphasis on determination, on development ofprototypes that meet the standards required by the industry.

“Academia is challenged to study the impact of various practices and issues peculiar to the Nigerian operating environment on the operational efficiency and service delivery capability and performance by telecommunications industry players for example to subscribers. It will surely be an interesting read to see the new insights this may provide,” he stated.

Earlier, In the welcome address, NCC’s head of technical Services, Engr. Wakil Bako said that technology has become the driving force that is unleashing new ways of doing things in an unprecedented manner. Hence, how the telecommunication sector advances and how it does so in a sustainable and ethical way should concern us all. 

He stressed that NCC’s vision of what the forum should achieve is that Nigerians become an integral part of the global ICT community; contributing our quota to advances in the ICT globally.

“Success I believe, usually comes with talent, willpower and hardwork in equal measures. The academia has all of these in abundance. Adequate funding is a key and precondition for good quality research on technological and innovative development.

“To enable the Academia commit to research in this area, the Commission has been focused on encouraging academic research through funding of limited research activities. The Commission will continue to build and strengthen collaborations between the Academia and the Telecom industry by encouraging innovative research in localizing global innovations,” he stated

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