Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen, Daily Trust
March 11, 2013
Lagos — In this interview, MD/CEO New Horizons Nigeria, an IT-security and business solutions company, Tim Akano, says Nigerian banks and many government agencies are vulnerable to hacking.
What should Nigerians expect in the area of IT security in 2013?
IT- Security is already a major concern globally. IT Security threat will become more serious in 2013 and beyond. The recent news about the hacking of the Federal Reserve's and Wall Street journal's and Twitter accounts in the US is a tip of the iceberg as to what will come this year. In Nigeria, where IT-Security is usually handled with levity, with more young people acquiring IT skills and with little opportunity to earn a decent income due to poor infrastructure that will make them transit to Technoprenure, these youths will turn to vulnerable banks, universities, government agencies and other corporate organizations to "earn huge income" by hacking into their database and sell it for handsome fees in the online booming black market. The way out of this pending hacking- earthquake is for organization to embrace Encryption. Organization that will go unhurt, un-embarrassed and stand protected this year and beyond will need what I call:"7-Layer IT-Security Sweater" to cover its origination's body. Fortunately, this 7-Layer IT-Security Sweater" already exists in Nigeria.
Do you foresee a collaboration of mobile applications and cloud solutions?
The line between mobile and cloud solution will become thinner in 2013 the concept of a personal computer will be replaced by the new concept of a private cloud. Most individual and commercial services including storage sync across device will be hosted on private cloud going forward. Life will move more virtual in 2013. The concept of VIRTUAL ALIEN is very critical for Nigerians youths as they can tap into the opportunity to work for foreign companies and get paid in dollar without travelling abroad. Office of the future will migrate virtual. More people will begin to work from home as against having physical office. About 6 million Americans worked from home in 2012. This new development will become global phenomena in 2013. With the improvement in Internet and broadband, it becomes easier to go virtual even in education, in church, in the media. Virtual education is growing like a wild fire now globally.
Mobile phones market seems to be a saturated sub-sector of the IT industry and the trend is becoming survival of the fittest as more opportunities are opening, how do you think Nigeria can benefit from this?
There are already in the market today over 1000 brands of Smartphone and tablets across the globe. The market will witness many more new smart phones and tablets joining the already saturated segment and then the current "blue Smartphone ocean" will turn "red ocean" and become dog-eat -dog. Nonetheless, the "new money" is not in Oil and Gas, it is not in Telecommunication companies selling of air-time. It is also not in selling hardware like tablets and Smartphone. No! The new money is in Mobile Apps development. For consumers, it is good news that prices will continue its downward journey towards south in 2013. In the process, tablets and smartphone will become increasingly commoditized. There will be heavy causalities in this market this year. My take is that ultimately, the Apple strategy will not stand the test of time- except Apple changes its "closed strategy". Human beings are social animals and they cherish freedom, variety and flexibility above other consideration. Therefore, Apple's closed strategy cannot win in the final analysis. Android - with its flexibility and ease of use will erode Apple's market share. Already, about 90% of the Smartphone shipped in the last quarter of 2012 had Android inside. This perhaps explains the Apple shareholder increasing anxiety about the future of Apple without Steve Jobs. Little wonder why Apple stocks fell by 12% in January alone. Nokia and Microsoft- the famous two old Elephants will pull a positive surprise in this space in 2013. Blackberry will not make much impact in North America and Europe- despite the new blackberry E10 that was released in January 2013. But in Nigeria, Despite the popularity of Blackberry chatting facility, there will be serious attempt to snatch its "feeding bottle" in Nigeria by other Smartphone makers this year.
For Corporate organizations, this is a year they will need to evolve viable, practicable BYOD- Bring Your Own Device strategies. Corporate data is gold, with every staff having an average of 3 mobile devices, organizations without a veritable BYOD is in danger of losing its data to competition.
In the long and short of it, we are in a year of mobility. Our lives - in schools, organizations, churches, homes, cars, -all over will revolve around mobile devices. Mobile devices will come with amazing new features this year. Things hitherto though impossible will happen - like using mobile phone as car key, or as door key to the house, using mobile phones to start and off air conditioners or to control the refrigerator temperature among others will happen this year. It is my prediction that Nigeria will play a more central role in mobility revolution this year- beyond its current role of pure consumer. Two, 2013 is a year of what I call "collaborative open source" (COS) - so if Apple does not change its current strategy, we might begin to see the beginning of the end for Apple with regards to its domination of Smartphone business. Three, Smartphone will become a commodity- it will sell for N15, 000.00 (To be sure the N15, 000.00 Smartphone will perform all the functions and contain all the features) before the end of this year- therefore the current players that sell for N100, 000.00 and above will lose market share to what I call 'ECONOMY SMARTPHONES" if they do not change strategy. Finally, mobile homogeneity will begin to encounter huge problem (Apple model), whilst Mobile heterogeneity (Android model) will thrive and dominate the market. The question now is: where does Nigeria stand in all this? - Or how does this benefit Nigerians? One, I predict the emergence of 'new apps software development millionaires in Nigeria in the next 5 years that will dwarf Dangote, Adenuga, Ovia's monies! Hitherto, the moneyed-people have always emerged from Trading and Manufacturing (Aliko Dangotes) or Oil and Telecoms (Mike Adenugas ) or Banking and Finance (Jim Ovias).
The Nigerian new millionaires will dwarf Adenuga and Dangote's money in a speed of light and they will be "small smart boys"- Under 25s who have excelled as MOBILE APPS SOFTWARE DEVELOPER. After all, the founders of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Group on were already far richer than any man in Africa before they celebrated their 21st birthday. I see new millionaires emerging from Nigeria soonest. I challenge the Ministry of Information technology to create an enabling platform to achieve this.