Lanre Odukoya writes on the gains of the recent wireless communications forum held in Abuja
Nigeria’s first ever annual wireless communications expo was held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, with what can best be described as colossal success, the event achieved far above the expectations of the initiators. The exhibition solely sponsored by the Hayes Meridian Group in partnership with Motorola, was held in early June and turned out to be an eye-opener for operators of wireless communication service across the country as well as intending practitioners in an economy reputedly the world’s fastest growing communications market.
The expo drew attendance from IT, security and communications enthusiasts and had 50 exhibitors from globally-acclaimed brands with unique offers to solve and advance on broadband services with the least complex operations. With different presentations from the world’s best minds in wireless communications, the expectations of many were met and surpassed. Never before has the consumers and service providers in the industry had this extensive discourse on the way forward for Nigeria in wireless technology.
It was thus a pleasant surprise to hear that president of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama and wife, Michelle sent a recognition note and a souvenir from the White House in appreciation of the role of HMG’s managing director, Mr. Banji Oyewumi, to the development of the sector in Nigeria. Some exhibitors in this maiden edition of the expo include Samsung, MTN, Huawei, Phase3, Mobitel, Alcatel, Galaxy Back Bone, SafeMobile, AIR, Motorola, Hayes Meridian Group, Microsoft, NigComSat among a host of others.
There was an enlightening paper presented by Vice Chairman and CEO of Nigeria Communication Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah. This was followed by a paper titled, “Wireless Communications as a Safety Guard for Security Measures by the Nigerian Police Force”.
Vice President of Motorola’s Radio-Channel, Axel Rettig, was first among the exhibitors to present a speech. His American colleague, Rolf Pein, Vice President of the American International Radio Inc (AIR) also enlightened delegates on the new technologies that will help solve crime incidents and make a saner society possible. After the tea break, ebullient salesman, David Rodriguez of SafeMobile gave a forensic statistics of new products and the patronage of Radio-pads from his company in the last few months. In quick succession, different discourses from Huawei to USAID spiraled into the main event, exhibition.
Still from the stable of Hayes Meridian Group, an international company with interest in secure two-way digital radio communication systems and defense solutions, IT systems among others, one of the highpoints of the show on day one was the presentation of a free wireless journal to delegates at the venue. It is expected that the 24-page all-colour publication would become a reference point for readers who desire to be equipped with up-to-date trends in the industry and will be published bi-annually. The hugely informative journal has contributions from SafeMobile, Motorola, AIR as well as HMG.
There was a project conceived to target the youths who are the most vibrant users of the wireless communication products and services. It is in this light that invitations were extended to some universities whose undergraduates took advantage of the opportunity. They filled the hall in hundreds. Eventually, some of them were lucky enough to smile home with BlackBerry phones.
Mr. David Anderson, an employee in the management and administrative department of the White House reeled out fresh ways of securing US Aid for projects in Nigeria. For nearly an hour, the man gave practical guides on how entrepreneurs can access funds up to 500,000 US dollars. Expectedly, this part of the seminar produced more questions from delegates.
On the second day of the expo the moderator, Mr. Afolabi Andu, chief consultant of Visage PR, the official event organizers announced that a brief presentation would be screened from the representative of the White House. It was at first misconstrued by many to be another paper presentation but to the utmost surprise of all, the man has delayed the best for the last. It turned out to be the presentation of a Recognition Letter and a White House souvenir autographed by the American president and his wife. The honour was done in favour of Banji Oyewumi in appreciation of his bold step to salvage the Nigerian wireless community by establishing a global platform for Nigerians to collaborate with the rest of the world.
The appraisal of the expo by participants was mostly in superlative terms. Sylvia Agama, brand manager of Phase3 Telecom, a backbone network company with specialty in area fiber infrastructure said: “This is a place to improve knowledge, know about our competitors as well as meeting other telecoms companies and collaborate in any way possible. Our expectations are met because we’ve had contacts from here and people and organizations that showed interest in what we do. We also had the opportunity to know where Motorola, the world’s biggest radio communication company stands and what it has for Nigeria and it opened our eyes to some voids that will necessitate what to do with them in Nigeria.”
Olufunke Fagbeja, senior manager, business development of NigComSat, was no less exultant: “We are a satellite operator, so we came in to meet with other people in the industry, rub minds together and showcase our services and products to our customers and potential customers. Our expectation aside showcasing our services and products; is to learn about recent trend in the industry and the market. Being the maiden edition, I believe subsequent ones will be more impactful, it’s the first one and it’s a very laudable attempt, I must say. We already got some interests and clients here.”
David Rodriguez, director of SafeMobile Chicago’s business development also shared his impression: “In the beginning, I didn’t know what to expect when I was coming here. However for our business at SafeMobile as well as Hayes Meridian Group, it’s definitely going to be a gateway to discovering opportunities. We met here a lot of great people and I’m sure this would be an eye-opener for all the attendees that were here.
Wonder speakers, wonderful presentations and a welcoming environment we had in Nigeria. We’re looking forward to coming back in the next nine months when the second edition holds. Banji is one of the most driven and determined persons I have encountered in my seven productive years of doing business with my company and people all over the world. I think he has a very good direction in mind for where he wants his business and employees to go.”