Considering the advances in technology and how technology will shape the world in 2044 and beyond, MTN Nigeria recently organised the ‘mPulse Planet’ in Lagos, to prepare students for the future.
The event with the theme ‘Nigeria, the Future in 2044’ hosted about 5,000 children from nine-15 years to tech hub with various indoor, outdoor and video games, as well as a ‘Tech Town’ with sections for driverless cars, AR game, product design, world of robotics, VR/AR technology, among others.
Explaining the rationale behind the event, the Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Mazan Mroue said the company segmented its customers and discovered that children between the ages of nine and 14 are interested in technology, online gaming and education so it decided to package these things together in the mPulse platform.
He said one year after creating the platform the company has seen its impact; it helps to expose the teens to the latest technologies and education materials.
According to him, the children are at the age where they are yet to decide about their future careers so it is important to expose them to the maximum number of technologies and platforms through MTN, where they take decisions on how they want to be in future.
Though the event held in Lagos alone, he said the mPulse platform is available online to all Nigerians. “All Nigerian children ages nine -14, irrespective of where they are; they are also allowed to access the platform online and leverage all the freebies and all the offers available for them. Today is just a physical interaction with all those different platforms. However there is a plan to replicate the same and extend it nationwide.”
Mroue added that the teens are already exposed to technology and are already connected “so we need to give them attention and extra offers that will make life easier and enable them to make the right choice when they grow up and enter the university. And meeting them early is an opportunity for us and the country on how we can train our people to take the right decision.”
The General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Oluwole Rawa said mPulse is not a tariff plan, but a proposition and platform that was launched last year, where students can go online and access contents around games, education and other contents that would make them to start thinking about entrepreneurship.
“They can see different contents about children doing new things successfully, which are things we don’t get from our kids because we are so focused on education, which is good, but games and entrepreneurship are things that you can do.
He stated that the company decided to organise the physical event for the children to see some of the future technologies and feel them. “Some children have never experienced things like product development, where they develop things with 3D and print them out for them to see physically; robotics, AR/VR. Some children have never experienced these apart from what they see on the internet, so we bring those things to life. It is a day of fun for the children. Even those that are not very tech-inclined, there is a whole lot for them to do.”
Rawa said this year’s event was expanded because of the feedback and level of participation last year, adding that 5,000 people registered one week. So there is a possibility of further expanding it.
“From the theme, how will the future look like in 2044, we are already seeing the signs; we are going to see cars that are not being driven by human beings; robots that will be doing most of the things that we are doing. This is an opportunity for these children to experience these things. It is a free event so you don’t have to come from a rich home to attend, so we give everyone the opportunity to participate. It is about the future so they can experience virtual reality and see how the future will be like in 20 to 30 years.”
Also speaking, the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Rahul De said: “After last year’s launch, we have continued to improve on mPulse in accordance with the ever-evolving interests of young Nigerians aged nine-15.
“One of the factors that came to the fore was the need to usher them into the future. This summer event is a way of introducing our future (Nigerian youths) to the future by stimulating their minds and intellect.
“We wanted an avenue to spur their creativity and get them to think beyond what they see and experience at the moment.”
Sharing her excitement and experience at the mPulse Planet, Cynthia Arinze, a 12-year-old, who came with her parents and nine-year-old cousin, Amaka Wright said: “Everything here has been unbelievable.”
In 2018, MTN Nigeria launched the exciting proposition, mPulse to equip young Nigerians between ages nine and 15 with the resources they need to maximize their potential and be all they want to be.
The mPulse package comes with a voice plan and a fun, educative website, which hosts a wide variety of courses and study aids to help children from primary one to senior secondary three excel. The portal also provides a bouquet of single and multiplayer games, as well as life skills videos. From computer programming, fashion design, medicine and blogging to engineering, writing, data science and motivational speaking, among others, there is something for every interest.
The proposition also has parental control feature that allows a parent/guardian to safeguard the child’s internet access from harmful content.