Meta Hosts XR Exhibition, Announces Winners of Future Africa Grant
Tech Top 5 News
As part of its Extended Reality (XR) Programs and Research investment into XR talents across Africa, Meta recently showcased an exclusive XR exhibition featuring the six finalists from the ‘Future Africa: Telling Stories, Building Worlds’ programme.
Developed in partnership with Africa No Filter, Electric South and Imisi 3D, the exhibition is focused on supporting the next generation of XR creators in Africa.
With a focus on owning and shifting the African narrative whilst telling compelling African stories that are contemporary and immersive, the finalists developed a range of immersive digital experiences rooted in African culture across various media formats, including 360 video, AR/VR and Mixed Reality.
Meta’s Public Policy Programs Director, Africa, Middle East, and Turkey, Sherry Dzinoreva, said: “As the next phase of this programme, we’re delighted to be unveiling this specially curated exhibition featuring the work of six talented creators from across the continent, all of whom have created beautiful, thought-provoking African stories and experiences using immersive technology. We know that Africa holds immense talent, which we see reflected in the experiences curated, and as we set our sights on the metaverse, we believe creators, especially those on the continent, will play a key role in unlocking its potential.”
The creators showcased at the event included Malik Afegbua’s ‘Moving Between’, a 360 documentary that presents a virtual heritage experience of the Kofar-Mata dye pit, a cultural and historical site in Kano, Nigeria, by showcasing it in a three-dimensional virtual reality model.
Others were Xabiso Vili (a writer, performer, and new media artist, Xabiso’s ‘Black Boi meets Boogeyman’ is a multi-ending, ‘choose your adventure’ style 360° visual album); Dylan Valley, South Africa ( Dylan’s Cissie Gool House is a 360 documentary about a precarious housing occupation in a new Cape Town hospital); Nirma Madhoo (a fashion filmmaker, XR creator and PhD candidate. Nirma’s ‘XWE,’ 360 fashion film using volumetric capture and photogrammetry, is a tribute to the original stargazers of Southern Africa); Pierre-Christophe Gam (Pierre is a multimedia artist who worked on ‘TOGUNA’, a hybrid (both live and online) Art installation, fusing AR/VR, film, photography, mixed-media sculpture, future-thinking, and storytelling); and Michelle Angawa (a film editor and XR creator, Michelle’s ‘1000 Shillings in Nairobi,’ a 360-fiction film, is a short tragicomedy depicting a day in a Nairobian Boda rider’s life).
Gadget Experience Centre, Apple Yard, Launches in Lagos
Apple Yard, the very first unique gadget experience centre that provides services that include sales, maintenance, phone swap, and more, has launched in Lagos.
The gadget experience centre, created by Nigeria-based contemporary design company, 88 homewares was modelled after the Apple Store on Regent Street, London and promised to offer similar world-class experiences and services to customers.
Speaking on the store’s launch, the CEO of 88 Homewares, Mr Ebuka Arinze, expressed his delight at the flagship store.
“What we have created with Apple Yard is to give our customers an experience that is unmatched anywhere in Nigeria. We purposely modelled this place to the Apple Store to show our commitment to providing customers with only the best and latest gadgets, services, and prices they can find in Nigeria,” said Arinze. “We also wanted to give them a hint of what it would feel like to visit an Apple Store if there was one in Nigeria.”
The centre is now fully open for business with a diverse range of sophisticated and unique gadgets, including the new series of iPhones (12,13,14 & 14 pro max), Apple watches (All series including the just released Ultra series), Meta Quest, Speakers, and other accessories and gadgets all available for purchase.
Apple Yard is located at 12 Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos. Present at the launch were business and tech executives, celebrities, and influencers from various industries.
Healthtech Startup, Nguvu Health Partners AXA Mansard
Nguvu Health, an on-demand online therapy platform and AXA Mansard have collaborated to provide affordable mental healthcare to Africans in Diaspora and at home.
The partnership allows the companies to stay true to their mutual vision of improving access to healthcare, including mental health.
The two-year agreement brings together the health tech startup’s connections to teletherapy services and AXA Mansard’s connections to thousands of users seeking proper health coverage.
The B2B add-ons of the partnership includes quarterly discounted wellness sessions and a mental health audit for AXA Mansard’s corporate clients and stakeholders. The B2C arm of the partnership not only focuses on providing discounts for users seeking different therapy types but also expends 15 per cent off couple therapy and support group therapy.
Speaking for Nguvu Health, the co-founder and CMO, Juliet Odumosu, said, “This partnership is a big win for the health sector as it will explore the drivers and impact of mental health issues in the society in an inclusive manner. This will happen by exploring practices that help users, individual and corporate, both slow down and speed up in ways that complement each other to help shift the paradigm from stress and survival to excitement and vitality.”
Policyholders and the Insured of AXA Mansard will now be able to access therapists and other well-being solutions provided by Nguvu Health.
Apple Fined $19m for Selling iPhones without Chargers
Apple has reportedly been slammed with a $19 million fine for not including chargers in new iPhones being sold.
Brazil’s Sao Paulo civil court ordered that new iPhones sold in the country must come with battery chargers included in the box.
The fine is a result of Apple appealing a Brazilian order banning it from selling iPhones without a charger in September when the Brazilian Justice Ministry originally fined it $2.38 million, Reuters reported at the time. Apple argued it was not including the chargers to reduce carbon emissions.
Apple began not including earbuds and a power adapter with the iPhone 12 release in 2020 — except in France, where it must comply with radiation laws to reduce waste and move toward a carbon-neutral supply chain.
However, it is not a final decision and can be appealed further.
In related news, EU legislators recently approved a new directive requiring manufacturers to offer USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of devices by 2024. This will force Apple to switch over to USB-C chargers for its upcoming iPhones.
Crypto Investment App Pillow Raises $18m, Plans to Expand to Nigeria
Crypto investment platform Pillow raised $18 million in Series A funding co-led by Accel, Quona Capital, Elevation Capital and Jump Capital. Elevation Capital was also the first seed investor in Pillow, having led the round in 2021.
The Singapore-based Pillow said it has plans to utilise the funds to expand and do even more to elevate the personal finance journeys of people in emerging markets such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
The app is creating simple, transparent, accessible products, including crypto investing, crypto savings, crypto payments, and other financial services.
The Pillow app allows users to invest and save in dollar-backed stablecoins and multiple blue-chip cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
Since the beginning of 2022, the company claims to have grown its user base by three hundred per cent, with assets under management grown five times. In addition, the startup has expanded into Nigeria, Ghana, and Vietnam, among other emerging markets.
Tech Personality of The Week:
This week’s tech personality is the founder and CEO of OneHealthng, Adeola Alli.
OneHealthng is an online Pharmacy and healthcare platform providing access to medicines and healthcare solutions for individuals and healthcare providers.
As a licensed Pharmacist in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, Adeola launched OneHealthng in Nigeria when she realised it was difficult to purchase specialised medications in the country for her child.
Adeola leveraged technology to get the right medicines at the right time to the right hand, using curated and analysed data, and partners different health service providers to offer relevant health solutions to people. So far, she has helped at least 8,000 people access pharmacare from a network of over 1,000 pharmacies across the thirty-six states of Nigeria.
She has over 15 years of pharmaceutical and business experience. She was recently acknowledged by Google for Startups Accelerator Africa and was one of the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund recipients. She participated in the Microsoft Accelerator program and has spoken at the Africa Digital Health Summit and the Cyber for Health Care conference by the Cyber Peace Institute.
She and Onehealthng were a part of Nigeria’s First Digital Startup Accelerator Program hosted by Forbes and powered by the Global Startup Ecosystem 2020. She was also a Startup Lab Finalist for the Global Health Summit in 2020 and Speaker at the Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit 2021.
She is enthusiastic about solving healthcare problems across Africa, especially one she has personally experienced- Access to specialised medications.