By Dipo Olowookere
NEC Corporation (NEC) has confirmed the acquisition of KMD Holding ApS, the holding company of KMD A/S (KMD), the largest Danish IT company.
NEC is acquiring KMD for approximately 8 billion Danish Kroner (DKK) from Advent International, one of the world’s largest and most experienced private equity investors. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of February 2019.
NEC is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. This acquisition will accelerate NEC’s global safety business, which it has positioned as a growth engine in its three-year medium-term management plan, the “Mid-term Management Plan 2020,” and is promoting a shift towards service businesses that utilize horizontally deployable platforms.
NEC is also expanding its business domain through the utilization of its advanced biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to develop areas that include public safety, digital government and smart transportation. These initiatives are being implemented under the “NEC Safer Cities” program, which supports the realization of safe, secure, efficient and equal cities.
KMD mainly provides software and IT services in Denmark through business models that generate profit continuously on a recurring basis, such as software as a service (SaaS) offerings. Specifically, KMD has a strong customer base among central and local governments and has a wide variety of software for supporting the digitization of Denmark, which is the top ranking country in the “UN E-Government Survey 2018,” announced by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In addition, KMD has a successful track record of executing strategic M&A which has broadened its service offering in a number of key verticals.
“Denmark and the United Kingdom are considered European role models for the implementation of unified digital government measures in order to improve administrative services and reduce costs,” said Takashi Niino, President and CEO, NEC Corporation. “Through this acquisition, NEC will acquire a business model that leverages platforms in the digital government domain as it aims to expand business from northern Europe to the whole of Europe and globally.”
“This is an historic moment for KMD. Becoming a part of NEC will give KMD a new and very robust platform for the strategic development of our business. NEC develops cutting-edge technologies and has a global organization with strong capabilities,” said Eva Berneke, CEO, KMD. “NEC is a world-renowned brand and like us has a strong history when it comes to the development of society through technology. NEC focuses on solutions for society and we are proud that NEC acknowledges our competencies in this respect. We look forward to working together on achieving new common goals and making even better products for our customers.”
NEC sees the acquisition as a good match with its strategic ambitions within the public sector. KMD has solid experience and a strong portfolio of software in this market segment. NEC technology and KMD software have many synergistic opportunities and both parties will benefit from the exchange and integration of products, know-how and competencies. NEC expects its cutting-edge AI technologies, “NEC the WISE” and its biometric technologies, “Bio-IDiom” to be among the areas of great mutual opportunity.
Furthermore, NEC will promote the global reach of KMD’s software by utilizing the NEC Group’s sales channels, including the mutual sale of software between KMD and UK-based Northgate Public Services Limited, which NEC acquired in January 2018. NEC will continue to promote the development of its core technologies and solutions, while acquiring new customer bases, delivery resources, core technologies and business models through M&A and partnerships, in order to further expand the social solutions business, centering on the safety business, and to improve profitability.
MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.
According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.
He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.
MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.
“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.
“With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.
“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.
The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.
Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.
Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.
Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”
It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.
At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.
She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.
Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.
“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.
“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.
“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.
In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.
According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.
“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.
ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.
The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.
Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.
Interswitch Receives Fresh Funds from LeapFrog, Tana
By Adedapo Adesanya
LeapFrog Investments (LeapFrog) and Tana Africa Capital (Tana) have invested in Interswitch, one of Africa’s technology-driven companies focused on the digitisation of payments.
In a joint statement from both companies, the exact amount was not disclosed, but it was stated that the investment will assist in supporting the company’s drive to advance the payment ecosystem across the continent.
A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the transaction.
Interswitch Group CEO, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, in a statement, said the company was “excited to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board, as we continue our work to advance the future of the African payments landscape.”
This will further advance its offerings after it launched some new products in March.
The services unveiled include an enhanced Biometrics feature for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals & Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); Tokenization, and Card Fusion, with the services addressing digital payment fraud, problems with card issuance and portfolio management.
Interswitch, in collaboration with SterlingPRO, designed the Biometrics on Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to protect customers against digital payment fraud and to avail them faster and more convenient ways to validate payments. The solution utilizes physiological features unique to everyone such as fingerprints, voice, and facial features to verify payment transactions.
Tokenization on the other hand replaces sensitive data such as the 16-digit account information with a unique digital identifier known as a token. Tokenization will enable merchants to fast-track and collect payment seamlessly, enabling customers to check out faster in-store, in-app and online.
In addition, Card Fusion is a web-based instant card issuance platform that enables banks to conclude new card production requests and issue cards within a very short time, thus enhancing their customers’ experience while customers get to personalize their cards instantly.
Interswitch is one of Africa’s largest electronic payments and infrastructure companies and services providing online banking system offerings in areas like point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms, Quickteller, and Verve, the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, issuing over 35 million active cards since launch.
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