On the 28th of January, Industry professionals gathered for Mobile Monday Nigeria to hear about the Technology Outlook for Nigeria in 2013. The audience listened to five speakers and engaged in a Q&A session after each speaker came up.
Lanre Folarin and Mayowa Owolabi of Mobile Monday were there to give the opening remarks and to moderate the event.
We were pleased to see that attendance was better than the last event when the ICT Policy document was discussed and explained to the audience by Gbenga Sesan. This showed that our efforts to give industry professionals a place where they can come to listen to trends, recommendations and presentations are paying off.
The speakers were: Ope Adeoye (Consumer Solutions and VAS, Interswitch), Ade Atobatele (Nigeria.com), Yomi Adegboye (Mobility Blog), Nubi Kayode (oTekBits and Lazy Appetite) and Shina Badaru (Founder, Technology Times)
Here are some of the findings that the speakers emphasized on:
1. 2013; The Year of Mobile: Mobile is fast becoming the primary means of accessing the internet in Nigeria (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/sep/24/nigeria-mobile-phones-success-technology) . Data has shown that there are more mobiles than computers in Nigeria at the moment (http://www.technologytimesng.com/news/2012/12/only-4-5-of-nigerians-own-pc-government-survey-reveals/) ; this is because a lot of the tasks that previously had to be done on a PC are now done on mobile. As a developer, the focus should be on mobile right now because that is one of the best places to reach people. Also sales of smart phones are set to increase due to the influx of cheap phones which offer a very low price point for buyers. The oncoming sales are going to be driven by the rise in influence of Social Media among young people.
Bottom Line: If you are a developer, make sure your desktop/web app is either mobile-web compatible or has a native app. That’s where the people are. Also, Businesses need to have a mobile presence where people can have easy access to information about the company.
2. Knowing the Law: Pay attention to the policies that’s changing the landscape. You need to know the law that guides the technology you use. One of the speakers emphasized the importance of this. If you don’t know about the laws that guide the technology that you use, then the laws might not be favorable to you by the time it is passed.
There are many laws that are currently at the House of Assembly and the House of Representatives that are going to affect the lives of millions of Nigerians. These laws include Cybersecurity laws and lawful interception laws which will come into place once they are approved.
Bottom Line: Make sure you know about the laws governing the technology you use so that you don’t end up being on the wrong side of it. Also keep abreast of Government policies that can put your app into the hands of millions.
3. Social is the way to go: Social is going to be big in 2013. This is because people are buying smart phones specifically to access Social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Phone manufacturers like Tecno have also recognized this fact and have incorporated Social Media into their phones to serve this growing number of users. Although Social Media is a great place to connect with new customers, if it’s not handled properly it can backfire and give the brand a negative reputation.
Bottom Line: Use social media to promote your brand. Hire someone you can trust to do this so that your reputation is kept intact.
4. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate: Collaboration is what makes small companies grow into the reputable behemoths they become in future. Without collaboration, labor is not divided and then the weight of all the processes involved in the day to day running of the startup falls on the self-proclaimed MD /CEO. This then leads the company to failure because that individual tries to do everything alone. The main reason why companies fail is because the individual loses focus on the main goal of the Business and that goal is to make money.
Bottom Line: Collaboration is the only way for your startup to survive. Without it, you just end up scrambling to do everything yourself and eventually you run it into the ground.
5. Foreign Money; What to do with it? : The influx of foreign money in Nigeria is beginning to increase in Nigeria, one of the speakers explained. This is due to the fact that there aren’t many local sources of funding that are willing to invest in Technology companies. And the industry is starting to feel the effect in terms of competition, quality of service and so on. The question now is: What are we going to do with all this money? Are we going to allow foreign companies come with money and take away the market or are we going to build brands that will attract outside funding and keep the profits within Nigeria? This influx of money is either going to help us or give control to those companies that are coming in.
Bottom Line: Make sure your idea / Business is profitable enough to get funding so that you can build your brand locally and build up the industry.
Presentations from each of our speakers will be posted soon. Also we will soon announcing our membership program for students, individuals and corporate bodies, and also a revamp of our website to fit the needs of the Mobile Community. We’ll keep you posted. Our next event holds on February 25th, Details will be communicated soon.