Saturday, October 16, 2021

GITEX 2020: How Nigerian start-ups thrilled investors, showcased ‘problem solving’ innovations

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Rayyan Alhassan From Dubaihttps://dailynigerian.com/author/rayyan/
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/RayyanAlhassan, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, GITEX, is an annual event held at the World Trade Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE.

The annual event is graced by the exhibition of consumer computer and electronics trade shows, with a series of technological innovations ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, smart cities and future mobility, education and many more.

GITEX, since its inception in 1981, has grown to be one of the most influential tech events on the planet.

However, this year’s event recorded a low turnout with only about 1,200 exhibitors from over 60 countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, some 4,500 businesses and over 100,000 visitors from 140 countries attended where a Nigerian startup won first place in the category of artificial intelligence, AI.

Interestingly, the pandemic has already accelerated digital adoption by a shocking seven years, according to a new McKinsey survey of executives.

The Nigeria delegation, led by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, showcased potentials on Artificial Intelligence, AI, Robotics, Emerging Technologies, Smart Agriculture, Digital Economy and Data Protection.

Speaking while inaugurating the Nigerian pavilion, the minister stressed that the team was not only in Dubai to see what was happening, but also to ensure that the country gets more investors as well as to get technology transfer while cross fertilizing ideas and innovations.

True to that, investors and digital enthusiasts trooped into Nigerian start-up stands, appreciating the many innovations the young Nigerians had brought to the global IT market.

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In an interview with some of the start-ups, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that young innovators had already secured partnership agreements with some foreign companies for the implementation of their innovations.

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A peep into Nigerian start-ups and their inventions

Oke Ese from Abia State is a Nigerian start-up who invented a ‘Power Stove’, an artificial cooking stove that self-generates electricity.

According to him, Power stove gives a household an opportunity to cook and also have free electricity.

He said: “We produce wood fillets which is a substitute to firewood or kerosene that is 80% cheaper. By using the fillets, you cook at an affordable price and the fire is then converted to electricity.”

Another Nigerian exhibitor, Muhammad Abdullahi Atere from Nasarawa State who operates in Kaduna Sate, said his invention, Schoola; a solution that composes chemification to capture the learner and uses Artificial Intelligence to help teachers read contents faster.

According to him, the invention incentivises the learning process.

He said: “We assign points to students for their homework, for taking tests and examinations.

“These points can be used to transact on the App. They can do ‘adowa’, which is a social feature on the app where you challenge your friend and the winner gets extra points while the loser loses points.

“There’s also an in-app feature where schools can organize tournaments or interschool competition among students all in trying to make learning fun and full of excitement.

“We’ve been able to secure partnership with some companies in South Africa, Egypt and Oman because it can be used in any school and any country.”

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Another Tumi Kolawole from Ogun State said his invention, Vinsite, is a technology that helps the visually impaired or blind people to read printed books and educational materials conveniently.

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The app, he said, reads books to its users by using artificial intelligence without having to seek human aid.

Mr Kolawole also noted that his startup was already working on how to partner with some companies from India and Canada that have shown interest.

Another Abubakar Nur Khalil from Kaduna, calls his invention ‘Lextrime’, an invention that leverages technology to simplify, secure verification and transfer of documents.

He said: “How it works is when a user uploads a file, it generates a # which becomes its ID. When the file is shared again, the app uses the initial ID generated to determine whether the file is the same or has been tampered with.”

Others innovations by Nigerians

The Chekkit Blockchain invented the Chekkit product that runs a COVID-19 USSD help service for African CDC and Africa union using short code *347*03*03# to provide data and other contacts information of people requisition COVID-19 test to NCDC.

The start-up leverage on Africastaling’s infrastructure for USSD service but it comes as a post-paid with MTN which is free for users and pre-paid to other networks at N5-20 cost id deducted from users airtime.

Another start-up invented a VNTS 5G device: VNTS NetPremise Data Traffic Extender, DTE, device.It is an AI-integrated LTE/5G router device with the ability to improve signal throughput and transmit it into and around a building using in-premise electrical cabling.

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Kiosk start-up, on its part, displayed an Instacart for Africa, using a marketplace approach to aggregate local and medium scale retailers across various communities leveraging on Geolocation and Machine learning to connect customers with sellers based on their location and preference in achieving an efficient delivery cycle of one hour to users for the direct shopping while the market list service achieves same-day delivery.

This uses data generated from their system to provide access to finance for small businesses over 14,000 at the moment.

The TraceRoot start-up invented a Traceroot device for face recognition, helping law enforcement solve crimes. Traceroot Watch ensures accurate face detection and recognition, even when people are moving. It offers faster, automated identification and is extremely user-friendly.

The EduOS start-up exhibited an Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language processing powered writing and research aid tool that acts a sort of personal assistant that helps a person to search for relevant materials related to what the person is writing.

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Another one, Blieu Intelligence start-up invented a new valve lock System deployed with remote cloud-based correspondence Intelligence and OTP, to monitor the operation of sensitive process valves remotely, by check-mating the problem of petroleum products syphoning from storage tanks or theft of high-value process chemicals or any relevant liquid, unauthorized operation of sensitive valves or discharge terminal valves.

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