Nigeria is and remains an undiscovered software innovation country.
A nation that does not dream, breath, create, innovate and apply information technology software as perhaps the most critical element for her 21st century development is to state the least, is blinded by the visible future. The sum-total of the two critical pillars that enables 21st century life and development are: Software and electronics.
Therefore, we must take urgent steps to decolonize them now, today; not tomorrow! Decolonizing the state and trajectory of Software development in the Information Technology Ecosystem in Nigeria has become a do or die equation; requiring a call to recognise software as a dire state of national emergency.
In the beginning of life, there was Software. Indeed, the origin of life is Software! The most incredible software to date is the language/s we speak – injected and nurtured into our brain, even before birth! Life is a Code. Therefore, how best can we effectively innovate and deploy Software to solve the mountain-hill of Africa’s development challenges of 21st century and beyond?
Lessons learned from digital transformation dictate that nurturing and empowering the Software Ecosystem can resolve sixty per cent (60%) of Africa’s challenges; especially if the engine room is domiciled in Nigeria, which remains the most populous nation and largest market. Going forward, it should be expressly affirmed that our deep challenge does not reside in mastering the requirements for developing and building dynamic Software Applications and Solutions ranging from Operating Systems, Database Engines and so on. Rather, it lies in strategically organising and tactically managing its Ecosystem in a strictly coordinated system without infringement on innovation.
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Nigeria and by extension the African continent possess the wherewithal to conquer the challenges presented by digital Software Domain and succeed. Addictive technology consumption as the roadmap to technology in denial of critical research and innovation remains an irreconcilable assumption and illusion. Research remains the backbone for developing and mastering the pathways for conquering the colossal digital transformation challenges facing us. Software-of-Things (SoT) is not only a critical sector to the country’s economic development; but indeed, the survivability of the future of the most populous nation in Africa. In the 21st century, progressive nations have adopted the view that information technology assets; physical (hardware), intellectual (software) and capability (services and human capital), constitute fundamental components of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
Consequently, nations engage and compete on the global stage; increasingly based on their core abilities to leverage intensive research to innovate and secure an agile IT ecosystem. The software ecosystem and industry, which is a critical component of the CNI, has huge potential; not only to reduce the negative consumerism nature of our development but more importantly, to provide the fastest IP-based route to building a competitive, future-proofed national economy with significant impact on youth, jobs and wealth creation.
Power, Power everywhere and none to use efficiently. Some schools of thought argue without adequate evidence of simulation that Nigeria/Africa lacks ample infrastructure to develop! I disagree – we waste infrastructure. We seem to be champions and leaders in data, power, water, environmental, education, transportation-advantage, food, health wastages and many more. Perhaps, the most critical challenge to Nigeria’s development expectations is power. This is not surprising, since we deliberately murder data, environment, wisdom and our critical information system! This scenario is aided and abetted by the quantum neglect of our digital core competence – Software.
Whereas we can leverage software to recover and reuse most of the cross-sectoral infrastructural wastages; which, if quantified, may amount to 60% of the total of our current infrastructure investment and value yields. The good news is that these naïve national development wastages can be reversed by IoT-enabled intelligent software solutions to add incremental values of over 30% to our GDP and create reasonable millions of employments for our youth.
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Today, the simulation software market is driven by various factors; such as a reduction in production expenses and training costs; the use of advanced technologies for simulation and avoiding the production of faulty products to boost the growth of the simulation software market across the globe. According to Globenews Wire, the global simulation software market size is expected to grow from an estimated value of USD 12.7 billion in 2020 to USD 26.9 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.2% from 2020 to 2026.
Power Software Simulator Systems applications has capabilities to provide and deliver a full set of integrated and specialized functions for simulating, analysing, and modelling transmission, distribution, and industrial power systems as well as gas, water, heating, and related infrastructures. Reskilling and upskilling have taken the pilot’s cockpit with the professional software services segment expected to grow at a higher CAGR during the forecast period. These services of simulation software include but not limited to consulting services; training services, engineering and integration services, and support services. These services play a critical role in the efficient and effective designing and implementation of the simulation software.
According to the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP); Nigeria losses over $1 billion annually to software importation (some of which are dysfunctional); while outsiders continue to harvest the nation’s precious Software IP.
If this trend is not urgently reversed to adopting, applying, and using indigenous Nigerian software; the nation is heading to the forest of tales of the unexpected. Unless we decolonize the current state of things
Meanwhile, software holds the singularity potential in resolving the unemployment and under-employment catastrophes currently hunting Nigeria and; by extension, Africa – at virtually all levels. It also has great opportunity to serve as the catalyst for providing national security and foreign exchange inflow for the large youthful population of Nigeria which is said to be in the range of over 65% of the about 206 million Nigeria population. A decade ago, software professionals and practitioners in Nigeria had proposed and called for the establishment of a National Software Commission as panacea for robust and sustainable software innovation.
It is imperative, therefore, that a strategic policy is established towards harnessing this great potential for the benefit of the country and towards supporting other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, health, education, manufacturing, national security, etc. This will enhance the human capital challenge which is also the greatest strength of Nigeria. The digital transformational powers of software are boundless. Examples of the transformational magic of software magic abound globally to demonstrate that this is not within the boundaries of wishful thinking. Microsoft, Facebook, Google Tik Tok, Remita, M-Pesa, etc., validate that. Show me a development domain that is not software-driven, and I will point you to a development sphere that requires digital psychiatric attention.
Meanwhile, it is instructive to submit that before 2007, there was nothing like Android Software! But, today, it rules the world as the distinguished operating system of choice for Mobile devises. Validated and available records show that Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other opensource software; designed primarily for touch-screen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance and commercially sponsored by Google.
It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device launched in September 2008.
The Opensource Software championed by Linux has transformed the digital world beyond comprehensible measure of expression and imagination. Above all, the source code is known as Android Open-Source Project (AOSP); which is primarily licensed under the Apache License. However, most Android devices ship with additional proprietary software pre-installed, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS); which includes core apps such as Google Chrome; the digital distribution platform Google Play and associated Google Play Services development platform. About 70 percent of Android smartphones run Google’s ecosystem; competing Android ecosystems and forks include Fire OS (developed by Amazon) or LineageOS. However, the “Android” name and logo are trademarks of Google which impose standards to restrict “uncertified” devices outside their ecosystem to use Android branding.
The source code has been used to develop variants of Android on a range of other electronics; such as game consoles, digital cameras, portable media players, PCs and others, each with a specialized user interface. Some well-known derivatives include Android TV for televisions and Wear OS for wearables, both developed by Google. Software packages on Android, which use the APK format, are generally distributed through proprietary application stores; like Google Play Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei AppGallery, Cafe Bazaar, and GetJar; or open-source platforms like Aptoide or F-Droid.
Android has been the best-selling OS worldwide on smartphones since 2011 and on tablets since 2013. As of May 2017, it has over two billion active monthly users; the largest installed base of any operating system, and as of January 2021; the Google Play Store for example, features over three million apps. The current stable version is Android 11, released on September 8, 2020 (Wiki).
In spite of this, the opportunity window for digital Apps development is comparable to the available fishes in the oceans of the world. Forecasts show that between now and 2025 going forward; an estimated 40 million digital Apps are expected to arrive our digital space!
So, what is Nigeria/Africa waiting for? Wait for nobody. No one will do it for Africa.
Time is running out for Software Nigeria to be decolonized. We should leverage proactive strategies to create and earn wealth with Software Nigeria. This will significantly improve indigenous software trustworthiness, human capital development in the software engineering and support services. Also, establishment of specialized Software Engineering Institutes will deliver software quality assurances and assist government and companies in attaining required standards, certifications and patronage of indigenous software solutions and services.
Above all, the process will provide massive youth employment and safeguard national digital security. Currently, the nation’s software intellectual property is rapidly being harvested by outsiders. The digital future in our hands. Let us prioritize software, make it fruitful and safe for generations NEXT.
Time to take advantage of Opensource Software and deeply Python the nation.