Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The use of social media in Ghana shot to its highest peak on Tuesday following the reported death of the President of Ghana H.E Prof John Evan Atta Mills later in the day. Many Ghanaians both home and abroad who could not come to terms with the news of the President demise relied a great deal on their facebooks, twitters and blogs to authenticate the news. As news media organizations across the country run their various major bulletin’s confirming the unfortunate incident which took place at the country’s 37th military hospital, thousands of face book and twitter messages of condolences were also slipping in for them to read. Popular informative radio stations in Ghana including Joy 99.7Fm, Vibe 91.9 Fm, Citi 93.7Fm and Peace 104.3 Fm recorded about hundreds of facebook likes to their various stories they posted on their respective website whiles many twits on their page about the death of the president. BiztechAfrica can confirmed that at the Kaneshie Market Complex where brisk business activities take place, many Ghanaians especially the market women were left devastated, other shocked by the news , whiles other were seen weeping with their mobile phones ear device stuck in their ears either receiving a call or monitoring one of the radio stations.
The Ghanaian blogger was not also left out in the quest for accurate information by the public. Most of their blogs that carried the story of the president’s death saw a rise in the number of comments left by readers on their blog. According to one blogger, he was surprise at the massive rise in reader comments on his blog. Today will go down in history as a day when the Ghanaian blogger could not end reading comments posted on his blog from readers both home and abroad sending condolence message to the family and love ones of the late president Prof. J.E.A. Mills” he said.
Many internet cafés in suburbs like Kaneshie, Odorkor, Darkuman and Mataheko all within the capital, Accra that BiztechAfrica visited witnessed high attendance at the cafés with customers glued either in pairs or groups to their computers surfing the internet to read more about the sadden death of one of Ghana’s most respected and revered president.
There were also huge traffic on mobile phone network connectivity in the country as fellow citizens make phone calls and send text messages to friends, families and love ones to announce or confirm the death of their beloved president. Even before an official confirmation of the president of the president death could reach them, some high ranking officials within the corridors government confirmed to BiztechAfrica that they have heard about the sad news through a mobile phone call or a text message or read about it on their facebook page.
At 16:00 GMT major mobile network providers including MTN, Vodafone and Tigo have had their entire network jammed with massive traffic making it difficult even to make or receive calls without interruption. The situation stabilized at about 20:48GMT when the Vice President H.E. John Dramani Mahama was officially sworn in as the President of the Republic of Ghana by Parliament.
Indeed just as the 24th of July 2012 would go down in history, as a solemn day where Ghanaian from all walks of live lost a sitting president to the cold icy hands of death, so it would also be remembered as the day when the tentacles of social media had a better grips on Ghanaians as a people not to stage an up rising to overthrow a dictative and oppressive government and president, but to demonstrate their love, respect, honor and reverence to a beloved and cherished president H.E Prof. John Evan Atta Mills.
Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
BANK OF GHANA SANCTIONS ACCESS BANK GHANA LTD AND FIVE FOREX BUREAUX FOR BREACHES OF THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE ACT, 2006, ACT 723
The Bank of Ghana has decided to take action on a number of irregularities in the conduct of foreign exchange transfers by a bank and a number of forex bureaux.
Access Bank Ghana Limited engaged in the externalization of various sums in favour of a company which had no account relationship with the bank and, in another instance, in favour of a company without any documentation. The transfers were made without the documentation required by the Foreign Exchange Act and Guidelines.
The Bank of Ghana has therefore decided to suspend Access Bank Ghana Limited from engaging in foreign exchange business for a period of six months.
The operating licences of the five bureaux, namely, Ocean Drive Forex Bureau, Kafsons Forex Bureau, Fatcoms Forex Bureau, Nabrim Forex Bureau and Sears Forex Bureau, all in Accra, have been revoked. The bureaux purchased huge sums of foreign exchange from banks for onward sale to clients but failed to record these purchases in their books and also did not include the information in the returns submitted to the Bank of Ghana, thereby concealing the end use of such funds.
The Bank of Ghana takes this opportunity to advise all banks and licensed dealers in foreign exchange to strictly abide by the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006, Act 723 or face stiff sanctions, including prosecution.
Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
Monday, July 16, 2012
In a very quite environment in the heart of the capital Accra lives the youngest Software and Web Developer who through his vision, resourcefulness and innovativeness has created the Anansi Operating System which is now been patronized not only in Ghana but also overseas as well. Biztecah Africa caught up with him to learn more…
Q* Describe the software - what does it do, who is it targeted at/where would it be used? (is it for enterprise or consumers/ business or entertainment/ desktop or mobile)
Anansi Operating System is an Open Suse 12.1 clone OS we developed on top of the linux kernel which re-defines the unix desktop user experience. It is a general purpose operating system from enterprise to entertainment purpose.It is free and you don’t have to buy Office (Word, Power-point, Excel etc.) separately. It comes with Libre Office preinstalled. (Saved ~ $200) You are free from Viruses so you don’t have to buy another upgrade of Norton or any other Antivirus software. (Saved ~ $75)
Q* What prompted you to create this software - was there a gap in themarket for it?
I am a strong advocate of free and open source software. I realized that proprietary operating systems are being entrenched in our society. Companies and the government spend so much money on paying for licenses for these software whereas these monies could be used to improve other sectors like education. These proprietary software contain so many bugs and also can easily be attacked by viruses and malicious software. I believe that the way forward for advancement in technology is the collaborative use of open source technologies. Africa is on the move, and software and technologies are a powerful tool for boosting economic growth and poverty reduction. There is always a gap in the market for a great innovative product. After facebook and twitter everyone thought there was no gap for any new social network but Google plus and pinterest proved otherwise.
Q* How far advanced is development? (is it ready to go to market?)
It is already in the market. We launched it exactly two weeks ago and it has had over 2314 downloads on my server and the open source community around the world have created a torrent file for the OS and it has been downloaded more 2370 times making a total of 4684 downloads and still counting. http://www.anansios.oasiswebsoft.com/
Q* Is there anything similar on the market already? If so, what makes
There are so many linux distributions including Ubuntu, Fedora and Finnix. Anansi has an Gnome 3 desktop environment and we have embedded all the basic softwares and system wares that will enhance your desktop connectivity examples are wine-devel package,apache2 package, audacity package,libreoffice-base package,anansi softwares,netbeans-javaparser package plus many more.
Q* How will it be distributed?
It is on my website www.oasiswebsoft.com and there is also a torrent file online that you can download it from for free.
Q* Who designed it? (what is their background?)
I built it with my colleagues from my university namely Aaron Nii Adom Nathan and Jeffery Aboagye-Asare. We are now third year university students studying Information technology. We are Open Source Software Developers with proven track record of successful projects eg Anansi Web Browser. We are Capable of working independently and also do well with a distributed team. Also, possess the ability to work on all the states of software development process from requirements to final deployment. We write code in so many programming languages including Java,C++,C,python,php and many more. The othe softwares we embedded in the OS are from open source developers from around the world.
Q* What were the biggest challenges on the way to achieving this new product?
Funding, We spent so much money trying to secure an unlimited server to host the OS for downloads. Most of our programming skills are self-taught but our biggest obstacle we faced was not having an expert to physically train us with some of the technologies we were working with.We did a lot of learning online but It would have been even better if we had a technical person do that in front of us so that we could have a Q and A session.
Q* Where do you see Ghana's software development sector 5 years from now?
5 years from now 80% of softwares used by Ghanaians will be softwares built by Ghanaians or African’s. The software industry is growing at a fast pace and everyone is getting involved.
Q* What interventions would help the sector grow?
1.Attention and investments from the Government and venture capitalists.
2.Collaborative software developments will also boost the tech scene in Ghana.You will realize that there are so many developers and startups building similar apps instead of coming together in the spirit of free and open source development to build one great app.
Q* What would your advice be to other aspiring entrepreneurs in
Ghana's/Africa's software market?
Always ask God first to direct your path, look for a relevant problem around you, find the right tools and technology to build the solutions. There are so many relevant data made available online to make your work easy. Use these technologies and don’t limit yourself creatively.
Nana Appiah Acquaye
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allows a person to feel as if they were present and to give the appearance of being present. Video and telepresence conferencing puts people at the centre of the collaborative experience, enabling them to work better together to transform business, accelerate innovation and do more with less. It provides the platform where everyone, everywhere can meet face-to-face and be more productive through the most natural video communications experience available.
An exact definition of telepresence is still up for grabs, but the technology generally offers users life-size, panoramic images of meeting participants, captured with multiple high-definition cameras and high-quality audio, says Andrew Davis, senior analyst and managing partner at Wainhouse Research. The market for telepresence systems was small in 2007—an estimated $72 million in sales (not including the many sites manufacturers installed for their own use), according to IDC, a market research firm. But IDC expects sales to reach over $1 billion during 2012.
The term telepresence was coined in a 1980 article by Marvin Minsky, who outlined his vision for an adapted version of the older concept of teleoperation that focused on giving the remote participation a feeling of actually being present. The first commercially successful telepresence company, Teleport (which was later renamed TeleSuite), was founded in 1993 by David Allen and Harold Williams. Before TeleSuite, they ran a resort business from which the original concept emerged, because they often found businesspeople would have to cut their stays short to participate in important meetings. Their idea was to develop a technology that would allow businesspeople to attend their meetings without leaving the resorts so that they could lengthen their hotel stays.
Today telepresence is becoming more familiar thanks companies like Huawei technologies, Cisco systems, HP, Polycom, Teliris, and other entries in the telepresence market. Huawei’s telepresence system provides you with a truly rich, live interactive face-to-face communication experience, thus reducing your costs, improving work efficiency, and saving on human resources/labor.
Huawei has been devoted to video communications research and development since 1993. Leveraging its years of expertise in video communications, Huawei provides industry leading end-to-end telepresence products and solutions, such as a telepresence service platform, immersive telepresence products, room telepresence
products, desktop telepresence products and personal telepresence products.
Huawei telepresence solutions can be deployed in four major sectors; solutions for remote command and decision-making, remote consultation, remote judicial proceedings and intelligent building multimedia.
Huawei enterprise telepresence comes with an immersive experience, ease of use, network adaptation, system stability, security, reliability and hierarchical service with role-based management. They can be deployed in headquarters and large branches, so that unified management, intelligent conference scheduling and hierarchical role-bases management can be achieved. It comes in 40in, 46in, or 55in ultra-slim LCDs, supporting three installation options (Wall mount, Floor mount, Wheeled or fixed) and users can use tabletop HD video endpoints, videophones, mobile pads, and PC clients to communicate "face-to-face" with virtual teams anywhere at any time.
Telepresence comes with a lot of advantages. It accelerates business critical decision making process, shortens sales cycles, reduces time to market, and creates new forums for collaboration thereby increasing work efficiencies. In terms of travel cost, many customers reduce their business travel by 30 percent or more when using of the telepresence. The true cost of travel is not just a plane ticket and hotel. Time on the road could be spent being more productive, bringing new products to market, reducing repair time, or meeting with more clients.
Telepresence makes it easy for teams to collaborate, innovate, and resolve issues. Now those benefits can be brought to customer service, supply chain management, and training; redefine best practices; and accelerate ROI even more.
As part of Huawei’s new innovations to bridge the digital divide, the company has introduced a demonstration truck which will soon showcase in Ghana. There is an ancient adage that says experience is the best teacher. Huawei is therefore offering its numerous clients the opportunity to practically experience new technology to support efficient operations in their businesses.
It is for this reason that Huawei’s road show will be stopping in Ghana to offer businesses the opportunity to witness, feel and experience new technologies that will help build business profitability. The Demo truck gives live demonstration of equipments ranging from IT, IP and Unified Communications. The demo truck will arrive in Ghana on Monday 1st October to Friday 5th October 2012 and will be positioned at La Beach Hotel – Accra, 9am-5pm daily. It is coming from Nigeria to Ghana and the back to China.
Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye
Following series of what many pundits thought will be unending legal battle between the National Lottery Authority of Ghana and the Gaming Commission over who has the mandated by law to undertake the supervision of lottery and gaming in Ghana, an Accra High Court has giving it definite verdict on the matter noting that it is only the National Lottery Authority that has the legitimate right by law to undertake lotteries activities in the country.
Per the court ruling, permits and licenses issued by the Gaming Commission of Ghana to companies and institutions to undertake promotions and related activities in the country is illegal. The court further barred the commission from undertaking or licensing companies and institutions in the country to undertake such promotions, especially those that are lotteries but disguised as games.
It could be recalled that courts actions were brought against Milicom Ghana operators of Tigo, Airtel and MTN together with other financial institutions by the NLA. But the court rule against NLA and barred it from solely initiating court actions against these companies without first resorting to the Attorney General, the current court overturned that ruling –giving the authority the capacity to continue with such actions.
The High Court which was presided by Her Ladyship, Mrs Getrude Torkornoo, also ruled that the GC was not only exceeding and abusing its mandate, but also utilizing it for improper purpose without regard to “considerations surrounding the reasons why Act 721 and 722 were passes”.
“The Gaming Commission does not, by any stretch of interpretation, have the mandate to permit the operation of games of chance” the ruling noted.
Mr. Kojo Andah, Director General of NLA at a press conference in Accra reiterated that the NLA was hoping the Gaming Commission would respect the court’s ruling and cease the illegalities it had engaged in prior to the court action.
But in an interview with Mr. Rex Yeboah from the Gaming Commission reveals how disappointed they felt per the ruling barring them from their constitutional mandate to undertake activities of gaming in the country. He said although they accept the court ruling for now, their legal team will be studying the verdict and at an appropriate time file an appeal. As to when that would take place Mr. Yeboah failed to disclose that.
Benjamin Nana Appiah Acquaye