NITDA DG Urges Collaboration to Unleash Nigeria’s IoT Potential

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Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called for collaborative efforts to unlock Nigeria’s potential in the Internet of Things (IoT) and revolutionize the country’s digital ecosystem. In his keynote address at the IoT West Africa Conference and Exhibition 2023 in Lagos State, Inuwa emphasized the importance of collaboration to implement the Digital Transformation pillar of the Strategic Road Map and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) of NITDA.

Identifying key challenges in harnessing the potential of IoT, Inuwa highlighted the need to address infrastructure, cybersecurity, and data protection concerns. He noted that many IoT applications rely on cloud-based solutions such as Alexa and Google. Inuwa further discussed the rapid advancement of computer systems, including generative AI and chat GPT, emphasizing the increasing convergence between the physical, biological, and digital worlds.

Quoting a McKinsey report, Inuwa highlighted the immense value that IoT could generate for different industries, estimating a range of 5.5 to 12.6 trillion US dollars by 2030. He pointed out that the number of connected devices worldwide has surpassed the global population, as reported by Cisco.

Inuwa stressed the potential of IoT in agriculture, explaining that IoT technologies, such as wearable plant sensors, can enhance food production with reduced human effort. Citing the World Economic Forum, he emphasized the need to increase global food production by 70% in the next seven years to address food security concerns. Given Nigeria’s rapidly growing population, Inuwa urged the country to explore how IoT can contribute to boosting its food production, thereby ensuring its own food security.

In addition to agriculture, Inuwa discussed the role of IoT in addressing security challenges. He highlighted how IoT devices can monitor activities, movement patterns, and enable geofencing to prevent incidents like farmer-herder conflicts and kidnapping. In the context of oil theft prevention, he emphasized the potential of IoT in monitoring pipelines and providing quick alerts for security responses.

The DG emphasised that IoT could be utilised to enhance oil theft prevention by monitoring pipelines and sending alerts for quick security response.

He added that, “Today, most wearable IoT devices monitor the heartbeats, blood pressure which is also useful to medical practitioners in providing information for telemedicine and helps people with disabilities or the senior citizens as first point of health consultancy,” he said.

“We don’t have locally manufactured IoT devices, we need to build infrastructure, like data centres, cloud solution where we can put our IoT data,” he urged.

Inuwa advised that there is also the need to develop the talent within the country to enable digital sovereignty for the nation to gain independence of digital offerings.

“We need to build a tailor-made solution that will address our challenges, harness indigenous talents to promote IoT solutions, and this requires the collective efforts of the government, private sectors and all stakeholders.”

“We need you, the ecosystem, to do it because our approach today is no more government sitting in the office using armchair theory to come up with policies or regulations, we work with you, the ecosystem ,to co-create whatever we do ” he concluded

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