Welcome to Nairametrics’ weekly tech news roundup. This week, as always, we bring you a compilation of the major tech events and activities that made the news.
We go behind the scenes, focusing on some of the major talking points and backstories just to keep you updated with the latest developments in the tech space.
This column is dedicated to investors, as well as enthusiasts of Nigeria’s growing tech community.
You know we love feedback, so please keep them coming.
MTN launches Xtravalue platform, unveils new ambassador
For customers of MTN, there are more exciting times ahead as the company unveiled its revamped XtraValue proposition before the media at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos. The new bundle plan offers the best of both worlds for data and voice calls on a single proposition. The event also marked the formal launch of a partnership between MTN and top Nigerian actress, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, who is now the face of XtraValue and stars in its latest TV commercials.
RCCG Hackathon Launched
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has opened applications for its hackathon initiative, known as Kingdom Hackathon. The Kingdom Hackathon is an initiative of RCCG Youths and Young Adults, engaging and releasing the innovative forces within the technology sector with the intent to make a Christian impact on culture. Teams will compete for prizes summing up to over ₦1,700,000 in events that will hold from 1st to 3rd of November, 2018.
Nigeria Records 140,000 Domain Name Registrations
Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), the body responsible for the registration of the country’s .ng domain name, said that it has registered over 140,000 domain names in Nigeria so far.
NiRA President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, who made the disclosure at the maiden edition of the 2018 Bloggers’ Summit held at the NiRA in Lagos said NiRA also has 65 accredited registrars which were allowed to appoint re-sellers to increase the reach of their businesses and operations.
According to him, the summit was aimed at bringing the blogging community and stakeholders in Nigeria together to learn, network, and collaborate on the further growth of the online community.
GoKada scales its operations
Gokada, an on-demand bike taxi service, has announced the addition of hundreds of new bikes/drivers to its pool. According to the management of GoKada, this is to ensure that there are no more delays for riders. After scaling its operations around Lagos, the company wants to expand to states where the market demand is strongest. MAX Go was the first to launch on-demand motorcycle hailing in Nigeria.
Lagos to host TechCrunch Startup Battlefield 2018
Lagos has officially been announced as the host of this year’s TechCrunch Startup Battlefield. Organised in partnership with Facebook, the event will take place in front of a live audience and top judges, such as Omobola Johnson, senior partner at TLcom Capital, and Lexi Novitske of Singularity Investment. The show will also be covered on the TechCrunch platforms.
The winner will be crowned “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup” and the winning startup’s founders will be awarded $25,000 in cash, plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt, in 2019.
Facebook has been fined £500,000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Researcher, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan and his company, GSR, used a personality quiz to harvest the Facebook data of up to 87 million people. Some of the data were shared with Cambridge Analytica, which it used to target political advertising in the US.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said Facebook had let a serious breach of the law take place. The fine is the maximum allowed under the old data protection rules that applied before GDPR took effect in May.
In a related development, Facebook says that about 8.7 million images of child nudity were removed by its moderators in just three months. The social network said that it had developed new software to automatically flag possible sexualised images of children. It was put into service last year but has only become public now. Another program can also detect possible instances of child grooming related to sexual exploitation, Facebook said. Of the 8.7 million images removed, 99% were taken down before any Facebook user had reported them.
Tesla delivers ‘historic’ $311 million profit
Car maker, Tesla, has reported a quarterly profit for the third time in its 15-year history. The electric car maker made a record $311.5 million (£241 million) in the three months ended September 30, 2018. This result is seen as a victory for Chief Executive Elon Musk, who had promised a profit to investors earlier this year. Tesla’s last profitable quarter came in 2016 and it had faced mounting questions about its finances.
SoundCloud Is Now Integrated with Instagram Stories
Good news for users of the video-sharing platform, Instagram, as they can now incorporate audio tracks from Soundcloud into their Instagram stories. This means that users can now click ‘Play’ on SoundCloud and listen to shared tracks.
Uber rolls out new VoIP feature for riders and drivers on its app
Amidst growing security threats to its drivers, and riders, ride-hailing platform, Uber, has announced a new way for riders and drivers to communicate through the company’s app using voice over internet protocol (VoIP). Similar to Skype or FaceTime audio, Uber’s new VoIP feature uses an internet connection rather than cellular phone service to make calls. Currently, Uber offers three ways for drivers and riders to communicate: SMS messaging, in-app chats, and public switched telephone networks. Uber became interested in VoIP as it expanded globally and found that, in many countries, data calling is cheaper than cellular calls.
Additional Information provided by Meka Aluko