No doubt, this week is loaded, especially in Las Vegas, where the whole world is paying attention to. Nairametrics is live at the event to ensure you are covered with all big news from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020).
Though we don’t know the full details of everything that will be unveiled at CES this year, as it is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, it has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.
Why it matters: Vegas during CES is a noisy place. It pays to know which direction to point your ears if you are interested in gadget or inventions that would shake the world this year.
Traditional consumer electronics firms: Likes of Samsungs, Sonys and LGs, among others have been dazzling the world with giant TVs few people can afford, including wall-sized displays, sets that can roll and fold and screens sporting 8K resolution.
Appliances: Sometimes, some of the most interesting new devices at CES are high-end takes on home appliances. A few years back, it was multiplex washing machines. This year, it could be AI-equipped fridges.
PC makers: Expect all the big computer makers to unveil new models. Dell isn’t even waiting until Vegas. Last Thursday, it announced a new 5G-equipped laptop and improved software for connecting its PCs with iOS devices.
Automotive: CES has been a prime venue for automakers for some time, with all the big names eager to show just how tech-forward their new models will be. We’ll also be hearing about super-light vehicles, with Uber set to make some announcements, as well as Segway-Ninebot.
(READ ALSO: Events that shaped FinTech industry in 2019)
Component makers: The leading chipmakers, including Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel and more, will all have a significant presence.
Qualcomm is focusing on cars, Nvidia on gaming and autonomous machines (both cars and robots), and Intel had a press conference on Monday with CEO Bob Swan.
Social media: The big social companies are mostly absent or marginal at CES. Snapchat, TikTok and other major social media companies aren’t expected to have major presences like they do at conferences like VidCon and Cannes.
Facebook executives are speaking at various events but the company isn’t expected to make any major announcements. Twitter is hosting a panel on Wednesday morning, and Reddit will be exhibiting.
Government speakers: Most federal officials cancelled their appearances last year due to the government shutdown but several administration leaders had been in Vegas this year.
In addition to Ivanka Trump and Chao, the FDA’s Amy Abernethy is leading a session and U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios has appeared as part of Chao’s keynote. FCC chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Chairman Joe Simons are also slated for a fireside chat.
Events so far
Tuesday, Jan. 7
- Google made a slew of announcements for its digital assistant product on Tuesday, including new privacy controls, the ability to read out loud long text like news articles, and new home automation abilities. It also revealed that Google Assistant now has 500 million monthly users.
- IBM launched its AI advertising service that runs on Watson. The service aims to predict the optimal combination of advertising and creative to help brands push out effective, highly engaging ads.
- iHeartMedia announced new upcoming auto integrations that will bring iHeartRadio’s mega library of audio content to listeners in cars. Partners include General Motors, Android Automotive, SoundHound, Panasonic and others.
- Roku debuted new functionality to support third-party soundbars. Roku TV users will be able to control their soundbars via Roku’s remote.
- TiVo debuted a streaming video dongle aimed at taking on the likes of Roku and Apple TV, a move the company’s CEO said is the first step toward a fully software-based future.
- Cannabis-tech companies are bristling against being kept from openly exhibiting their products at the show despite one of their cohort winning an award from the trade group that puts on CES.
- Executives in charge of Amazon’s Ring discussed the many privacy and security issues raised by their smart doorbells and related products, with one dismissing concerns as not “reasonable.”
Monday, Jan. 6
- Toyota said it would build a prototype city of the future at the base of Mt. Fuji to test human-robot harmony. Powered by Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cells, it’ll be a living laboratory to explore everything from autonomous vehicles to mobility-as-a-service, personal robots and smart-home connected technology.
- Audi is showing its technology-packed AI:ME concept car, an “empathetic” city car that drives itself and helps you escape “the urban jungle” with personalized features like a “wellbeing” menu that lets you order a meal via eye-tracking.
- The next version of Bluetooth will offer better support for audio sharing, hearing aids and improved sound quality.
- Intel announced its first standalone graphics chip and showed off a concept PC with a giant foldable screen.
- Sony, in an unexpected move, showed off its own concept electronic vehicle, the Vision-S as part of its press conference. It isn’t entirely homegrown, with technology coming from Bosch, Magna and BlackBerry’s QNX unit, per The Verge.
- LG said its 60-inch rollable OLED TV, which rises and lowers like a shade, would ship this year for $60,000. A standard 65-inch OLED display will cost just $2,000.
- Impossible Foods announced two new plant-based products that will mimic pork, the company’s newest protein after the beef-like burgers and ground meat it’s become known for. The faux-sausage will become available at 139 Burger King locations starting at the end of the month, while the ground pork does not have a set release date.
- Hyundai and Uber said they were partnering on a planned flying ride-share network, and the Korean carmaker unveiled a full-scale model of what a potential air taxi could look like.
- Uber announced it’s adding the ability for customers in Las Vegas to purchase public transit tickets via its mobile app (only the second city where it’s available).
- China’s TCL showed off a foldable phone prototype and introduced a 5G phone for $500 along with a variety of other TVs and mobile devices.
- Lenovo debuted a 5G-equipped laptop powered by a Qualcomm chip that promises 24 hours of battery life. It’s due out this spring for around $1,500. Also from Lenovo: a ThinkBook model with an e-ink display on its lid and the ThinkPad X1 Fold, a $2,500 Windows 10 laptop with dual screens.
- Qualcomm detailed a bunch of work it has been doing in self-driving cars over the past few years and announced the Snapdragon Ride platform for autonomous vehicles.
- Amazon announced a new program aimed at getting its Fire TV operating system built into more televisions, soundbars and even the back seats of cars.
- Mophie announced a battery pack that can not only power up your iPhone and any other electronic device but also jump-start your car.
Sunday, Jan. 5
- Byton, electric vehicle startup, said it’s partnering with ViacomCBS and Accuweather, among others, to provide content and services for the massive 48-inch screen in its upcoming M-Byte plug-in SUV. The $45,000 crossover will go on sale in China mid-year and debut in the U.S. and Europe in 2021.
- Samsung showed off a number of fancy TVs, including an 8K QLED display with almost no bezels, several MicroLED displays that can be connected to form a larger TV and the “Sero” (which means vertical in Korean). It pivots between horizontal and vertical orientations — just like a smartphone, tablet and Facebook’s latest Portal smart displays.
- HP announced a laptop with a built-in Tile tracker.
- Withings, the former Nokia Health unit, has a smartwatch that can monitor your heart and check you for sleep apnea — or at least it will be able to do so once it gets FDA approval.
Saturday, Jan. 4
- Samsung isn’t debuting its next major smartphone at CES but it did say the launch will take place Feb. 11 in San Francisco.
Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business
Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.
Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.
This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.
The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.
Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;
- The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
- Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
- Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
- Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
- The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
- A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.
In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.
What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.
Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure
ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.
ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.
This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.
Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.
The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.
The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.
Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.
What they are saying
One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”
Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”
What you should know
- Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
- Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
- Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
- Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
- February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
- Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.
CBN says revised new cheque book to become fully operational from April 1, 2021
The CN has announced plans to discontinue the use of old cheque books with effect from March 31, 2021.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), accredited Cheque Printers/Personalisers, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), stated that the revised cheque book will become fully operational from April 1, 2021.
The apex bank has directed all DMBs to enlighten their customers on the revised cheque book, introduced across all banks as full enforcement of its usage will commence on the stated date.
The disclosure is contained in a circular that was issued by the CBN and signed by its Director Banking Services, Mr Sam Okojere.
The CBN in the circular noted that the clarification became necessary as some stakeholders had been interpreting the circular differently from the intended purpose.
The CBN in the circular stated, ‘’Please refer to our circular dated 9th December, 2020, referenced BKS/DIR/CIR/GEN/02/042 on the above subject.
It has come to our notice that some stakeholders interpret the circular differently from the intended purpose. Consequently, it has become imperative for the CBN to issue the following clarifications;
- The parallel run, in which old and new cheques are allowed to co-exist, will end on 31st March 2021, and thus only new cheques would be allowed in the clearing system from 1st April 2021.
- Full enforcement of the second edition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version 2.0 will commence April 1, 2021 and the NCS/NICPAS 2.0. Sanction grid will be fully operational on April 1, 2021.
- All deposit money banks are (therefore) directed to actively enlighten their customers and ensure necessary provisions are put in place for a smooth migration to the New standard.
- The extension of full implementation date from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2021 is due to outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version. 2.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in an earlier circular issued on the revised cheque book, the CBN had put the cut-off date for the parallel run of the old and new cheques at August 31, 2020.
- This was further extended to December 31, 2020, with only new cheques intended to be allowed in the clearing system from January 1, 2021, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it had on the project.
- This further adjustment of the deadline gives room for more sensitization by the deposit money banks to their customers, taking into consideration the disruptions that have happened in the economy.