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Ericsson Invents Solutions to Bridge Digital Divide

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  • Ericsson Invents Solutions to Bridge Digital Divide

Ericsson has invented another set of solutions, which will help bring mobile broadband coverage to the remaining three billion people who are either underserved or without mobile broadband access.

The new solutions, which include software and hardware additions to Ericsson Radio System, provide the capabilities needed to reduce the total cost of ownership by up to 40 per cent.

This, Ericsson said, would make investment in low Average Revenue Per User markets viable.

To complement the deployment of the solutions are new mobile broadband tools, which allow operators to identify which sites in a GSM/EDGE coverage area have the highest number of users who already have Internet-ready devices.

According to Ericsson, operators can then determine where it makes more sense to convert those sites first to the HSPA or 4G/LTE, “so that the greatest number of people will enjoy the benefits of mobile broadband.”

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, co-chaired by the International Telecommunications Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, had championed the vital role played by the Information and Communications Technology in laying the foundation for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Broadband Commission’s new report highlighted that the digital divide was shifting from basic telephony to Internet, and it estimated that it would cost $450bn to bring the next 1.5 billion people online.

The Head of Business Unit Network Products, Ericsson, ArunBansal, said, “These are among the most important additions to our product portfolio for mobile broadband coverage growth ever. Ericsson supports the International Telecommunication Union’s Connect 2020 target of ensuring that more than 50 per cent of people in the developing world are using the Internet by 2020.”

He also said, “In order to reach this goal, together, we will need to connect roughly 500,000 new users to the Internet each day. Ericsson continues innovating so that operators can create viable business even in rural or off-grid settings, and to make the most difference with every investment.”

The Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks, Ovum, Daryl Schoolar, said, “These innovations address investment pain points while also considering the current situation and environment of many of these builds. Ericsson is unique in their multifaceted approach and focus on spurring mobile broadband adoption in these developing markets.”

The new solutions address the significant divide in Internet adoption between developed and developing countries – only four out of 10 people in developing countries are connected to the Internet.

About 15 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to electricity. And the innovations followed a trio of solutions for developing areas unveiled in February this year: Flow of Users, Zero Touch and Mobile Broadband Expander.

The Head of Region, sub-Saharan Africa, Jean-Claude Geha, said, “As of 2015, GSM/EDGE still accounted for close to 70 per cent of the total mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa.

“As a technology leader, we continuously seek to develop sustainable ways to provide quality mobile broadband coverage — even in the unconnected areas.”

He also said, “These energy-efficient solutions will enable operators to seamlessly identify underserved communities in the region, making it faster to introduce or improve the mobile broadband experience of their subscribers.

“This will open new opportunities in far flung areas in the region, creating access to new services such as mobile money, e-health, e-education and e-government, thereby transforming the way people play, learn and do business forever.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Fintech CEO: Morocco’s Move to Revisit CBDC Has Global Implications

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Scottsdale, Ari. – February 25, 2021 – Earlier this week, it was reported by both the Morocco World News and NASDAQ that Bank-Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s Central Bank, is forming an exploratory committee to deliberate whether the institution should launch a central bank digital currency. Significantly, only four years ago, the country banned cryptocurrencies.

“It isn’t so significant that yet another country is exploring the benefits of a CBDC, but, rather, the significance is in which country is doing the exploration,” explained Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges. “Even the slightest consideration from Bank-Al-Maghrib marks a historic day for digital assets.”

The newly formed committee is said to be tasked with identifying the pros and cons, while remaining cautious due to the “speculative nature” of cryptocurrencies. This is in line with the country’s original critique that a lack of regulation created risk for consumers and investors.

“It’s worth noting that, despite the ban, Moroccans account for the fourth highest volume of trading in Bitcoin within the African continent, behind Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,” said Gardner. “A lot has changed in four years. A lot of bureaucrats were leery about the lack of regulatory oversight back then. Even now, many are still cautious. But, the power of cryptocurrencies is real, and they’re here to stay. Especially in Africa, digital currencies could radically change the lives of the unbanked. The fact that Bank-Al-Maghrib is even contemplating the benefits of digital assets — that’s something the whole world will be watching.”

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built a client list which includes NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“In addition to the raw power of digital currencies, the technology that powers blockchain-based solutions is something that region can’t afford to miss out on,” opined Gardner. “For example, blockchain-based authentication, especially when blended with artificial intelligence technologies, could be a gamechanger in authenticating malaria treatments. Using blockchain verification solutions, African governments could nearly eliminate counterfeit pharmaceuticals, which is a topic our company intends to continue to explore over the coming months and years.”

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Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

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Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

A biotechnology company, INOVIO, says the first participant in Lassa vaccine trial has been dosed in a Phase 1B clinical trial for INO-4500, its DNA vaccine candidate for Lassa fever.

The clinical trial is being done in Ghana, the firm says, adding that INOVIO is focused on bringing to market precisely-designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer.

The Phase 1B clinical trial (LSV-002), ongoing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, is the first vaccine clinical trial for Lassa Fever to be conducted in West Africa, where the infection is endemic.

The lead clinical Principal Investigator for LSV-002 is Professor Dr. Kwadwo A. Koram, an expert and specialist in tropical medicines and epidemiologist with more than 20 years of research experience, including malaria vaccines.

INO-4500 was also the first vaccine candidate for Lassa fever to enter human trials, PUNCH Healthwise reports.

Already, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has tweeted his commendation.

Said Ihekweazu, “Fantastic news. The urgency of now. A vaccine for Lassa fever. We have worked very hard with WHO, CEPI vaccines, ACEGID, BNITM_de and many others to put this on the global health agenda. We will keep pushing.”

According to a press release by the biotechnology company, INOVIO is advancing INO-4500 with full funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership that leverages funding from public, private, philanthropic and civil society organisations to support research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

INOVIO previously received a $56m grant from CEPI in 2018, under which the company is developing vaccine candidates for Lassa Fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“INOVIO and CEPI are committed to making a vaccine available as soon as possible for emergency use as a stockpile product post-Phase 2 testing,” the press release stated.

The statement notes that INOVIO’s Phase 1B clinical trial, LSV-002, will enroll approximately 220 adult participants who are 18 – 50 years old, with the primary endpoints of evaluating safety and immunogenicity in an African population.

The dosing regimen involves two vaccinations at zero and 28 days with either 1.0 mg or 2.0 mg dosing levels. In addition to providing valuable insights on the INO-4500 safety and immunogenicity profile, this trial will inform dose selection for subsequent Phase 2 studies in West Africa.

Lassa fever is an animal-borne, acute hemorrhagic viral illness primarily observed in parts of West Africa.

Infection is spread through contact with infected rodents, as well as person-to-person transmission via bodily fluids (primarily in health care settings).

The disease can cause a range of outcomes, including fever, vomiting, and swelling of the face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, bleeding of various parts of the body including the eyes and nose and death.

Lassa virus infection in West Africa is estimated to affect 100,000 to 300,000 people annually, and is responsible for 10 – 16 percent of hospital admissions in the region. The virus is responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

Because of difficulties in diagnosing Lassa fever, the lack of standardised surveillance assays, and the remote nature of many of the areas in West Africa where outbreaks typically occur, the numbers of reported cases and deaths are very likely significantly lower than the actual numbers of cases and deaths.

Though the majority (about 80 percent) of Lassa virus-infected persons are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the infection can be quite serious to fatal in others. The case-fatality among patients hospitalized for Lassa fever is about 15 – 20 percent and, in some epidemics, case-fatality has reached 50 percent in hospitalized patients.

Up until now, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments specifically for Lassa fever.

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Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

Google has said it will resume accepting all political advertisements in the United States from Feb. 24.

The search giant disclosed in an email to advertisers on Monday.

Google paused all political advertisements in January when Trump’s mobs invaded U.S. Capitol.

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