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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

there is kindness in lagos

You have a lot about Nigeria, especially the interesting Lagos
on my way from Lagos island to the Lagos Murtal Muhammed International Airport
http://www.wordtravels.com/Airports/Nigeria/Lagos+M+Muhammed+Airport
I decided to buy airtime for my vmobile I accidently gave this guy 1000 naira instead of 100 naira plus 400 naira so instead 500 naira, he had 1400 naira, something to about mistakenly notes which you are not familar
this great guy with a kind heart chase my car after some few metres and return the 1000 naira note and got a 100 naira notes back from me
great, still there is kindness in lagos

Monday, August 21, 2006

3rd African VoIP forum Presentation on Regulatory Challenges and Achievements in the VoIP Arena

By Engr. Ernest C. A. Ndukwe FNSE, OFR
Executive Vice Chairman Nigerian Communications Commission


Voice Over Internet Protocol is a generic term used for the conveyance of voice, fax and related services, partially or wholly over packet-switched, IP based networks.

According to the Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powel, VoIP “is probably the most significant paradigm shift in the entire history of modern communications, since the invention of the telephone.”

VoIP is one example of a cross-sector convergence technology that utilizes packet-switched networks (often, the Internet) to make voice telephone calls. By sharing bandwidth with other data or Internet applications, VoIP Providers offer these telephone calls at often cheaper rates than conventional telephony.

The emergence of voice over packet switches
VoIP services began to be offered in direct competition to public switched service between the mid-1990s and the peak of the “dotcom bubble” in 2000, using privately owned IP-based networks in addition to the public internet.

Companies such as DialPad, Genecity, iBasis ITXC, Net2Phone or VocalTec, provided these new VoIP services, allowing users to make low-cost calls to and from ordinary telephones. The asset values of these companies collapsed with the global economic slowdown that began in 2000. Some of the companies were acquired by traditional Public Telecommunication Operators (PTO) which were busy developing their own IP-based networks. This phase saw regulators in developed countries being lobbied to exempt Internet Services from regulation.

In most developing countries, VoIP continued to be restricted or prohibited. At the beginning of Internet telephony services in the early-to mid 1990s, the public Internet was generally used to provide these services. Companies such as Free World Dial-up, Firetalk and PhoneFree flourished during this period. Many of these companies promoted PC-to-PC applications that did not compete directly with public switched telephony providers. Some of these applications were inconvenient to use because they did not involve the use of normal telephones.

Regulatory pressures to prohibit these services came mainly from monopoly PTOs in high price locations who felt they were losing money through price arbitrage.

Today, the market offers what might be termed “Voice Over Broadband” (VOB) widening the appeal for VoIP. Broadband networks have become popular. And broadband Internet access continues to grow worldwide. At the start of 2004, there were more than 102 million broadband subscribers in about 100 countries where broadband services were available. Users who have broadband access to the Internet generally experience fewer quality-of-service lapses than those who, in earlier days, experimented with IP telephony over slow-speed dial up access.

Achievements in the VoIP Arena
Traditionally, voice service could not be separated from the wires that carried it and the industry has been highly regulated to date. On the other hand, the Internet has generally enjoyed light regulations, defined by the US Congress as a “no-regulation zone”. However, the voice service that was hitherto provided under “heavy regulations” is now available regulation-free in some jurisdictions, still restricted in many jurisdictions, while many others are still undecided.


The low level of access to telephone in under-developed and developing countries of Africa and elsewhere has been attributed to a number of factors including the state of infrastructure, which inhibits adoption and adaptation of emerging technologies; the low earning power of the people, arising from low GDP per capita; restrictive regulatory regimes, etc.

The search for technological solutions that would alleviate the myriad of problems facing many countries and regions in terms of their abilities to provide adequate communications facilities have tended to support the adoption and adaptation of the use of Internet-based telephony. However, the use of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been largely illegal in most countries in Africa and many under-developed telecommunications markets. But in recent years, attempts are being made by a new breed of telecommunications regulators to open up the use of VoIP. In other words, a number of countries in the under-developed and developing categories, including African countries, are easing the regulatory restrictions to achieve faster deployment of telephony at lower costs.

Now, Regulatory concerns are less about whether or not to allow VoIP, but rather about how to regulate it. The following are some examples of the situations in some selected regions and countries.


The US:
For a long time, the country was undecided on whether or not to regulate VoIP.

The uncertainty was further given credence by Michael Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who singled out VoIP as a “killer application for legal policy change” because it pits two different regulatory modes against each other and forces governments to choose which will prevail. The two models being a highly-regulated “common carrier” environment of cable TV and telephone service, and a lightly-regulated world of the Internet.

However, in September 2004 the FCC finally took a decision on VoIP by placing regulatory shield around it. In so doing, the FCC ruled that VoIP communications should be treated the same as other applications on the Internet.

Canada:
While VoIP is regulated for incumbent operators, the new entrants are, however, free of such regulations. VoIP is treated like any other local service, meaning that those incumbents in the position to handle VoIP with broadband would have to file tariffs and wait for CRTC approval.[1]


The EU:
The EU is observed to have been ahead of the US in its definitions of VoIP regulation. Based on a presentation at the 1st International CICT Conference (Copenhagen, November 5, 2004) it could be averred that the EU intends to pursue a “light regulatory touch” with a view to harmonizing all issues relating to VoIP regulations.

South American Countries:
In Brazil, there is no specific legislation for VoIP services. The Brazilian telecommunications regulator, Anatel, considers VoIP a service or simply a value-added service, based on the definition established by the country’s General Telecommunications Law (GTL) of 1997.

Whereas Cuba and Ecuador prohibits VoIP networks, countries like Peru and Argentina allow voice/fax over the Internet but not on IP networks.




AFRICA
Observations on specific country instances in the continent show the following:
(i) In South Africa, legislations prior to 2005 limit the use of VoIP, and this had been generally recognized as one of the factors that stifled advances in telecommunications in the country.

However, following changes to the Telecommunications Act, with effect from February 1, 2005, providers of value-added network services (VANS) were allowed to carry voice traffic using any protocol.

In arriving at this new regulatory milestone, the Minister indicated that “because of technological developments, there is no longer any difference in the transmission of voice, video and data; therefore, it is no longer necessary to prohibit the provision of voice by VANS”.

At the moment, the provision of VoIP services in RSA is only allowed in areas where less than 5% of the population has access to a telephone. Such restriction was perceived to be a means of encouraging companies to provide telephone service to these outlying areas, and thereby rectify the imbalance in technology access between modern, urban hubs and under-serviced and rural communities. Nonetheless, the illegal use of VoIP had been growing in the RSA, even in different spheres of government.

The Government has, therefore, recognized that removing restrictions and allowing competition to thrive in the communications sector will lead to greater choice, lower prices and the proliferation of innovative services, which will in turn benefit the development needs of under-serviced and rural communities, where communications services are prohibitively expensive, while also meeting the corporate needs of businesses wanting to enter the value-added network market.

(ii) In Egypt, the use of VoIP is restricted. However, the monopoly carrier, Egypt Telecom, has only adopted its use in the face of a myriad of illegal providers denting its long distance and international revenues. VoIP is subject to government control and monopoly in order to protect Telecom Egypt’s revenue.

However, Telecom Egypt is promoting and developing the market for the use of VoIP through a platform to be used by private operators on a revenue-sharing arrangement. At the moment, not less than 10 companies provide VoIP Service in Egypt.

Apart from these arrangements, the Government has approved a co-operation between Trans Global Communications and Telecom Egypt to provide VoIP services.

(iii) In Uganda, VoIP as a technology is not prohibited. However, any provision of VoIP or related services has to be done in a franchise or other agreement with either of the National Operators, i.e. Uganda Telecom Limited or MTN Uganda Limited, during the Exclusivity Period.



(iv) In several other African countries, the adoption and use of VoIP, as in the developed world, has been moderated largely by factors such as the subsisting legal frameworks, the level of available infrastructure in relation to the ability for technological integration, as well as the extent to which competition is open for international services.

Implications & Challenges for regulation
Viewed from various perspectives, it is obvious that there are a number of challenges in the evolution and achievements in the VoIP arena for the regulation of both voice and data services. Amongst these challenges are:

(a) Facilitating adequate infrastructure for last-mile delivery of voice services;
(b) Deconstructing existing licence conditions to accommodate the expected changes in network interfaces, including the key issue of interconnection;
(c) Ensuring optimisation of spectrum utilisation, network efficiency and quality of service, especially amongst network operators and service providers;
(d) Preventing unauthorised usage (e.g. for criminal and other illegal activities);
(e) Ensuring payments for interconnections and traffic exchanges;
(f) Recognising the different shades of VoIP business models and enacting/enforcing relevant rules for the different players.

Other Issues of Importance
§ What kinds of social regulations should apply?
- Access to emergency services
- Number portability
- Access to directory services/ability for users to be in a directory
- Lawful Interception
- Network resilience
§ What kind of telephone numbers should be allocated?
- Geographic/non-geographic/new categories?
§ Does it matter if service providers are outside your territory?
§ If emergency service is provided, what quality is needed?
§ What rules and prices should be applied to interconnect?

Perhaps it is in recognition of these challenges that participants at the end of the First African VoIP Forum, held in Nairobi over 14-15 December 2004, issued a statement welcoming the regulatory changes being introduced in a few African countries to liberalise the use of VoIP, and calls on regulators in other African countries to follow the example set by the pioneering countries in order to drive down telephony costs and stimulate the growth of networks across the continent.

The Forum observed that, in spite of the dramatic growth of mobile telephony in the continent, “there continues to be a telephone famine in Africa which VoIP can help to address”. Equally, the Forum noted that, “even in those countries where VoIP is allowed, in most cases monopolies have been maintained in international traffic, thus preventing the benefits of low-cost international VoIP from having an impact on the market, which would stimulate international contacts and trade and increase traffic substantially”.

The Forum also “noted that increased deployment of IP networks, coupled with the growth of Internet Exchange Points in the region, will considerably enhance the retention of traffic within the continent and thus mitigate the costs of extra-continental transits”, which will “contribute greatly to retention of revenues by African operators and service providers, thus promoting indigenous entrepreneurship and wealth”.

Consequently, the Forum “encourages regulators to open up the markets by licensing multiple international gateways to increase competition and multiply service offerings”. I agree with these submissions.

The Nigerian Experience
Nigerian recognizes VoIP as a technology. Nigeria has not restricted the use of IP. Nigeria welcomes the use of VoIP and encourages telecommunications operator to deploy it where applicable.

In consonance with its commitment to facilitating fair, transparent, effective and efficient regulation, vis-à-vis global trends and best practices, the Nigerian Communications Commission sought to determine appropriate policies for the regulation of the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) within the Nigerian telecommunications environment.

To achieve this objective, the Commission engaged the services of Consultants to review international best practices and advise the Commission accordingly, taking cognisance of the peculiarities of the domestic market. This was followed with an industry consultation through a Workshop to appraise industry participants and obtain their inputs to the development of relevant policies.

While noting the state of maturity of the telecommunications market in Nigeria, vis-à-vis global trends in service and technological development, the Commission was convinced that a sure way to promote universal access to telecommunications services, at this stage of the industry’s development is to evolve a policy framework that recognises the issues relating to VoIP as an engine for the development of telephony in the country.



THANK YOU.

[1] Ellen Muraskin, Canada sizes up VoIP Regulation, 2004, http://www.voip-news.com/art/4h.html

3rd African VoIP forum Programme

Muson Centre, Lagos, 21-23 August 2006

PRESENTATIONS
(Main conference 21-22 August 2006)

DAY 1 - Monday 21 August
2pm Conference Opening

Welcome Remarks by Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, President of KNOWLEDGE MEDIA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (publishers of IT Edge/www.itedgenews.com).


Welcome Speech & Official Opening
Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Minister of Communications, Nigeria

Keynote 1: Regulatory challenges and achievements in the VoIP arena
Eng Ernest Ndukwe, Vice-Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission

Keynote 2: VoIP as part of an ISP’s survival strategy
Eng Sam Adeleke, President, ISP Association of Nigeria (ISPAN)

Keynote 3: How Nigeria’s communication companies have responded to the challenges and opportunities created by VoIP
Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON)

4pm Refreshment Break

Keynote 4: The impact of VoIP on African voice markets
Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act looks at how VoIP impacts on voice markets:
How grey markets operate and the scale and extent of them
What legalised VoIP means in different countries and what happens when VoIP competition is more widely available?
The winners and losers in the legalisation process
The emergence of a new business model bringing together broadband and VoIP
New potential developments like VoIP peering, eNUM and mobile VoIP

Keynote 5: AfrISPA’s vision for VoIP deployment in Africa
Eric Osiakwan, Executive Secretary, AfrISPA, Ghana

Keynote 6: ITU-T standardization activities in the new telecommunication environment: VoIP studies
Paolo Rosa, Head, Standards Co-operation & Communications, ITU-T, Switzerland

6pm PANEL DISCUSSION: Regulatory and business strategies to maximize the benefits of VoIP
All keynote speakers

7pm Networking Cocktail Party

DAY 2 – Tuesday 22 August 2006

9am Session 1: INTERNATIONAL LINKS

Maximising international connectivity via a virtual service provider
Yossi Barkan, Executive Director, Africa, PCCW Global, Hong Kong

Moving beyond Skype - Using directed SIP VoIP to drive quality international voice terminations
Stunning Growth Rates of Peer to Peer VoIP Networks
Problems Identified in “Legacy” P2P Networks
Overcoming These Problems Though the Directed SIP P2P Model
Advanced Services—P2P VoIP Without the Computer
Huge Traffic Flows Enable Cost-Effective High-Quality Voice Termination Routes Available on a Wholesale Basis
Eric Ram, Executive VP, International Business Development, Fusion Telecommunications International, USA

SHOWCASE PRESENTATION by NexTone
National/International VoIP interconnect and peering
Sean Pickering, NexTone, South Africa

10.30am Refreshment Break

11am Session 2: TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS

TDMoIP vs VoIP: Which technology is better for your network?
Gaéthan Donlap Kouanga, Video and IP Services Manager, Eutelsat

Using fixed-mobile convergence to attract enterprise customers: An overview of the technology, applications and regulatory issues
Yves Desmet, Senior Vice-President, World Wide Sales, Verso Technology, Belgium

12.30 Lunch

2pm Session 3: IMPLEMENTATION CASE STUDIES

VoIP – Creating real value for African enterprises
Morten Hald, MD, Emperion, Denmark

NITEL: A case study on an incumbent PTT migrating from legacy TDM networks to IP
Rob Hewitt, COO, Afrigate, UK

Is VoIP still viable in the Nigerian market?
Ade Ojuri, CEO, Junisat, Nigeria


AFRICAN VoIP FORUM WORKSHOPS

WORKSHOP 1: Corporate Users - Introduction to VoIP An interactive workshop
Sunday Folayan, MD, Skannet Nigeria
9am – 1pm Monday 21 August 2006

While VoIP is set to change the landscape of the communications industry, it is already being used by a number of traditional Telephone companies to connect their regional offices, while on a smaller scale, it is being used by Small Offices/Home Offices who want to trim their communications expenses. The advantages of using VoIP technology includes simplicity, flexibility, cost savings as well as finally removing the huge constraint of circuit switched architecture, and taking advantage of the ubiquitous nature of IP, which is fast becoming a de-facto medium of world-wide communication.This hands-on workshop is designed to introduce participants to the VoIP technology, using the Asterisk Open Source PBX software. Participants will amongst others be exposed to the following:
Introduction to the VoIP technology
Basic definitions and building blocks
Transpprt protocols and packetization
Public Swiched Networks and characteristics
Protocols for VoIP call control
Introduction to the Asterisk Open Source PBX
Configuring simple VoIP Servers
Configuring simple VoIP Clients
Quality of Service (QoS) Issues
Services and implementation issues
Overview of large scale implementations and issuesAt the end of the workshop, participants will be able to setup and deploy an Asterisk-based PBX system which will work either via IP or PSTN and be capable of Least Cost Routing.

WORKSHOP 2: International links for ISPs & Telecom Operators
Mawuli Tse, Sales Director, Africa, iBasis
9am – 12pm, Wednesday 23 August 2006

The VoIP landscape - from PC-to-PC to VoB
Carrier level interconnections
Quality monitoring on a VoIP network
Selecting operators - what to consider

WORSHOP 3: VoIP - Survival strategies for telcos, ISPs and cyber-cafes
Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act, UK
2pm – 5pm, Wednesday 23 August 2006

VoIP will change the business model for telcos, ISPs and cyber-cafes. Beyond the ever-present hype, it will begin to transform business fundamentals in some of the following way: threatening existing international revenues; lowering the cost of entry to the voice market; and creating new opportunities like mobile VoIP. All of this will upset traditional markets and the question is: will you survive this shake-out? The workshop has three sessions of just under an hour each with a coffee break. Each of the sessions will have time for questions and answers and sessions 2 and 3 will have interactive exercises. The three sessions deal with the following:

Session 1: The business opportunities VoIP offers
In this session Russell will look at the kinds of business models that have arisen elsewhere and how things might develop in Nigeria. He will look at the business models for businesses like Skype and Vonage to illustrate how the business model for retail VoIP is developing in North America and Europe.

He will then look in greater detail at the type of opportunities that might arise in Africa, including:

• Pre-pay VoIP calling cards
• IP-payphones
• Skype/Vonage clones
• Campus-wide IP-mobility solutions
• Municipal networks
• Corporate IP calling via VPNs
• Push-to-talk
• Home broadband
• Triple/Quad play (including mobile TV)
• Mobile VoIP
• VoIP peering

He will explain the relationship between these opportunities and the changes in regulation that will enable them to flourish legally.

Session 2: Assessing investment in new VoIP opportunities
VoIP produces very different types of opportunities. For example, grey market operators have taken advantage of the price arbitrage opportunities that exist. In other words, for example, they are able to compete on price against artificially high international calling prices.

Once VoIP is more widely legalised, then this level of price arbitrage opportunity will decline or disappear as prices come down in the market. It will be important to look at the relationship between quality and pricing and to understand what latitude exists for differentiating different service offers.

Some opportunities will allow new players to enter the market relatively cheaply whereas others will require capital investment in new infrastructure. The level of capital required – along with an assessment of the risks inherent in different propositions – will help clarify where any potential should be made and whether a new opportunity is suitable for your company.

Lastly the session will examine timing issues and their impact. Some opportunities – like those related to price-arbitrage – are short or medium-term. Others like mobile VoIP are longer term because the technology is not yet available.

All of these factors will be gathered into a simple matrix and scored so that participants can see where the better opportunities lie in Africa.

Session 3: VoIP pricing and service strategies in a competitive market
The last session of the workshop will look pricing and service strategies and how they develop in a competitive market. Russell Southwood will explain how operators tackle these issues and the way in which different approaches to service and pricing are reflected in the service offer to customers. He will examine the relationship between cost and the price of providing different levels of service.

After this briefing, participants will be split into two groups to devise pricing and service strategies for two different companies, one a start-up and the other an existing operator. The two groups will then come together and show what approaches they have arrived at. The group will then look at how it is possible to respond to competitor pricing in ways that differentiate the customer offer.

Hosted and organised by AITEC AFRICA and ITEdge

3rd African VoIP forum

currently in Lagos for the African VoIP forum at the muson centre
with delegates from Africa, Europe and USA

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New initiative to provide computers for all in Ghana

________________________________________
New initiative to provide computers for all in Ghana

A new enterprise between the Ghana government and multinational computer microchip maker Intel, is expected to bring affordable computer ownership within reach of thousands of Ghana households and small business owners over the next three years.

A range of inexpensive, brand new computers, supplied with access to the internet, will go a long way towards improving the level of computer literacy amongst the nation’s workforce and will help students with home study as well as improving their computing skills in readiness for employment. And to make it easy for salaried workers to buy the package, an installment payment plan will be available through their employer or trade association.

A new partnership between computer re-sellers, internet service providers and banks was inaugurated at a workshop for potential stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project held in Accra. At the workshop, over 150 representatives of employers’ and professional associations, ministries, departments and agencies of government, businesses, church groups, educationalists and the media were introduced to the partnership.

According to Intel representative, Sam Mensah, Ghana is one of a number of developing countries that the company is working with. “We believe this joint venture between us, the government and the other partners is a win-win situation all round with the ultimate benefit going to the computer end user.”

Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Deputy Minister of Communications pointed out that Ghana’s growth strategy relied heavily on a competent workforce with well developed IT skills. For this to be achieved, it was vital to provide affordable access to internet ready computers both in the home and at work.

Initial target for the project will be substantial employers and umbrella organizations having access to large workforces and with the ability to deduct repayments from their salaried workers or members. Explains Kwami Ahiabenu,II of programme management office “It is important that we achieve economies of scale early in the project lifecycle so that we can move large volumes of internet ready computers into the marketplace quickly. This way, the benefit of home computer ownership at affordable prices will be recognized and passed on by word-of-mouth to friends and co-workers.”

The computers, which are sold under the iADVANCE brand, meet internationally recognized specifications similar to proprietary products which sell on the local marketplace at over twice the retail price. This is achieved by assembling the computers in Ghana from only Intel approved products as well as through bulk buying of their component parts.

The iADVANCE programme, with the theme computer4all, commences immediately and enquiries from employers, associations and businesses wishing to offer pre-financed internet ready computers to staff or members, is welcomed.

ENDS
________________________________________


visit www.computer4all.com.gh.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The birth of the new Internet : Web 2.0

By Kwami Ahiabenu,II

Introduction

The internet is growing in bounds and leaps since it inception in 1969 and by 1996 the word "Internet" assumed widespread public use.
It quite obvious that the Internet is undergoing tremendous evolution and this is reflected in the numerous new technologies and concepts contributing to this progression. So are we on the path of development a “new internet” which would replace our good “old internet”? This is a billion dollar question which we must strive to answer because this would bring us closer to translating the potential of the “new internet” into reality. If there is any new word which brings this subject mater into a very sharp focus it would be Web 2.0.


How did Web 2.O begin?
It beginnings is quite easily traceable to a conference brainstorming session in 2003 toward the end of the dotcom depression, between Tim O'Reilly the founder of O’Reilly Media and Dale Dougherty, web pioneer. Mr. Dougherty dropped the term “Web 2.0” as an allusion to the nomenclature for software upgrades, and Mr. Dougherty was applying it to what he hoped would be a second generation of the internet alluding to the many exciting new application regularly found on the web The term "Web 2.0" has no doubt taken hold but like a lot of new concepts does not have one universal definition since there's still a huge amount of disagreement about just what Web 2.0 means. While some people are still arguing about what it means, others perceived it to be a meaningless marketing buzzword, and many others are accepting it as a new contribution to our knowledge bank. There is ample evidence to point out that since 2004, when Tim O'Reilly founded the Web 2.0 Conference, held annually in San Francisco,Web 2.0 has since expanded from a conference into a way of thinking, a new approach at looking at opportunities on the Internet.


What is web 2.0?
There is no standard definition for web 2.0; we can look at it as a cluster of new ideas describing innovations and changes linked to the web, it clear that most Web-based software and services are often referred to collectively as Web 2.0. At this juncture we shall attempt to provide some definitions.
Writing about web 2.0 the economist.com said “It began with a specific and useful definition. In contrast to the static web pages of the 1990s, the second wave of websites would use software (such as AJAX, or “asynchronous JavaScript and XML”) that makes web pages look like dynamic software applications that traditionally run only on personal computers. These applications, moreover, would work with one another in so-called “mash-ups”. Google Maps, for instance, is a web page that not only updates itself constantly but can also share data with other websites to yield independent web pages that display, say, crimes committed or houses for rent in an area. At some point “Web 2.0” took on a life of its own, being applied to online social networks, collective intelligence, blogging and podcasting and “participation” in general”.
According to wikipedia, currently the world largest collaborative piece of encyclopedia written by individuals spread throughout the global, the term Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages.
Web 2.0 isn't a 'thing', but a collection of approaches, which are all converging on the development world at a rapid pace. These approaches, including APIs, RSS, Folksonomies, and Social Networking, suddenly give application developers a new way to approach hard problems with surprisingly effective results.( Jared M. Spool)
One can describe web 2.0 in context of its platform. The key differentiator of web 2.0 is that it designed as the platform itself rather than serving a conduit for other platforms to run on it. Thus web 2.0 serves as an operating system itself enabling it to run more productivity tools such web-based Word processors, calendaring, spreadsheets etc…. Currently on-line word-processing service such as Writely (now owned by Google), Think Free office, Jotspot and Zoho Writer allows users to upload and edit Word documents and other files, and to share them with others. Also Google recently launched a spreadsheet. The industry is now recording a number of web-based products being developed for web 2.0 thereby making web-based applications are a very big component of Web 2.0.
Do we actually have a new version of the web in web 2.0? Though the web is constantly changing, with new things such as web 2.0 coming on the web this significant changes does not mean we have a complete new version of the web since the fundamental underlying system of the web remains the same.

Characteristics of Web 2.0
The main characteristic of Web 2.0 is clearly seen in how it empowers the end user through a flexible content management rather than centralized taxonomy. In this direction, the end user is provided with a very flexible powerful tool with unlimited opportunities. The radical decentralized nature of the web 2. 0 is therefore a core characteristic. For example, instead of centralized “personal websites” blogs empower people to easily post content as and when they want it without any restrictions. Furthermore by allowing comments, users can participate actively instead of being passive consumers of content. When it comes to Web 2.0 marketing it works using a viral system, where friends encourage other friends to use products they are happy about rather than massive marketing directed to all and sundry. This system is a perfect fit for the idea of "permission marketing" – where the users’ permission is sought before marketing information is passed on to them.
Also another characteristic of web 2.0 is democracy. Web 2.0 provides tools for democracy on the web to play out and we can point to a lot of examples in this direction. One popular example is the manner the tool of wikis which allow all and sundry to be part of conversations in an open and participatory manner. Web 2.0 democracy is manifested both in the selection of ideas and its production as well. In the news process as well, democracy seems to win is in deciding what counts as news, for example, http://digg.com/
At the end of the day, the crucial characteristic of Web 2.0 is the speed and ease at which new applications are being built buttressing the assertion that Web 2.0 holds immerse potential.


Benefits of WEB 2.0
The key benefit of web 2.O is the provision of an easy way for users to collaborate and share documents and data with others, which can help speed up the rate at which ideas are generated, process and hopefully used. It premised on social interactions both in a top up and bottom up manner across various elements of social strata.
The web with its billions of pages can be very impersonal but with web 2.0 users can now personalise the web content in a very practical manner thus leading to more dominance of user generated content. Furthermore, connectedness, collaboration and the social internet, sharing and connectivity are all benefits that can be derived by the use of Web 2.0 tools. Also web 2.0 can provide a very important process to foster and sustain innovation both at end user and corporate level.
Peer production process where mass production of content takes place by the masses, is one of the central benefits of Web 2.0. which is enabling us to capture collaborative wisdom. Wikipedia is a good example of peer production process.


Web. 2.0 for business = Enterprise 2.0
The benefits of web 2.0 are not only limited to the end user alone, companies and organizations can also take advantage of it. By using web 2.0 tools organizations can create an environment where innovation is encouraged, promoted and rewarded. Such web 2.0 tools can enable organization teams members be more productive, create, share knowledge and innovate.

Building blocks and tools of WEB 2.0
You can think web 2.0 building blocks as various technologies which are enabling applications and tools to be created for Web 2.0. Web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), web standards and Ajax "(means javascript now works.) are very important building blocks which enable applications and tools to be built. The increasing availability of these building blocks is driving the growth of Web 2.0 applications. For example, The Google Maps API allows anybody the power to overlay any data such as crime data, public health report etc onto any place Google Maps can show.
Many recently developed concepts and technologies are seen as contributing as key building blocks of Web 2.0 they include but not limited to podcasts, tags, wiki, weblogs, vlogging, linklogs, wikis, podcasts, video sharing, news readers and aggregators, RSS feeds and other forms of many to many publishing; social bookmaking , web APIs, web standards, online web services, among others.

WEB 2.0 Products and services
There are numerous products and services enriching the web 2.0 basket. See some collection of web 2.0 products and services at
http://knowledgechief.blogspot.com/2006/07/some-collection-of-web-20-products-and.html



end of part one
+++

PART TWO – takes a look some selected web 2.0 products and services

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Kwami Ahiabenu,II with Chief Justice of Ghana and Lord Hope



FROM LEFT KWAMI AHIABENU,II ,RT. HON. LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD OF U.Khttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hope,_Baron_Hope_of_Craighead, AND JUSTICE ACQUAH( THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF REP.OF GH.) AT THE OPENING OF COMMONWEALTH MAGISTRATES AND JUDGES ASSOCIATION MEETING IN "05.

Friday, August 11, 2006

ma hut


This is not my hut, taking cool drink after taking a boat ride on the volta lake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volta_River
this building is part of Senchi Resort http://www.senchiresort.com/, near Akosombo which house a Akosombo hydro dam built on one of the largest man made lake, the volta lake

UNESCO/JAPAN FUNDS-IN-TRUST (JFIT) PROJECT for Journalist in Ghana on ICT

I have got an invitation to serve as an instructor for UNESCO/JAPAN Funds-In-Trust (JFIT) PROJECT NO. 552/GHA/5000 working with the Ghana Journalists Association to develope the capacity of Journalists in Ghana in the area of ICT Journalism.
I strongly believe that ICT can contribute to the vision of improving the level of journalism.
The workshop is scheduled for september to october 2006, in all we hope to train sixty journalists drawn from all regions of Ghana.
Have to spend some time on developing a training manual for the participants, excited about working with my fellow journalists during this workshop, it is going to be hard work and fun

Going to Work on The Government Assisted PC Programme

Just got the news that, we are going to work on The Government Assisted PC Programme (GAPP) in Ghana. GAPP is an Intel Corporation and Government of Ghana initiative. It is run with Governments worldwide to promote accessibility to PC’s and the Internet. The vision of the programme is to create a knowledge economy, digital inclusion; bridge the digital divide (internal & external), increase access, increase PC and Internet penetration in homes, schools and small and medium enterprises (SME).
The objective of the project is to increase Home ownership and Access to PCs at an affordable rate in Ghana. It also seeks to compliment Internet access, connectivity and enrich local content development.
Novotel, Accra is going to host a day's GAPP workshop on 17TH August 2006 visit my blog for more information

Kofi doing monkey business with the police


I am not sure what business Kofi is doing with the police, I guess it is a monkey business !!!!!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is Podcasting?

The internet provides us with unlimited opportunities, one interesting example is podcasting which provides content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want.
Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files, such as radio programs or music videos, over the Internet for subsequent download on mobile devices and personal computers. A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS (Rich Site Summary) or Atom syndication .The term podcast can also refers to both the content(video or audio) and the method of delivery. To download files you have two options either you Podcasters’ websites for direct download of files or users can subscribe to automatic feeds which deliver new content as and when it is available. It is important to note that a podcast is different from a simple download or real-time streaming. There are a variety of podcasts which can include one type of "show" with new episodes added either sporadically or at planned intervals such as daily, weekly, etc. In addition to this, there are websites offering multiple shows on the same feed.

USES OF PODCAST
There are a lot of uses you can put podcasting to they include but not limited to :
Radio broadcast
Event information
Communication- get internal or external information to recipients
Listen to music, lectures, talk show, tutorials
Interviews
Story Telling
Directions
Commentaries
Sportscasts
As a knowledge sharing
Audio tours
Virtual tours


Broadly speaking there are two key processes in podcasting:
Firstly, the podcaster must create and upload the content (audio or video) by recording, editing, creating the files, hosting (publishing) and promoting it.
Secondly, the end user must go through the process of downloading the podcast or subscription to an automatic feed.

Podcasters’ Process
1. RECORDING
Under this process the content is recorded using a digital recorder.

2. EDITING
After recording, this content must be edited usually on a PC. The format usually used is WAVE FILE Format, which is file format for storing digital audio (waveform) data. To edit WAVE files, use can be made of Audacity open source software for recording and editing sounds. In order to create MP3 files, you can use Audacity or LAME( a free and open source MPEG-1 audio layer 3 (MP3) encoder.

3. HOSTING
After editing you must host your podcast on the Internet, using options such as Blast Podcast http://www.blastpodcast.com/, Podcaster hosting http://www.podcasterhosting.com/, Feedburner http://www.feedburner.com/ and iTunes. Podcast can end up on your website or your blog. If content is reserved for internal users only, you can consider hosting on your intranet.

4. PROMOTION
At the end of this process, you podcast is ready for downloading by users and you must take steps to promote it to your target audience. You can send out alerts any time a new podcasts is published. Also podcast can be delivered to end users on subscription system


End Users’ Process
There are three steps involved in setting up your personal computer to receive podcasts.
1. Install a podcast software
You need to install a podcast software(client) which basically searches for new content and and automatically deliver it to your computer. See List of podcasting software(clients) at http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html

2. Subscribe to podcasts
Once you have the software installed you need to subscribe to some podcasts.
How you do this will vary depending on which software you have chosen. Here is a rough guide to how this might work:

3. Listen to the audio or watch video
As soon as a new episode subscribed to is published online, your podcast software will automatically download it. You can watch or listen to this episode or transfer it to an appropriate player.

Direct Downloading
You have to visit the link with the podcast and download as well or make use make use of Podcatchers as well.



NOTES

The WAV files are edited using open source software from Audacity (WAVE File Format is a file format for storing digital audio (waveform) data. It supports a variety of bit resolutions, sample rates, and channels of audio. This format is very popular upon IBM PC (clone) platforms, and is widely used in professional programs that process digital audio waveforms. It takes into account some peculiarities of the Intel CPU such as little endian byte order)

AUDACITY - is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

LAME ((LAME is a free and open source MPEG-1 audio layer 3 (MP3) encoder. The name LAME is a recursive acronym for LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder, although the current version is, in fact, a stand-alone MP3 encoder.As of 2004, the general consensus is that LAME produces the highest-quality MP3 files for bitrates greater or equal to 128 kbit/s. In a public listening test early in 2004, LAME MP3 files were the best 128 kbit/s MP3 files compared to the uncompressed original audio.

Podcatcher(is a computer program used to automatically download podcasts. It is a form of aggregator, and can also transfer received audio files to a portable media player)

iTunes is a proprietary digital media player application, launched by Apple Computer on January 9, 2001 at MacWorld Expo San Francisco 2001 for playing and organizing digital music and video files. The program is also an interface to manage the music on Apple's popular iPod digital audio player. Additionally, iTunes can connect to the iTunes Music Store (sometimes referred to as "iTMS") which allows users to purchase digital music and movie files that can be played by iPods and iTunes.

RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. But it's not just for news. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS: the "recent changes" page of a wiki, a changelog of CVS checkins, even the revision history of a book. Once information about each item is in RSS format, an RSS-aware program can check the feed for changes and react to the changes in an appropriate way. RSS-aware programs called news aggregators are popular in the weblogging community. Many weblogs make content available in RSS. A news aggregator can help you keep up with all your favorite weblogs by checking their RSS feeds and displaying new items from each of them. http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/12/18/dive-into-xml.html

List of podcasting software(clients) http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html

Step by step guide to getting a podcast from BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/downloadtrial/podcast.shtml

Uses of podcasting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uses_of_podcasting

ends

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First African citizen media and blogging conference on 14 and 15 September 2006

Just saw this information today on the web, hope to participate in this meeting, it sounds exciting
First African citizen media and blogging conference on 14 and 15 September 2006
Africa's first blogging and citizen media Indaba - the Digital Citizen Indaba (DCI) on Blogging, has been officially announced and will take place in Grahamstown 14-15 September
What will follow in September are two days of informal discussions, excellent networking opportunities, active participation and skills-workshops run by experts from various fields including Ethan Zuckerman from Global Voices.
The event is hosted by the New Media Lab as part of Highway Africa 2006 and will take place in the Africa Media Matrix Building on Rhodes University Campus in Grahamstown, South Africa.
In true blogger style, attendance of the event is free, provided you can get here on your own steam and we are happy to help with travel arrangements.
If you would like to apply for sponsorship to attend the DCI and Highway Africa (this includes airfare, meals and accomodation), please fill in the scholarship application form.
There are a limited number of scholarships available for participation in the Highway Africa conference and the Digital Citizen Indaba. The scholarship is open to all African bloggers or citizen journalists. If you are selected for the scholarship, we will cover your airfare, accomodation, some of your meals and your conference fees. Application deadline: Tuesday 15 August 2006
Visit http://dci.ru.ac.za/ for more information

Ends

VOIP MEETING IN LAGOS

planning to participate in The third annual African VOIP Forum scheduled for Lagos from 19th to 23rd August 2006, it is a long time since my last visit to Lagos and I am looking forward to this visit
see more details about VOIP forum at http://new.aitecafrica.com/node/309