By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has urged young innovative Nigerians to monetise social media data into fortune for themselves.
Dr. Pantami spoke at the 29th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna.
He said, the possibility of extracting valuable insights from data present an interesting prospect for embracing datafication, adding that in many cases, these data mines can become a gold mine of resources.
He explained that “Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are modern day examples of those who have been able to mine data and transform the insights into fortune.”
He said, another unlikely example is the famous footballer known as Christiano Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo has mastered the art of monetising social media data even more than he has monetised his skills on the soccer field; he makes an estimated $47.8million (about 43.4milliin EUR) per year from paid-Instagram posts, which far exceeds his 31million EUR annual salary from Juventus,” he said.
Speaking on a theme: “Datafication of society: Economic and Security Issues in Producing and Using Public and Private Data in Nigeria”, Pantami noted that datafication of objects transforms their purpose and turns the information into new forms of value.
He said, with the ubiquity of sensors and Internet-of-Things, basically everything can be converted into data.
“From the sensors that count your steps and track your health vitals, to those that monitor air pollution, to those that assess the radiation from cell sites, to those that detect cracks on roads, to those that predict crop yield. The list of possibilities that sensors and datafication provide are seemingly endless,” he said
Listing the perils of big data, the Minister quoted a six-month study, by an Enterprise Security company called Proofpoint, and released in March 2019, over 70% of some major cloud service tenants have experienced the perils of data breaches at least once with 40% of the data subjects acknowledging that their accounts were compromised.
He said: “in Nigeria, we are developing and implementing policies, standards, guidelines and frameworks that will enable us enjoy the prospects of datafication while also protecting ourselves against the perils.”
Also speaking, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta said, the commission was working with the relevant industry stakeholders to ensure data affordability and price reduction.
“Despite the fact that Nigeria has one of the lowest data prices, to be honest with you, we did a presentation to the Minister in order to show consistency to hit the benchmark of the day on fairing a megabyte of data in Nigeria.
“But that is not to say the price is where it is at the moment so the word affordability is the upper most in our mind and that is why there is an ongoing scientific cost stake, which we hope will compel telecommunications operators to lower the cost of data.
“When the study is completed and subjected to the usual stakeholder engagement with critical stakeholders in the industry, we have to come up with two things; which are price flow and price count.
“The telecommunications company will be allowed to choose a price for data subject to the approval of the NCC.
“We hope that at the conclusion of this as well as we intend to sensitise Nigerians on the telecommunication companies they should patronise because the data speed is equally very important.
“We are going to do a cost of data to come up with a lower data price than what is been offered by the telecommunications operators,” he said.