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5G Explained: How Does it Work?



Image Credit: mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

The major remarkable elements observed in every new generation of wireless network are more functionalities and faster speed. The very first cell phone was ushered in by the first generation of wireless networks known as 1G. Faster speed and more functionality, like texting on the cell phone, was made possible by the 2G network. 3G network made online surfing possible, and the internet speed we enjoy today, is mostly as a result of the 4G network. 

As more users onboard online, and in view of the realities tied to the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution, the speed offered by the 4G network has been tilting towards the need for an upgrade. Hence, the emergence of the 5G network. 

What is 5G Technology?

5G Technology is the next generation of wireless networks. Its distinguishing quality lies in the fact that it is set to offer a speed that is 10x to 100x of what the 4G network offers. 

Imagine downloading an HD movie within the blink of an eye, or seeing YouTube videos as soon as you click on them. These are imaginations which 5G seeks to bring to reality. Other mind-blowing possibilities include virtual reality, self-driving cars, Internet of things (IoT), and many more. This next generation of wireless network is still at its infancy stage. As such, years of research are required to fully understand the potentials of this disruptive technology. 5G is the technology for the fourth industrial revolution, which will bring about the digitisation of virtually everything. This technology will bring smart schools, smart homes, smart cars and many other things into reality. 

5G Use Cases

5G technology possesses numerous use cases, but a few would be examined in this article. 

Improved Mobile Broadband 

This technology will offer unique faster data speeds and unimaginable throughput for worldwide connectivity. New things like fixed wireless internet access for homes, easy and efficient connectivity for people and outdoor broadcast applications that require no van will be available through 5G technology.

Machine to Machine Communication (M2M)

5G technology will play a significant role in the non-human connection of billions of devices, at a rate that has never been seen in human history. This is the main objective of the Internet of Things (IoT). This use case will revolutionize modern industrial processes and applications.

Super-reliable Low Latency Communications.

Low latency is one of the unique attributes of 5G technology. 3G has a latency of 100 milliseconds, 4G responds to commands within 30 milliseconds but with 5G, it involves a latency of 1 millisecond— a speed that can be likened to the flash of a light. This attribute of 5G technology will be applied in critical missions such as real-time control of devices such as drones, industrial Robotics and autopilot cars. It can also be applied in the medical sector, in areas like remote medical procedures, treatment and care. 

How 5G technology Works

Image Credit: mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

For the meantime, 5G network may not fully serve as a standalone network in the sense that some network providers may choose to integrate it with 4G networks for effective and continuous connections. 4G and Wi-Fi networks make use of radio waves and the frequencies obtainable are lower than what can power several devices at a faster rate. 

5G technology makes use of millimeter waves which use high frequencies which range from 30 – 300 gigahertz. Millimeter waves have wavelengths that vary from 1 to 10 millimeters. In spite of the high frequency of millimeter waves, these waves often have a problem of easy absorbance by foliage and buildings. This means that many closely spaced stations will be needed. These closely spaced stations are called small cells. Massive MIMO increases the number of antenna ports in each base station. MIMO here stands for Multiple-input multiple-output. Massive MIMO and Millimeter waves are the major technologies 5G will rely on to deliver lower latency and higher data rate. 

The 5G network is classified into three band speeds known as low, mid and high band speed. Low band has the widest coverage as it can cover hundreds of square miles, but it has the slowest speed. Mid band has lower coverage than low band, but it drives a higher speed. A high band, also referred to as millimeter waves, offers the fastest speed but has the least coverage. With the low band, you can achieve a speed of 30 – 250 megabits per second, mid band can give a speed of 100 – 900 megabits per second. The high band can give a breathtaking speed of 1 – 3 gigabits per second. This simply means that you can download full seasonal movies within a second. 

In Conclusion

It is very clear that 5G technology will bring a massive change in the way we interact with the media, things and people, but, this change will not happen overnight.


Blockchain Technology

How blockchain can bridge the trust gap in governance



Governments and authority figures have existed throughout history to serve many purposes amongst which trust is central. In matters of social and economic concern, some form of trust and/or distrust has enabled people in all cultures across all times to transact and interact, to exchange value and advance cultural agenda. This is so important that our very concept of money is built on trust or value induced by trust.

However, for most of history up till now, authorities have wielded central power and that has always been an avenue for corruption, a lack of transparency which leads to wastage of resources and spirals down to a lack of trust by a populace in the authority over them. Evidently, this is paradoxical, the governments are to be trusted by virtue of the authority given to them but it’s this centralization that ends up upending it down the line.

Evidently, many people in many countries do not trust governments to do things the way they say they’d do them. The question is, what can a hypothetical government do about massive distrust from citizenry?

Enter the blockchain. As with many things, technology often has something to offer. The blockchain which underlies cryptocurrencies like most famously, Bitcoin, has been imbued with a certain peculiar philosophy; one of democratization. Although this is more of a mantra within crypto circles, it’s not difficult to see why. First is the blockchain’s nature; distributed ledger built on cryptography with certain features which make it functionally immutable. It’s most famous and defining uses have been with crypto but it could be so much more. A record keeping system for example, one that would be immutable and most importantly, transparent, open to all to see.

So, in the administration of nation states, blockchain technology has the ability to fit into a lot of places. The main idea is to be able to carve out trust from distrust i.e. the apparent reality of being watched and having all records secure is an incentive for governments to act transparently. In some use cases, governments (as well as private businesses of course) could leverage smart contracts, a task built into a blockchain that’s executed when the conditions specified are met. These systems in governance would undoubtedly improve transparency, cut down on corruption as well as its accompanying wastes and overall be more efficient.

So, will we see a trend where governments would like to use blockchain technology? Overall, this is for now unlikely. World governments, it would seem, do not understand blockchains very well and hence are apprehensive about them even to the point of banning the cryptocurrencies built on them. At the end of the day, the use of blockchain at the governmental level of any nation depends on the nation’s own unique set of problems and issues. All in all, the next few years will be interesting no doubt in this regard.

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Africa Blockchain Institute

Africa Blockchain Institute Organized The First African Blockchain Summer Bootcamp For Teenagers In Ghana



In the spirit of catching them young, the Africa Blockchain Institute organized the first-ever Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for teenagers (age range 13 to 19 years old). A successful Bootcamp, according to the participants’ testimonials and stakeholders, held at the OpenLabs, Ring Road, Accra Ghana, between Monday 2nd August, and Friday 6th August 2021. 

The teenagers applied from across Africa, and selected participants all converged at the OpenLabs, Ghana, for an intensive five days of learning, interacting, and implementing personal  Blockchain projects. The participants were divided into three significant tracks, thus; Blockchain Development, Blockchain for Creatives and Blockchain Entrepreneurship. 

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by Africa Blockchain Institute

Across these three tracks, the teenagers learnt introductory units to Blockchain Development for societal challenges, Blockchain evangelism, Non-Fungible Tokens, and how Cryptocurrency works. Another highlight of the program was the excursion to the Accra Digital Centre, where the Boot Campers were introduced to the tech ecosystem and feel of the Ghana Tech Lab and Accra Innovation Hub spaces. A visit was also made to the Museum of Science and Technology, and the teenagers got to understand the history of technology in Ghana. 

Worthy of mention was the panel session aimed at motivating the students to pursue a career in technology. While making his comments during the panel session, the founder of BankLess Africa, Mr. Muntala Mohammed Shaibu, urged the teenagers to stop seeing themselves as too young to experiment with new technologies. In her remarks, Ms. Elohor Thomas, CEO & Co-Founder of CodeLn, urged the teenagers to continue to explore their interest in technology and blockchain early.

Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI
Panel Session, Blockchain Summer Bootcamp for Teens by ABI

The Bootcamp ended with personal project presentations from the Blockchain Development and the Blockchain for Creatives & Entrepreneurship tracks. Projects such as NFT blogposts, Blockchain product reviews and Blockchain for transport and logistics were presented. The best presentation won the OpenLabs scholarship for Robotics Course. Thanks to Dr Sujith Jayaprakash, the Director of OpenLabs, Ghana, for the offer of scholarship. In his closing remark, the Executive Director of the Africa Blockchain Institute, Mr. Kayode Babarinde, urged the teenagers to continue using the  skills and knowledge gained during Bootcamp to explore Blockchain-related solutions further. We also appreciate Mr. Ganzaro Omar, Chairman, AfroBlocks, for his supports, and fostering collaborations with the Ghanian Blockchain community.

The Africa Blockchain Institute will continue to hold future Blockchain Summer Bootcamp series in various African cities to drive Blockchain knowledge into innovators early enough. 

Oluwaseun David ADEPOJU

Head of Research,

Africa Blockchain Institute. 


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Artificial Intelligence

How AI Is Helping Fintechs Provide Intelligent And Better Financial Services



AI fintech services

We live in an era of data. In today’s world, data is the new gold. The quality of services now significantly depends on how much insight can be extracted from data to help in the creation of the services. For fintech organizations, building services that harness the power of data and artificial intelligence has now become necessary to ensure that the services are tailored to meet the needs of customers. Artificial intelligence is now being used in various ways to help fintech companies provide intelligent and improved services. Some of the major areas of AI application in fintech are discussed in this article.

Risk Assessment

From insurance companies to banks and other fintech institutions, assessing credit worthiness and estimating the level of risk associated with every transaction has become very crucial. Now, many fintech companies employ the use of AI in determining the credit profiles of clients which helps to minimize financial losses when customers fail to repay loans or meet other financial commitments. 

Predicting and preventing fraudulent transactions is another challenge that fintechs are using AI to solve. Using machine learning algorithms, fintech organizations are able to build more accurate fraud detection mechanisms to curb the activities of scammers. The advantage of using machine learning for fraud detection in financial systems is that the machine learning model can learn from the financial data by itself. Thus, it is able to uncover hidden patterns and make a more robust prediction compared to traditional fraud detection algorithms. AI-based fraud detection algorithms can also be used to verify insurance claims and flag fraudulent ones. 

Churn Prediction

Customer churn is an important Key Performance Index (KPI) for any organisation. Preventing customer churn is aimpoaaaustomers and improve customer engagement. Many fintechs across the world now use AI to increase customer retention by understanding customer behaviour and making data-driven decisions to retain the audience of customers.

Intelligent Customer Service

Customer service is an aspect of fintech that has been significantly transformed by AI. The use of AI in this area has drastically reduced the need for human customer care representatives and the cost associated with employing these representatives. With AI, more customers can be attended to more efficiently via chatbots, virtual assistants etc. 

Chatbots are, particularly, one of the most common uses of AI in fintech customer service. Chatbots are sophisticated conversational AI applications that can engage with customers, address complaints and basically fill in the gap of a human employee. Chatbots have now become faster and easier means for customers to fix issues they have while using fintech services.

The Future of Fintech With AI

The use of AI in financial technology extends beyond risk assessment, churn prediction and intelligent customer service. Areas like payment processing and sentiment analysis are also being transformed by AI. Organizations like MasterCard and Visa have been able to improve the quality of their services by leveraging AI to achieve this. Personalized banking and financial services will define the future of financial technology. Better experiences will be developed for each customer in a unique and personalized manner. This may be impossible without AI. The future of fintech is geared towards smarter and more intelligent services, with AI steering the wheel to this future.

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