Nokia and ATU to speed up digital transformation and the knowledge economy in Africa

Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to drive digital transformation and the knowledge economy for socio-economic development across the continent.

The two parties will leverage the power of telecommunications, including 5G networks, to connect the unconnected and identify innovative use cases, as well as business models.

In addition, the MoU will lay ground for both organizations to better help governments shape telecom policy, develop talent and promote inclusion and diversity. This includes women, as well as the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas.
 
The MoU was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, by John OMO, Secretary General at ATU and Rajiv Aggarwal, Nokia Representative and Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia.
 
Announcing the partnership, Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We remain keen on supporting Africa’s digital transformation journey and by collaborating with the ATU, we strengthen this commitment. We will leverage our global technology expertise and insights on policy matters to positively impact the universal socio-economic development in the continent.”
 
Co-signing the MoU with Mr. Rajiv, John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said: “Our vision is to make Africa a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society by enabling universal access to ICT systems and services across Africa. Collaboration with a global industry leader such as Nokia is therefore crucial in this regard and will help us accelerate towards a digital transformation and knowledge economy.”
The MoU framework is guided by six tenets designed to facilitate this acceleration. These are:
•    Sharing of best practices on telecom technology trends and developments
•    Identification of innovative industrial use cases toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution
•    Recommendation on implementation of emerging technologies and business models
•    Promotion of connecting the unconnected with broadband
•    Development of emerging talent for digital innovation
•    Promotion of inclusion and diversity

Nokia has a long history of collaboration with international organizations and bodies across the globe. Regionally in MEA, Nokia recently partnered with UN Women to promote inclusion and diversity in Middle East and Africa.

Nokia is also working with UNICEF as part of a shared-value partnership in Kenya to connect schools with broadband and empower children in rural as well as disadvantaged urban areas.

In November 2020, Nokia supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.

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Nokia makes scholarships pledge of underrepresented communities in technology

Nokia announced the launch of a scholarship program aimed at providing greater opportunities for underrepresented communities in the technology industry. Working together with online learning and talent transformation platform Udacity and Blacks In Technology (BIT) Foundation, Nokia will offer over 300 scholarships, with a focus on empowering students and career changers from underrepresented communities.

The fully funded scholarships cover a range of core tech competencies, from cloud computing and programming to artificial intelligence and data science, and are available from introductory to advanced levels. The successful candidates will be able to select courses on topics such as AI Programming with Python, Java Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms, Intermediate Python, and Cloud DevOps Engineering.

The courses will be provided by Udacity, whose Nanodegree® programs are fully online and designed to be completed alongside further studies or full-time work, making them accessible to anyone regardless of their position or profession. Scholarships are open to applicants based anywhere in the world, to both students and industry professionals who wish to further develop their technology skills.

Scholarship recipients will also have access to support and networking provided by the BIT Foundation, including mentorship, tutoring, and post-completion career support resources. Nokia will also work closely with its African-American employee resource group ABLE (Advancing Black Leadership and Excellence) to further promote the initiative.

“We are committed to creating technology that helps the world act together, but to do so, the technology industry must reflect the world around us,” said Karoliina Loikkanen, Global Head of Sustainability at Nokia. “This initiative further expands our activities to drive greater inclusion and diversity through concrete actions that provide opportunities to underrepresented communities and individuals, irrespective of background or ethnicity. Education forms a key part of this. Diverse businesses are shown to perform better, and we intend to encourage students who successfully complete one of the programs to apply for positions within Nokia.”

“Education is one of the most important ways for us to help remove the barriers to diversity in tech. By providing access to resources that are designed to nurture and develop people’s skills, we can help get more Black talent into the technology space,” said Dennis Schultz, Executive Director at the BIT Foundation. “We are pleased to see major industry players like Nokia stepping up to the plate with Udacity and addressing the issue head-on in order to drive forward digital transformation and improve much-needed Black representation in tech.”

“We have joined forces with Nokia and Blacks In Technology Foundation because we believe that it is vital to continue to create opportunities for underrepresented groups to build careers in the field of technology,” said Gabe Dalporto, CEO at Udacity. “Democratizing access to digital skills training will create life-changing opportunities for people, and these scholarships will ensure we continue to take measurable steps to increase the participation of Black people in the technology sector.”

Applications are now open. For more information about the scholarship program and how to enter, visit: https://www.nokia.com/about-us/sustainability/improving-lives/tech-and-underrepresented-communities/

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Nokia unlocks unlicensed private wireless networks with the world’s first MulteFire solution

Recently Nokia mentioned that CBRS in the US leads the world on vertical spectrum and that Nokia is addressing this opportunity with some key partnerships and innovations. Nokia is now unlocking the global unlicensed spectrum with the industry first MulteFire 4.9G/LTE private wireless network solution. This solution features the industry’s first certified MulteFire device: the Nokia Industrial MulteFire router 700.  

The availability of licensed spectrum is often seen as a barrier to the deployment of new private wireless networks. While the situation has improved in quite a few countries, it is not yet ideal for all markets. When it comes to unlicensed spectrum, some countries allow the use of LTE-U on the unlicensed 5.8 GHz bands, which are traditionally used by Wi-Fi or wireless backhaul. But these bands are mainly used for static point-to-point applications and mobility is not allowed.

MulteFire now makes it possible to quickly set up and tear down a private LTE/4G network anywhere that Wi-Fi is allowed in 5.x GHz spectrum without worrying about spectrum availability, site footprint and boundaries, regulatory consent or licensing costs. It is a new very important option for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs), and we hope it will help take private wireless to the mass market.

Communication service providers (CSPs) should also rejoice because MulteFire gives them a tool to tap into the SME market and offers private wireless more easily in countries where they don’t own any spectrum. Value-added resellers and distributors will also find MulteFire private wireless networks to be an ideal fit for their high-volume models.

One of the cherries on the cake with MulteFire is the potential to add capacity to existing licensed networks by deploying a few extra MulteFire access points. These access points can use the existing core network and operations and maintenance (O&M) functions.

Finally, MulteFire opens-up many new segments that lack access to licensed spectrum for some of their use cases. For example, MulteFire could be used to build temporary networks for events, construction sites, broadcasting, public safety operations, defense sites or field operations.

The Nokia Industrial MulteFire router 700 can break free from deployment and regulatory constraints to reliably connect a broad and growing range of IoT and digital assets in areas such as:

  • Communications, including LAN, business- and mission-critical communications, Industrial Ethernet and Machine Type Communication (MTC)
  • Visual intelligence, including video surveillance, image recognition and video analytics
  • Asset insights, including tracking, predictive diagnostics and supply chain management
  • Cloud automation, including automated guided robots (AGRs) and vehicles (AGVs) and remote machine control

By opening the world, new uses and making private wireless easier for SME, MulteFire further enhances Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) plug & play and easy-of-use capabilities. The solution can be delivered using an as-a-service package approach with a quick set-up service and includes a catalog of applications. 

With such announcement, Nokia opens-up the field of the unlicensed spectrum to drive growing MulteFire ecosytem and pave the way for the future 5G NR-U market and use cases.