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Driving Housing With Technology

The demand for housing, especially in developing countries, has remained a source of concern, globally. This is why the United Nations set aside the first Monday in October yearly, to draw attention to the state of housing in towns, cities and communities. Experts are convinced that with a rapidly increasing global population, housing provision may have gone beyond the conventional way of getting it done; hence, the need to further embrace technology in housing delivery.

Faculty of Housing of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers’ (NIESV) has taken the lead in initiatives aimed at deploying modern technologies, such as dry construction, said to have capacity to deliver an average of 500 housing units in three months.

IT was a gathering of eggheads in the built environment.The meeting, which has become a yearly ritual is aimed at finding lasting solution to the hydra-headed problem of insufficient housing,  globally.

Last Monday, in line with the setting aside of every first Monday in October by the United Nations (UN), an initiative that started in Kenya, 1986, stakeholders gathered in Lagos to celebrate the World Habitat Day.

At present, Nigeria is said to have a 17 million housing stock deficit; others contend that the figure may be more given that the same number has been bandided for over a decade.

It was, therefore instructive, when at this years’s celebration, the Chairman, Housing Faculty of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV), Chief Chika Okafor, said: “It is high time we  moved away from brick and mortar and embrace new methods that cut down on time, space, size and make affordability easier.”

According to him, for the country to achieve any meaningful progress in meeting the housing needs of her citizens, there is the urgent need to deploy industrialised housing solutions, which allow for mass production of hundreds of houses within a short period of three months.

Okafor made it known that gone were the days when the government could cite the vagaries of weather or paucity of funds as a limiting factor to construction. He said estate surveyors and the association were ready to offer quality advocacy, or ideas on the importance of housing and affordable housing delivery.

“We are determined to drive the process of affordable housing as we have taken it upon ourselves to encourage research into the varying broad ramifications of housing as a generic core subject and curriculum of national importance by identifying housing models, financing and affordability within conducive and congenial framework that facilitates progress both in the housing process and its delivery,” he said.

He advocated for the separation of the Housing ministry from Works or any ministry, was emphatic on the importance of  housing to human needs, hence the need to accord it the deserved attention by the government. Besides, he canvassed that access to land for housing be made less cumbersome, in addition to quick access to legal title to such land.

Others are reducing housing cost through modern and construction techniques; perfection of title registration and perfection through simplified and harmonised process to make it less expensive, timely and secure; provision of adequate infrastructure facilities and relaxation of the various conditions required for land allocation and title perfection; review of National Housing Fund Act to increase the Statutorily  contribution and participation level; 50 per cent of  recovered fund  by EFCC should be channeled to the provision of affordable housing; government should seek to achieve the Singaporean model by changing the perception of housing; engage professionals in housing delivery.

In similar vein, a former Secretary, NIESV Housing Faculty, Casmir Anyanwu, reiterated that the nation needed to move from brick and mortar because it is not only capital intensive but time consuming.

He was emphatic that the gap in the housing stock could not be met with such old methodology in housing production. He therefore suggested the deployment of “dry construction” technology, where housing components are manufactured and packed in cartons and can be assembled within weeks to build a house. This technology obtains in the middle East and very recently too.

“Housing production should be made a commodity with full industrialisation. It should serve as a source of job creation and economic fortification to arrest urban decay by reducing housing cost through modern trends,’’ Anyanwu said.

NIESV First National Vice President,   Emma Wike, underscored the rights of citizens to decent and affordable housing. He asked that both the Federal and state governments should come up with solution to redress the housing shortage

He said: “The Federal Government should give the housing sector the deserved attention and grant it an intervention fund as was done in aviation, agriculture, banking and recently the film industry. Since most of the recovered loot from public officials and politicians are mostly from houses bought or constructed with public funds, it will not be a bad idea for the government to stake 50 per cent of the recovered loot to invest into industrial housing provision to enable the majority of the people have access to decent housing.”

Afolabi Adedeji, an engineer, also supported the call for a new direction in housing provision. He canvassed the need to embrace modern technologies to bridge the housing gap.  He asked for the government to take the lead to make housing ownership.

Source: thenationonlineng

To Optimize Construction Tech, Stakeholders Must Synchronize

As most contractors become more comfortable with technology, project management solutions like Procore Project Management and Autodesk’s BIM 360 have emerged as some of the industry’s most valuable tools. As it turns out, though, the benefits of using this software can be lessened when owners adopt their own project management systems without coordinating that decision with their contractors.

This is according to the “Connecting Owners and Contractors: How Technology Drives Connected Construction” study by Dodge Data & Analytics, conducted in partnership with another project management software provider, e-Builder by Trimble. When contractors and owners use different, disconnected systems, contractors often find themselves doing double duty trying to maintain data for both, potentially sacrificing a high level of productivity and even accuracy in the flow of work in the process.

Of course, the resulting higher costs, greater risks and schedule delays that can come with having to process RFIs, invoices and submittals this way are unintended but still impactful to the owner and contractor, to their relationship and ultimately to the project’s success.

And none of this has been lost on the contractors and owners who participated in the study. Dodge and e-Builder found that:

  • 42% of contractors use both the owner’s project management system in addition to their own, which has led to higher risk as they duplicate efforts.
  • 73% of contractors report medium or high impact on the productivity of workers due to double entry of construction data, with 62% of contractors reporting that this impacts their rate of data entry errors, and 70% saying it slowed the flow of information.
  • 45% of respondents are satisfied with the current state of data connectedness, but 65% of owners and 51% of contractors see high or very high value in using a shared, collaborative data platform.

So, what are a contractor’s options here? Go along with the owner’s demands? Continue using an unwieldy system that increases the risk of errors and, potentially, litigation down the road?

“I think the findings make it clear that the contractors have already made that decision,” said Donna Laquidara-Carr, industry insights research director at Dodge. “Only 6% refuse to use the owners’ system, and the highest percentage (42%) believe double entry, despite the pain it causes, is the best solution.”

Having ready access to the owner’s information does provide some benefits, like increased transparency and getting paid faster, but Laquidara-Carr said the best of both worlds would see contractors and owners be able to reap the benefits of being connected without having to engage in the double entry of information.

But if contractors aren’t happy about being required to use the owner’s project management information system (PMIS), they should speak up about how difficult such a setup can potentially be, said Laquidara-Carr.  “[The study] clearly revealed that many owners are unaware of the challenges that contractors face when forced to use an owner’s PMIS rather than their own, with 45% saying that contractors face no increased risk in doing so. Contractors must be able to have these conversations with the owner for owners to understand the impact.”

The integration of data is something that many tech companies like Procore and Autodesk are focusing on, and Chris Bell, vice president of marketing at e-Builder, said the company can now offer that convenience with e-Builder Enterprise for owners and Trimble Project Sight for contractors. “[These two solutions] can integrate,” he said, “to become one construction management platform for a project and allow information exchange between systems so that each party can own their own data.”

Source – ConstructionDive

What You Need to Know About Rwanda’s Launch of the First ‘Made in Africa’ Smartphones

Rwanda’s Mara Group launched two smartphones on Monday, describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models and giving a boost to the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

The Mara X and Mara Z will use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs ($190) and 120,250 Rwandan francs ($130) respectively.

They will compete with Samsung, whose cheapest smartphone costs 50,000 Rwandan francs ($54), and non-branded phones at 35,000 Rwandan francs ($37). Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar said it was targetting customers willing to pay more for quality.

“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” Thakkar told Reuters after touring the company alongside Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa, but import the components, he said.

“We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process,” he said. “There are over 1,000 pieces per phone.”

Thakkar said the plant had cost $24 million and could make 1,200 phones per day.

Mara Group hopes to profit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a pact aimed at forming a 55-nation trade bloc, to boost sales across Africa, Thakkar said.

The agreement is due to begin trading in July next year, aiming to unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. But it is still in the very early stages and no timelines have been agreed for abolishing tariffs.

Kagame said he hoped the phone would increase Rwanda’s smartphone usage, currently at around 15%.

“Rwandans are already using smartphones but we want to enable many more. The introduction of Mara phones will put smartphones ownership within reach of more Rwandans,” Kagame said.

Source: cnbcafrica

How Technology Is Influencing The Future of Food and Housing – Whilst Respecting The Environment

Agriculture is facing a historical challenge. In the next 30 years, food demand will increase by 70 %.

Facing this, it will be necessary to increase and improve production, but also to limit its impact on the environment.

Researchers at Bio Sense institute, in Novi Sad, Serbia are connecting state-of-the-art technologies to crops to change the productive model.

Their mantra: “we cannot feed today’s world with yesterday agriculture”.

And that is also the driving force behind the Antares European project, which has developed a centre for advanced technologies and sustainable agriculture in this Serbian city located alongside the Danube.

The Research Institute for Information Technologies in Biosystems is part of a European funded programme to widen the participation of member states and associated countries who are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation.

The Digital Farm

Agriculture of the future will use advanced technologies, such as sensors, robots, drones, big data and satellite imagery.

“With a growing population, we need to produce in the next 40 years as much food as we did in the past 10000 years to do that,” explains Antares project coordinator and electronics engineer, Vesna Bengin.

“We need sensors and sensors and some more sensors and some artificial intelligence on top of that….to make our culture more efficient.”

Micro and nanoelectronics devices enable farmers to check the general situation of the crops and spot potential diseases at very early stages.

“Soil sensors will give you the information when to irrigate and then not so you can diminish the amount of water that is used for the irrigation process,” says Goran Kitić, the head of the nano-micro-electronics laboratory at the Biosense institute.

“But also we’re developing some sort of solutions that tell you how much of the food for the plant is in the soil how much nitrogen is in disarray.”

Several ‘Digital Farm’ pilot projects have already been launched in Serbia.

“Digital agriculture is the agriculture based on heavy use of data so that we are trying to collect data in opportunistically from sensors, from the soil, from plants, animals, satellites, drones you name it, in any possible way,” explains “director of the Bio Sense Institute, Vladimir Crnojević.

“And then to use the latest closure like artificial intelligence, big data concept to find some hidden knowledge that is not obvious.”

The Agrosense platform

The virtual counterpart of the Digital Farm is the Agrosense platform.

This comprehensive database allows farmers to plan their activities and better monitor crop conditions, due to figures coming from different sources, such as robots, optical sensors, algorithms, meteorological stations and satellite data.

“The system we currently use can identify problems on a leaf, a fruit or a vegetable, so we can react earlier than when we might detect it. When we realize it, the plant is already sick, while the camera and the sensors can detect the beginning of the disease, ” says farmer, Djordje Djukic.

Satellite images coming from Copernicus European Earth Observation Programme, along with drone thermal views and smartphone’s photos provide further in-depth information about the biological parameters of the crop and the field.

Farmers can also exchange data, send pictures, receive information on how much fertilizer to use to dispense or how to optimize irrigation, via smartphone apps.

Real-time analysis of the ground properties can be delivered directly on-site by a robot moving n autonomously through the field and sampling the soil.

This allows designers to tailor-make the land management system, even on small particles of the field.

The resurgence of wood

The construction sector worldwide is responsible for one-third of all the CO2 emissions and 40% of all the wastes.

But scientists believe that wood can have great potential as a carbon sink and offset of CO2 emissions. Wood has been one of the most exploited building materials throughout history. Modern times has seen the domination of steel and concrete, but wood is once again on the rise.

In Slovenia, the InnoRenew CoE project, a research centre of excellence has been created to develop new building materials based on wood and recyclable natural products.”

Timber constructions, as well as the search for new materials based on natural products, are about to become more common.

“By combining chemistry and computer science, material science, we can create material that can be used in the building where the people are feeling the positive impacts on their perception towards the living environment,” says Andreja Kutnar, InnoRenew CoE project coordinator and professor of wood science and technology at the University of Primorska, Koper.

“it’s very sustainable …because when we cut the tree at the same time we plant another one”

Wood modification processes also allow desired properties to be produced by means of chemical, biological or physical agents. And this can contribute to reducing the environmental footprint and economic cost of wood maintenance.

“Wood is basically the champion of all the renewable material. It’s not only it’s carbon neutral it’s actually carbon negative. So basically when you make a wooden house not only you didn’t really emit any CO2 we were actually storing it in the construction itself,” says Iztok Šušteršič , a research group leader at the Innorenew Centre of Excellence (CoE).

Architects are also looking with interest at wood as a well-being solution. A topic of our interest is its connection to the well-being of people. “How buildings can reduce stress. How it can improve health,” says Eva Prelovšek Niemelä, an architect at Innorenew CoE.

Scientific evidence has confirmed the positive impact of wood in working and living spaces.

Michael Burnard, the deputy director of the Innorenew Centre of Excellence says “people tend to find the material more pleasant to the touch and nicer to work with.”

Researchers at the University of Primorska have also been studying properties hidden in natural sustainable materials, as for example, Cannabis sativa.

Its fibres are undergoing a renaissance within the construction sector, because of their mechanical properties

“What is interesting is the mechanical performance of its fibres, which are almost similar to glass fibres,” explains Laetitia Marrot, a researcher, at the Innorenew CoE.

“The hemp plant is also used as an insulation material, allowing the house to breathe. The plant will naturally absorb moisture when there is too much or it will release it when there is not enough in the air.”

Pairing the construction sector with sustainable forestry management could generate a whole slew of additional economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Source: euronews

How Technology Could Boost Affordable Housing Supply

With the housing crisis proliferating throughout California, many experts are proposing solutions, from more development to grants to design solutions.

According to Jerry Cohen of AppFolio, technology should certainly be part of the conversation. Affordable housing is among the most challenging properties to manage, and the efficiency created through technology could make it a more attractive asset class.

“Affordable housing programs are incredibly important and are some of the most complex types of properties to manage.

Affordable housing programs come with a stringent set of regulations that must be adhered to by property owners and operators—it’s an entirely different beast from conventional residential housing, requiring a great deal more compliance with local and federal guidelines.

Luckily, modern technology gives property managers more visibility and transparency when it comes to operations across their affordable housing program portfolios,” Cohen, lead project manager of affordable housing at AppFolio, tells GlobeSt.com.

“It helps them to stay compliant with regulations and facilitates better communication, cross-sites. The leasing process, alone, which already has many moving parts, is ten times as difficult to navigate for affordable housing units.”

Source: globest

Lessons Nigeria’s next ICT Chief can learn from Rwanda’s Akamanzi

While the trio of South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are busy jostling for the position of top tech funding destination year on year amidst economic headwinds and poor governance indices, Rwanda is steadily rising as the country with the most profitable commercial hub, thanks to its very impressive ease of doing business environment.

Unlike South Africa occupying the 82nd position, Kenya at 61st and Nigeria at 146th, Rwanda is ranked 29th globally in the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business Report’. Aside from its strides in ease of doing business, the country once scarred by genocide, now also has a lenient visa policy that has put it miles ahead of peers in investors’ estimation.

Much of that accolade goes to the work being done by the Rwanda Development Board under Clare Akamanzi. The Ugandan-born Akamanzi may not be Rwanda’s minister of information and communication technology (ICT), but in her capacity as the chief executive officer of Rwanda Development Board, she is arguably one of the most influential public officials in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of her efforts to position the country as the innovation hub of Africa.

Under her stewardship, Andela, which originally launched in Nigeria, announced it was opening a pan-African tech hub in Kigali and moved quite a significant part of its major operations to the capital city.

“In Kigali, we have found a location that makes travel to-and-from other African countries seamless and also has modern and connected infrastructure we require to collaborate with a global workforce,” said Jeremy Johnson, CEO of Andela during the opening of the hub in Kigali.

Similarly, CcHub, one of the pioneers of Nigeria’s innovation centers, also launched its new design lab in Rwanda. The lab has since nearly become its central base of operations as the company now holds most of its major meetings there. For instance, the lab played host to the first ever Technology & Creative Industry ecosystem meetup on AfCFTA which Akamanzi alongside Oby Ezekwesili, former vice president of the World Bank group on Africa region, attended.

Born in Uganda to Rwandan refugee parents in 1979, Akamanzi probably understands a few things about negotiation and transformation. She began her career in 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) headquarters. The government of Rwanda appointed her as a diplomat and special trade negotiator at the WTO. later, she transferred to the Rwandan embassy in London, as the commercial diplomat. She was appointed as CEO of Rwanda Development Board in 2017. Here we highlight some of her qualities that could come in handy for the incoming minister of ICT.

Prioritize goal-setting

As a public servant and a cabinet member, one of the things Akamanzi understood early enough – which Nigeria’s incoming minister of ICT can borrow a leaf from – is goal-setting.

“We didn’t have the natural resources to finance our development but we had the vision. Our vision is to build Rwanda as an entry point for everyone who wants to do business in Africa,” she said during the AfCFTA meetup on Thursday, 15 August 2019. “We said we were going to be a middle-income country and become competitive in some areas.”

Eyes on quick fixes

According to the CEO, “We didn’t have the big market, but knew what will make us different is how quickly and well we respond to businesses.

“We decided to isolate things that we felt we had control over and things that we didn’t have control over. For instance, if we wanted to build an airport that could contain 5 million people, we didn’t have the means to do that immediately, but we had the means to become efficient as a country for us to be able to deliver services quickly, for us to become competitive in the efficiency side of government. These were something we thought was in our means.”

Akamanzi understood the strength and weakness of her country. She also knew what needed to be done both in the short term and in the long term. Her fixation and communication of the goal contributed to German auto manufacturing company, Volkswagen setting up its first African car-assembly plant in Kigali. The $20 million operation is expected to integrate a mobility solution that offers cas sharing and ride-hailing systems.

Her ability to see the future of Rwanda also meant some risks were necessary.

“We wanted to build Rwanda as a country for proof-of-concepts, meaning an environment where you can prove your innovation and if it works, you can try it out anywhere in the world,” she said.

Source: businessdayng

Why we must innovate now with housing to shape a better future

The world is an increasingly complex, rapidly changing and volatile place and people talk about the uncertainty of the future a lot.

However, there is a lot we already know about the likely themes of the future. We can’t predict all of it, but we can play our part in inventing the future by what actions we take now.

The future is not tomorrow, but starts today. Are we doing enough to innovate now to influence the future?

In practice, that means we will need to look more forensically at our existing and new homes, developments and places, and take action now to improve their sustainability and our long-term impact on the environment.

From enhancing energy efficiency and implementing new technologies, through to adopting innovative construction methods such as offsite manufacturing, there are many opportunities that we could and should pursue that could help to shape a greener future for all.

We have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for people looking for a home.

To be sustainable, communities need a choice of homes in a mix of tenures and at several price points.

So our focus should continue to be on housing numbers, but also types and tenures.

This includes investing in shared ownership and starter homes to give people the extra support they need to get onto the housing ladder, regardless of their age, financial circumstances or background.

We also know that our population is ageing fast, so we must find ways to ensure there is sufficient high-quality housing for the older generation.

Developing retirement properties that can meet the changing needs and expectations of older people will make a positive contribution to the wider housing market as well as local communities.

Increasingly, that will require us to alter the way we plan our cities, towns and villages, including paving the way for more retirement villages that improve the quality and experience of later life.

“If we don’t take the necessary steps now, experiment and be more proactive in our approach to housing delivery, we could face risks and missed opportunities”

This and housing for young people is also part of the answer to regenerating our emptying town centres.

Addressing these types of challenges isn’t easy, and there is still a lot to learn and implement. But if we don’t take the necessary steps now, experiment and be more proactive in our approach to housing delivery, we could face risks and missed opportunities.

Ultimately, the future is largely moulded by our actions now, so we should not be surprised by what it brings, whether that is positive or negative.

That is why our focus must be on learning what we need to do now to shape the best possible housing outcomes, including environmentally sustainable developments and high-quality thriving places that can meet the needs of all generations.

We can all do our part to invent the future by starting now.

David Cowans, group chief executive, Places for People

Investing in Technology and Real Estate

Investment in technology for real estate, also known as “proptech,” has seen exponential growth in the past decade. In 2010, only a handful of companies invested about $25 million in technology; a mere 8 years later that amount had surpassed $12 billion – a 400-fold increase. Having watched technology-based start-ups upend the transportation and hotel industries for years, investors are starting to realize that there is significant opportunity and incentive to continue to invest heavily in proptech for the foreseeable future.

Firstly, the sheer size of the real estate market is staggering – after all real estate is the largest asset class in the world. The residential real estate sector alone transacts nearly $1.5 trillion in sales annually, while commercial transactions contribute a hefty $2 trillion per year. While this considerable volume on its own should be sufficiently enticing for investors, the fact that real estate has not experienced the same degree of technological innovation as other industries provides an added incentive.

While the emergence of companies such as Compass, Opendoor, Redfin and Zillow have served to further meld real estate and technology, there still remains ample opportunity for growth.  Specifically, segments within real estate, such as appraisals, mortgages, co-working, co-living, retail space and building management have lagged behind in the race to develop and implement software that could enhance their efficiency, thereby providing start-ups with opportunities to incorporate technology within these real estate sectors.

The concept of a technology company operating as a real estate brokerage is nothing new – in fact there are dozens of players, big and small currently in the market.  Compass has distinguished itself from its competitors by ensuring that the Client-Agent relationship always comes first.  To better serve its clients, Compass has built the first modern real estate platform, pairing top talent with technology to make the search and sell experience intelligent and seamless.

To maintain its technological advantage, Compass is constantly innovating and enhancing its already comprehensive suite of services. One of its creations is the “Compass Collection,” a collaborative platform for buyers and agents to review new and “coming soon” listings in real time, allowing the buyer a more integrated experience when searching for homes.

Compass has employed the strategy of utilizing its competitive market advantages, which are its technology, its people, superior marketing and access to capital, to ensure that it is able to entice the best professionals, from agents to engineers, to join its ranks.  While most of its new hires are still agents, to ensure seamlessness between agents, clients and technology, Compass has significantly increased the number of technology personnel.

Compass is one of only two real estate tech companies that have been able to raise over $1 billion in equity. Strategic use of these funds in technology and people has seen a substantial increase in transaction volume and consequently revenue, resulting in its meteoric rise to become the third-largest brokerage in the U.S. in under a decade. This is especially impressive when taking into consideration that the real estate sector has traditionally had a handful of big players that have retained a firm grip over the market.

Compass’ modern, sleek and luxury branding, combined with its cemented status as a technology-driven brokerage has resulted in not just investor interest, but also from sellers and buyers looking to utilize modern methods to enhance their real estate experience. Compass’ rise to prominence is a reflection of the market demonstrating that real estate brokerages that invest heavily in technology will be rewarded with an increased sales volume – which undoubtedly means that technology will continue to shape the future of the real estate industry.

Source: washingtonblade

Kenya Ranked Top Tech Hub in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya has been ranked the second leading innovation hub in sub-Saharan Africa by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in its latest Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019 report.

Kenya’s so-called Silicon Savannah only trails upper middle income economy South Africa, with Mauritius coming third.

“Kenya has a track record for recording high levels of innovation, outperforming on levels of innovation relative to GDP for the ninth consecutive year, an excellent record at par with other lower-middle-income countries like India, the Republic of Moldova, and Vietnam,” reads the report.

Kenya’s innovative strength has been attributed to startups’ easy access to credit and microfinance loans.

“As in previous years, Africa shines in terms of innovation relative to level of development. Out of the 18 innovation achievers identified in the GII 2019, six (the most from any one region) are from the sub-Saharan African region,” says the report.

“Importantly, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar stand out for being innovation achievers at least three times in the previous eight years.”

When comparing levels of innovation to the level of economic development, India, Vietnam, Kenya, and the Republic of Moldova stand out for outperforming on innovation relative to GDP for the ninth consecutive year, which is a new record.

Noting that the geography of innovation is shifting from high-income to middle-income economies, the report nonetheless points out that innovation expenditures remain concentrated in a few economies and regions. Also, the survey adds that moving from a successful middle-income economy with innovation potential into an innovation powerhouse remains a big challenge thanks to “an impermeable innovation glass ceiling” that divides middle and high-income economies.

Most of the drive to break through that ceiling comes from China and to some extent India, Brazil, and Russia.

The research also points out differences in the effectiveness of economies in “translating innovation inputs into innovation outputs”. Some economies, it says, simply achieve more with less, with such discrepancy existing even among high-income economies.

“While Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden effectively translate their innovation inputs into a higher level of outputs. Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, for example, produce lower levels of output relative to their innovation inputs,” says the study.

The report further notes that assessing the quality, rather than only the quantity, of innovation inputs and outputs has become an overarching concern to the innovation community.

The GII makes an attempt at measuring innovation quality by looking at the standards of local universities, the internationalisation of patented inventions and the quality of scientific publications.

Taking into account these parameters among the high-income economies, the United Sates regains the top rank, ahead of Japan, which drops to third place this year. For the first time, Germany has moved up to second.

Globally, Switzerland continues to be the leading innovation hub in 2019 followed by Sweden and US respectively. South Africa was ranked 63, Kenya at 77, and Mauritius at number 82 globally.

Overall, the survey notes that innovation is blossoming around the world. In developed and developing economies alike, formal innovation as measured by research and development and patents — and less formal modes of innovation are thriving.

“Today, developed and developing economies of all types promote innovation to achieve economic and social development. It is now also better understood that innovation is taking place in all realms of the economy, not only in high-tech companies and technology sectors. As a result, economies are firmly centering their attention on the creation and upkeep of sound and dynamic innovation ecosystems and networks,” says the report.

There are, however, challenges that prevent the benefits of new advances in technology in one region from having a widespread impact across the globe.

The GII survey says increased protectionism that impacts technology-intensive sectors and knowledge flows, poses risks to global “innovation networks and innovation diffusion”. If left uncontained, these new obstacles to international trade, investment, and workforce mobility will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity across the globe, the report warns.

“Waning public support for research and development in high-income economies is concerning given its central role in funding basic projects and other blue sky research, which are key to future innovations— including for health innovation.”

However, the research believes that in the years to come, medical innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile health applications will transform the delivery of healthcare in both developed and emerging nations.

Source: businessdailyafrica

How Technology Can Help Housing Sector Development in Nigeria

In the housing sector, demand far outpaces supply. As the world’s population expands, finding suitable accommodation is a global problem. According to the World Resources Institute, the global affordable housing gap is estimated at 330 million households… and that’s just in urban environments. By 2025, this number is expected to grow by 30 per cent, leaving 1.6 billion people without secure, affordable housing. Current housing development plans, despite their best efforts, have proved inadequate.

In Nigeria, the situation is even grimmer with at least 17 million housing deficit. To bridge Nigeria’s housing gap, many believe that the current models and practises need to be revolutionised.

Nigeria is in the midst of a brutal housing crisis, and the issue of slow supply of housing to meet demand will be further exacerbated by the ongoing economic contraction and slow growth.

If the country is to meet its target of building enough homes for its teeming population, the industry cannot rely on government initiatives alone. This presents an opportunity for technology to bring some much-needed disruption to the construction sector.

Globally, the housing sector is undergoing a revolution in terms of both attitude and technology. How is tech being used to respond to the lack of quality homes, and what are the outcomes?

We shall now outline a few ways technology can rapidly improve housing sector development for Nigeria.

Data Technology

The 21st century is the age of data revolution. Modern planning and execution are heavily reliant on data and information technology. One of the bane to housing sector development in Nigeria is the lack of adequate and updated data.

The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has launched the National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme (NRE-DCMP), which is designed to help tackle housing problems in Nigeria, including that of deficit. Also, the NMRC has been doing tremendous work in the management of data, but a lot more need to be done, especially with regard to having a large central data pool that can be accessed by all stakeholders involved in planning and execution of housing sector developments.

Smart Cities and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The concept of smart cities and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ are the buzz words that have dominated urban thinking and discussion in recent years. Developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing are promising a new era of contemporary urban development. Behind this era is the rapid and expediential growth of I.T devices, present within everything, from complex global systems to individual pocket devices. It is argued that the onset of the fourth industrial revolution and the smart city; where connected devices will number into the trillions, will transform urban areas into continuous ‘living labs’, constantly receiving, analyzing and refining data to efficiently manage products and services. The opportunities are captivating as much as they are countless and the pace of technological innovation so tireless that governments, municipalities and private enterprise are already struggling to comprehend the extent of their digital urban futures.

High Skilled and Automated Labour

The world is already adopting automated and high skilled labour forces to improve the quality and quantity of housing delivery. Nigeria’s fixation with brick and mortar can hardly ever scratch the surfaces when it comes to delivering quality and quantity. A lot of stakeholders have called for the embrace of researches and training to develop strategies that can compete with 21st century demands in the provision of housing.

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