The University of Lagos, in collaboration with an IT firm, AVAS Technologies Ltd, have launched a device that would assist pensioners carry out their verification virtually.
Mr Faheed Olajide, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AVAS Technologies, said the device was designed to proffer solutions to the numerous challenges faced by senior citizens in their every day life.
AVAS Technologies uses voice and fingerprint biometrics to manage authentication and verification, with solutions that could be used for Pensioners and Personnel management, examination management and healthcare management.
“This design and innovation is truly an amazing solution that will solve some of the problems that we have around us here in Nigeria and that need local input.
“One of the major problems that really spurred this innovation, which is the Pensioners and Personnel Management Solution, is that of ‘I am alive’. These pensioners can now stay in the comfort of their homes and get verified, using this technology.
“Pensioners understand these three key words (I am alive), which had always been a nightmare for them and these are our senior citizens who have served the country well. So, it is wrong to make them go through the harrowing experience they normally go through each time they are to appear physically for verification that they are still alive.
“That is how we came up with the plans to tackle this, by bringing together, a team of industry consultants and the academia to provide a solution.
“We are happy that this solution, after several tests, has now been patented by the Federal Government and that is what we are launching today as AVAS Technologies,” he said.
According to Olajide, the same solution could be deployed to tackle malpractice in public examinations, a phenomenon that had overwhelmed examination bodies in the country, but which need to curbed permanently.
“Another major challenge we are facing locally is that of examination malpractice. So we have also decided to tackle this problem headlong too and that is what has resulted in the examination malpractice intervention solution.
“In this case, this technology will be deployed during the examination, whereby only the true candidate will be able to access the examination questions after having gone through our verification process.
“Any attempt at impersonation will have such person automatically shut out. We want to be sure that any time any one wants to do an online examination, which is basically computer based, it should be the right person sitting for the examination.
“Our system flags and sends alert, either by SMS or email, to the administrators anytime foul play is discovered,” he said.
He noted that AVAS Technologies was using biometrics to solve various societal challenges, through partnership between academia and the industry.
“The University of Lagos Office of Innovation, did all the efforts, the intellectual property right, by which we have the innovation patented. Also, Unilag is supporting us by ensuring that its Entrepreneurship and Skills Development centre supports this innovation to reach the market.
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe said the university was fast becoming an innovation hub for the country, adding that its quest for more partnerships, especially in the area of entrepreneurship and skills development, had yielded great output and won it recognitions locally and from the diaspora.
“We have achieved a lot in entrepreneurship and innovation, through partnership with industries, ,government agencies and friends of the university.
“’I want to say that the Federal Government has also done a lot to support this institution in a bid to make it a solution centre for the nation. We have attracted research grants to the tune of N8 billion and still counting, despite the challenges we had in recent times.
‘“I want to state here that we will continue to come up with ideas and innovations that will position, not just the students and staff, but the country at large on the right pedestal,” he said.
Ogundipe added that already, the university had initiated series of programmes tagged ‘Friends of Unilag’, to attract support for some of its projects.
According to him, some of these friends had already indicated their interest to support, adding that the institution’s Governing Council had set up a committee to do follow ups.
The vice chancellor also said that he had also ensured that some of the decaying infrastructure and buildings in the institution had received a facelift in the last three years of his administration.
He listed some of the projects that were rehabilitated recently to include, roads on the campus handled by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and the remodelling of the basement of the Senate Building by a philanthropist to the tune of N50 million, among others.