Internet of Things Innovation Centre launches at Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba

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Thursday, August 3, 2017 was the launch of the Internet of Things Innovation Centre at the Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba. Though it was a rainy day, students, teachers and members of the press were there to welcome the Minister of State for Education, Professor Gozie Anwukah as he commissioned the Internet of Things Innovation Centre established by UNITeS CISCO in the school.

For newcomers, IoT is the inter-networking of physical devices; vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data. Simply put, it is the network that connects everything in a way that makes life easier for users.

It was an afternoon of speeches by those on the high table; dance performances and presentations by students of the college.

One after the other, those on the high table—the Minister of state for education, Professor Gozie Anwukah; the Director, Science and Technical Education, Ministry of Education, Mr J.S. Ojo; the Director, Basic and Secondary Education; the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education (ICT), Dr Husseini Adamu; Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. John Mbaka; the Academic Support Contact, UNITeS CISCO, Toyin Olatayo and the director/principal of the school, Reverend Honorable Chris Ugorji—gave their speeches. Each speaking on the significance of technology to the society, the importance of the IoT centre to the advancement of technology in Nigeria, and the effects it would have, on the school, students and nation at large.

“The internet has come to stay entrenching itself as a basic commodity that we cannot do without. If we are to be at the forefront of technological changes in this fast changing world, it is imperative that we embrace the IoT innovation and consciously make efforts to bring about changes in the digitalized world,” Professor GozieAnwukah noted even as he praised the efforts of Cisco Unites and FSTC Yaba for establishing the IoTcentre.

Toyin Olatayo, the Academy Support Contact, UNITeS Cisco Networking Academy educated the audience on the significance of IoT to national development.

“IoT has affected changes in manufacturing, healthcare, defence, finance, aviation, and more. It has brought into limelight the advent of smart schools and cities,” he said, even as he stated the objectives of the IoT innovation centre.

“To create technology solutions to unlock opportunities at a speed of rapid prototyping,” he said that with the centre, the students will be able to create solutions to challenges that they face within their communities.

“We are happy that such a project as come to stay in FSTC, Yaba as a pivot study. I believe that IoT will go a long way to improve our staff and students’ use of technology,” said J.O Ojo, the director of Technology and Science Education, Ministry of Education.

The speeches were punctuated by traditional dance performances by students. After this, the IoT Ambassadors—a group of 22 students tasked to take ownership of the IoT Centre—was inaugurated by Moses Imayi, the project director of SkoolMedia. Wearing colourful T-shirts, on it inscribed: “Technology driven; lover of technology; IoT redefined,” their work is clear: to ensure that students use the centre for the purpose it was established. They would be responsible for ensuring that users of the centre conform to best practices. The students were selected from JSS 1 to SS2, the youngest being 11 years old.

Moses Imayi Project Director, SkoolMedia inaugurating the IoT Ambassadors

Moses Imayi Project Director, SkoolMedia inaugurating the IoT Ambassadors

There was also presentation of IoT at work with students showcasing a fire alarm system that they built.

“With the fire alarm system, fire outbreaks can be easily prevented as the alarm will alert the neighours and the fire service so that help can come quickly,” explained AkinfoyewaIyanuoluwa, one of the IoT ambassadors. She said that to make the fire alarm system, the team read about it online and with the help of their instructor, got the necessary equipment to couple it.

Soon, it was time to commission the centre. Bright colors, yellow, green and orange, beckon you into the IoT Centre. The IoTcentre will make it easier to create processes that make it easier for people to have access to data to connect things—physical objects—in order to make life easier for them. In the centre, there are laptops connected to the internet, projector, projector screen, printer, arduino,as well as cables which would be used to make several IoT-enabled gadgets.

OkorieChidubem, an 11-year-old student and IoT ambassador is excited that the IoTcentre is in his school. “It is a step in the right direction. For me, it is as if I am seeing my life-long dream right in front of me,” he said that he wishes to be an ICT specialist in IoT and the centre would go a long way in bringing him closer to his ambitions.  He would love to begin to use the centre as a way to solve some challenges that they face in the school practically.

“I’d like to solve the problem of theft,” he says. To do this, he would ensure that rooms and boxes have anti-theft sensors that can easily detect a break-in. Okorie is fascinated by the power of ICT to solve human challenges.

Akinfoyewa does not have a perfect picture of what she wants to be in future but she knows that she loves machines, assembling, dismantling and reassembling them. She knows that the IoT will be useful for her in the future.

“I am already researching on ways it can complement agriculture. I have started reading on this. I have seen a way of using IoT to monitor plant development in such a way that they are not overwhelmed by diseases,” she said, beaming with a smile.

With the establishment of the IoT Innovation Centre at FSTC, Yaba, the school community is one step closer to a future where all things would be connected, where life would thrive on these connections.


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