NEC Europe, XON open African Cyber Defence Operation Centre

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Vernon Fryer, head of NEC Africa's African cyber business and CDOC.

Vernon Fryer, head of NEC Africa’s African cyber business and CDOC.

Without security in a country, there can be no economic growth, says Hironubi Kurosaki, president and CEO of NEC Europe.

Speaking at the sixth annual NEC/XON ICT summit in Somerset West near Cape Town this week, Kurosaki explained how through innovation and technology skills upliftment, NEC and XON plan to make Africa safer and smarter.

NEC Europe and its local partner, systems integrator XON, have extended their three-year partnership and the event this week saw the launch of a joint Cyber Defence Operation Centre (CDOC).

The companies say it is the only such facility from a single service provider in Africa that offers end-to-end physical and cyber defence services, real-time threat detection and isolation used by Interpol and other security-focused bodies.

Collaborating for security

With telecommunications and broadcasting solutions supplied to 53 out of 54 countries in Africa, NEC Europe now focuses on cyber security, said Kurosaki.

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The organisation collaborates with Interpol and various other global security organisations to secure the safety and security of citizens through its cyber defence systems.

NEC designs what it says is the fastest facial recognition technology in the world, with an accuracy of 99%, that enables constant monitoring of borders and ports to act on potential terrorist threats, fight drug smuggling and human trafficking, and other illegal activities.

The technology, combined with the Internet of things (IOT), biometrics and big data analytics, can boost security for countries and governments, ports and borders, public events, enterprise, retail and any other gatherings where the safety of the public could be compromised.

Long-term goals

Kurosaki explained there are three phases to NEC’s long-term goal for its African business: to transfer critical technology to Africa; customise technology to meet Africa’s needs; and use that technology to create local solutions made in Africa, by Africans.

Without security in a country, there can be no economic growth.

“Three years ago we realised it would be impossible to achieve those goals without a capable African partner. XON not only has an excellent track record, and much experience and expertise as a systems integrator, but it has the ability to optimise, customise and tune up capability to make our targets achievable. Together, NEC and XON are challenging a new era in cyber security,” said Kurosaki.

Progress in Africa

Vernon Fryer, head of NEC Africa’s African cyber business and CDOC, says the NEC/XON partnership has already seen progress made in cyber security across Africa.

“Africa is a known hunting ground for cyber criminals, says Fryer.

“Funded by the Japanese government, which focuses on technology development in less-developed African countries, we have already made considerable inroads to improving security through real-time surveillance methods in Rwanda and Kenya.

“We are busy with a national Interpol programme in Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe, and are in the advanced stages of discussion with police and Interpol in Nigeria and Senegal.”

Fryer adds that there is a global shortage of cyber security skills, particularly in Africa.

“We are determined to shift that – we want to skill people as soon as possible, and equip them with expert knowledge. The acceleration of skills training is critical for our industry, and we need to fast-track this to prevent the survival of cyber crime in Africa.”

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