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UENR Organizes Symposium on Smart Evolution, Digitized Ghana

The School of Sciences organized a one-day Symposium on “Smart Evolution, Digitized Ghana” on Friday January 19th 2018 at 9:00a.m – 4:45p.m at the University of Energy and Natural Resources Auditorium. The Symposium was called to address three key sub-themes which border on the “Role of Evolving Technologies in Building Smart cities, Smart Energy and Smart Forest”. The programme seeks to present and discuss issues such as planning, security, communication, energy and forestry in Ghana that would help foster sustainable development using smart technology.

A total number of 174 people were in attendance and they consist of the Management of the University, Dean of the various Schools, Heads of Department, Teaching Assistance, Postgraduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Town and country Planning, MTN, Forestry Commission, the Media and visitors from different organizations. The programme was powered by MTN Ghana and Greena 95.9FM.

The key people present were Prof. Emmanuel Opuni-Frimpong Pro.Vice-Chancellor (UENR), Representative of the Vice Chancellor, Sunyani Techinical University, the Regional Director of Town and Country Planning, Mr. Takyi Opoku (MTN Senior Manager for Business Solution), the Deputy Regional Manager of Forestry Commission among many others.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor of UENR Professor Emmanuel Opuni Frimpong who chaired the symposium, said the vision and mission of UENR can be achieved when people with knowledge in energy, natural resources, sciences and technology helps in making such goals realistic. He appealed to participants which includes professionals from the industry, government, academia and as well as students to bring on board their knowledge to support the University and the nation’s good course.

The first sub-theme was on the “Role of Evolving Technologies in Building Smart Cities” with presentations from Dr. Anafo, Mr. Opoku Takyi and Mr. Owusu Nyarko – Boateng. Dr. Benjamin Weyori was the moderator for the session.
Mr. Owusu Nyarko-Boateng (A Computer Science PhD candidate at UENR) made a presentation on the role of evolving technologies in building smart cities. He said a survey of smart cities in the last three years has seen exponential growth in deployment of ICT due to advancement in computing systems. He noted that anyone who uses smart technologies such as smart phones, smart computers, among others is automatically adapting to smart cities. Also, he said smart cities indicators can be seen at the educational, energy, health, communication sectors among others respectively. He explained that the government introducing paper-less system at the ports of Ghana is a clear example of smart governance in Ghana.
Mr. Boateng added that the component of digitizing cities in Ghana which includes digital address system, smart national identification, weather system, online payment system, e-scanners are very significant in society. He mentioned that some of the technologies needed to build smart cities to include sensors, internet, and big data among others.

The MTN Senior Manager, Mr. Sakyi Opoku in the second presentation titled: “Connected World”, said everyone deserves to be connected to modern world regardless of one’s location. He took participants through the fundamentals of smart community and also explained how various facilities in a community such as transport, security, education; health can be connected together with the use of 3G or 4G WIFI. He advised participants especially students who want to venture into digital business to consider assets tracking or online traffic which he said can be a lucrative business.

The second sub-theme was on the Role of Evolving Technologies in Building Smart Forest by Dr. Derkyi Mercy and Mr. Folo Alfred Konglo. The Pro Vice Chancellor of the University moderated the session
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, Mrs. Lucy Ntim took turn to present on the role of evolving technologies in achieving smart forest. She admitted that gathering forestry information has been time consuming and inefficient in the past years, hence the Ghana forestry commission now makes use of digital means administering its duties.
Citing examples, Mrs. Ntim said Forestry Commission has adopted a paperless based approach in tracking wood, log transportation and inspection which were manually operated. She expressed high expectation that when technology is being used in the forestry sector, it would help reduce mismanagement, dis-incentive for illegal smuggling and felling of trees.

The third sub-theme was on the Role of Evolving Technologies in Building Smart Energy by Dr. Samuel Gyamfi and Mr. Kofi Nti. The session was moderated by Dr. Francis Attiogbe.
The Dean of Students at UENR, Dr Samuel Gyamfi touching on smart energy said the current energy supply issue is basically based on high consumption of fossil energy which results in emission of 56.6% of fossil fuel. He cautioned that if the burning of fossil fuel is not checked globally, the emission of carbon dioxide would increase exponentially. Dr. Gyamfi added that renewable energy on the other hand is contributing 2% as at 2015 and is expected to increase to 10% in 2020.

He also revealed that the department of Energy and Environmental Engineering at UENR has installed a digital gadget to read and give alerts on the consumption of electricity at some vantage places of UENR campus. However, he said there had been technological and political challenges on the integration of new technology into the existing network energy storage facilities in Ghana. Therefore, there is the need to have a look at the energy storage system in Ghana to prevent wastage of excess energy that would be produced.
The convener of the symposium, Prof Adebayo Felix Adekoya (Dean, School of Sciences) expressed his satisfaction with the quality of presentations and discussions, and the huge attendance. He opined that the symposium is the first in the series for the year 2018.
According to him, the symposium objectives includes,
1) Creating an enlightenment campaign about the importance and usefulness of Smart Technologies in socio-economic development.
2) Enabling the environment for robust discussions about innovative ideas.
3) Creating stimulus for academic and industrial collaborations.
He concluded that there is need for Ghana to embrace the evolutions of smart systems which is the trend in the countries in the world. Digitization of operations in the public, sector, institutions and other organizations is essential to enhancement of economic growth in the country which could improve the quality of lives and how people manage their activities.