Speaker Interview with Bayo Puddicombe
Bayo Puddicombe is the Co-Founder of Pledge 51.
The Com World Series team caught up with Bayo ahead of the NigeriaCom conference and exhibition, taking place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, 17-18 September to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the event.
Com World Series: How is your company positioned in Nigeria and what are its future objectives?
Bayo Puddicombe: We are one of the pioneer mobile game/app development companies operating in the Nigerian space. We recently launched our mobile gaming community, Chopup, which integrates all of our portfolio games and allows users to trade achievements and points between content items.
Our primary objective is to unleash the potential of African content in the mobile gaming space.
Com World Series: What do you think are the top 3 major trends that are affecting your business in the region in 2013?
Bayo Puddicombe: In no particular order, I would say that these are the top three trends affecting the region;
- Faster data networks
- Smart phone penetration
- Mobile payment systems
Although, we are already seeing the emergence of fast data networks, there’s still quite a way to go in getting the most out of our data infrastructure. It would really go a long way in improving user experience for data hungry games and applications.
Research shows that in most African countries, 2G networks will have to be supported for quite a while due to a mobile device distribution tilted more towards feature devices and dumb phones. We do know that smart phones can take full advantage of the possibilities offered by higher capacity data pipes, so as their penetration increases there will be increased consumer demand for high bandwidth and data capabilities.
Mobile payments is also a key link in the value chain and we expect that in a before long, some of the mobile money providers will finally unlock the magic formula for enabling m-commerce in Nigeria. This could easily spurn the emergence of several innovations in the local technology space.
Com World Series: What are the remaining challenges in terms of connectivity and quality of services in the region and which technologies are most likely to resolve these issues?
Bayo Puddicombe: Connectivity and quality of service has always been a major challenge in Nigeria. The emergence of wireless data plans from mobile operators made significant impact in bridging some service to the region. However, it’s obvious that this is not sufficient to address the data needs of an emerging market of this size.
What we really need is high-speed fibre-based connectivity straight to homes, offices, businesses, etc in all major cities across the country. Until then, we cannot have the right kind of infrastructure to support this market.
Com World Series: How are smartphones/tablets and cloud services impacting mobile/internet service providers in Nigeria?
Bayo Puddicombe: Smart phone penetration is currently low possibly approaching 10% penetration maybe less. However, most of these devices readily connect to the internet via mobile operator data networks and are quite data hungry. As smart phone users gained access to higher capacity mobile data networks (3G), some have actually discarded their primary internet service providers as data speeds from the mobile networks are beginning to compare reasonably to what can be obtained from ISPs.
This trend will possibly continue as more people adopt smart phones as their primary mobile device.
Com World Series: In your opinion, which companies are spearheading innovation in the region and what can be learnt from them?
Bayo Puddicombe: Firstly, I would like to put things in context by saying that innovation is relative. What is considered mundane in developed markets could actually be quite innovative in another context. My definition of innovation is combining technology/tools from disparate fields and combining them in a way that solves significant problems. With that said, I think Sproxils is doing some fantastic things with SMS based technologies in providing drug verification services.
Com World Series: Who are you most looking forward to meeting/hearing from and what do you hope to achieve from taking part in NigeriaCom?
Bayo Puddicombe: I think just being at NigeriaCom would give us a fantastic opportunity to meet with stakeholders across the mobile/digital landscape.