Four graduates with PhD from FCI

Four students from the Faculty of Computing and Informatics graduated with doctoral qualifications at the University’s graduation ceremony yesterday. Amongst the cohort, is 26 year-old Mohammed Shehu, the youngest student to receive a PhD qualification from NUST. Shehu received his first degree in 2013. Today, the ceremony continues in Windhoek, were more than 2 000 students will receive qualifications in various fields, over the two-day event. The following are the profiles and abstracts of the PhD graduates:

“We live in a time where the phrase ‘social media’ has no direct translation in any of our African languages. This achievement is my humble attempt to put it on the map of career options in Africa. To have made history as the youngest PhD graduate to come out of NUST, as well as the first to have specialised in this increasingly important field at the highest academic level, is a massive honour. ”

Name: Mohammed Shehu
Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Informatics
Thesis Title: Application of Social Media Analytics to Business Intelligence in Namibia

Social media use within the business and branding spheres has exploded globally over the past few years. While Namibian SMEs are actively involved in social media marketing, there is a lack of deeper knowledge of audience analysis, campaign analytics and proper strategic planning for full benefit extraction.

This is compounded by the relative lack of locally produced and published research within the field of social media that explicitly tackles the topic of analytics and social media strategy. Furthermore, existing frameworks present some challenges towards implementation, such as a lack of focus on contextual environmental advantages that might inform creative strategy.

Through a literature review of existing platforms and research frameworks, we find that these existing frameworks do not take into account potential perceptions that may help or hamper their implementation among SMEs with differing levels of social media maturity. Guided by qualitative methods like focus groups and brand interventions, and bolstered by quantitative methods like secondary data analysis and public surveys, we find that issues of user perception, messaging presentation and placement are key themes that plague successful implementation and exploitation of social media strategy and analytics data for business intelligence.

This research thus presents a better understanding of the local social media marketing and analytics environment, determines currently existing best practices among larger organisations, and uses this data to formalise a social media marketing and analytics framework for Namibian SMEs. The research takes on a pragmatic bent that complements the fast-evolving nature of social media, and theoretically contributes a novel, socialfirst adaptation of the popular DeLone and McLean Information System Success Model of IS research.

“At a time when the global space is thriving with improvements in smart technology and showcasing innovative change in shaping development, it is an honour to be a recipient of the Doctoral Degree in Informatics. I am excited and equally grateful for NUST in helping the world through shaping leaders of note."

Name: Licky Richard Erastus
Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Informatics
Thesis Title: A Smart City Secure Information Infrastructure Framework for the City of Windhoek

As cities embrace technologies, they become more intelligent, ubiquitous and unlimited in their connectivity. This is enabled by fast broadband and better supporting infrastructure.

Researchers agree that smart cities have the potential to improve the social and economic standards of the people through improved governance. As these developments are witnessed, information sharing, infrastructure requirements and security issues become very common.

It is clear that within a smart city, high internet speeds, intelligent systems and efficient services are crucial, therefore there is need for a secure supporting information infrastructure.

Furthermore, the heterogeneous infrastructure components create complexity in providing services to the community. What is currently lacking is the guiding framework, which combines smart cities services, security and information infrastructures. With these ICT developments, personal information, business transactions and city services are likely to be exposed to cyber criminals. This creates security challenges , which may affect the success of service delivery i.e. smart city services, information infrastructure and security. Secure Information Infrastructure Framework (SIIF) was developed to assist smart city stakeholders in planning and introducing smart cities which uphold information confidentiality, integrity and service availability.

The City of Windhoek is expected to benefit from this framework as it is benchmarked with other current smart cities and informed by local smart city stakeholders who informed the design thereof. The most important contribution from this research is the SIIF which provides for secure information and service exchange over smart city infrastructures which will characterise Smart Windhoek.

”It is with great pleasure that I receive this PhD from NUST, especially at a time when technology is transforming the lives of people and the way governments and the private sector operate. To my fellow women in computing, remember that computing is too important to be left to men alone.”

Name: Karin Amukugo-Fröhlich
Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Informatics
Thesis Title: Development of A Citizen-Centric e-Government Model For Effective Service Delivery In Namibia

The government’s vision of an inclusive e-government has to still yield results as many citizens are still not using the available services. This challenge is common across Africa given the limited resources and other socio-economic challenges that are often given a higher priority over e-government initiatives.

This study used the Public Value Theory to understand expectations of citizens from e-government. The Public Value Theory was adapted to the Namibian context using the available literature. Critical factors for attaining a citizen-centric e-government were grouped into three main groups, namely achievement of socially desirable outcomes, efficiency of public organisations and the delivery of public service.

This study went on to identify key supportive factors for a government to achieve citizen-centricity of its e-government services. This included access to ICT infrastructure, ICT skills, citizen’s attitude, creating local partnerships and understanding the citizen’s information needs. This study used a mixed method approach using qualitative and quantitative methods. A total of 188 participants from seven regional offices of a government ministry participated with a further eight in-depth interviews being conducted for triangulation, which resulted in a model being developed.

This model was then used to design and develop a mobile application that was tested at one Ministry. The evaluation results informed the review of the model. The findings show that citizens are ready to embrace e-government, but infrastructural facilities are still inadequate. A citizen-centric e-government model for effective service delivery in Namibia was developed.

“I am grateful to everyone that played a role directly or indirectly in helping me reach this level. As one of the notable milestones in my career, I consider this as one of the building blocks for greater accomplishments to follow. I feel like I have taken the first bold step into academia with much anticipation of bringing my research to action, solve real life problems and make an impact in society by setting the pace for those following my foot steps. There are expectations for me to deliver and not merely being a decorated PhD holder.”

Name: Attlee Gamundani
Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
Thesis Title: A Lightweight Authentication Architecture for Unsupervised Internet of Things (IoT) in Smart Home Applications

The Smart Home environment is made up of different objects that have sensing capabilities and have the potential to interact with each other seamlessly. This brings a lot of convenience to the control and monitoring of the surroundings around the home environment. This reality is brought about as a result of the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon. The potential benefits presented by IoT technologies around the Smart Home environment can and are hampered by security issues that are yet to be resolved both at the perception layer and the transmission layer.

A simulated Smart Home environment that modelled critical application requirements for Assisted Ambient Living (AAL) spaces and Energy Saving Solutions (ESS) was used to evaluate the proposed lightweight authentication architecture’s efficiency, which was tested against existing similar solutions around the same functionality. The lightweight authentication architecture presented in this submission was tested using the SCYTHER tool, which allowed verification, falsification and security testing by checking on various classes of attacks and possible architecture behaviour. The architecture turned out secure for tested threats, guided by the Dolev-Yao model.

The contribution of this research, is its pragmatic approach to the security design for unsupervised constrained things. Key findings from this work highlight two important aspects for proper security advancement, which are identity management of things in the IoT space and the scalability of using agent based models to reduce resource demands at the device level. As an envisaged future relevance of this work, the vision of smart cities can be realised

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