Monday, November 2, 2009

ChamsCity, One Year After

About this time last year the ChamsCity cyber café belonging to Chams Plc, a Nigerian information technology firm was commissioned in Lagos equipped with over 1,000 computers and designed for connection to the telecommunications networks using SAT-3, radio and optic fibre. The plan was to be replicated in all the states of the federation where the centres were to provide a number of services including digital identity management, video conferencing and electronic payment solutions. They were also to be used for job recruitment, electronic learning and data processing. Technology Times took out time over one weekend to see how the ChamsCity cyber café was performing one year after its launch.

Each individual that comes to use the ChamsCity cyber café has to go through a 10-minute registration process in which he fills out his bio-data on the system which includes: name, surname, date of birth, address and phone number. The picture of the individual will then be taken and his fingerprint enrolled in the ChamsCity database to conclude the registration. The individual will now use the phone number entered and any of his fingers to thumbprint in order have access to the system. The registration takes less than 10 minutes to conclude and at the end of it the user is assured of secure access on the ChamsCity systems.

Once registered a number of browsing plans are available for the user. The options include: a daily plan of N500 for 24hrs, a weekly plan of N1,000 and a monthly plan of N4,000. Payment for the ChamsCity service is made only via an ATM machine at the centre and thereafter the café attendant credits the account of the user with appropriate amount.
Browsing Speed
The browsing experience was above average and quite stable and makes surfing the Internet really different from other café services around town. The ChamsCity service offering is a 24hrs service such that Internet users can walk in at anytime they find convenient.
Weekend Usage

An average of about 20 people made use of the ChamsCity Internet facility for the three hours duration of Technology Times’ experience at ChamsCity, meaning that the hall was largely empty. However, the ChamsCity centre has become a popular venue for recruitment exams conducted by blue-chip companies. At such times the systems are fully utilised.

It has been said by credible sources that ChamsCity could do with improvement of their organisation of the recruitment exams. Even though the hall has 1,000 systems, technical issues have sometimes meant that candidates scheduled for tests have to take turns to use the systems. What this means is that a candidate for a short test could end up spending the whole day before it gets to his turn. Technology Times could not independently assess this situation on this particular weekend visit but had a pleasant enough experience to want to return for a repeat service.

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