Senior Caribbean Government Officials Meet in Trinidad
The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) convened the first Caribbean ICT Collaboration Forum, in Port-of-Spain, on Thursday.
Secretary General of the CTU, Bernadette Lewis said: “Countries have been working in silos in their pursuit of development, seeking assistance from funding agencies without reference to similar activities being undertaken in other countries.
This uncoordinated approach results in fragmentation and wasteful duplication of effort, which does not adequately advance progress as evidenced in a 2013 IMF report which states that Caribbean small states are facing low growth, high debt, significant vulnerabilities, and limited resilience to shocks.”Many Caribbean countries registered significant declines in the International Telecommunication Union’s global ICT Development Index (IDI) rankings for the period 2010 to 2015, she said.
Ms. Lewis continued, “These archaic approaches are ineffective and it is time for us to adopt new, collaborative methodologies that are appropriate for the 21st century. Given the dire economic prospects for the Caribbean, we have to work differently in order to secure our future.”
Silicon Valley Executives Coming to UWI
TECH students of the Mona Computing Society (MCS) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) are getting ready to stage a coup by bringing executives of Silicon Valley and Google to the highly anticipated launch of their version of Google’s international ‘Summer of Code’ programme.
The Silicon Valley executives, who are mostly of Jamaican heritage, are collaborating with the student-led initiative to get computer science students up to an international level, the Mona Computing Society announced this week.
“These executives have held senior-level positions at companies such as Google, LinkedIn and various Silicon Valley start-ups. The goal is to improve Jamaican students’ competitive position in the international markets,” the release said.
The release from Mona Computing Society, continued by saying “The presence of Google and Jamaican Silicon Valley executives is an extraordinary opportunity for students to interact with individuals from leading global computing companies.”
“The initiative which opens doors to highly accomplished Jamaicans in Silicon Valley is affording students career opportunities and stipends for deepening their competence that until now have been completely absent in Jamaica,” it added.
Black Tech Week Proclaimed In Miami-Dade County
February is Black History Month, and Black Tech Entrepreneurs in Miami, are building on the history made at last year's first Black Tech Week.
Black Tech Week, has as its mission to increase the number of startup founders, technology executives and engineers of colour.
The power couple behind Black Tech Week, Felecia Hatcher and Derek Pearson, is committed to getting Miami more engaged in technology and startups and was presented with proclamations from Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Miami -Dade Mayor and other city dignitaries.
Black Tech Week 2016 touts an impressive list of global influencers in tech, startup and business who include, Priceline.com’s co-founder Jeff Hoffman, Snapchat engineer Justin Washington, Former Twitter engineering manager Leslie Miley and many others.
Barbados and Grenada to Combat Domestic Violence with Video Games
In a project funded by the European Union and in partnership with the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom, Grenada and Barbados are seeking to address the challenge of Domestic Violence by developing a series of video games.
We hear more in this interview from the BBC with Prof. Adele Jones.
Professor Jones spoke about the types of games to be developed.
She outlined the many benefits that computer games can have.
The project entitled None in Three, will launch on 8th March in Celebration of International Women's Day.
ECTEL Seeking ICT Stakeholder Input
Caribbean users of Technology from the Eastern Caribbean are urged to assist in shaping policy and the type of internet they wish to have, by completing an anonymous online survey. Last week, we mentioned that the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) is hosting a 2-day workshop throughout its member states on the 17th and 18th February on Consumer Protection.
Stakeholders are asked to complete the survey before Monday 15th February to give their input on issues ranging from Online Banking, Identity Theft, Online Child Protection and of course, Broadband Speed, Pricing and Quality of Service are also covered.
If you would like to contribute and give your input see the link on the WINN FM Website. The workshop will be held in Saint Lucia on 17th and 18th February with participation from Stakeholders in ECTEL Member states via video conference. Individuals and organisations interested in obtaining a copy of the new draft regulations which are available for public comment, should see the show notes for links, on the Tech News section of the WINN FM website.
Jamaican Parents Warned of Increased use of Social Media by Sexual Predators
The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) has raised alarm about what it says is the increased use of social media to entice children into situations where they are sexually abused.
Inspector of Police Cecelia Williams Mullings, of CISOCA, has highlighted the worrying trend of children who are putting themselves in danger by connecting with strangers they meet on social media.
She told The Gleaner that there has been an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases associated with the use of social media.
"One of the greatest challenges that we are having is that our children have become fascinated by what is on social media. Facebook, for example, and WhatsApp, have attracted a lot of our young children, and the threat that we have is that they go on these social-media platforms and meet people they don't know anything about. They build a kind of relationship with them on social media, then they move on to meeting these persons.
Inspector Williams Mullings, who was speaking at a prayer breakfast hosted by the Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Christians, argued that parents have to become more vigilant in monitoring their children's use of social media.
"There is a generation gap. Some of these parents will notice that the children have these phones or tablets, but the parents themselves do not know what is happening on these devices, so they are not being monitored," she added.
Cuba to Host Free and Open Source Software Conference
Typically, Technology conferences are held in high cost destinations such as Las Vegas, Barcelona and the like. However, the Cuban based User Group for Free Technologies and The Best Of Open Technologies from Germany, are turning that practice on its head, by hosting the International Free Software Conference in Cuba in April 2016.
The hosting of the event in Cuba should help IT professionals across the Caribbean who are normally are prevented from participating not only for financial reasons but also by visa entry requirements to countries like the USA, Canada and most European countries.
Free software enthusiasts from all over the world are invited to participate, show what they are working on and educate each other.
The idea is not only to exchange experiences of how to apply the newest and “smartest” Free and Open-Source Software, but also to consider using old hardware and very low bandwidth. An objective of the conference is to explore how Free Software can help developing countries in general.
CDB Throws its Support Behind KingstOOn 2016 Animation Conference
Three weeks ago, we reported that CAKLE was the first animated film from Jamaica to be made available in the iTunes store. Now the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), recognizing that the creative industries are important for regional economic diversification and employment generation, particularly for youth, has partnered with the World Bank and the government of Jamaica to stage KingstOOn 2016.
This two-day Animation Conference, Marketplace and Film Festival, scheduled for March 12th & 13th, in Kingston, Jamaica, is aimed at encouraging the growth of the animation sector in Jamaica, and the wider Caribbean.
Lisa Harding, operations officer at CDB, said the creative industries have the potential to contribute significantly to economic growth and diversification, poverty alleviation and inclusive social development of the region.
“KingstOOn 2016 is an important mechanism which can stimulate interest and build the required capacity necessary for the emerging animation sector. It is expected that KingsTOOn will also provide participants with a platform to showcase their creativity and innovation while increasing awareness of employment opportunities in the animation industry. The exposure that will be provided can help address high levels of male and female unemployment (especially in the youth demographic), and contribute to the identified need to diversify our regional economies,” she said.
C&W Networks, to Upgrade Submarine Fiber-optic Network
C&W Networks continues to offer robust services across 42 countries with superior reliability and scalability of international wholesale capacity.
C&W Networks has bolstered its sub-sea network capacity by upgrading several segments of its sub-sea network to 100G. The submarine cable systems were upgraded with new 100G channels to include the Gemini – Bermuda cable system, the Caribbean – US (CBUS) cable system, and the Eastern Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS), among others.
“The global build-out of data centers, coupled with rapid deployment of cloud-based services, are driving renewed demand for even higher fixed and burst rate connections with emphasis on high availability through redundancy,” said Paul Scott, President of C&W Networks. “Our goal is to proactively prepare our networks with the right technology to efficiently address the evolving business needs of today and the future. We are very excited to enhance our network performance to100G and 100G+”he continued.
Winn FM Tech Round Up – Weekend of 5th February 2016
Free ICT training and certification for St. Lucia's Unemployed Youth
The Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP) has begun free training in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the south of the country. The training is being undertaken in collaboration with the International American University (IAU) located in Vieux-Fort.
The IAU will offer regional and international certification in six (6) different ICT courses namely: Database Management, Multimedia Production, Information Communication Technology, Computer Maintenance and Repair, Systems Analysis and Design, and Internet Security.
Individuals must be unemployed and between the ages of 17 – 35 years old and must have a minimum of three CXCs or have at least one year of work experience in their course of interest.
The CARCIP ICT Skills Development Programme forms part of the government’s overall strategy to increase economic growth, through the enhancement of productivity and technical expertise within the local ICT sector. The programme is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Public Service, Information & Broadcasting in collaboration with the TVET Unit of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labour.
ECTEL Hosting ICT Consumer Protection & Education Workshop
After a nationwide broadband outage affecting FLOW customers in St. Kitts and Nevis, the hosting of an “ICT Consumer Protection and Education Workshop” by the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL), later this month might appear to be divine intervention.
The workshop will be held in Saint Lucia on 17th and 18th February with participation from Stakeholders in ECTEL Member states via video conference. There may also be an opportunity for individual stakeholders to participate via Webinar.
The workshop is described as “consumer-focused”, and to that end ECTEL are beginning with sessions targeted towards OECS ICT users’ and consumers’. The workshop is said to include information on the new draft of the Electronic Communications Bill, regulations (including consumer protection in the ICT sector) and the draft CARICOM consumer protection legislation. The new draft regulations are available for public comment on the Notices Section of ECTEL's website, or see the show notes for links, on the Tech News section of the WINN FM website.
It's Carnival Season, so now there's an App for That
The publication, Carnival Info has been using technology to make information related to Carnival easier to access. Now its founder Rudo Morrison, hopes that its mobile app would bring all Carnival happenings to the fingertips of users around the world.
Morrison is a computer engineering graduate from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and has consulted for various companies including Google and Travelocity. He was also the keynote speaker on behalf of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at the 2015 NY Times Travel Show held in New York.
“For close to 10 years, we have worked as technology consultants within the Caribbean diaspora. Carnival Info evolved from this to be the largest and most trusted source of carnival lifestyle content on the web; earning the loyalty of approximately 200,000 readers each month,” Morrison said.
According to Morrison, Carnival Info and its new mobile application have caught the eye of the writers at leading business magazine, Forbes, which will soon feature the business in a future edition.
Free Internet Access Being Considered for Essequibo
Initiatives are currently being put in place by senior technical staff of Guyana's E-Governance Network and the Region Two Administration, who have intentions of rolling out a programme where the accessibility of free internet would be soon possible.
Already the Old Charity Hospital has been identified as one of the buildings that would be converted into a hot spot. Charity is located on the northern section in the Region and the community is known for its prevailing center which resonates as a hive of commercial of activity.
However, while areas and buildings have already been identified, security, infrastructure and other procedural aspects are still to be put in place. A senior official from the E-Governance team along with senior personnel from Region Two were in Charity assessing the area and the buildings.
With internet cost so high, residents of Essequibo would welcome free Internet in their homes.
Brazil Turns To Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Combat ZIKA Virus
Tests results released by a British bio-tech firm suggest that genetically modified mosquitoes could help Brazil combat the Zika virus (ZIKV).
The South American nation has been scrambling to contain the spread of Zika, which has been linked to a recent surge in birth defects including micro-cephaly, a rare condition in which newborns have smaller than normal heads and their brains do not develop properly.
In a statement this week, the Oxitec biotech firm said tests that began in April 2015 have shown that the release of genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes succeeded in reducing a variety of disease-transmitting mosquito larvae by 82 per cent by year's end in a neighborhood of the city of Piracicaba.
Piracicaba's city health department confirmed the tests and results.
Joseph Conlon, a technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association, called the results "novel and potentially efficacious."
Chairman Barrow Explains Hiccups in 4G Service
Anwar Barrow, Chairman, of Belize Telemedia Limited, Executive Committee, B.T.L. cleared the air behind service disruption.
This is of little or no consolation to Telemedia customers however, who for months have been experiencing dropped calls, interruptions in data services despite the stabilization of the 4G service offered by B.T.L. Barrow said that the hiccups in the system are caused by demand.
Chairman Barrow, explained that “There have been areas where there are challenges in terms of the experience and that has simply been because of growth. It is not that anything has been changed on the system or there is something wrong with the backbone. It is just because the traffic has grown so much.
Over the last ten months, traffic has grown by eight hundred percent and you can see how much of a strain that puts on the network and that is why we are moving quickly to deploy this new network which is bigger and a lot more robust.
Barrow, continued “we need people in those affected areas to be mindful of what is coming, to remain a Digicel customer because we will continue to deliver the best value and we will deliver the best service at a world class level. That is our goal now as a company. We want to move the country and the company to a world class level.”