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.”
New e-government plan being developed by Barbados
The Ministry of the Civil Service in Barbados is in the process of developing a new e-government master plan, Acting Permanent Secretary, Allyson Forte, disclosed, as he addressed attendees of a brief ceremony before signing a wide area network (WAN) contract between the government and Digicel (Barbados) Limited.
Forte further revealed that a knowledge management system would be implemented, and pointed out that the WAN would facilitate the process by providing the technical infrastructure. He explained that the WAN would serve as a key infrastructural element and a catalyst for government to aggressively implement its proposed e-government programmes.
“Additionally, the WAN is expected to play a crucial role in the execution of the HRD (Human Resource Development) strategy now being implemented. Knowledge distribution, through formal and informal networks, is essential to economic performance. Access to timely and reliable information is critical to decision making, policy formulation and programme implementation in the public and private sectors.
FLOW Strives To Build Jamaica Through Innovation And Entrepreneurship
Telecommunications provider FLOW said it ended 2015 proud of its contribution to and promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship through its sponsorship of initiatives that drive growth in these areas.
Through partnerships such as the World Bank-sponsored hackathons Digital Jam 2.0 and 3.0, as well as the technology ministry-conceived Start Up Jamaica, FLOW said it has played an essential role in driving innovation and overall economic growth through the mentorship and development of budding entrepreneurs.
Additionally, FLOW is a major sponsor of the partnership with Biztown, which is a Junior Achievement of Jamaica initiative to provide primary-school students with actual work experience in various industries including telecommunications. FLOW has also partnered to help develop entrepreneurship through the Angel Investor network, where more established and experienced entrepreneurs connect investors with suitable projects.
Partnerships such as these are strategic because not only do they fuel innovation, they also instil confidence in our people to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship, which ultimately spurs economic growth," said Garry Sinclair, FLOW's managing director.
OWASP T&T chapter established
As Cyber-Security will continue to be a major concern globally, a group based in Trinidad & Tobago has formed an Open Web Application Security Project or OWASP Chapter there.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a worldwide non-profit charitable organization focused on improving the security of software. OWASP’s mission is to make software security visible, so that individuals and organizations worldwide can make informed decisions about true software security risks.
Everyone is free to participate in OWASP and all materials are available under a free and open software license.
Jamaican Robotics Team Wins First Prize for “Innovation and Strategy” at the RoboNautica
A Jamaican robotics team took First Prize in the Innovation and Strategy category at the Massachusetts state championships. This award is given to the team that develops the best strategy and uses the best engineering practices in the design and construction of an innovative, high-performance robot.
Two robotics teams from Jamaica were among 82 elementary and middle school teams that competed in the 15th annual FIRST LEGO (FL) RoboNautica competition held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
The robots took part in the “Robot Game,” one section of the three-part competition. The robots were designed to perform various missions on a field simulated with LEGO pieces based on the 2015
theme of “Trash Talk.” The project involved determining how the team could generate lower amounts of trash. The winner of the“Champion’s Award” goes on to the First Lego World Festival scheduled for April 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2014, Jamaica won First Prize for “Gracious Professionalism” at the competition.
Click below to hear this week's Caribbean Tech Roundup
Bahamian School Launches Mobile App
AKHEPRAN Academy made history by becoming the first Bahamian school to launch its own Mobile Application. The school hosted parents and students, to a pre-launch event for the Application (App), where developer Lincoln Bain, gave a live demonstration of many of the app's features.
According to Bain, the App allows users to view photos of school activities, access subject specific videos through the E-Learning tab, use Google map tracking to pinpoint field trip directions and locations, and more.
The school's Founder and Principal, former Senator, Dr. Jacinta Higgs, says she is excited about this new dimension in the school’s growth, and sees this as a needed component in her vision of creating a 21st century school, where each child is reached. With communication development at the forefront of this latest advancement, Akhepran has undoubtedly once again struck success in claiming new ground in education regionally.
More Than 700 Jamaican Girls Engaged In Computer Coding
More than 700 girls across the island were engaged in simultaneous computer programming classes last week Thursday, December 10th to Saturday, December 12th as part of the ‘Jamaican Girls Code’, programme.
The programme is designed to target girls between the ages of 12 and 14 and introduce young girls to the male dominated field of computer coding or programming.
During the three days, girls who are registered were able to log onto jamaicangirlscoding.com and participate in the activity from any computer or tablet with internet connectivity. Community access points across Jamaica were also made available to facilitate the event.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, said the initiative aims to get females interested in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field.
“Right now there is a severe gender imbalance in terms of males dominating the software development and coding professions,”, pointing out that the field is male dominated, with 90 per cent of the professionals being men.
“The programme is trying to help young ladies get an understanding as to what is involved in having a career in coding and also to encourage more of them to get involved in the harder core ICT disciplines and to eventually see it as a potential career, and as a way of empowering themselves as women,” the State Minister said.
He also challenged young ladies to use this knowledge to develop solutions to problems, as well as develop products and solutions, which can earn foreign exchange for the country.
Kalinago Territory to benefit from Computer Center
Residents of all ages from the Kalinago Territory in Dominica will now be able to access training and expertise in computer-related skills offered through a computer centre in Salybia.
In keeping with its mandate, the Ministry of Kalinago Affairs has embarked on the development of the computer centre, and with the full support of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (NTRC) able to secure the main operative computers and printer for the project.
The Community Development Officer (Youth) within the Ministry has spearheaded the initiative from its inception and garnered resources from various agencies to renovate the existing Tunubuku Reference Library in Salybia to house the centre. This initiative is projected to positively impact the youth and all members of the community with a special emphasis on harnessing the creativity endowed in our people and also develop computer literacy as a relevant part of human education.
The centre is expected to focus on a variety of learning modules which will train individuals of the community in an array of computer skills, and will also provide basic information technology related services. The facility has been recently fitted with a 5.5 Kw solar system, from the wider Kalinago Solar Project, which will make it the first ‘green computer centre’ on the island.
Jamaica's Universal Service Fund Failing To Collect Millions In Call Taxes From Companies
The Universal Service Fund has been found to be delinquent in collecting millions from telecommunications companies who fail to pay over taxes from international phone calls. The Auditor General’s Department says as at March 2015, $117.8 million was owed to the Fund in universal service levy from carriers.
Jamaica imposes a tax on all inbound international calls that terminate in the country. The claims were contained in an Auditor General’s Department report which was tabled in parliament last week.
The department says it noted the debt during an activity-based audit of the Fund which covers the period April 2012 to October 31st, 2015. The Universal Service Fund is mandated to collect the universal service levy.
The department says the Fund has since informed that it has collected $52.5 million of the delinquent amounts reported at March 2015. However, this leaves $65.3 million outstanding.
Governments around the world make use of Universal Service Funds, to finance technology and internet access projects to under-served communities and groups.
Click below to hear full item
Online Service Allows Antiguans to Renew Driver's Licence
Antiguan motorists will find it easier to renew their driver’s licences with the launch of a new online platform.
The announcement came from Telecommunications Minister Melford Nicholas during a press conference at the Gate facilities. The minister said the initiative forms part of making “the process of doing business with government easier”.
Having logged into ab.gov.ag, which the government has dubbed the “Citizens Portal”, residents can select the number of years the renewal will last and after pay for the new licence.
Nicholas said the ministry would have to embark on a public awareness campaign to ensure residents know how to utilise the new technology.
Bahamian PPP Delivers e-Services at Registrar
Bahamas Prime Minister Christie said he is a "firm believer" in the importance of Public Private Partnerships (“PPP”) and that the launch of the Registrar General's Department E-Services facility has been a perfect example of the effectiveness of such partnerships.
"We are opening new vistas for domestic and international business, and we are making it easy for you to do business online in The Bahamas," Prime Minister Christie was speaking at an event held at the Registrar General's Department on January 5th 2016.
"The service will be available 24/7 and it will be possible immediately to get incorporation certificates and certificates of good standing," Prime Minister Christie stated. "This is the way that people expect business to be conducted in 2016. We are responding to market demand and we are doing so with a view to becoming number one in financial services in the region."
DIGICEL Rolls Out Ad Control Technology in Barbados
The roll out of Digicel's controversial Ad Blocking technology will be implemented at the network level which means customers do not have to do anything to start controlling the advertising they receive.
An Important deviation to other roll-outs however, will be the provision of a simple way for customers to opt out of using the ad control technology should they decide that they do indeed wish to receive these advertising messages.
Providing customers with the option to control the online advertising they receive when they browse websites through their mobile phones, Digicel Ad Control will be available free of charge for all Digicel mobile users. With ads using up as much as ten per cent of a customers’ data plan allowance, this move will allow customers to use the mobile web and apps without interruption from unwanted advertising messages.
Digicel Barbados commercial director, Mark Conway, said, “This is about putting the power in our customers’ hands. With this service we are helping our customers to protect their data allowances and their mobile spend, as well as giving them the choice of whether to receive these ads or not.”
Start-Up Jamaica Paving The Way For Entrepreneurs
The business incubator/accelerator programme, Start-Up Jamaica (SUJ), is helping young tech' entrepreneurs to develop innovative products and services for local and international markets.
Start-Up Jamaica is an initiative of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), and was launched in June 2014 and staged its first boot camp in September of the same year.
Chief Entrepreneurship Officer (CEO) of SUJ, Mark Hugh Sam, said the start-ups that participated in the boot camp focused on aggressive product development and sales strategies to get their business ideas to a point where the proposed product, or service, is commercially viable, prior to seeking investment.
"The idea is to prove the products locally and to export them globally. So, the ideas behind Start-Up Jamaica are global ideas. What we did was to modify the ideas to get them to create a minimal viable product," he said.
Jamaican Animated Short to Launch on iTunes
CAKLE, The Movie, a short animated film by actor/producer Donovan Watkis, will be available on iTunes and other distribution channels this month.
“Animation is big business globally and alive and well in Jamaica,” said Watkis, prinicipal of MJR Productions. “This is the first animated movie to be distributed from Jamaica, and this means we have access to markets which we wouldn’t normally.”
The distribution will be done jointly by Tuff Gong and Universal Records. Watkis said CAKLE The Movie was done for last year’s inaugural Jamaica Film Festival, where a portion of it was premiered.
According to Watkis, the 45-minute production took two-and-a-half years to complete. Funding came from “personal monies, I got some sponsorship and partnerships”.
“It’s Jamaicans telling a Jamaican story. We need to more of that, “ said Watkis. Analysts predict the global animation and gaming market will grow to US$242.93 billion this year from US$122.20 billion in 2010.
Click below to hear full item
Domino's Pizza Inspires Virgin Island Bites App
While visiting the US three years ago, John Samuel of the US Virgin Islands made use of the Domino's Pizza app'. It was the start of his journey to develop an app for the Virgin Islands.
Samuel started working on the project about a year and a half ago, with finishing touches being made over the last six months. The app has been on stream for about a month, and about 130 people have downloaded it so far, he said.
Though the project is still in its infancy he has secured the support of four restaurant owners so far, and hopes that it would become more popular throughout the Virgin Islands.
“This is something new, and when people feel comfortable doing something one way, changing their mentality is difficult,” he said. “That’s okay, but at this point in time, people want to be on the go and use mobile [devices] to get things done.”
As with most technological innovations, potential new users will have concerns of the unknown. One of the major concerns for restaurants is that they’ll receive orders but nobody will come to pick up the food, Mr. Samuel said. But in fact, the app will offer restaurants more protection against no-show customers than phone orders. That’s because customers have to register through the app before using it.
Head of the Information & Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) in the Cayman's Says ISP's Should be Fined for Bad Behaviour
The head of Cayman’s telecommunications regulatory authority, Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), said the country’s internet customers are not getting what they’re paying for.
Alee Fa’amoe told Cayman 27, that ICTA’s role as the regulator is to step in when the market fails to resolve its own customer service issues.
He said the ICTA is working with cabinet to beef up its ability to levy fines. “The regulator needs to approach things with some sort of balance, so there needs to be some carrot and some stick. The carrot is happy customers, staying with you for a long time and generating revenue. The stick is things like fines levied against providers who don’t follow the rules,” said Mr. Fa’amoe, ICTA’s Managing Director.
Mr. Fa’amoe said it’s time for providers to stop with the excuses, and do what they need to do to give customers what they are paying for.
Guyana's First Lady’s ICT Programme produces 27 graduates
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Programme which was started in September by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger saw twenty-seven Buxton residents graduate from the programme.
Among the graduates was Ms Sylvia Pitt, a 59-year-old retired Head Teacher who was honoured as the valedictorian of the programme. Ms. Pitt achieved a score of 983 from a possible 1000 points.
Presidential Advisor on E-Governance, Floyd Levi, who was the main speaker for the award ceremony, lauded the programme as one that will make a great difference to the beneficiaries. He also encouraged the graduates to use the programme as a stepping stone for further advancement and self-edification.“
He told the graduating class that the programme should be used as a launch pad for greater and better accomplishments. He emphasised that the programme shouldn’t be the end for them but a stepping-stone on the road of success.“This programme should be taken as a life lesson. You should dream positive dreams and through dedication, commitment and hard-work, you can achieve them,” he said.
The valedictorian, Ms Sylvia Pitt, in her remarks, made the audience aware that despite her age she was not bothered nor did it take away her determination to learn. The grandmother said it was very strenuous on her working during the day and attending classes in the evenings, but was dedicated in her approach towards her studies.
She said, “The world is becoming technology and computer inclined, and I realised that I needed to keep abreast of what is going on and so I was motivated to be here. I was very focused. I knew what I wanted and I practiced due diligence to get what I wanted.” When Ms Pitt was asked to address the younger generation, she simply said, “They need to know what they want and place their focus there. They should aim high. Age didn’t prevent me from doing what I did and so they can do way better and achieve more than I did.”