That was the message delivered last week by Digital Practice Lead for consultancy firm Deloitte, at the Digital Disruption And Transformation conference held by Deloitte Barbados at the Hilton Barbados. Gordon Sandford, Lead Partner Deloitte Digital Practices, Deloitte Canada, informed attendees that they had no choice but to prepare themselves to defend against the challenges presented by digital developments, but they must also be poised to exploit the benefits.
Sandford told business leaders “The reality is, it is a new era. We need to recognise this is not a singular trend, this is not something that’s coming and will pass, this is a new era of working that’s very very different for us and we need to think about what that means.” Sanford went further, “It’s about not being afraid to try things, not being afraid to experiment and being out there and I think this is what digital can offer for many of us. It gives you an opportunity to explore and bring new ideas and new capabilities
Jamaican Gov't Sourcing Funding for Tech Start-Ups
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining is in talks with several potential investors to provide funding and business development support for young technology innovators and entrepreneurs benefitting under the Start-Up Jamaica programme. State Minister, Hon. Julian Robinson, said the Government is looking to partner with these investors in order to provide the budding entrepreneurs with a “broad range of choices” which they can approach for support.
While noting that the provision of financing is key, Mr. Robinson said, “more importantly, we want to build their (entrepreneurs) capabilities, so that people, who have gained international exposure, can come back here and share those ideas.”
A lot of what these fledgling entrepreneurs need is not just money…but mentorship and guidance and in particular, international exposure,” he noted. In that regard, Mr. Robinson said the partnership being pursued with Devlabs will be a “good fit.”
“If they have an interest in a company, they would invite them over to their facilities in California, they would spend some time there, and on their return, continue to work and build their products,” he explained.
Trinidad Launches Smartphone Film Festival
According to new figures from American market research company eMarketer, the number of smartphone users in the world will surpass two billion in 2016. Technological advances have therefore placed video cameras in the hands of men and women, who at times have captured stories that are shared by millions through social media. This wave has birthed a new crop of potential film makers.
It's against that backdrop that T&T Film Company (FilmTT), has launched the second annual Smartphone Film Festival. A release from FilmTT said the organisation seeks to develop this intrinsic capacity within the country, and has partnered with KnowledgeTT to engage and educate all interested participants on internationally standardised filmmaking techniques with free access to their online resources. Members of the public are invited to submit five-minute short films, some of which would be submitted to similar competitions in Canada and Japan.
Not Enough Focus on Online Security
The threats to their security online are real but, Caribbean nations are still not doing enough to prepare for cybercrimes. That was the message delivered by Dr Lloyd Waller, head of the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona Campus, during a breakfast presentation at UWI’s Cave Hill Campus.
The senior lecturer in human social and behavioural sciences, was concerned that while he was observing a larger number of regional people becoming “internet citizens”, he was not seeing equal attention paid to anti-crime measures. I am not seeing by way of conversation in the Caribbean about preparing for cybercrimes. As it relates to legislation only a few Caribbean countries have actually enacted legislation to deal with perpetrators. “But certainly there needs to be a substantive conversation and preparation at the level of citizens and, at the level of government, about the challenge and the potential threat of cybercrime as we become more and more net citizens,” he added.
Jamaican Opposition Critical of Paulwell after Number Portability Delayed, Again
In Episode #6, of the CTR, we reported that Jamaican telephone consumers would enjoy the ability to switch their telephone service provider and keep their telephone number, in what's known as Number Portability. Number portability was scheduled for implementation on June 1st, however last Friday, the Technology Ministry granted an 18-day extension to telephony service providers to allow them to have their infrastructure up and running.
This has drawn fire from opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT & Digital Society Development, Dr Andrew Wheatley, who criticised portfolio Minister, Phillip Paulwell, for another delay in the implementation of Number Portability. The extension was reportedly granted following a request from stakeholder partners for additional time. The new implementation date is now set for Monday, June 22nd. According to the Opposition Spokesman, this is the fifth delay for the number portability implementation.
Wheatley says this latest foul-up is confirmation that the Technology Minister has no clue what is required to successfully implement number portability. He says Paulwell has shown utter contempt for the Jamaican consumer by continuing to allow telecoms providers to miss these deadlines without stiff penalties.
Cayman Primary Learning Gets Smarter
Cayman Islands' Minister for Education Tara Rivers enveilled a slew of ICT based interventions in a statement on June 1st. In that statement, were the usual announcements of the delivery of Interactive White Boards or Smart Boards, laptops and iPads to schools. But where this announcement differed was the support the ministry was giving to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM.
“In an effort to address the local STEM skills shortage, the Department of Education Services is also implementing a new ICT-related initiative in the classroom itself. Lego Education WeDo and Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 robotics kits were purchased for government primary and high schools respectively.
The kits combine the creativity of Lego to construct and build, while adding the dimension of problem solving, logic and programming to the various projects students undertake. Both kits have a variety of projects based on the Lego Education 4C philosophy of ‘Connect, Construct, Continue and Contemplate’. The projects initially allow students to connect with a familiar concept, whether it is a problem where there is a need to generate air from a fan, or a sensor that prevents a car from crashing,” she explained. Rivers said government schools will incorporate the robotics kits into the delivery of instruction in maths, science, literacy and ICT, through the various projects
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St. Kitts and Nevis Competes in Regional Hackathon
Last week, we reported how students of Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in Basseterre met with an App' Developer. Over the same weekend, first year student Kimi Lee Knight, a Mathematics major also studying Computer Science and Physics, participated in the region's first multi-country hackathon.
Miss. Knight was part of a team from St. Kitts and Nevis, along with Rodney Browne of eCaribbean, Fitzroy Edingborough a lecturer at CFBC and others. Team St. Kitts and Nevis took part in the Hackathon via video conference along with teams from Barbados and Dominica, who were competing against teams in the host country Jamaica. The event was part of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP) which is a mult-year, multi-million dollar project funded by the Canadian Government, the World Bank and InfoDev.
OECS Competative Business Unit hosts E-Payments Forum
Rodney Bay St. Lucia is the venue for a forum intended to initiate discussion and find solutions to help improve the environment for Electronic Payment of goods and services in the OECS sub-region. The need for the forum became evident through a business survey, conducted by the OECS Competitive Business Unit, formerly the Export Development Unit based in Dominica. A recurrent theme reported by export driven business leaders across the OECS was the lack of adequate provision and framework for handling online payments or electronic payment.
During the two day conference delegates from the private sector, government policy makers, legislators and financial services from the OECS will make presentations and receive input from VISA and MasterCard among others, intended to identify solutions that will help exporters generate increased trade online.
Jamaican Opposition MP Wheatley calls for Joint Select Committee of Parliament on ICT
Opposition Spokesman on Science, ICT & Digital Society Development Dr Andrew Wheatley has asked the Government to immediately convene a Joint Select Committee of Parliament to consider ICT matters.
He stated "It is extremely important to have a parliamentary committee deliberating on issues confronting the ICT sector. This committee should be tasked with overseeing and expediting the creation of the ICT Act and the Data Protection Act, which have been languishing for some time now.”
The parliamentarian continued, noting “With a national system of identification set to come on stream in the future and the imminent move toward an electronic database of patients' records in the health sector, the need for legislative provisions regarding data protection cannot be overemphasised," Wheatley said in a statement.
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St. Kitts and Nevis Participates in OECS e-Payments Forum
Rodney Bay, St. Lucia was the venue for the Competitive Business Unit's two day Forum on E-Payments. The forum was attended by delegates from nine OECS member states with the objective of promoting harmonized rules and regulations in the OECS region for conducting electronic payments.
Rodney Browne founder and Managing Director of eCaribbean Ltd in St. Kitts and Nevis, when asked for his thoughts of the two day forum, said he found the exercise to be quite informative in relation to the prime objective of establishing a harmonised legal framework to enable ePayments across the OECS sub-region. “The workshop was on point, as it clearly identified the challenges facing the region and the need for legislation, so the workshop met that objective.”
One of the common threads identified was that of “culture” he stated, due to a traditional mindset of conducting cash or physical transactions. “Consumers for the most part would frequent a business place to make a payment” he said, “as a result businesses don't adopt an online first mindset to payments when developing websites.” Mr. Browne added.
He referred to this situation as “a chicken and egg scenario”, “businesses including the banks would say that there's little demand for online payments and therefore don't seek to make the option available or if they do the cost is too high, which is a further deterant to the few businesses who may be considering making the investment in providing an online payment option.”
Trinidad & Tobago, Securities Exchange Launches New Website and App
The T&T Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) has launched a new investor education microsite, as part of its continued drive to improve investor education.
The site will be home to content related to investor education in one “go-to” portal which facilitates the inclusion of more dynamic media through the use of infographics, videos and games along with tools and calculators. The TTSEC will also tailor its investor education efforts to focus on different life stages such as teenaged and working years, and pre-retirement.
At the same time the Commission also launched a digital application for tablets and mobile devices, to push investor education messages to the technology driven public. The app offers on the go information curated by the TTSEC and will include relevant news and updates as well as promote investor education through the use of interactive elements.
The application includes the ability to download a fillable complaint form as well as submit queries via an in-app form. Users can select specific stocks to watch from those traded on the T&T Stock Exchange and view the current price and any increase or decrease as well as see a graph of changes over time,as well as other information.
Online Science and Technology Research Database launched
The Ministry of Science and Technology, with the support of the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST) moved one step closer toward increasing innovation and funding for Research and Development (R&D) in Science and Technology, with the launch of an online Science and Technology Research Database for Trinidad and Tobago, appropriately named STResearchTT.
STResearchTT is expected to play a critical role in advancing the work of the Draft National Science and Technology Policy, as well as the preparation of a Country Status Report which will allow the local capabilities in scientific research and development to be matched to gaps identified from national science policy and sectoral policy documents. This Report will also make it easier to identify funding allocations for Science& Tech, thereby promoting innovation and commercialisation of technology in priority areas, one of NIHERST’s key objectives.
In delivering the address on behalf of Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and Technology, Lisa Phillips, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, indicated that “we are indeed at the cusps of discovery with the implementation of this database which will provide critical information on this country’s capability not in only scientific research and development, but in other areas which will support the country’s developmental needs such as ecological sustainability, economic diversification and the improvement of the quality of life of our
citizens.” She further stated that “if we are to remain competitive in today’s world, distinguish ourselves and provide leadership, we must conduct research and development activities.”
For more detailed information on these stories visit the Tech-News Section on the WINN FM website or follow me on social media. This has been WINN FM's Caribbean Technology Round Up, with Russell Williams, thank you for listening and have a great weekend.
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CFBC Students meet App Developer and Author
First and second year students of Clarence Fitzroy Bryant's Technical Division, in St. Kitts met with Sharon L. Simmons, developer of the iGotem App and author of the book Get the App Outta Your Head. Simmons, who is a national of the Federation was in St. Kitts to promote both her app and book, took time to engage the IT students in an interactive presentation of journey and receive encouragement in their efforts to become developers.
Simmons admonished the students to be creative and look for problems to solve, “there are dozens of apps that have yet to be written, and some which may address national or regional problems.” She said once you think you're onto something “check both the Android and Apple app-stores, and see if there's in an app for it. But don't be put off if there is, download and analyse it. Then see where it's weak and innovate!” A short pop-quiz was held with some students receiving copies of her book.
Tuesday 19th Was CARCIP Awareness Day in Grenada
The Grenada Trade Centre Annex, was the venue chosen by the Ministry of Communications, Works, Public Utilities, ICT and Community Development to launch CARCIP Awareness Day. The Grenadan government, through CARCIP, has promoted collaboration between industry experts, the private sector and government to generate new opportunities for technology-enabled businesses. The CARCIP Awareness Day unveiled various opportunities available under the program.
“Innovative firms and individuals drive new products, processes and services that create growth and employment. Innovation boosts productivity, which is the key to faster economic growth and rising living standards,” said Alice Bain, who coordinates the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) in Grenada.
Trinidad and Tobago is Open Data Ready
The World Bank Group has confirmed that T&T is open data ready with strong high-level commitment to open government. The National Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA), a collaborative venture between the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance and the Economy, together with the World Bank Group (WBG), was conducted with government ministries and agencies, civil society and the private sector over a period of months earlier this year.
The qualitative input from these stakeholders assisted with the preparation of the Draft National Open Data Readiness Assessment Report, which contains the World bank Group’s findings and recommendations for development and implementation of a National Open Data Strategy in T&T.
Being open data ready and participating in an open data initiative assists the country in its goal to develop an open, accountable and transparent public sector and delivery of public services to its citizens.
It augurs well for the National Broadband Plan for Development which aims to ensure that citizens across T&T have access to high speed broadband connectivity, an important driver of economic growth and development and facilitates job creation.
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