Notes on the 2008 ICT Symposium

The eTeck team, left to right: Tara Mannick, Angela Hordatt, Nishal Nagassar, Jevorn Scott, Eva Wong, Garron Hasen

Alexander Mora - Costa Rica
Costa Rica has created a Chamber of ICT. The ICT sector, driven by Intel’s investment in a chip plant in the country is responsible for US2.8 billion in sales, representing 10.6 percent of GDP. The sector also drives 2.3 billion in exports, 2.8 percent of total.
The private sector proposes and leads direct and business actions and the green strategy. The academic sector drives R&D.

Kennedy Swaratsingh - Minister of Public Administration
Five years on, the Minister is still talking about connectivity as a priority, citing TTConnect as a key initiative. TTConnect is increasingly being discussed as a “brand,” one that will be extended to mobile phone access and other access points.
At the close of the event, Minister Swaratsingh was promising new initiatives based on “conversations” at the symposium.
“By June-July next year, the information available on the kiosks will be available on smartphones.” Not too sure how that will work, since printing the forms available online is a key part of the utility of the kiosks. These kiosks are also tied specifically to the TTConnect portal and it isn’t possible to access websites using the terminals.
Quote: “Government creates an environment in which technology is enabled,” Swaratsingh said.
“We will be working with the e-business roundtable to fast track processes through Cabinet. Over the next year or two, things will happen, we will outsource many things that are in areas where Government does not belong.”

Jerrol Thompson - St Vincent and the Grenadines, ECTEL
Our government has a strategy to train 4000 people per year in everything from computer basics to MCSE. The country has laid fibre under the streets of the capital. Internet penetration in St Vincent is below 10 percent.
Quote: “I am not satisified with the progress of my country and the larger Caribbean. Education is at the root of our contribution. Our country has not been embracing ICT’s possibilities.”

Keith Thomas - Illuminat
A Barbados pilot project involved developing and implementing software in the school system to allow weak students to work privately in problem areas in English and Maths.
There have been issues with software that isn’t designed for the unique ways that products are sold in Caribbean markets. One product couldn’t deal with meat that’s bought in bulk that’s cut up in the supermarket and sold in smaller pieces. The software is built to manage product that’s delivered precut.

Andy Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer, Icehouse Limited, New Zealand
New Zealand is at the bottom of the world and found itself dropping steadily in the OECD rankings. Traditionally it earned foreign exchange from lots of exports in small quantities to many countries across the world.
The country was slow to pick up on globalisation trends, traditionally it created items and then handed them over to the government for export, becoming, in the process, an exporter that developed few skills in global competition. 176 firms are responsible for three quarters of the exports.
There were no innovation systems and NZ had underinvested in their infrastructure.
Icehouse is setup to increase the number of internationally capable owner managers and entrepreneurs.
With 20 percent of nationals living offshore, they created Kea, a global talent community to leverage the skills and enthusiasm of the diaspora.

Tamana Intech Park
Eva Wong: “Innovation is great, but innovation is risky. We are pursuing opportunities that are concrete and realistic. Companies are telling us that they have a need for backup services and data management services. This is a half a billion dollar opportunity, providing a platform for growth. eTeck will act as an independent third party, offering a buffer for companies that might be skittish about dealing with individual IT companies.

Jevorn Scott: eTeck has a mandate of diversification and will create opportunites for IT development at Tamana Intech Park. The site has placed an emphasis on preservation of the existing environmental ambience (33 percent of the landscape has been kept green), preservation of the Moriche palm and part of the development project is the creation of an ecologically friendly, butterfly emporium (a butterfly shaped park for butterfly farming),the creation of a linear park, and extensive recreational facilities. The flagship building will be a smart building that will set new standards for

In support of the development at Tamana, Sangre Grande is being targeted as the next major urban area. Development is being targeted in the area in support of the Tamana development and a new highway is planned to allow direct access from San Fernando to Wallerfield.

The park will leverage pooled ICT infrastructure, and the proximity of peer companies to accelerate development potential. Yhe technology underpinnings of the park will support state of the art development. Support for residents of the park will include WiFi coverage over the 1100 acres of the campus and access to a Tier III data centre. All services will be run undergound in conduits, with access to a wired metro-ethernet network with a capacity of 1-10 GB and discussions are in place to have the same bandwidth to the Internet backbone.
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