Towards A Single Caribbean ICT Space Part 1

ITUInnovationPolitical Will Not Technology Needed for Success

In the face of the mounting economic and social challenges, the Caribbean urgently needs to tap into new sources of growth. Across the region, the search is on for areas that will create new job opportunities, improve its competitiveness and drive innovation. Creation of a Single ICT Space in CARICOM is expected to provide tremendous benefits, if the region can muster the collective strength to make it a reality.

Cautious Optimism
On the global stage, strategic use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is widely acknowledged as a critical pillar for sustainable and inclusive growth. However, the Caribbean lacks a genuine single market for electronic communications. Seeking to address this, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government recently announced plans to establish a CARICOM Single ICT Space.

Data is the new OIL! Help the Caribbean get some! Take and Pass on this Survey on availability of Agriculture Open Data.

ctanetherlandsICT4AG- The survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/agridata aims to identify the availability, use and issues in relation with agriculture open data in the Caribbean. Open data are complete sets of information on an issue or activity, that are open and free to use, reuse, and redistribute. They are formatted for ease of use, in many cases take the form of databases, and favour public information, transparency, accountability and innovations.

It is undertaken by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) www.cta.int, in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) www.iica.int and Connectimass (a Caribbean association http://connectimass.com/), in the framework of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean initiative, and of the efforts of these organizations to promote knowledge sharing on agriculture in the Caribbean. The AgriHack Talent Caribbean project aims to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.

Most agricultural organizations have information on their website; we are more interested here on specific links to sets of data on specific topic(s) or activity(ies) that can be re-used.

Your response to this survey will help the development of ICT applications that will enhance the agricultural sector as well as help better address agriculture data challenges in the Caribbean. The research targets in particular agriculture stakeholders and IT developers involved in developing solutions for agriculture from the Caribbean.

It will only take a few minutes to complete this form.  Questions marked with an asterisk (*) are compulsory.

Please respond to this survey by 24 August 2014. Preferably, please respond today here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/agridata

A revolution in mobile communication is coming to the Caribbean: Voice over LTE (VoLTE)

mobileplatformsMOBILE NEWS- When people talk about LTE networks, also known as 4G, they are mainly referring to data, specifically high-speed data. And it’s not unusual. The service is, after all, an “all-IP” technology, which makes maximum use of the efficient exchange of data packets for high speed downloading of text files, videos and photographs.

The real cost of violating net neutrality in the Caribbean

trinidad-flagOPINION- A recent move by two major Caribbean mobile providers to block access to Internet-based telephony services—including several popular Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications—has brought the issue of net neutrality to the attention of Caribbean mobile phone users.

The core principle of net neutrality is that Internet service providers should treat all data passing across their networks equally, not discriminating by user, generator, content, site, platform, application or equipment.

A joint statement from the T&T chapters of the Internet Society (ISOC-TT) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-TT), along with the T&T Computer Society, described the move to block certain services as “a violation of the concept of network neutrality”.

Tech education essential to help Caribbean youth create future

BrightPathFoundation_LogoTECH EVENT – Increasing the competitiveness of T&T’s software industry should be a priority for the sustainable development of the nation’s nascent information technology (IT) sector. This was the call from Bevil Wooding, Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation.

Wooding was speaking at an interview after the closing ceremony of TechCamp 2014, a two-week technology education camp targeting 10 to 15 year olds.

“Software development is an essential skill for the digital generation. Education in the fundamentals coding helps us secure our place in the technology-based economies of the future.”

CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST – Attention of tech hubs and labs in the Caribbean. Get involved in the AgriHack Talent Caribbean

atc2014The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and ConnectiMass will organise a Caribbean Initiative for ICT for Agriculture called Agrihack Talent Caribbean.

Its main objective is support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people. Private, public sector and non-government run innovation or entrepreneurship hubs/labs/communities (including university labs) are invited to express interest in being partners nominating and supporting teams to the finals of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition in Suriname.

Get involved in the AgriHack Talent Caribbean!

The Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and ConnectiMass will organise a Caribbean Initiative for ICT for Agriculture called Agrihack Talent Caribbean. Its main objective is support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.

Private, public sector and non-government run innovation or entrepreneurship hubs/labs/communities (including university labs) are invited to express interest in being partners nominating and supporting teams to the finals of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean competition in Suriname.

More

Time To Revisit Caribbean Telecom Regulations

tabletsincaribbeanschoolsOutmoded Policy Hindering Development, Hurting Consumers

The move by two major Caribbean mobile providers to block access to popular Internet-based telephony services continues to capture regional attention. Their action has provoked the ire of consumers, caught the attention of Internet advocates and forced the engagement of national regulators. But perhaps most significantly, it has put a spotlight on the outmoded regulations that govern the actions of telecommunications providers in the Caribbean.

The Agri eBay! showcased in Kenya’s FIN4Ag International Conference

jermaine-henryICT4AG - Shopping on eBay for a range of consumer goods is one of the most popular online retail endeavours today. It is convenient, affords the consumer leverage on cost through competitive bidding and eliminates meddlesome middlemen. But can you imagine such convenience and efficiency in the agriculture sector?

Well, it’s more than just a thought as Project Agro, a Jamaican-based agri-tech start-up that arose from one of the events of ConnectiMass- A Caribbean Innovation Hub, is demonstrating the efficacy of an “agri eBay” clearinghouse called Agro Central. This eight month old innovation is Jamaica’s first digital agricultural clearinghouse that allows users to sell or buy agricultural produce.

The Agro Central functions as a sort of “agri eBay” system. It differs in that it is intended for businesses to buy directly from agricultural producers/farmers, and is not meant to be a mass market consumer focused platform like eBay.

More Story and Video here.

Defending An Open Caribbean Internet

caribbeanvoipWhy Blocking VoIP Services is Bad for Consumers and Bad for the Region

“…we are empowering individuals and businesses to get the best out of the internet when and how they want.” – Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica
In general, it is always troubling when private firms place their profit-driven interests above larger societal good. When such interests, impact open access to the Internet, and all of its services, the ramifications can undermine economies and disempower whole sectors of society.

From Data to Dollars-How Open Data Initiatives Can Support Business Innovation and Transparency in the Caribbean

currency exchange copyData is more accessible today than anyone could have imagined only a few decades ago. From corporate databases to Internet connected repositories is the lifeblood of the digital economy. With growth projected at 40 per cent a year into the next decade, it is unleashing a new wave of innovative services and opportunities.

Open Data World
As more of the world goes online, there are increasing opportunities for businesses, governments and people to use data in new ways. For example, data allows us to to learn about customers, optimize business processes, better customize products and services. Add the Internet to the mix and you have a world of data possibilities that can be built upon the foundation of cloud computing, mobility, social networks. But for those possibilities to be realized, the data has to be accessible. The more accessible it is, the more opportunities there are for everyone. That’s where open data comes in.

ITU to promote the global adoption of mobile money

mobile-money-appPRESS RELEASE- International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a new Focus Group on Digital Financial Services to promote financial inclusion using information and communication technologies (ICT) in response to a proposal from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a member of ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Over 2.5 billion adults do not have access to a formal bank account, most of them in developing economies. Internationally standardized ‘mobile money’ platforms will increase financial inclusion to the benefit of socio-economic development worldwide. Digital financial services are capable of improving the delivery of basic financial services. Standards will drastically reduce the costs of these services to service providers and their customers, thereby opening the door to remote and underserved communities.