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.

Jamaica Set to Launch Internet Exchange Point in August

JamaicaIXPTECH NEWS- Jamaica is expected to benefit significantly from an Internet exchange point facility, which the ministry of science, technology, energy and mining expects to have in place by August. The IXP enables Internet traffic-routing within the country where the provision exists, instead of through external providers, as currently is the case with Jamaica.

Jamaica’s Tech Community Meetup Kingston BETA is on July 3rd, 2014

kingstonbetaJuly2014EVENT- If you are an aspiring/current entrepreneur, designer, developer, college student or tech enthusiast, investor, potential mentor- join the fast growing Tech/Entrepreneurial Community – we want to see you at the next KINGSTON BETA -Jamaica’s Tech Community Meetup on Thursday July 3rd, 2014 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, 6:30 p.m-9:30p.m, Entry is still only JM$500 | US$5.


ConnectiMass Foundation in association with media partner SiliconCaribe.com presents another in our series Kingston BETA events for Jamaica’s Startup Community. We will have the Honourable Julian Robinson, State Minister of Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.


Get your pitches ready! Your fellow tech/startup community members as well as investors are waiting to hear from you. Have a great idea/Startup to pitch? send your name, brief description to ingrid @ ConnectiMass.com. And have a read of our guidelines here. We take Skype Video pitches from Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs in the region and the Diaspora as well.

And yes, this year marks the 7th anniversary of ConnectiMass Foundation staging Kingston BETA. Over 50 events, 5000 attendees and 200 Jamaican/Caribbean entrepreneurs are come to our events. Entrepreneurs and the event itself has been featured in local, regional and international media and events and we’ve only just begun.

JOIN US: Follow @Kingstonbeta @connectimass in the meantime!

SPONSOR US: For more information on sponsorship packages and to discuss becoming a sponsor, please contact Ingrid Riley ingrid at connectimass.com


Caribbean Tech Startup launches new Bluetooth device worldwide with crowdfunding campaign

selfrPRESS RELEASE - Accutrak Labs, a technology development firm based between Kingston and Hong Kong, has created an innovative solution for these real problems that most of us face today world. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Selfr is the world’s first remote smartphone camera controller and smart Bluetooth locator tag combo that’s designed to fit on your key ring.

Selfr was created to enhance your life in ways you’ve never imagined possible.
Its an impressive little device that functions as a wireless camera shutter control for your smartphone, in addition to being a Bluetooth tag that alerts you as a means of preventing your keys, bags, tablets or other important valuables from ever getting lost.

How Slashroots Foundation’s Code for the Caribbean saved Jamaica’s Government and Agrisector millions of $$$

The SlashRoots Foundation (“SlashRoots”) is a civic tech non-profit that leverages technology to create solutions to social problems endemic to the Caribbean region. SlashRoots works with governments, development organizations and civil society to improve public service program design and delivery, with a focus on open innovation and user-centred design.

SlashRoots also works to develop the regional technology ecosystem, facilitating the emergence of a technology industry that employs best practices, engages in global discourse, and is responsive to the Caribbean environment of which it is a part.

Agrocentral: A Caribbean Startup Success Story in the making

Jermaine Henry, left, and Janice Mc Leod, two of the creators of Agrocentral at Gordon House, Jamaica

Jermaine Henry, left, and Janice Mc Leod, two of the creators of Agrocentral at the CMIP Launch at the UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona Campus, Jamaica

A beautiful thing about living in the Caribbean is being part of a Diaspora of developing nations, in which people are faced the same issues you contend with at home. Seen through the right lens, the so-called Third World transforms from an environment defined by limitation and constraint, to one in which you’re surrounded daily with opportunities to develop meaningful answers to complex, deep-rooted and inter-related problems, and you have a global market for any marketable solutions that you can deliver!

It’s all a matter of perspective. Somewhere in Jamaica, for example, there’s a farmer growing really high quality produce, but whose assured market is so small that she suffers perennial spoilage. Meanwhile, over in Trinidad and Tobago, there’s an agro-processor who insists he could make it big, if he only had a more consistent quality from his supplier. And up north, in the Bahamas, a medium-sized restaurant is on the verge of breaking through but needs assured delivery of agricultural produce.

Now, if some young, bright, entrepreneurial, innovative minds were to get together, surely they could design a system that allowed the farmer to get to market and find the best offers, and allowed the businessmen to access produce at competitive prices. Just ask 23-year-old Jermaine Henry, one of four thinkers behind AgroCentral, Jamaica’s new digital agricultural clearing house.

8 new and emerging Caribbean Mobile Apps

Photo: Siliconangle

Photo: Siliconangle

MOBILE NEWS - On Tuesday, 10 June, the World Bank’s infoDev team launched the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Programme (CMIP) in Kingston, Jamaica. The programme, which is part of the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), seeks to recruit and nurture the next generation of talented mobile/cellular entrepreneurs in the Caribbean by providing startup and incubation support.