Professor Dutta (second from left) visits the Tamana InTech Park booth at the ICT Symposium, where he discussed Tamana’s role in engendering innovation throughout the country, with e TecK’s Business Development Team members: (l-r) Sharlene Dipchan, Geeta Roopchand, Nishal Nagassar, Rae-Ella Roberts, Vice President Angela Hordatt and Jevorn Scott.
e TecK’s Tamana InTech Park was a proud exhibitor and participant at the 2ndTrinidad and Tobago ICT Business and Innovation Symposium, which took place from November 14-16th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Trinidad.
Hosted by The Government of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the e-Business Roundtable and the National Information and Communications Technology Company Limited (iGovTT), the Symposium represented a unique opportunity for business executives to engage in a forum for regional discussion and debate on matters relating to Information and Communications Technology.
The theme of the Symposium, “ICT Innovation: Staying Ahead”, reflected the country’s commitment to diversify the economy by making ICT one of the new pillars of growth and economic prosperity, laying the foundation of Trinidad and Tobago’s transformation into a knowledge-based society.
The Symposium’s dynamic lineup of international speakers included Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine; and Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Professor of Business and Technology and Dean of External Relations at INSEAD.
ICT Readiness: the public/private debate
Professor Dutta’s presentation was centred around the four keywords of global innovation: Acceleration, Transformation, Innovation and Action. He commented on the low penetration of broadband in Trinidad and Tobago, and emphasized the importance of free or very low-cost access to broadband in order to leverage technology for innovation, development and global competitiveness.
Professor Dutta highlighted that T&T currently ranks 79 out of 133 countries on the Network Readiness Index (NRI); and stated that there remains a wide gap between individuals and government in terms of readiness and ICT usage, with individuals being much more ‘ready to use’ ICT than the government at large.
Notably, a key exhibitor at the ICT Symposium was iGovTT. Their service ttconnect.gov.tt merges key government ministries into a one-stop-shop to provide services for citizens, businesses and non-residents. This practical application for incorporating ICT and service delivery demonstrates the increased dedication of the government’s readiness to implement ICT into the lives of its citizens.
Professor Dutta stated that there must be both national and individual innovation in order for Trinidad and Tobago to progress as a knowledge-based society.
However, he emphasized that a balance needs to be established between when a government should proactively help an industry’s development, or take a more passive role in order for development to emerge organically. Dutta’s assertion does not intend to discredit the state’s efforts, but to emphasize the necessity for the private sector to also take the initiative.
SMEs, MSMEs and A Smarter Planet
Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine, discussed the global economy in relation to the industrial revolution of innovation.
He highlighted the amazing ways in which people can be creative and simultaneously entrepreneurial by using existing technologies to create and drive new products, innovations, and social trends.
Mr. Anderson also provided practical solutions for young and growing companies to access free or low-cost services on the Web for the development of prototypes and for manufacturing low quantities to supply niche markets. Among the tools mentioned were open source forums and “hacker spaces”.
The breakout session on ICT and Innovation for SMEs and MSMEs addressed the challenges that companies face in today’s economy, primarily gaining access to startup capital. It also examined the ways in which smarter technologies and business processes have allowed some companies to be successful despite these challenges.
Another key event in the Symposium’s lineup was the Plenary Session on Cloud Computing, which addressed a new evolution of outsourcing that enables the foundation of a “smarter planet”.
Tamana at the ICT Symposium
The Symposium was a key catalyst to encourage businesses and governments in the region to make increasingly more effective use of ICT within and across their operations. The forum brought together many stakeholders of TamanaInTech Park, as well as other individuals and companies interested in the Park’s development.
The mission of Tamana InTech Park is to be an environmentally-sustainable pillar of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy by nurturing high-value, technology-based businesses and collaborating with key education, research and financial institutions in the development of critical skills in entrepreneurship and innovation.
The presence of the Tamana InTech Park at the ICT Symposium contributed significantly towards reinforcing the Tamana brand as a key player in the ICT industry within Trinidad and Tobago, maintaining the profile of the Park amongst its target audiences of business, state and academia.
Notably, regional and international participants of the Symposium recognised the need for a Science and Technology Park in Trinidad and Tobago, with one delegate even describing it as “fundamental as any other basic need required for human survival” in terms of leveraging ICT to enhance human development.