Global IT Report 2014


So the World Economic Forum - Global Information Technology Report  2014 is out. When I thought about doing this post after 12 midnight and in a sleepy state, I thought the best way to simplify this 369 page report is by asking some questions and looking for the answers.

How well did Trinidad do? Trinidad ranked 71 out of 148 countries. In comparison Barbados ranked 55 while Jamaica ranked 86 and Guyana 88. Last report we ranked 72. The technocrats need to tell us why our ranking is not getting much higher and what we need to do to improve on it. Also, what can be learn from our neighbour Barbados and the top ranking countries. Our mark as a percentage has increased over the last 3 years from 43 to 45 to 56. The overall score is based on several sub-scores

Areas that we did well in

  • Mobile network coverage, % pop : 100 (rank : 1)
  • Fixed broadband Internet tariffs, PPP $/month : 18.71 (rank : 19)
  • Mobile phone subscriptions/100 pop : 140.8 (rank : 27)
  • Electricity production, kWh/capita : 6651.5 (rank : 33)
  • Quality of math & science education* : 4.6 (rank : 36)

Areas that we did poorly in

  • Impact of ICTs on new services & products* : 3.7 (rank : 118)
  • Capacity for innovation* : 2.9 (rank : 123)
  • No. days to start a business : 38 (rank : 125) 
  • Internet & telephony competition, 0–2 (best) : 1.00 (rank : 126)
  • Gov’t procurement of advanced tech* : 2.7 (rank : 130)

What is the NRI (Network Readiness Index)? I found the perfect answer on wikipedia - NRI measures the propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology (ICT). It is published annually. The NRI seeks to better understand the impact of ICT on the competitiveness of nations. The NRI is a composite of three components: the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community (market, political, regulatory, and infrastructure environment), the readiness of the country's key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT, and the usage of ICT among these stakeholders.

What are some key points from the report?

  • Countries can extract value from big data.
  • Measuring the economic and social impacts of ICTs is crucial.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, improving the connectivity of the region continues to represent one of its main challenges.
  • Overall, Barbados continues to boast an excellent educational system.
  • The introduction of Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) allows for trillions of trillions (1038) of devices to connect to the Internet.
  • Big data is large data volumes, from a variety of sources and at high velocity.
  • Agreement on standards is critical to develop economies of scale by encouraging product and service innovation around a common language.
  • Policymakers should promote harmonization.
  • There needs to be the appropriate governance model.
  • Big data has a remarkable ability to change the world.
  • Privacy issues arise with the growth of data.
  • The use of data across sectors can drive innovation and economic growth.
  • Big data analytics is not a passing fad. It will be a central means of creating value for the organization of tomorrow.
  • ICTs have changed the world dramatically over the last decade or so.

The report talks a lot about big data. My wish for reports like this, is for a condensed version that anyone can understand and get some value from. I will admit that at first sight, it was overwhelming for me to go through. I wish that the powers that be, pay attention to what the report is saying and make the necessary decisions to improve on our ICT space for the betterment of our country. Please share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

eMerge Americas Hackathon 2014

According to their press release, eMerge Americas Techweek will host hundreds of developers, designers and technology enthusiasts vying for $30,000 in prizes at the eMerge Americas Techweek Hackathon. The Hackathon will bring together competitors from across the Americas from May 2-4 at the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park's Miami Innovation Center.

So what is a hackathon? According to wikipedia, a hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.

The challenge for the Hackathon will be Doing Social Good: Using Technology to Solve Problems in Communities in Emerging Markets. The applications developed by the teams of developers and designers will be judged based on: Presentation - Ability to clearly articulate the functionality of the application; Sophistication - Difficulty of technical implementation; and Functionality - How well the technology works;

You can check out their website for more information. I contacted the organisers to get an idea of how many Caribbean and Trinidadian entrants there were. Still waiting on a reply. It might be too late to register for this year's hackathon but you can put a reminder in your calendar for next year for sure.

NETMundial Remote Hub Trinidad

ICANN President, Fadi Chehadé, clarifies purpose of upcoming 2 days of discussions.
Photo credit : @thackshaw

CTU will be hosting a remote hub for the NETMundial event taking place in Brazil from April 23rd to 24th. According to their press release, the remote hub in Trinidad and Tobago will be hosted by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) Secretariat at their Port of Spain headquarters at 4 Mary Street, St Clair. Streaming will start at 8 am and is expected to run until at least 5 pm on both days. What is NETMundial? It is a global multistakeholder meeting on the future of internet governance. The official event hashtag on Twitter is #netmundial2014. Check out their website for the various livestreaming options and ways of participating. Some of the sessions include, opening remarks, setting NETMundial goals, principles, roadmap, beyond NETMundial and closing session. I will be tuning in to the YouTube streams tomorrow whenever I get a chance.

Digi-Cards Caribbean

Local franchise holders of the Digi-Cards, Elisha Le Maitre and Kashka Alleyne

After reading about this company/product in the newspapers I decided to contact them to get more information for this blog. According to them the Digi-Card is the worlds number one multimedia download card. It gives you access to online digital content. It could be ANYTHING digital like movies, music, software, documents, coupons, photos, ringtones, e-books, surveys, etc. They also have Digi-Codes which is basically a Digi-Card MINUS the actual card; view for more details.

The card resembles a credit card and is customisable. Each card has a unique and singular access number (pin) which makes them hard to replicate (anti-piracy). How does it work? After getting the card, visit the website listed on the back of the card and enter the code from the front of the card. You will be asked to enter some information like name and email, then enter the unique scratch off code. That's it and you now have access to the content. The card also has a magnetic strip and can be outfitted with RFID so you can use it as a ticket for an event or even a room pass for a hotel. The card is 100% recyclable.

For more information visit their website and please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

ICANN LAC+i Roadshow (Trinidad)

ICANN's recently concluded 49th Meeting in Singapore. Photo credit : ICANN

Read about ICANN LAC+i Trinidad Roadshow in the Guardian and got an event invite via Google+. I will not make this event but I encourage interested parties to check it out. Persons interested in registering can send their name and organization to albert.daniels [at] ICANN is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and LAC+i stands for Latin America and Caribbean region on topical Internet issues. The event takes place on the 25th APR at the Trinidad Hilton between 8:30am and 4:00pm. According to the event invite, the roadshow is designed to raise awareness across the region on key topics related to the DNS critical infrastructure such as the transition to IPv6, SSR (Security, Stability and Resiliency) and the impact of the new gTLD program and sessions will be based on this. Some of the presenters include Tracy Hackshaw, Jacqueline Morris, Dev Anand Teelucksingh and Patrick Hosein. If you attend the event come back here and share with us your insights in the comments below.