Welcome to The Caribbean Technology Round Up for the weekend of 25th August 2017, with host Russell Williams.
ECTEL DIRECTOR OUTLINES THE CHALLENGES TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATORS FACE
Quincy Prentice, Director of Technology in the Nevis Island Administration and a Director at the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL), was speaking on ZIZ’s “Working for You”, when he outlined the challenges that changes in technology and consumer behaviour are having on the telecommunications’ industry.
He pointed out that new disruptive technologies have enabled new and disruptive companies to change the landscape of Telecommunications and Television.
Increased Use of Apps
Prentice said, “Over the last five years if you look at the actual utilisation of the various types of services you would have noticed that there’s been a marked shift from what’s considered traditional telecommunications services, to what are considered IP based or Internet Protocol based services or what are known as Over The Top services. These services are usually apps on your smartphone such as WhatsApp, Skype and Magic Jack. In multimedia, you would have IP set top boxes such as Roku and Avov. In instant messaging, apps such as Viber and WhatsApp which have taken the place of traditional text messaging.”
Changes in TV Viewing Habits
He continued, “You also have Video on Demand services such as Netflix and Hulu that are taking the place of traditional cable TV. So as you can see there is a gradual shift from the traditional service that would have been provided by existing telecommunications companies to a lot of services that are IP based, or in layman’s terms they are basically based on the Internet.”
Threat to Tax Revenue
The director went on to explain the impact that these changes would have for governments and telecommunications regulators in the region and beyond.
“What does that mean for us? It means that the number of traditional companies that would have essentially grown and built their business models on traditional services are now having to evolve as the consumer changes their behaviour. As a regulator you also have to evolve, governments will also have to evolve. Because, if it affects the service providers who are hiring persons who would pay taxes and were responsible for paying licensing fees it will affect you (government) eventually.”
Prentice was part of a panel discussion featuring St. Kitts and Nevis National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), Which sought to highlight proposed changes to the Electronic Communications Bill being proposed for the ECTEL member states and why changes were necessary.
US TECH COMPANIES TO MEET WITH JAMAICA’S TOURISM MINISTER
Jamaica’s minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, traveled to San Francisco, California, this week to engage in strategic meetings with American technology mega-companies Google, Airbnb, and Uber Technologies Inc.
The meetings are in tandem with two of the five strategic pillars of the ministry – building new products and fostering new partnerships; and will also be used to promote the UNWTO, GOJ, World Bank Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism, scheduled for November 27th – 29th, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
Executives at Airbnb extended an invitation to Bartlett to participate in strategic meetings and a tour of their headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The meeting advanced discussions regarding an MOU, which was signed with Airbnb in December 2016, to augment and drive growth within the tourism industry. Special focus will also be placed on the possible participation of Airbnb as a sponsor and presenter at the upcoming global conference.
The minister also met with senior executives at the headquarters of Google on Thursday. While there, he will get an overview of how Google generally works with tourism boards and ministries worldwide. This includes search trends about the island and how Google can analyze the data; leverage external and public online tools; and outline digital best practices on how to use the power of data to attract more tourists more efficiently.
JAMAICA COMMITTED TO A KNOWLEDGE BASED SOCIETY
Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government is committed to a knowledge-based digital society whereby Jamaicans, particularly youth, have greater access to technology.
To this end, he said, barriers of access have been removed from approximately 250 government and educational websites. “I must thank our telecoms partners for ensuring that (the more than) 250 government websites are now zero-rated,” he said.
He said by ensuring that those barriers are removed, a child at home can now access essential websites and educational material online through their personal devices or the ones provided through the Government’s Tablets in Schools initiative.
Meanwhile, he said the Government remains resolute in its 10-point information and communications technology (ICT) plan to improve efficiency in Government, not only within the different ministries, departments and agencies but also the citizen-Government relationship.
“We will be doing this by ensuring greater openness in Government by making more information available online, and by ensuring that Government will have more records and business processes digitised for greater administrative efficiency,” the Minister noted.
“We also intend to achieve this by enhancing citizen to Government interaction and by enhancing business to Government interaction, because we believe that the private sector must assist in driving economic growth and development,” he added.
An IT Professional for more than 20 years and an entrepreneur for more than a decade, Russell Williams is the founder of, The IT Facility and has extensive experience as a Consultant, IT Trainer and facilitator and is happy to answer your questions. E-mail them to email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @RwilliamsKN, G+ google.com/+RussellWilliamsKN and on facebook.com/RussellWilliamsKN