Technology

Silicon Caribe to stage first Caribbean Bloggers Week

cbwdigitalinfluenceblog-690x509SiLiCON CARiBE the award-winning Caribbean Tech Media and Events brand, will stage the first annual Caribbean Blogger’s Week across the Region and Diaspora, from December 5th to 10th, 2016. It will celebrate and showcase the power of Digital Influencers of Caribbean + Caribbean descent, who are Bloggers, Podcasters, Instagrammers, YouTubers and other types of Digital Creatives.

The event which is staged 90% online, will profile and interview emerging and rockstar Digital Influencers; publish educational how-to and how-I-did articles from expert bloggers;  release The Status of Caribbean Blogosphere Trend Report; launch an Official Caribbean Blog directory plus host two Twitter Chats. The week will culminate with Blogger Meetups hosted by top Caribbean Bloggers in Kingston, Port of Spain, New York and London.

Caribbean Bloggers Week is our newest event and our intention is that it inspires the increased development, marketing and distribution of more original Caribbean Digital Content. You see, it is of great value that more of us, come to understand the value and opportunity of owning a blog, an independent digital media platform, for which you can set your own agenda. A platform where you can produce text, audio, photo and video digital content, build an engaged and loyal audience and achieve amazing things, including a profitable business,” said Ingrid Riley, Founder of SiliconCaribe.

SiliconCaribe is the multi award-winning Caribbean Tech Blog that’s been chronicling and showcasing how the Caribbean does Tech by covering Caribbean Technology News, Startups, Mobile Trends, Digital Culture and Digital Business since 2007. The Media entity has also staged  over 90 different type of Caribbean Tech events for Entrepreneurs and Creatives.

Under this year’s theme, “The Power of Digital Influence,” Caribbean Bloggers Week is on a mission to raise the visibility and viability of Caribbean Content Creators, Tastemakers and Marketers and increase the understanding and collaboration between them and Caribbean and Global brands.

I’ve been blogging here at SiliconCaribe.com for just over 9 years myself, and one of the things that I truly love about blogging paired with social media, is the ability to create great content, engage and build a loyal audience and become an authority in your space, which is the foundation of digital influence,” says Riley.

Caribbean Bloggers Week online and in person schedule of activities, will also examine how Digital Influence is growing in the Caribbean and Diaspora, the current trends, who are some of rising and leading digital influencers; what makes them so powerful ( their reach, resonance and relevance); how they already are reshaping how entire industries work and how marketing budgets are being spent.

ABOUT SILICONCARIBE

SiliconCaribe is Caribbean Tech Media and Events Brand, that’s been chronicling and showcasing how the Caribbean does Tech since 2007. Every month readers from primarily the Caribbean, United States and Europe read the blog that covers Caribbean technology, innovation, startups, social media, mobile, digital business and digital culture.

SiliconCaribe is also the leading producer of Caribbean technology events for Startups, Caribbean Businesses and the Caribbean Tech Industry and Diaspora.  The entity has produced over 80 Tech Meetups+ Pitch events, three Caribbean Tech Conferences, three Caribbean Hackathons, Mobile App Competitions, Online Twitter Chats and one Startup Weekend.

Contact: Ingrid Riley : ingrid@getconnectid.com | 1 876 864 2440

Internet Exchange Points Critical to the Caribbean Digital Economy

Mark Vanterpool, Vice-president of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Minister of Communications and Works, Government of the British Virgin Islands.
Mark Vanterpool, Vice-president of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and Minister of Communications and Works, Government of the British Virgin Islands.

Caribbean nations need to strengthen their Internet infrastructure if the region is to take full advantage of the global digital economy.

This was the view expressed by Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) vice president Mark Vanterpool, speaking at the official launch of CTU’s ICT Week on the 29th September 2015 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Vanterpool, the Minister for Communications and Works in the BVI, used his country as an example of the benefits of investing in Internet infrastructure. He singled out the role of the local Internet exchange points, commonly called IXPs, as one of the key enablers of the Caribbean digital economy.

He explained that local IXPs reduce costs and increase efficiency by allowing networks to interconnect directly to exchange Internet traffic, rather than having to connect through third-party networks.

“Here in the Virgin Islands, we understood the importance of establishing a local IXP, and today we are happy to say that we have benefitted from having one of the very first IXPs established in the region. This was implemented with significant support from the CTU, to whom we remain grateful,” Vanterpool said.

The BVI’s IXP was established in June 2011 with technical and policy assistance from the CTU and Packet Clearing House (PCH), a US-based non-profit organization responsible for support for critical Internet infrastructure globally.

Vanterpool noted that while the full potential of the BVI’s IXP is yet to be unleashed locally, other countries throughout the region should take steps to adopt their own local IXPs.

“More has to be done to realize the full benefits of this development. Accordingly, I would like to see more emphasis toward adding value to our IXP, by exploring opportunities for data centres, data storage and local content.”

“I urge my fellow member states in the CTU to also implement a national IXP which, when joined with the other IXPs in the region, will be a powerful catalyst for regional growth and development,” the minister added.

Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist and Caribbean Outreach Manager for PCH, confirmed that the BVI was the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to establish a local IXP.

“Packet Clearing House is working closely with the CTU and its member states to strengthen existing exchange points in the region,” Wooding said. “PCH is also collaborating with the CTU and the Caribbean Network Operators Group to support development of new IXPs and strengthening of technical capacity across the region.”

Open Data Key to Driving Digital Innovation in the Caribbean

By Gerard Best

Open data advocate Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House, presents at Caribbean Telecommunications Union Ministerial Briefing Seminar in Tortola, BVI on September 30, 2015.
Open data advocate Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House, presents at Caribbean Telecommunications Union Ministerial Briefing Seminar in Tortola, BVI on September 30, 2015.

TORTOLA, BVI – Across the Caribbean, governments are moving their essential services to digital platforms and generating more data than ever. Yet, much valuable public information remains locked away in proprietary systems, beyond the reach of Caribbean innovators and end users. A growing number of open data initiatives aim to change this, but it won’t be easy.
“The Caribbean can benefit tremendously from open data as part of its development agenda,” said Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, in a presentation on Open Data at the 13th Strategic ICT Seminar of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 30th September 2015.
His call to make more government data available was timely, as he addressed an audience that included several government ministers and officials from across the region. Extracting maximum value from data is increasingly becoming a base-level requirement, as governments aim to measure progress and demonstrate achievements.
“Transparency, openness and accountability are three of the main benefits of open data,” Wooding pointed out. “However, there are also significant social and economic benefits that can be derived from the development of new applications and services based on open data.”
The Seminar was also addressed by Anat Lewin, an ICT Policy Specialist with the World Bank. Lewin shared on the work of the Bank in open data projects in the Caribbean, including Open Data Readiness Assessments in Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica and St Lucia. She also announced that the Bank is supporting development of online open data portals in Jamaica and St Lucia.
In an interview following his presentation, Wooding noted that governments play a key role in collecting and disseminating data, but he said some are more open and effective than others.
“Open government is about more than a simple commitment to share data. It’s also about supporting a larger ecosystem for using data and spurring innovative new applications of data by tapping into creativity and resources that are not available within any single organisation.”
The process of making government more open, he said, is not an easy one, as it involves confronting tough questions, and unlocking entrenched mindsets concerning exactly what data should be open to the public.
“Governments are wrestling with the dilemma between promoting open data on one hand and maintaining data sovereignty and control on the other,” he said.
“The challenge has always been about where to strike a balance between the openness and information control.”
Privacy concerns are one of the most common obstacles faced by open data advocates. Even as the open data movement gains strength, difficult questions remain about how to protect information about private citizens. Without proper controls, such information could be used to shame, discriminate or cause other undesirable outcomes.
“In some countries, there’s simply not much data to share anyway,” Wooding said. “Data gaps are particularly acute in emerging markets that lack technology-powered systems, active research communities and strong institutional frameworks for data collection. Other countries have plenty of data, but don’t have tools, protocols or leadership motivation for using data effectively and ethically.”
To overcome these challenges, a growing array of stakeholders—including tech innovators, research institutions, governments, civil society, academia and individuals—are banding together to develop new models to promote and leverage open data. Theirs is a difficult but necessary struggle for the greater good of the region.

OECS partners with CTU to promote ICT-Development in Eastern Caribbean

Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, with Nigel Cassimire, acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the OECS and the CTU in Tortola, BVI on September 30, 2015.
Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, with Nigel Cassimire, acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the OECS and the CTU in Tortola, BVI on September 30, 2015.

TORTOLA, BVI – An agreement between the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) promises to deepen collaboration between the institutions in leveraging information and communications technology to support development in the sub-region.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on September 30, representatives from both organizations expressed confidence that the formalization of their collaborative relationship would redound to the benefit of their member states.

“This agreement will allow us to converge our efforts and expertise and multiply the output of our shared objectives,” said Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission.

“The CTU has an unrivaled track record as an actioned-oriented organization and as the region’s premiere telecommunications body. We are looking forward to collaborating more closely with them to develop strategies and practical initiatives to promote the interest and advancement of OECS member states through the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT),” Jules added.

Nigel Cassimire, speaking on behalf of the CTU Secretary General, Bernadette Lewis stated “The CTU has a long history of supporting the sub-region in areas that include telecommunications policy formulation, spectrum management, internet exchange point proliferation, technical capacity building and public education on the development opportunities ICTs presents. We fully expect our work in the sub-region to be strengthened by this agreement.”

The OECS is an international treaty organisation whose membership comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Martinique are associate members of the OECS.

The CTU is an inter-governmental organization, established by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads, with a mandate to facilitate development and the formulation of policies for the region’s information and communication technologies (ICT) sector. It has twenty regional state members, including all the OECS countries, as well as private sector and civil society members.

Barbados Elected New President of the CTU

Newly appointed CTU President Darcy Boyce, left, and Vice President Mark Vanterpool at the 18th General Conference of Ministers Meeting held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 29th September, 2015.
Newly appointed CTU President Darcy Boyce, left, and Vice President Mark Vanterpool at the 18th General Conference of Ministers Meeting held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 29th September, 2015.

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union has elected Barbados, represented by the Hon. Darcy Boyce, as its new President.

Boyce, who serves as Minister in the Government of Barbados with responsibility for Energy, Telecommunications, Immigration and Investment, was elected by unanimous vote at the 18th General Conference of Ministers Meeting held in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 29th September 2015. The BVI, represented by Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, was appointed Vice President, also by unanimous vote.

On the previous day, 28th September, new appointments were also announced for the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the CTU’s Executive Council following elections conducted as part of the 31st Executive Council Meeting also held in the BVI. St. Lucia, represented by Mr. Philip Dalsou, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, was elected as Chairman, with the BVI, represented by Mr. Anthony Mc Master, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works as Vice-Chairman.

The outgoing CTU president Hon. Philip Paulwell, Minister of Science and Energy of Jamaica wished his successor well. The CTU ministers also thanked Mr. Reginald Bourne of Barbados, outgoing chair of the Executive Council for his contribution to the organization.

The appointments came as part of a series of high-level meetings, dubbed “ICT Week”, hosted by the BVI Government and the CTU from September 28 to October 1.

Activities included the meetings of the CTU’s Executive Council and General Conference of Ministers, a strategic ICT seminar, and the second annual Caribbean Regulators’ Forum.