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Digitisation 2

KYRON REGIS

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CANTO Secretary-General Teresa Wankin has revealed that T&T has the ability to take advantage of digital transformation.

In a release, Wankin indicated that “T&T has good ICT infrastructure that could support the digital transformation of the country.”

She noted that with the establishment of a Ministry of Public Administration & Digital Transformation, “the country is well-poised to become a fully digitalised nation.”

Opening a webinar series called “CANTO Conversations” Wankin said that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a fresh mandate for digital transformation in all industries.

She contended governments and the private sector have to continuously explore and collaborate on technology solutions and policy initiatives to develop an environment that would spur economic growth and innovation in all sectors.

Speaking about T&T, Wankin warned that access for rural and underserved communities are critical success factors in advancing the digitalization agenda so that no citizen is left behind.

Wankin also described Huawei as a key partner of CANTO and emphasised the importance the Association placed in promoting technological solutions for the Region.

The feature speaker of the webinar series, Luis Guillot, Huawei’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Government Solutions for Huawei Latin America who said the company has been working with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in many communities in Latin America to provide smaller communities with the right service, at the right quality and connectivity for the least amount of expenditure.

The current urgent challenges faced by many countries in the Caribbean in the successful adoption and implementation of education from home, as many school facilities remain closed was of particular interest to many participants of the forum.

Guillot explained that Huawei has worked with one ISP to extend their network to give priority traffic to a poorer community whose school children were without access.

The ISP gave them free connectivity for government services and educational services, but Guillot explained that they could access recreational sites such as Netflix or YouTube.

He said : “If you have a fuzzy video conference the students will lose interest.”

Questioned as to how governments could get citizens to accept technology, Guillot advised: “Do it in small increments.” He explained that people do not like change, so it cannot be a radical change because everyone will be against it.

He recalled that in 2010/2011 when Mexico City, then one of the most dangerous cities in the world, wanted to introduce video surveillance in the city, it started by putting cameras in schools, not where crime was.

When the project was expanded to the crime areas, parents were on board because it had begun with protecting children. The criminals didn’t like it, but the citizens were endorsing the project, Guillot said.

In recommending the actions governments need to take to keep COVID-19 at bay, Guillot highlighted placing Government services online, transforming internal operations to reduce people’s exposure to the virus and the creation of a Government-wide network identity and digital signature so that public servants are certain about who they are interacting with online.

He added that for approval government can create a one-stop shop to conduct all services.