How is tech changing the world?
Or should that question be, how isn’t tech changing the world?
88% of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are no longer part of the Fortune 500.
According to a Global Web Index report, 16 – 24-year-olds spend over three hours a day on social media.
A PwC study found that, in the immediate future, business execs are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to alleviate menial tasks, like paperwork (82%), scheduling (79%), and timesheets (78%).
Doctors are already producing made-to-order body parts.
Robots are building cars.
Roads and houses are 3D printed.
And how is tech changing T&T? At AMCHAM T&T, we believe that the answer is “not quickly enough”.
Now I’m not saying that good work isn’t being done. But it often happens in pockets, with little collaboration.
We need a truly connected tech ecosystem to drive real change and make us more competitive globally. You see, tech is both an industry and an enabler. Embracing tech and infusing it into your business processes and indeed, into the very DNA of government services, will make our individual businesses and our country more competitive and, I dare say, make our people happier through the delivery of better, higher-quality services from both the public and private sectors.
On the Industry side, the Tech industry can be a major pillar of a diversified economy. It can create high-value, exciting jobs, that encourage our young people to stay in Trinidad and Tobago even as they work and play in the global value chain. A tech industry can attract both local and foreign investment. A meaningful, dynamic tech industry could change the essence of how we live, work and play in T&T.
And though that may seem like a distant dream to some, we at AMCHAM T&T really believe that this can be a reality in the near future. Already the industry is being catalysed by a changing mindset in traditional businesses that realise the careful infusion of tech into their businesses will allow them to reach global markets and leapfrog some traditional growth problems. Already, a small but dynamic group of your entrepreneurs are building their businesses and the foundations of a tech industry through robotics, AI and data analytics companies. In universities, work in the tech space is quite advanced. Hackathons and other competitions to identify tech solutions for social and business problems are becoming more and more popular. The government through organisations such as IgovTT and TT IFC are attempting to introduce elements of e-government. However, if the tech industry is to explode, somebody needs to find a way to bring these groups together. Through this, AMCAHM T&T is hoping to do just that.
Other markets get this. Investors and innovators are committed to growing the tech ecosystem in Africa, resulting in the number of technology hubs across Africa doubling in less than a year. According to Global telecoms industry body GSMA’s Ecosystem Accelerator, a total of 314 tech hubs and incubation centres were recorded in Africa in July 2016. This is an increase of 268% from the centres recorded by the World Bank in 2015.
So what’s the AMCHAM T&T strategy?
1. Collaboration: Our Digital Transformation Committee was formed in December 2017; the Committee includes leaders from inter alia, Massy, IBM, Microsoft, PwC, EY, Citi, First Citizens, DeNovo, Atlantic, Fujitsu, the IDB and government involvement through the likes of the TTIFC, CARIRI and iGovTT.
2. Conversation: 2019 will see us holding a series of TECH talks. Our first TECH talk took place on 18 March 2019 at the Bungalow and featured the U.S.’s Suzy and Ted Teele – Head of Marketing and Communications at Advanced Robotics and Manufacturing (ARM) and CEO of Touchtown respectively – both tech entrepreneurs speaking on lessons learned starting a new technology company.
3. Conference – Let’s get real, none of this will have an impact if there is no tech nexus. So we’re going to be holding Tech Hub Islands Summit (this) annually.
Let’s talk about this – a two-day summit with a mashup of networking, education and tech, taking place from 13 – 14 June at the Hyatt Regency. this is not a Conference about policy and abstract ideas. It’s not about wish-lists and what-ifs. this will give the private sector practical tech suggestions to improve all facets of business, encourage the government to modernise and create a marketplace for the free flow of ideas, giving birth to partnerships and innovation. Our cast of speakers includes IBM Director of Cognitive Service Foundations and Master Investor, Dr Nick Fuller, Co-founder of Vonage and Serial Entrepreneur Jeff Pulver, Head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Melon University, Roni Rosenfeld, former Chief Digital Officer of NYC Sree Sreenivasan, Managing Director of Hardware and AlphaLab Gear, one of the US’s top 25 tech accelerators, Ilana Diamond and Google Product Manager in AI and Health, Dr Kwame Johnson. We’re partnering with CARIRI and the IDB to launch an accelerated programme for tech entrepreneurs to pitch to more established companies. We’ve got Republic Bank, Massy Technologies InfoCom, PwC, and United on board as sponsors. And we’ve got topics like The Fourth Industrial Revolution, e-Government is good politics!!! (with three exclamation points), Leadership Panel: Is Your Business Model 4-IR Fit?, Unlocking the Power of Data to Transform Your Business and Man & Machine – The Workforce of the Future.
this is not some one-hit-wonder Conference that we’re having just because we have a history of successful conferences.
this is urgent. And it’s part of a wider vision to build a booming tech industry in T&T.
In 2018, the World Economic Forum introduced a new methodology to its Global Competitiveness Report, integrating the notion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution into the very definition of competitiveness. According to Trading Economics, “It emphasized the role of human capital, innovation, resilience and agility, as not only drivers but also defining features of economic success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
T&T ranked 78th out of 140 countries in that Global Competitiveness Report 2018-2019. We all want to do better.
The good news is – we can. Technological leapfrogging is happening all around us. We don’t have to be stuck where we are. And we don’t have to be afraid. We need to collaborate. We need to converse. And we need this conference to create the change we want to live.
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F: (868) 628-9428
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P.O. Bag 150, Newtown,
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago.
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