Over the last 30 years the world has seen one of the most significant shifts in human history – the shift from the industrial to the information economy. Like the shifts before it – from feudal to mercantilist, and from mercantilist to industrial – this latest shift has brought with it a sea change in terms of access to knowledge and information, in terms of what is valued as capital, how economic activity is structured and has impacted the basis of competition between nations.
This global information and knowledge society has been driven by the democratisation of the internet and the proliferation of computers, the “Cloud” and mobile telephony. These developments have profoundly changed how we conduct almost every activity in our daily social and business activities. Equally notable has been the steady decrease in the cost of computer hardware, mobile communication devices and broadband connectivity, not only for government and big business, but more importantly for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals. The result has been a paradigm shift in the way that communication between entities (individuals, businesses, governments) occurs and in the manner in which information is disseminated, accessed, manipulated and consumed. This shift has even a profound impact on social culture and introduced a multitude of new terms to the technology, management and business jargon, both in the academic and casual usages.
Read Full Article Here: Contact – Leading in the Information Age
Education, skill development and the generation of new ideas are keys to human development, civil society, economic growth and national competitiveness. Innovative societies and economies are shaped through the development of high quality and diverse education, training and research foundations as well as a culture of knowledge sharing and a significant investment in people as the most valuable national asset. For such goals to be attained in this modern age, all this must be predicated on robust information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.
In this regard Vision 2020 specifically calls for a Trinidad and Tobago which produces people who are “highly skilled, well educated … aspiring to a local culture of excellence that is driven by equal access to learning opportunities. Our people acknowledge and actively pursue the development of self and country by being socially responsible and contributing to economic development.”
Read Full Article Here: Contact – ICT and the Building of an Education Cluster in T&T
In many of the smaller tourism-focused islands of the Region, during the peak tourist season, the number of tourists on the island rivals the size of the citizen population. The total contribution of travel and tourism to the 2012 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Caribbean was 14 percent, the highest for any region in the world (WTTC 2013). Tourism’s contribution to GDP in 2012 was 27.1 percent in the British Virgin Islands, 22.9 percent in Anguilla and 22 percent in the Bahamas – an indication of the important role of the sector in the Region’s economies. When one considers that, at its essence, what the tourism industry is attempting to do is attract the spend of geographically removed persons to non-domestic locales, luring them based upon information that they receive prior to making the journey, the value of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) begins to become evident. Indeed ICTs are pervasive throughout the travel and tourism space, as all stakeholders, destinations, hotels, airlines and visitors, send their information ahead of them so as to optimize efficiency, facilitate value creation and enhance the transaction experience on all sides.
Read Full Article Here: Tourism and ICT – the Hidden Opportunities
Many developing countries possess a primary export industry which disproportionately contributes to their GDP and national wealth. Examples of these include the oil industry in Venezuela, precious minerals in Angola, columbite-tantalite (coltan) in the Congo, natural gas in Trinidad and Tobago, among others. Furthermore, these industries are many times based on non-renewable natural resources which will only sustain the economies linked to them, for a finite period as technological substitutes advance and reserves dwindle.
A prototypical feature of these economies is their unstable nature due to dependence on fluctuating world commodity prices, changes in preferential market access arrangements, depleting reserves and a host of other possible market structure shocks. These changes invariably have detrimental social and economic affects on the nations and societies in question.
Read Full Article Here: Linkage Article – Achieving Sustainable Growth
The days of brick and mortar businesses are slowly dwindling as creative industries are increasingly undergoing a ‘digital migration’. ‘Creative Industries’, defined as being “economic and social activities in the areas of the performing arts are actively being consumed on fixed internet and mobile platforms”, says Atiba Phillips, Principal Consultant of INFOCOMM Technologies (ICT) Ltd.
Over the next four years, digital technologies will become progressively widespread across all segments of Entertainment and Media (E&M). Presently, global digital consumption constitutes 27% and is projected to represent as much as 47% of E&M spending by 2017. The global E&M market as a whole is expected to grow at a rate of 5.6% annually, generating revenues in excess of US$2.0tn by 2017.
Similar to international creative industries, the Caribbean is a haven for creative output with an abundance of innovative cultural products. However, the production of online and mobile content with associated infrastructure and business models, is considered new territory in the Caribbean. “In order for the Region to succeed in taking advantage of new opportunities and ultimately, have the ability to compete in the global marketplace, it must to improve creation and distribution of rich Caribbean e-content and urgently address the barriers that inhibit progress” proffers Phillips.
For Caribbean economies to benefit meaningfully from the interaction with the Internet, the development of e-content driven by the creative industries will be a significant factor.
Read Full Article Here: CONTACT Article – Creative Industries go Digital – Do we understand the implications?
When discussing the way forward for National or Regional ICT strategies, many focus specifically on connectivity to the end user, or availability of end-user devices. However, the nature of the global landscape demands a review of what is to be done after provision of computers and broadband access is achieved i.e. what content will be accessed? How will this content be leveraged, made relevant, sustained and monetized?
The size of the global digital economy has seen exponential growth over the last 15 years – from approximately one trillion USD in 1999 to 20 trillion USD in 2013. The Caribbean region however, remains generally characterised by factor-based economies throughout its isles.
In order to enhance its ability to exploit these fundamental global trends, the Region must harness its capacity for creativity, innovation and content production that can be leveraged and traded over the internet. These are necessary pre-requisites to providing new opportunities for Regional entrepreneurship, economic diversification and business growth.
Read Full Article Here: CANTO Article – The Importance of the Data Economy
Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs or referred to here as ‘smaller firms’) contribute significantly to the non-energy segment of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide the lion’s share of national employment outside of the Public Sector. Yet these firms have traditionally have faced many, sometimes crippling, challenges due to their restricted size and reach.
Over the last 15 years the world has seen the emergence of the information economy and society driven by the democratisation of the internet and the proliferation of computers and mobile telephony. These developments have profoundly changed how we conduct almost every activity in our daily activities, especially those revolving around work and businesses. (more…)
Prior to the last decade, the uptake of ICTs in the Caribbean Region had largely been through large corporate bodies for purposes such as data storage and data processing, and to support core business functions such as accounting. However, with the technology revolution that has swept the Caribbean Region over the last ten to fifteen years, a larger percentage of consumers has begun to use ICTs in their daily lives.
A recent EU sponsored study on MSME use of ICTs titled “E-COMMERCE STRATEGY PAPER FOR CARIFORUM VOLUME 3: SMEs’ READINESS FOR E-COMMERCE, July 15, 2010” revealed the following (more…)