The Caribbean looks to Cloud Computing

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad — The Caribbean region has an unprecedented opportunity to become a net producer of technology services and solutions, not just a technology consumer.

This is one of the main points of emphasis from Internet Strategist Bevil Wooding, who presented on Cloud Computing at the second Trinidad and Tobago Business and Innovation ICT Symposium.

Cloud Computing is the term used to describe the increasingly popular trend whereby computing resources and services are owned and operated by remote third-party providers. In simple terms, it can be thought of as renting hardware and software services via the Internet.

However, Wooding highlighted the fact that ‘the cloud’ essentially means servers and infrastructure that pysically exists in external jurisdictions, primarily in North America and Europe. He encouraged the audience to strongly consider the policy, privacy, security and technical issues and risks.

“Leaders in government and business must be aware of the inherent complications and risks that attend Cloud Computing. At the same time, we must recognize the tremendous opportunity the technology offers to create a ‘Caribbean Cloud’ that better serves our development goals and better fits our policy and compliance frameworks,” said Wooding, who is Caribbean Outreach Manager for international non-profit, Packet Clearing House (PCH).

He was part of a three-person panel together with Ric Telford, vice president, IBM Cloud Services; and Alvaro Celis, general manager, Multi Country Americas at Microsoft. The panel, which was moderated by Simon Aqui, CEO of IBM Trinidad and Tobago, was one of the plenary sessions on the final day of the ICT Symposium.

Addressing an audience that included academics, technology experts and top level business executives from the public and private sectors of various countries throughout the Caribbean, the panel discussed the type of academic research, economic activity, technical considerations and legal framework required to enable the kind of technological development that would make it possible to have more high-quality technology services made available to the local market.

The ICT Symposium, hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago government’s Ministry of Public Administration, in partnership with the National Information and Communications Technology Company Limited (iGovTT) and the e-Business Roundtable, was part of the country’s ongoing mission to bring awareness to the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Innovation in developing existing businesses and encouraging the birth of new enterprises and opportunities.

The three-day conference program, which took place at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain from Nov. 14 to 16, delivered high-profile local and international speakers, including feature presentations by Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, and Dr. Soumitra Dutta, a professor of business and technology and faculty director of elab@INSEAD.