“Why are we not further along in our path to digitally transform the region?” was the question posed by Liberty Latin America’s (LLA) Chief Legal Officer, John Winter, to a packed audience that included Caribbean Government Ministers and Telecommunications policymakers and operators at the Opening Ceremony of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) 30th Anniversary celebration on Monday, April 29th.
Winter outlined that LLA, the parent company of C&W Communications which operates the Flow brand, is moving the region forward with “digital enhancements that include updating our self-care MyFlow app, the addition of virtual assistants to our websites and enabling user interface prompts for our automated call center”. In closing, he congratulated the CTU on their milestone and urged governments “to create a level playing field where incumbents and new entrants can operate side by side and can offer the best digital products and services for their citizens.”
As part of the three-day conference held at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center in Port of Spain, the CTU presented “Caribbean FutureScape”, a real-time experience of what a digitally transformed Caribbean could look like. Participants were immersed in a simulation of a confederation of 5 Caribbean countries whose governments collaborated and cooperated to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to accelerate the social and economic development of their countries.
Vivek Khemka, Chief Technology and Product Officer, LLA, presented on Day Two as one of five Lightning presentations on disruptive digital technology and how voice technology and virtual assistants can enable the unconnected to participate in the digitally transformed Caribbean. Voice assistants will provide a simpler interaction paradigm that allow users to access the internet without the need of special digital training. In closing he invited public private partnerships to enable high speed infrastructure, simpler rules across the region and incentives to enable citizens to use a ‘hands-free’ interface and connect to the internet to enhance their lives.
On Day Three, speaking as part of a Panel on the topic of ‘Embracing the Cloud’, geared towards Governments and large enterprises, Flow Barbados’ Country Manager and Head of C&W Business, Southern Caribbean, Jenson Sylvester answered the often-asked question, “what is cloud computing”? He gave the audience a brief but simple explanation on the benefits of utilizing cloud technology, including the value and economies of scale that accrue to users of cloud services.
C&W Business also hosted a booth at the conference where it showcased solutions and services as the company supports the transition toward a digitally transformed experience for business customers.
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Make solutions more affordable might have been better news. Telecommunication services are still too expensive in this region and the external companies are raking in huge profits from our citizens. Internet costs can be halved and still the companies make a killing. I am still of the view that we urgently need a private regulatory body who would investigate and report fearlessly the exorbitant rates charged by telecoms companies for services. Until all rates are dropped drastically, the companies are really not singing our tune.
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