The Incus plan

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Above: Kirk Henry and Maurice Barnes to shake hands as Leslie Lee Fook looks on. Photo courtesy Leslie Lee Fook.

BitDepth#1177 for December 27, 2018

Ever find yourself in a room where you’re sure something’s going on other than what seems to be going on?
I had that sense at an event hosted two weeks ago by Incus Services (incusservices.com), a local company that I’d never heard of before, who operate a B2B consultancy specialising in robotics automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics.

Leslie Lee Fook, director of Incus, managed to pull together a surprising cross-section of the movers and shakers in the local telecommunications industry in one room, specifically the TSTT box at the Oval, including former TATT chairman Selby Wilson, who served as MC.

Given the cross-section of people in the room, the speeches seemed to be  cautious restatements of the usual warnings of the need for TT technology advancement and the apparently unattainable benchmarks being set by other nations.

Kirk Henry of iGovTT noted the revamped role of iGovTT, now identified as an important contributor to the government’s August 2018 ICT development plan and one focused on efforts to deliver ICT services and deploy e-government services.

Naveen Bhat, Manager of Development and Projects for North America, Latin America and the Caribbean for Singapore’s Crimson Logic pointed to the advancements made in that country through a commitment to ICT as a leveraging tool.

Maurice Barnes of eGov Jamaica gave a compelling speech about how his Caribbean nation actually did all the things Trinidad and Tobago has been talking about since FastForward the First back in 2002. His talk earns its own reporting next week.

Joel Pemberton of DeNovo Energy talked about how his company skipped buying server iron and embraced existing industry software solutions and modern cloud services to create a completely paperless, accountable-by-design digital infrastructure for his new company. This is, after all, a next generation energy company that issues its tea lady an iPad to keep track of visitor preferences.

And Leslie Lee Fook, who seemed to have business connections with everyone in the room, had his own confessional about SMB Services, the predecessor company to Incus, when it faced digital disruption and embraced data analytics to point the way to a new direction for the company to manage a fundamental market shift.

Lee Fook has been working with TSTT, he says, “to harness the power of their data for a couple years.” He hopes to explore further synergies with the company in emerging areas like AI.

He believes that as the fourth Industrial Revolution in information technology proceeds, there will be either One Caribbean or No Caribbean.

“It’s important for us to keep pace with the rest of the world and ensure global competitiveness,” he wrote in an email to me.

“We are all limited for resources and funding, but closer regional linkages will allow us to share experiences, learn from each other as well as benefit from economies of scale.”

At the end of the event, after the wall-to-wall speechmaking, Lee Fook called on Kirk Henry and Maurice Barnes to shake hands in a gesture that echoed a Bob Marley “One Love” moment, and both men also offered the vaguely embarrassed looks that Manley and Seaga had on that hot April night in 1978.

But Lee Fook doesn’t plan to leave it to politicians to further his vision for an improved regional digital agenda.

He’s planning a Caribbean “Vision Workshop” in 2019 that will target decision makers and help them to understand how AI, robotics and analytics can help to transform governance and business.

“We will continue to foster the development of a Unified Caribbean Technology Community and collaborate with public and private entities interested in improving the lives of its citizens accelerated by technology.”