CANTO Chairman Julian Wilkins. Photo courtesy TSTT.
“TSTT’s digital transformation is T&T’s digital transformation and it is for government and business to challenge their imagination and inspire consumers to see their vision of what a digitally enabled nation means for us.”
These were the words of Charles Carter, TSTT’s Executive Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Carrier Services, and a member of CANTO’s Board of Directors, at CANTO’s 34th Annual General Meeting, which takes place at the Hyatt from February 4th to 6th. CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies and individuals in the ICT (telecommunications) sector. The Association has a Caribbean focus as it relates to ICT issues for the region with a global perspective.
This year, the theme of the AGM is “Guiding Digital Adoption to Lead the Global Market” with a focus on the topics of Cyber Security and Disaster Management. TSTT, which is also a founding member of CANTO, is co-hosting the event in its continued effort to support technological advancement, not just in T&T, but the entire Caribbean region. Over the course of the three-day event, the 150 plus delegates in attendance will be exposed to panel discussions and presentations which speak to facilitating the ushering in of the digital revolution in the Caribbean Region.
Speaking on behalf of TSTT, Carter drew reference to the recent closing down of all bmobile flagship stores. He emphasized that mobile and online is not only the future, but in many regards, it is now, and thus, T&T must not be left behind. He compared it to Amazon’s recent testing of its cashier-less store in Washington, explaining that TSTT is simply doing its part to ensure that T&T benefits from all that emerging technology has to offer.
“This simplified transaction speaks to the shift required in our attitude to technological innovation for digital adoption to take place. It must be built on consumer confidence and that takes time to develop. So, the take away here is, stay the course, people will come around to a sound and successful product,” said Carter.
He went on to speak of the recent MOU signed between TSTT and the government, that will see TSTT’s locally developed e-tendering online portal used by over 100 state entities for their local and international procurement. It was a point also made by Feature Speaker, Minister of Public Utilities, Robert Le Hunte.
Hunte, in sharing that the government is currently working on a five-year ICT plan, explained that his and other ministries have already begun to incorporate technology into the way they run business daily. He listed mobile apps recently launched by WASA and T&TEC and said that the country needed to be proactive on the road to digital transformation, even considering it as a possible route for diversification.
“We are all aware that if we are to remain resilient in the face of a rapidly changing global environment, we must diversify,” said Le Hunte. “Often, when we think about diversification, we think about the service industry, I would like to remind all of you here that ICT offers opportunities in this particular area.”
Earlier in the evening, CANTO Secretary General, Teresa Wankin opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone and opening that, despite the recent natural disasters which hit the region, it’s people have proven to be resilient and reliable in many ways. She noted how technology has played a part in all of it, and CANTO’s role in helping to bring about that change.
“CANTO continues to navigate an era where the telecommunications industry is changing with unrelenting force. I am confident that the dream our founders had for CANTO 34 years ago is alive today as when it was first conceptualized,” said Wankin. “This digital disruption, brings with it opportunities that will alter the way we manage our homes, businesses and by extension, disasters, ultimately leading to economic prosperity in the region.”
The three-day event also offers ICT companies the opportunity to showcase their goods and services in a mini-expo, while benefitting from the information being shared.