Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 28th 2014 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 2014 • WEEK FOUR
T&T is not doing enough
to encourage local infor-
mation and communica-
tions technology (ICT)
firms to develop local
technology and intellec-
tual property, said
Stephen King, business
development manager, Ixanos Ltd, a local soft-
ware development company.
King called the initiative of the Government
to set up an ICT hub in T&T "rubbish."
"The ICT hub is only infrastructure, as with
a network of roads. The infrastructure does
not bring in revenue unless you are renting
this to an end customer. The end user is the
innovator providing a service on the infra-
structure. Without the end users and new
services on the infrastructure, the hub is a
white elephant like Tamana and Cove and will
not create revenue on its own.
"Inter Island Fiber Communications exists
already, Cloud storage already exists worldwide,
with a significant factor being keeping the
systems cool, hence, Ireland is geographically
well suited, but Trinidad is not. Except for
the gross subsidies on electricity and false
economies created by government intervention,
the entire project is foolhardy and ill-advised,"
King told the Guardian on August 20.
According to the Ministry of Planning and
Development, the Inter-American Bank (IDB)
has provided the Government with US$20
million to develop a global services platform
in T&T and the idea is that T&T will be a hub
for the global provision for information tech-
nology-enabled services (IteS), which will
mean increased investments, exports and
employment in the sector.
On August 18, Planning Minister Bhoe
Tewarie said at a press conference held at the
Minstry of Planning, Eric Williams Financial
Complex, Port-of-Spain, this hub would help
to diversify the economy away from oil and
Reacting to this, King said the Government
needs to create more opportunities for ICT
companies and all sectors to be involved in
developing their own intellectual property.
"If you are just starting up a business, there
is the National Integrated Business Incubator
System (IBIS), Niherst and ExporTT. If you
are starting a company from zero, it would be
probably be better to start off with Niherst or
the IBIS programme. What the Government
needs to do is provide opportunity," he said.
King said it seems the Government prefers
to use foreign companies over local firms.
"There is a massive incongruence between
developing ICT intellectual property that can
be developed in T&T and what is sold inter-
nationally. Our Government is not standing
up for us."
King spoke to the Business Guardian at the
Guardian office, St Vincent Street, Port-of-
Ixanos is a software and technology company
founded in 1999 using technology to develop
Ixanos has worked in the energy sector, with
the Telecommunications Services of T&T
(TSTT), T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC)
and BG T&T, among other companies.
"With TSTT, we have systems monitoring
the land line systems as well as mobile systems.
With T&TEC we have got systems monitoring
the existing generators. We develop the solu-
tions for them that are software based," he
King is the son of St Clair King, professor
emeritus, University of the West Indies, and
economist and former government minister
On Monday, Reuters reported that China
could have a new homegrown operating system
by October to take on imported rivals such as
Microsoft, Google and Apple.
In May, China banned government s use of
Windows 8, Microsoft s latest operating system,
a blow to the US technology firm s business
which raised fears China was moving to protect
In March last year, China said Google had
too much control over China s smartphone
industry via its Android mobile operating sys-
tem and has discriminated against some local
King said instead of the Government using
the services of international giants like
Microsoft, it should use open software, which
would give local companies the chance to
develop local solutions.
"There should be no commercial agreement
in ICT for any public sector body. Look at
Jamaica, their health system is using open
source systems. Open solutions is a global
movement that started about 30 years ago.
The solutions are open and customisable.
There are private sector firms in T&T going
out and spending significant money on Enter-
prise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. There
are companies which spend $1 million on a
single system, yet there are open source systems
Local software developer:
Plan to make
T&T an ICT
There is a massive incongruence between developing ICT intellectual property
that can be developed in T&T and what is sold internationally.
Our Government is not standing up for us.
business development manager, IXanos Ltd
PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
Continues on Page 7
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