Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2015 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 9, 2015
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Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
MINISTRY OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
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The Ministry of Public Utilities
Bringing the Utilities to YOU
If Professor Abhijit Bhattacharya, the feature speaker
for the recent Tatt event Innovating SMEs had begun
his talk where he ended it, it would have been quite
The lavish gathering, held in commemoration of
World Telecommunication and Information Society
Day 2015 at the Trinidad Hilton, targeted small and
medium business enterprises to encourage development
and innovation through the use of ICTs. Yet nothing
seemed to quite come together the way it should have.
Annie Baldeo, Tatt's Executive Officer for Policy,
Pricing and Market Economics presented a ruthlessly
truncated paper led by slides so dense with information
they were unreadable.
A terrible pity, because the raw information they
represented was, on its own, a crucial and valuable tool
for anyone doing seri-
ous business in the ICT
sector. Exhibit and dis-
with iGOVTT, Niherst,
Nedco and Cariri ended
up compressed into far
too short a time.
tacharya also didn't
seem very clear about
who his audience was,
and he spent half his talk telling them things they
After spending quite a while with Moore's Law, he
touched on the impact of exponential growth, the
impact of "a floodgate of sensors, a plethora of trans-
mitters, the digitisation of everything," and the steady
but slow coming of age of artificial intelligence.
Professor Bhattacharya noted the phenomenon of
"servitisation," the transformation of objects into con-
nected devices capable of delivering useful services and
the capacity of machines to select music to match a
person's mood or to replace the basic functions of a
Professor Bhattacharya's presentation was complicated
by a thick accent and a cautious trepidation with English
He really needed, with an audience heavily dominated
by savvy young people looking for the answers suggested
by a talk under the subject Innovating SMEs, to cut
to the chase and speak commandingly to the topic.
He did not. He spent long minutes, spiralling into
more than half an hour, trying to condense the history
of technology innovation for an audience already aware
of much of the information.
This was not an audience unfamiliar with "how tech-
nology leverages the limited time available for work
outside of the formal office space, and relaxes traditional
What this group wanted to hear were the cues, guide-
lines and suggestions that might drive the next level
of their business development. That did not happen.
The best moments in his talk, and the ones that got
the biggest response from a flagging audience, involved
autonomous automobiles and robotics, but things didn't
really get going until he began to explore Pluralsight's
six top skills required of a forward-thinking sector
Bhattacharya enthusiastically endorsed the skillset,
noting that coding is a basic form of literacy today, like
reading and math and understanding how to collect
and analyse the big data collected by computer networks
and the Internet of Things will be crucial.
He also noted that cloud computing is the new nor-
mal, a company without a mobile strategy doesn't have
a future strategy and in explaining a company's position
and story, executives must be attentive to the user
experience and make use of data visualisation to explain
new information and to drive breakthroughs.
There are, Professor Bhattacharya noted, significant
opportunities in applying ICT innovations to leverage
T&T's entertainment, tourism and agricultural potential.
He could not understand, for instance, why perishable
goods in a grocery weren't priced dynamically as they
deteriorate during the day.
And in the abundance of public holidays he saw
Innovating SMEs...kind of
entrepreneurial opportunity, since "anything that's in
short supply is ripe for business exploitation."
That consideration seemed worthy of a whole talk
on its own.
"A venture's success depends on continuous inno-
vation, co-creation with customers, teamwork and
collaboration in a distributed environment, time man-
agement, and an ability to measure and manage the
idea development process," he explained.
And continuous learning will be an imperative with-
Quoting a study from Research in Labour Economics,
he noted that "nearly a third of last year's tech-related
knowledge is now irrelevant."
the feature address
at a recent Tatt event.
PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
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