Thursday 23 November, 2017

CANTO's ICT Conference opens in Punta Cana

The opening ceremony for the CANTO 33rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition took place on Sunday afternoon before a packed audience which included a cross section of all possible regional stakeholders in ICT at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana Dominican Republic.

Theresa Wankin, Secretary General, CANTO, in delivering opening remarks spoke to CANTO’s leadership role in the region and the ways in which the region benefits from the calibre of people present and the opportunity for Networking with movers and shakers of ICT. She also underscored CANTO’s role which seeks to strikes balance between political will of governments and growth of economy and CANTO’s collaborative and social nature which allows for stakeholders to share experiences and challenges while maintaining human element of engagement

Julian Wilkins, Chair, CANTO, welcomed delegates in Spanish and English. He spoke of his experience working at Antigua Utilities Company in the early days of cell phone usage on the island. Cell phones went from being synonymous with wealth to being accessible to all economic backgrounds.

He recognised the presence of more than a dozen regional Ministers, and scores or regulators and noted that today we exist in an environment of “changing landscape of operators from regulated operators to OTTs who are faceless, distant entities which do not invest in the countries they operate in”.  He also noted the establishment of the Caribbean ICT Collaborative Committee, a regional committee with mandate to make recommendations to governments on key ICT issues.

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda delivered an engaging feature address. He spoke to the critical nature of ICT in our daily lives to the extent that “the panic of losing one’s phone is tantamount to a cyber security threat” recognising that ICT empowers people, fuels creativity and drives productivity. 

In targeting the major players present he noted that “government continues to incentives for operators including tax free holidays."

Using an anecdote of a social media search which saved the lives of two people within hours in his country he noted the critical role of operators’ services while at the same time reminding them of their duty “to provide high quality cutting edge services at affordable cost”

Keynote speaker, Charles Che, VP of Caribbean Region, Huawei, spoke of successful partnership with Huawei and operators in the region and the fact that the whole world is in digital transformation.  Some key buzzwords included smart education, smart transportation, smart homes and even smart tourism.  He noted the Caribbean has all ingredients for success including Culture and natural resources and the Huawei was willing to partner by facilitating long term ICT planning as well as financing and the necessary platform

Remarks were also delivered by Nelson Guillen, Dominican Republic, INDOTEL, welcomed delegates to his island.

The trade exhibition will cover the spectrum of communications technologies, offering in-depth information on the latest developments in voice, data, image, and multimedia captured in 85 exhibits.  The conference, on the other hand, will lead discourse on key issues from panellists of experts on areas such as:

  • Ministers’ Roundtable Discussions on Policy and Regulations
  • Operators & Regulators Forum
  • Caribbean Women in ICT  Forum
  • Creative Marketing of Telecommunications Product and Services
  • 11th Annual Human Resource forum
  •  4th Sales,  Marketing  and Customer Car e5G and Beyond