Developing Dominica’s mobile app industry

BrightPath Executive Director Bevil Wooding, right, guides participants in the Dominica Mobile App Workshop. Photo credit: BrightPath Foundation
BrightPath Executive Director Bevil Wooding, right, guides participants in the Dominica Mobile App Workshop. Photo credit: BrightPath Foundation

The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) of Dominica has taken a vital step towards creating the country’s indigenous mobile app industry.

The NTRC and the Dominica State College, in partnership with BrightPath Foundation, recently launched a multiplatform mobile application development workshop aimed at clearing the path for the country to enter the global app economy, which is worth an estimated US$53-billion, and expected to rise to US$143-billion by 2017.

The Dominican market is primed for indigenous apps. The small Caribbean island has a mobile penetration rate of approximately 147 percent, with a growing number of smartphone and mobile apps users.  However, only a very limited number of mobile apps address Dominica needs.

“The NTRC believes it is time for Dominica to become an active participant in the global mobile application economy,” said Craig Nesty, Executive Director of the NTRC.

Also speaking at the launch of the workshop were Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for ICT, Kelver Darroux, and Minister for Information, Telecommunication and Constituency Empowerment, Ambrose George.

Underscoring the social and economic dimension of technology innovation, both officials challenged the workshop participants to come up with ideas for mobile apps that would help in the delivery of government services and in the development of the agriculture sector. Their audience was a cross-section of Dominican society—a mix of students, entrepreneurs, public servants and lecturers.

“In Dominica, the use of mobile has expanded tremendously over the last few years and thus the opportunity to link mobile to eGovernment solutions and services will be critical to the transformation of Dominica,” Darroux said.

The workshop, which runs from August 19 to 24 at Dominica State College in the capital city of Roseau, forms part of the BrightPath iCAN Local Content Development Programme, which aims to encourage regional developers to design apps that are relevant to both the Caribbean and the global market.

“We are most pleased to have partnered with key industry players who have teamed up to drive mobile application innovation in Dominica. Our programme is designed to encourage technology enthusiasts to get actively involved in the creation of an ecosystem of local content and local apps for Dominica and the wider Caribbean,” said Bevil Wooding, Founder and Executive Director of BrightPath.

Wooding encouraged participants to take the opportunity to move from being mere consumers of the technology to become producers of technology products and services.

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8 Comments

  1. August 25, 2013

    This initiative is a welcomed one.

    As an undergraduate working towards a BSc(Honours) in Computing and IT, I’d just like to throw out a few pointers in regard to the the challenge put to participants to develop apps to deliver, “government services and in the development of the agriculture sector” by Mr Kelver Darroux and Minister Ambrose George.

    – Firstly, in order for there to be meaningful and effective intergration of government services and farming related services, there must be a well maintained local websites from where these apps could feed off their RSS feeds.

    -A serious effort must be made to engage the farmers in a ‘requirements and needs’ assessment. This means that developers should interview farmers and heads of government departments to find out what areas they would like to see the apps deal with.

    -Although Android is one of the better known operating sysytems, apps should be built for all platforms, Symbian, windows iOS, Blackberry and Apple, if the objectives identified in your preliminary research is to be met.

    -App builders must also conduct a search of the web to learn what exists in the (Domain) market today and resolve to build simaliar and better programs that meet Dominica’s needs.

    – Only when ICT, Computer Science, networking, server management and optimization, and Interaction product design and related subjects will our youth really obtain the skills to build idigenous web browsers, databases, websites, mobile apps,social networking sites, security software, digital audio and image manipulation software, and even computer hardware and other electronic products.

    To this end,Dominicans who already have these skills should team up and forge partnerships so that ideas and resources can be shared, in turn all will reap the benefits.

    Finally, students must also learn the ethical issues associated with IT in regard to privacy and the environment

    Albert Williams Cert IT and Comp(Open)

    Further reading

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/04/29/f-farming-apps-mobile-technology.html

    http://m.gulfnews.com/smart-phone-manufacturing-the-social-and-environmental-implications-1.1218884

    http://beckagconnects.com/wiki_entry_view.aspx?topicid=a733b0a116ef4d5f8db8026bb91abaa2

  2. Distured
    August 24, 2013

    hmph… the best thing ive seen all year… 1 step forward but 1 foot in the grave… Now all hackers can view us even better.

    I hope they appoint people to information control and/or defense…

  3. real possie
    August 23, 2013

    What crap you talking there nah what innovative uwp thing u talking it matters who idea it was once it is done why uwp was not the one to do this in opposition the same manifesto u talking about no body could find it online u people always talking out of turn like we cant see strait through you all like plexiglass.

  4. Expect Us
    August 23, 2013

    This workshop should’ve been published more thoroughly before it took place. I have developed a simple smartphone app which could benefit in the importation of vehicles; buyers and re-sellers alike, and would love to discuss ideas with people who share that interest and learn in the process.

  5. Sylvester Cadette
    August 23, 2013

    I am pleased with this active collaboration on Mobile Applications. This was initiated some time back with Bevil Wooding and I am pleased with the NTRC for carrying the torch further by bringing it to fruition – there is continuity. Success to you Craig Nesty and to Bennette Thomas. You indeed have the ability to transform and all stakeholders should collaborate, listen and participate.

    More importantly, I am pleased for the youth of Dominica who are benefiting from this initiative. Where I sit these initiatives are embraced and supported. This must now be enhanced through entrepreneurship and leadership training, coupled with e-business incubation.

    Those who were a-tuned and cognizant of the consistent message was one of integrated, multi-pronged approach to ICT and business cluster development. So too with developing Gender equity and equality through ICT; appropriate Physical enabling infrastructure for these initiatives (ICT PARK – which still holds true but with modification to suite this dispensation)Call Centre and Telecentre development, Centre of Excellence etc.

    These can work. INDEED THEY MUST WORK AS THE SPRINGBOARD TO A STIMULATED ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN FOR ANY MODERN SOCIETY.

    We have the Human resource at home.

    GOOD PROGRESS ! As a Purple Dragon Student My Mantra is this – And Dominica ought to have the same Mantra:

    I’ll PERSIST UNTIL I SUCCEED! I WAS NOT DELIVERED IN THIS WORLD IN DEFEAT!! FAILURE WILL NOT BE MY PAYMENT FOR MY STRUGGLES!!

    OUR SPIRIT CANNOT BE CRUSHED ON ITS WAY TO THE SUNLIGHT! THIS GENERATION ON EARTH WILL CARRY THE TORCH FURTHER AND FURTHER.

    We should encourage the NTRC and Craig Nesty, Bennette Thomas and the Ministry, The State College and our young people. DISCARD adverse negativity and see the rich potential of our youth as our motivation and inspiration to succeed!

  6. WE VOTING UWP
    August 23, 2013

    This is wonderful news and the type of initiative that is out of a United Workers Party government innovative plan of action, the creation and development of the country’s indigenous mobile application industry, recognizing that Dominican market is primed for indigenous apps.

    Clearly the NTRC has been listening to the UWP and it has embraced the idea that it is time for Dominica to become an active participant in the global mobile application and related high tech application economy.

    The UWP has long understood the social and economic dimensions of new technological innovations in the delivery of services and in the development of all areas of our economy. Whereas some have criticized the party for its bold and innovated idea of launching its manifesto in a new way, the benefits of employing new technologies in spreading its message cannot be underestimated. In that regard, we compliment DNO for the excellent platform.

    A UWP government will embrace such initiatives and will move full speed ahead to facilitate increased utilization of all available technology to attract a wide mix of value added, internationally competitive services. We will focus on making Dominica an attractive domicile for IT development and international marketing companies. Yes, we have done it before, we can do it again and we will.

    The UWP envisions that along with the revival of the agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors, IT services will emerge as one of the lead growth engines powering a range of high value jobs into the dying economy under the DLP.

    Combined with the above, many will recall how the UWP government sought to take full advantage of opportunities in the modern global environment and to that end, the UWP has pledged to restore the financial services sector to the perch of its unchallenged economic opportunities through a clear legislative framework and the active recruitment of reputable financial service companies to our shores.

    It is time to start rebuilding our economic future in high-tech industries requiring highly skilled and a well trained labour force. Whereas the employment of 300+ Dominicans at a Call Center is a good thing, this cannot be seen as the only hope for sustainable economic prosperity.

    Fear no More, Be sure with the saw. UWP will bring the change that is so desperately needed in this country. That is a must not an option for our long term economic prosperity.

    • mary
      August 23, 2013

      Wait a while, you mean UWP is trying to take credit for this? Ah magway sah

    • IPO
      August 25, 2013

      You need an app to develop your leader and party

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