SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago has received yet another notch in its belt and is one step closer to becoming a technologically developed nation, thanks to a tripartite agreement between The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, bmobile and Huawei for a state of the art Innovation Lab.
The bmobile-UWI Innovation Lab powered by Huawei was officially launched at The UWI St. Augustine Campus on September 26. The Lab, which is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, is ultimately designed to accelerate the digital competence and capabilities of Trinidad and Tobago. Housed in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The UWI, the world-class laboratory is set to propel academic research, and facilitate testing and development of new and innovative tech based products and services; towards commercialisation of unique intellectual property. It will also serve as a training ground for students and ICT professionals to hone their skills.
When complete, the bmobile-UWI Innovation Lab powered by Huawei, will be outfitted with a full range of equipment from ICT giant, Huawei, and configured to resemble the bmobile network. It is therefore fertile ground for research in areas such as mobile and fixed networks, Optical Transmission, IP Networks, Core and IT.
The establishment of the lab aligns seamlessly with The UWI’s mission to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean and the wider world. Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Brian Copeland stated, “Preparing for and adapting to the increasingly digital present and future will determine the rate at which our region benefits from the opportunities that digital transformation will inevitably present for sustainable development. Therefore, the establishment of an Innovation Laboratory is an investment in our collective future. And this partnership with TSTT and Huawei is a historical one as, together, we drive that critical innovation and digital transformation.” The Campus Principal thanked TSTT and Huawei for the collaboration which helps the Campus realise its ‘Mission Trinidad and Tobago’.
TSTT’s CEO, Dr. Ronald Walcott, echoed Professor Copeland’s sentiments. “In order to ensure that technological developments remain relevant in this ever changing digital landscape, we must pursue strategic collaborations and partnerships to support technology advancements, as a means to ensure that we take full advantage of the current dynamism which can redound to economic success. Indeed, there is sufficient evidence gleaned from numerous studies that there is a direct correlation between ICT development, including high speed broadband penetration, and economic growth,” shared Walcott. He added that the Company will be investing approximately $17M to fund the Lab.
Mr. Jeff Jin, CEO of Huawei T&T, emphasized the importance of Industry-University partnerships while cementing Huawei’s unwavering commitment to Trinidad and Tobago. Jin stated, “Huawei believes that Trinidad and Tobago is perfectly poised to become the centre of innovation in the Caribbean region. Huawei attaches great importance to development in technology and research in T&T and the wider region. Therefore, for this Innovation Lab, we will provide over 100 pieces of industry leading equipment that will deepen collaboration with the university, enterprise and industry leaders in carrying out research and development in new technologies, like AI and Cloud Computing, to help accelerate the Digital Transformation of T&T.”
The bmobile-UWI Innovation Lab powered by Huawei is a milestone for both education and technology and supports Trinidad and Tobago’s National ICT Plan. It will play a key role in contributing to the research needed to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is technologically attractive and competitive on the world stage.