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iGovTT promotes public sector use of big data

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Moderator Dr Ronald Ramkissoon, left, listens to the point being made by Selvon Ramroop, deputy CEO of iGovTT, during a panel discussion following the national release of the Global Information Technology Report 2014.

Noting that big data is transforming the way global firms and governments do business, Selvon Ramroop, deputy CEO of the National Information and Communication Technology Company (iGovTT), is championing its use in delivery of enhanced services to citizens of T&T. Citizens and businesses can benefit from the analysis of large data sets or big data to find answers that enable cost reductions, time reductions, new product development, optimised offerings and smarter business decision-making.


Ramroop said a few governments around the world have been earnestly attempting to assimilate big data in varying degrees into their public-sector operations to achieve a simple objective. “They are trying to integrate and analyse large orders of information to address national priorities such as providing easy and equal access to public services; driving greater citizen participation in public affairs; and increasing transparency,” he said.


“It is interesting to note that the governments that are actively pursuing big data projects tend to be those that are traditionally counted among higher performing economies.” Ramroop was speaking at the recent launch of the Global Information and Technology Report 2014 at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. 


Citing examples of successful applications of big data, he said Singapore now benefits from apps such as ACRA on the Go which allows a user to search a government business and corporate registry database to see if a business is registered in Singapore. Another app, beforeUdig, uses map data as the basis for helping contractors ascertain the presence of underground pipes and cables in and around any proposed dig site, thereby helping preserve valuable assets like pipes and utility cables during infrastructural work projects.


“iGovTT has and continues to affirm its support for open data and open government which all straddle the path of big data. We would very much like to see the emulation of successful data initiatives already started by our foreign counterparts,” he said. Ramroop said it is for this reason that iGovTT had, in the past, forged meaningful partnerships with countries like Singapore. “We aim to learn from their project successes and replicate as much as we can here in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.


iGovTT has managed its own big data project with the design and deployment of the Government Communications Network branded GovNeTT—the first of its kind in the Caribbean. This project has seen more than 500 sites connected to the portal, with managed access to the Government Data Centre. 


The 13th edition of the Global Information Technology report published by the World Economic Forum provides a comprehensive assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technology to promote economic growth and well-being. The results of the report were released nationally by the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in collaboration with iGovTT.


Based on the 2014 report, T&T is only one of three countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC) whose ranking has improved. 


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