Executives from TSTT, Huawei and the University of the West Indies signed an agreement yesterday to officially launch the bmobile-UWI Innovation Lab at the St Augustine campus. The lab will be the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean and is aligned with the vision of the government’s National ICT plan.
TSTT chief executive officer Dr Ronald Walcott recognised that multinational companies around the world have extensive activities grounded in research and development, and he believes TT should be no different, if it is to remain technologically relevant and competitive. He also believes that collaboration is at the centre of what needs to be done. “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.”
The lab will be housed in the electrical and computer engineering department at UWI and is set to propel academic research while facilitating the testing and development of new and innovative tech-based products and services. It will also act as a training ground for students and ICT professionals to hone their skills.
The establishment of the lab, which is powered by Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, Huawei, aligns with UWI’s mission to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean. Pro vice-chancellor and campus principal Professor Brian Copeland sees the lab as a critical piece in the building of an entrepreneurial country and a sustainable economy.
“Twenty-first century needs and trends require that we at UWI prepare our students differently and that we work even more diligently with industry for greater efficiency, effectiveness and growth.”
Chief executive officer of Huawei TT Jeff Jin said the company’s vision is to bring digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected and intelligent world, and the lab at UWI is all part of this vision. “Our investment in this lab is a continuation of our dedication to developing ICT talent in TT. Here in this lab, it is our hope that the students and the professional who use this lab to develop new commercial products and services, maybe even the new tech giant, like Apple or Huawei, from this lab.” The lab is expected to be opened by the end of 2019.