Good morning to all our visitors and those joining us online wherever you may be across the globe. Welcome to IEEE GEM 2022, the premier global conference that brings together academia, researchers, practitioners and students in the game, entertainment and media space to discuss and explore trends, development and innovation in the GEM industry.
My name is Gary Kalloo, Director of Business Development at the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and I am happy to be here representing Mr Rodney Taylor, Secretary General of the CTU, who is currently in Ethiopia speaking at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum on issues around building a more resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future and themes aligned with the Secretary-General’s envisioned Global Digital Compact.
Mr Taylor is also the General Chair of the Organising Committee for this event. He sends his apologies, and well wishes for a successful and productive conference.
On behalf of the General Chair and the entire committee I would like to take this opportunity to thank IEEE, Consumer Technology Society CTSoc, all speakers and sponsors UWI Cave Hill Campus Barbados and Invest Barbados and you the participants for making this event possible. This year we are delighted to feature a slate of esteemed speakers and keynotes on various hot topics in the GEM space. We note the growing interest and participation from regional stakeholders and the GEM community, one we hope will increase as we continue to build awareness and capacity and create opportunities through GEM for promoting sustainable social and economic growth and development.
The CTU is proud to be associated with the GEM event this year and our SG has given a commitment to continue its support through in kind contribution for the 2023 edition
In this regard I wish to share with the conference the CTU’s general mandate and specifically its role in fostering GEM.
The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) is an inter-governmental organisation, established in 1989 by the CARICOM heads of Governments, dedicated to promoting and supporting the development of the Caribbean information and communications technologies (ICT) sector for the socio-economic development of the region. The CTU’s work is based on multi-stakeholder engagement and a belief in the value of collaboration and partnership. Our participation at this event is a good example of such partnership and collaboration.
Through its work the CTU has become:
The primary facilitator for the formulation of Caribbean ICT policy and best practices,
The preferred source of ICT advice for regional Governments,
A major contributor to the development of ICT capacity within the region, and
The designated advocate for Caribbean ICT positions at international fora.
Given its regional and international reach and posture, we believe the CTU has an integral role to play in the advancement of GEM in the Caribbean.
As a first step the CTU is pleased to be a part of this conference and has supported the organisers through in kind contribution and involvement promoting the event to its members, stakeholders and its general audience.
But more than that, we believe there is a more substantive role for the CTU in building awareness and in sensitising the region as a whole of the opportunities and benefits that can be derived from this relatively new sector to the region.
Today we are seeing GEM being used innovatively in various sectors. Video games are far more beneficial than they appear. They have become an integral part of our society, serving not only to entertain but also to educate and train people
In Healthcare for example people with illnesses or physical disabilities who interact with video games during prolonged therapy sessions have been shown to have better functional outcomes because they are more likely to continue participating in rehabilitation activities. The higher the motivation to participate, the more likely patients will continue to participate actively.
Health and wellness is no longer just about fighting or treating disease. Technology is bringing a new focus on overall health and wellness, and gamification is putting the patient at the centre.
Additionally, many humanoid robots are now being trained for various tasks such as delivery, rescue, entertainment, and security. Social robots have been seen as a potential tool to assist older people in various activities.
Virtual reality and music-based game can be used to teach self-awareness and emotional self-management to teenagers.
Students diagnosed with reading difficulties or dyslexia can benefit from carefully designed learning approaches using Augmented Reality.
Some of these use cases will be further explored during the course of this conference, but it is clear the impact of GEM and its associated technologies have the potential for creating a regional ecosystem, generating new job opportunities for local entrepreneurs and innovators to become more than just users but developers and creators. There is undoubtedly great social and economic benefits as our SIDs continue to rely heavily on a diminishing tourism industry, we have to find new prospects for economic diversification, and we at the CTU believe ICTs present such an opportunity. But to ensure success it is important that we partner, collaborate and forge relationships with organisations like IEEE, CTSoc, academia and other stakeholders in the space for advancing the sector in the Caribbean.
CTU will continue to be a foremost advocate for technology in our society given the many opportunities I have already spoken about. However, we will also be advocates for responsible and ethical development and use of this same technology, in particular among our young people and future leaders. This is important as the technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, giving rise to issues such as deep fakes and misinformation, autonomous technologies in vehicles and in weapons on the battle field, artificial intelligence and big data, supporting facial recognition and mass surveillance, among other things.
This makes it ever more important for small states, like those here in the Caribbean to be fully engaged and aware of these issues and be a part of the global standard-setting bodies such as IEEE, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO). We already have outstanding Caribbean nationals playing key roles within some of these bodies, I can think of quite a few, but we have to ensure that there is a greater push to skills development here in the Caribbean in order to hold our own in a field dominated by the larger, richer, developed countries that have gotten somewhat of a head-start.
In closing, I look forward to the wonderful presentations in store and hope that our participants who took the time to travel here will also find a moment to enjoy all that Barbados has to offer before returning home. To our online participants I will remind you that Barbados in 2021 announced that it will be opening an embassy in the metaverse and to the best of my knowledge, those plans are moving ahead. Perhaps for the 2023 GEM conference your experience will be a more immersive one, should you not be in a position to travel. Irrespective of your mode of participation, I give you the warmest of welcome from the Caribbean family!
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you!