On 1st December, 2017 The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago formalized a partnership agreement which cements the relationship between the two organizations. 

In 2014, CARIRI and Microsoft opened the 116th Microsoft Innovation Centre in the world at Innovation Avenue, Freeport and the signing of this new agreement will see the continuation of this collaboration.

Signing the agreement is the new Country Head of Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago, Ms Racquel Moses as well Chief Executive Officer of CARIRI, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah.  Both parties expressed their delight at this development and expressed their commitment to working together on future projects. 

The Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) has been assisting developers, independent software vendors, entrepreneurs, researchers and students to develop and deploy innovative software solutions based on Microsoft technology. During the past three (3) years, over four hundred (400) persons have benefitted from a wide range of Information Communication Technology (ICT) training courses, workshops and competitions at the MIC, while several have taken part in the MIC Incubatee Program as well as individual ICT and business mentorship sessions. The services provided are designed to boost ICT development and foster the growth of a sustainable local software industry, through skills and professional training, industry partnerships and innovation.

Some of the stated objectives of the MIC are to focus on its Technical Incubator, which assists developers to achieve proof of concept; to have more training sessions, both developer-based and business-based and there is the intention to have more competitions to encourage the developer community to continue to expand. 

CARIRI is cognizant of the critical importance of  networks and networking in the Innovation process and is open to working with key stakeholders, such as Public sector organizations, Universities, Private sector companies/organizations, Research and Technology Organizations (local and foreign) and Regional and International Organizations, to advance the national Innovation agenda.

CARIRI and its Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), based in Freeport, are in a unique position to contribute to the overall development of the nation and are committed to ensure that the right partnerships are formed to further economic and social growth.

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Ms. Moses of Microsoft Trinidad and Tobago and Mr Shah of CARIRI 

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) recently hosted their first 3 day workshop on “Introduction to Animation” on Saturday 4th/11th/18th November at the Centre for Enterprise Development, Innovation Avenue, Freeport. The decision to host the introductory workshop was made after the overwhelming response from persons who wanted to come to our recently concluded Junior Adventure Technology Camp but were older than our age requirement of 13-18 years.

Animation is an exciting topic froth with career potential in Trinidad and Tobago. This is exemplified by the changing marketing needs of companies who are always pushing the envelope on innovative and creative designs. Gone are the days where traditional print media would suffice as everything is digitized in the internet era. Successful marketing techniques ten years ago must now be combined with digital marketing. This is due to changes in lifestyle and user preferences with increased use of the internet and social media. In 2006 if you asked anyone what this “#” symbol meant they would have responded with, “Oh, that’s a number sign for #2 pencils or the pound sign on telephones.” Fast forward to 2014 and “Hastag” and has been added to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary.

Digital Marketing is increasing and is evident based on budget allocations of companies. According to a benchmarking study done by ITSMA which is a leading source for insight community and B2B marketers in the connected economy, offline marketing decreased by 29% with participants anticipating an increase in their spending for online marketing by 18%.  

Important aspects of digital marketing include online video content, social media campaigns and mobile marketing. In terms of online video content, animation has proven to be an engaging instrument that can help companies tell their “Brands Story.” According to Molecular Biologist, John Medina, vision is our most dominant sense which takes up half of our brains resources and is processed 60,000 x faster than text. On average Facebook streams more than 4 billion video streams every day. Animated videos can put you ahead of the crowd as internet viewers have short attention spans and animation videos done right can evoke emotions that resonate with viewers. With the rise of intrusive marketing ads, animated videos are a breath of fresh air. If your company falls into a technical field, animation can simplify difficult topics but demonstrating how mechanisms and processes work through fun characters. Animations can also make you nostalgic which is a powerful emotion. Digital marketing provides an avenue for companies to use content in an effective way which can promote brand awareness and increase conversions.

For more information on our future workshops such as our Introduction to Animation feel free to contact our mCentre App Club which is an outreach programme to help build a developer community and increase awareness and competency in the Information Communication Technology field.Members of the public can join the App Club at no cost and will benefit from free information sessions like these as well as virtual support, if needed. CED and CARIRI are making leaps and bounds in driving innovation and creating a space for people with ideas to develop them.

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Introduction to Animation Workshop participants learning the basic of modeling and animation 

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Successful participants are all smiles with their certificate of completion

On July 20, 2017 as part of its thrust to expand its service base to meet public and private sector demands the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) assembled a working Stakeholder’s Forum on Energy Efficiency themed– “Energy Efficiency and Its Impact on Enterprise Operational Efficiency and Competitiveness.”

The Forum was well attended by both Public and Private Sector organizations, inclusive of representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (MOEEI), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Division, Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC), Environmental Management Authority(EMA), Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA), West Indian Tobacco Company Limited (WITCO), Shell Trinidad & Tobago, National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) and other Stakeholders from the Manufacturing and Petrochemical Sectors.

Feature presentations were delivered by the CEO of CARIRI, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah, Sustainable Energy Analyst, MOEEI, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Division,Mr. Hannibal Anyika,CEO and President of the Energy Chamber, Dr. Thackwray Driver and Mr. Soren Draborg, Product Manager, Danish Technological Institute.

CEO of CARIRI, Mr. Shah addressed the practice of infusing old products and processes with new ideas and capabilities or integrating old, stagnant sections into new vibrant ones is really the innovation that we should all be concentrating on. He indicated our unit of measurement can be in terms of units of energy used; save or reused in a more efficient directions.

Mr. Shah said “innovation should be widespread and result in productivity gains rather than be concentrated in the high tech sectors which maybe popular at the time. We should not only seek to acquire new technologies per se but to infuse existing ones with new technologiesand ideas”.

Danish Consultant Mr. Draborg in his presentation focused on energy efficiency as a driver for the economy. He stated “if energy was more expensive, persons will be more conscious of their energy consumption…with a tax subsidy renewables will be more competitive”.

Dr. Driver indicated that greater returns can be yielded by redeploying power to our Petrochemical plants; the Return on Investment will be greater nationally. He also stated that there is tremendous potential to use our skilled human resource and intellectual property from existing production and services in the Sector and can apply same to energy efficiency and renewable energy production in the region.

Mr. Anyika, from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries indicated that policy is essential in order to more effectively develop Programmes with respect to energy efficiency and renewable energy. He stated at present the Ministry is involved in preparing several related Policy documents.

CARIRI through membership with the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisations  (WAITRO) and it’s networks has engaged the services of a Consultant from DTI, Mr Soren Draborg, to undertake a short term consultancy assignment involving assisting the Institute in its capacity building efforts, inclusive of the conduct of an in-depth assessment of the demand for energy efficiency services and advising on available technologies/methodologies to most cost effectively address the identified needs. Upon the basis of this visit further aspects of the programme would be developed.

CARIRI’s personnel who were trained in energy audits by Danish Consultant, Mr. Draborg have visited several companies in the Manufacturing Sector and conducted energy audits and will continue to visit more companies and conduct research to gauge needs/demand by companies for sustainable energy services.

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L-R Mr. Hannibal Anyika, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Energy Research and Planning Division, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Mr. Søren Draborg, Product Manager, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Danish Technological Institute (DTI); Dr. Thackwray Drive, President and Chief Executive Officer, Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago and Chief Executive Officer CARIRI, Mr. Liaquat Ali Shah 

With the aim of facilitating a greater awareness of programmes which will assist businesses to incorporate innovation into their processes, The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in partnership with the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC) hosted a session entitled ‘Encouraging Innovation in Corporate T&T’ on Wednesday 19th July, 2017 at CARIRI’s  Centre for Enterprise Development, Freeport. 

CARIRI and the CCIC have established a strong relationship that is built on both organizations’ desire for diversification and growth in the economy.

This particular session was geared towards promoting the intent of the CCIC to remain proactive in providing avenues for businesses in the Central area and this was the platform that CARIRI chose to promote two new initiatives that will greatly assist organizations. 

The first, is the Innovation Gap Analysis Programme (iGap) which is intended to identify and engage potential innovations in existing companies and will also address the need to develop a culture of Innovation in private sector enterprises, particularly SMEs, based on the recognition that SMEs are particularly vulnerable to the rapidly changing dynamics of the international economic environment and, to remain competitive, these enterprises must keep their value proposition current, relevant and valuable to customers. 

The Data Innovation Solutions Centre (DISC) is the second initiative, which involves Business Intelligence and Data Analytics which will use the respective organizations data to provide information that can assist in making more sustainable and innovative business decisions.

This session also facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CARIRI and exporTT. The signing of the MOU was witnessed by Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry.

This MOU will see greater collaboration between the two institutions; its general intent is to amalgamate the efforts of both parties by leveraging on the strengths and synergizing current projects/programmes.

Some of the aims of the MOU focus on the promotion of Data Analytics solutions, capitalizing on existing and upcoming technology and trade agreements, sharing of industry information on legal and regulatory developments, market intelligence and information on global trends as well as identification of expertise for advancement of local and regional skill sets, among a host of other initiatives.

CARIRI and exporTT have outlined as a priority, their commitment to the development of the local economy and maintain that more can be done together.  The Minister of Trade and Industry commended both organizations for taking this initiative as she endorsed the collaboration.

The signing of the MOU with exporTT and the collaboration with the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce opens up a new world of possibilities that will translate into tangible offerings in the near future from all parties.

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Signing the MOU on behalf of CARIRI was the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Liaquat Ali Shah; and representing the interests of exporTT was its Chairman, Mr Ashmeer Mohammed.  Senator the Honorable Paula Gopee Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry witnessed the signing.