Change the Game in Your Favor!

The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in collaboration with the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) has launched an AR/VR Challenge for the month of November. Given the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, the demand for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions are likely to increase. This Challenge was devised in order to generate more interest in this technology locally.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities. AR can be defined as a system that fulfills three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.

Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment (i.e. video games) and educational purposes (i.e. medical or military training).

CARIRI is asking participants to showcase their vision for Trinidad and Tobago, the region or even the world by creating a novel AR/VR solution. The Challenge will display our local talent in the creation of an AR/VR solution that can be used in any field or sector, including but not limited to entertainment, sports, education, tourism, agriculture, communication, etc.

This Challenge aims to celebrate the innovative and creative spirit of our people and to bring an AR/VR solution to reality. This competition provides future leaders the opportunity to use emerging technologies, showcase their vision for the future, and gain professional exposure while commercializing their idea. Solutions can be either AR or VR or a combination of both which would be mixed reality or extended reality (XR).

The Challenge is open to any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago over the age of 18 years. Entrants should have experience using or a general interest in AR/VR, XR, or other emerging and immersive technologies. They should also have the passion, energy and drive to see their idea become a reality. The AR/VR Challenge is an opportunity to get involved, showcase an idea, make a name for themselves in the local AR/VR community and even commercialize the idea (which means either starting a business or licensing the idea). Participants will have the opportunity to see their idea come to life, gain some media exposure to kick start their career and make valuable beneficial connections. But most importantly, this idea could change the world!

AMCHAM Trinidad, Ramps Logistics and Avasant have also partnered with CARIRI to encourage participation and make this initiative a success.
More information can be found on the website The deadline for submissions is Monday 30th November 2020 at 11:59pm.





On Friday 19th February 2021, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) hosted the Grand Reveal and Prize Giving Cereomy for its AR/VR Challenge.

The winner was revealed as Roam Reality which was developed by Arielle Du Quesnay, Zwede Hewitt and Mahmoud Mattan. Roam Reality is a game created to mirror the popular Pokemon Go in a local context. RoamTT, the foundation brand for Roam Reality, has carved a space in the adventure hunt realm. The core brand has also developed a fanbase & market of outdoor enthusiasts in T&T and is well known amongst visiting tourists.

Speaking at the event, Senator the Honorable Hassel Bacchus, Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation said that he was quite pleased with the work that he has seen CARIRI do and has challenged the Institute to continue to carve out a niche for itself in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space. The Minister went on to state that ‘this new world of AR and VR will definitely become a part of the way we interact with various systems and programmes as they have so many applications. Apart from the games, leisure and entertainment sectors, AR and VR have now become a staple of many other sectors including e-commerce and retail, as you would have seen during the course of the pandemic – the whole online shopping experience is being re-thought both locally and internationally to create a more interactive experience for the user.’

CARIRI’s Chairman, Mr Hayden Ferreira echoed the Minister’s call and stated that ‘when COVID-19 happened, CARIRI had to rethink its strategy for idea generation and came up with new programmes to continue encouraging persons to submit their ideas to the project. It is because of restrictions in movement imposed due to COVID-19, the team predicted that the demand for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions is likely to increase therefore this Challenge was devised in order to generate interest in this technology locally and we were not disappointed. The range of submissions from every field was impressive and we were pleasantly surprised by the level of interest that we received’.

CARIRI launched the AR/VR Challenge in November 2020 and the quality of the applications was impressive. Judges chose ten teams to move forward and they did a 5 minute ‘elevator pitch’ via Zoom. Following this, five finalists were chosen and they were given one month to develop a business proposal to tell the judges how they planned to commercialise their solution. In January 2021, again, the participants had to make a presentaiton to the judging committee via Zoom and from there the winner was chosen.

Two of the judges on the panel were directly sourced from AMCHAM Trinidad and their Digital Transformation Committee. Mr Kiran Deosingh of Ramps Logistics and Mr Jimmy Berkeley of AVASANT, both took up the challenge to be a part of the panel.

The first prize for the CARIRI AR/VR Challenge is $40,000.00 worth of services to push the winning solution through to commercialization. However, due to the level of development and the commitment of the other four teams, CARIRI has decided to work with all the finalists to get their solutions to market.

The other AR/VR solutions are: Carnival Universe created by Candice Lela and Rollywood; Konnect the Kids developed by Dane Ackbarali, Sheldon Singh and Cindy Ramsook; Planet Runner created by Derek Haqq and Jean Paul Haqq and Explore Tobago – Underwater by Irwin Williams and Ikechi Griffith.


Senator the Honorable Hassel Bacchus, Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation


The Judging Committee (l-r): Mr Kiran Deosingh, Mr Miguel Andrews, Mr Che Achoy, Mr Jimmy Berkeley and Mr Hayden Charles



The finalists of CARIRI's AR/VR Challenge


On Wednesday 20th February, 2019, The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) signed a General Technical Cooperation Agreement at CARIRI’s Head Office in St. Augustine.

Cognizant of their key roles and responsibilities in the overall development of the region; this agreement seeks to provide a unique environment for collaborative efforts on agribusiness development, inclusive of value chain and cluster development; food safety; technology transfer; innovative capacity building; data analytics and productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

Both institutions have a long and mutually beneficial relationship working on many regional projects together and with the formalizing of this relationship, both parties expect to continue and strengthen this affiliation.

Signing the Agreement on behalf of CARIRI, Mr. Meghnath Gosein, Executive Manager – Corporate Services, stated that CARIRI was ready to work with IICA to fast track and promote the agribusiness sector, ‘It is timely and a privilege, since the institutional working relationship has existed for over a decade throughout the Region and hence the Agreement will serve to strengthen this relationship and ensure that it continues for a long time for the benefit of the economy’ he added. Echoing this sentiment, Mr. Gregg Rawlins, IICA’s Representative in Trinidad and Tobago said that “formalizing this association will ensure that more structure is put in place as we move forward and the skills and competencies of both institutions will complement each other, as we work towards strengthening agri MSMEs, not just in Trinidad and Tobago, but in other countries of the Caribbean Region as well’.

CARIRI’s mission is to be a national and regional focal point for technology and innovation, playing a leadership role in providing value added technological solutions to the manufacturing and service sectors, as well as public sector entities, designed to enhance efficiency, competitiveness and visibility, foster new business creation, improve the quality of life and promote sustainable economic development. These services will complement and enhance IICA’s technical cooperation in the areas of Bioeconomy and Production Development, Territorial Development and Family Farming, International Trade and Regional Integration, Climate Change Natural Resources and Management of Production Risks, and Agricultural Health, Safety and Food Quality. With the signing of this Agreement, CARIRI and IICA are well positioned to share and learn from each other as well as to offer technical assistance for the well being of the region.

It is with this in mind that there are plans and discussions for collaborative ventures between both organizations which will ultimately benefit the agricultural sector in the region. Both institutions are looking forward to great, meaningful and practical work that will benefit the agriculture sector in general, and specifically the farmers and agro-processors. 


Mr Meghnath Gosein (l) of CARIRI and Mr Gregg Rawlins of IICA signing the Agreement


Mr Gosein (l) and Mr Rawlins looking forward to future collaborations between CARIRI and IICA

On Friday 16th November 2018, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) hosted the PitchIT Caribbean’s Alumni Network Launch at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, which represents an important next step in promoting a vibrant regional mobile Start Up community.

The hosting of this event in Trinidad and Tobago represented an opportunity to bring the stakeholders in the mobile app development community together, with the aim of building strong networks among entrepreneurs and business development entities, thus contributing to the promotion of the development and enhancement of the mobile app ecosystem.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development, Ms Joanne Deoraj delivered the feature remarks and stated “The Government welcomes and fully supports this PitchIT Caribbean initiative, recognizing that the key tenets of ICT, Innovation and Entrepreneurship encapsulated in the Project constitute developmental planks that are central to the achievement of economic transformation objectives of Sustainable Growth and Diversification”.

Additionally, she went on to say that “Mobile technology, in particular, offers a potential platform for economic growth and high quality jobs in the mobile industry, while mobile software and apps also have the potential to catalyze other sectors such as healthcare or government. Apps are now being developed at virtually the speed of light. The potential therefore exists through Innovation in ICT to not only build competitiveness, but also create a virtual explosion of entrepreneurial activity in Trinidad and Tobago”.

Ms Golda Lushington, Technologist at CARIRI and Project Lead for the local leg of PitchIT Caribbean stated “with the domestic economy only now beginning to emerge from the grip of recession and economic rightsizing leaving in its wake a contracting job market, CARIRI considers it opportune, and indeed an imperative, to intensify the focus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship on a national scale and across diverse sectors, inclusive of the mobile app development industry. CARIRI has long recognized that the achievement of a diversified, internationally competitive economy is contingent, on according primacy, in the developmental planning agenda to the promotion of Innovation and Entrepreneurship as key drivers of sustainability. Towards this end, the Institute has taken the lead by putting in place pertinent infrastructure and embarking on a number of initiatives to foster innovation facilitation, entrepreneurship development, new business creation and business expansion; all of which form core constituents of our Centre for Enterprise Development, located at Freeport. “

Ms Melissa Johnson, Project Lead at Lumin Consulting Incorporated in Jamaica joined us at the event and expressed her pleasure at the progress that was made by all the regional hubs stating her excitement that the Alumni network was now being formed as it would create new opportunities for these mobile app entrepreneurs.

The evening also saw another first for CARIRI as it launched its first 100% in-house built mobile app for its client, Sookhai’s Diesel Service Ltd (SDS). The CARIRI Data Analytics team has been working with SDS over the last few months to create an integrated customised solution for the Management and clients of the company. This solution included dashboards which generate relevant information for the Management of SDS to make more timely and informed decisions. The next part of the solution includes an app called the SD STAR app for customers; who will now be able to track their vehicles at every point in the service system. This innovative app is the first of its kind in the country and we expect it to change the face of the service industry.

PitchIT Caribbean is designed to strengthen the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Ecosystem and foster the growth of sustainable and competitive mobile enterprises through activities that will target early stage Innovators, and guide them to market readiness. PitchIT Caribbean is administered by a University of the West Indies Consortium led by Lumin Consulting Incorporated in Jamaica, formerly UWI Consulting Incorporated. The project is funded by the Government of Canada and executed by the World Bank Group. It spans 14 Caribbean Community countries, in five of which mobile hubs, referred to as mHubs, have been established under a project partnership arrangement.

The mHub partners of PitchIT Caribbean are all focused on building mobile innovation communities in their respective countries by engaginga variety of local stakeholder groups. CARIRI is the mHub partner in Trinidad and Tobago and plans to further engage the mobile app community via various initiatives in the coming year.


Ms Joanne Deoraj, The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development


Ms Melissa Johnson, Project Lead at Lumin Consulting Ltd, Jamaica


Mr Richie Sookhai of Sookhai’s Diesel Service Ltd and Ms Lynette Akong of CARIRI’s Data Analytics discussing the SD STAR App.