ST JOHNS, ANTIGUA.Want to find out what’s happening in Antigua and Barbuda? Well now there’s an app for that. Participants at the first ever Mobile App development Training workshop in Antigua and Barbuda built an app called In Antigua from scratch as the final exercise in an intensive two-day course. The workshop hosted by the Antigua Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) together with BrightPath Foundation, a non-profit organization, was part of the annual ICT Fest.
“The success of the initiative is a confirmation of the talent and capacity that exists that we now need to better tap into,” stated Fitzmaurice Christian, Director of Investment Promotion at ABIA.
He added, “Many of the participants had no prior training or experience in mobile app development. Yet the end of the workshop, participants were empowered to begin developing mobile apps of their own.”
Mobile apps are software programs that run on smartphones like RIM Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone. These programs allow users to access information like news and alerts or services like ordering goods, booking a taxi, paying bills, finding a favourite store, or playing games directly on their mobile handset.
According to founder and Executive Director of BrightPath, Bevil Wooding “With over 200,000 mobile handsets in circulation and a population of under 100,000, the conditions are right for a mobile application development revolution in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Wooding led the BrightPath team of experts that facilitated the mobile app development workshop. When asked why the program had such a strong impact on participants, he responded, “We’ve designed the BrightPath iCAN Mobile program specifically to encourage the proliferation of content and applications that are relevant to the local and regional environment.”
He added, “Currently the global mobile app market is dominated by content from and targeted to North America and Europe. Our programs are designed to open participants’ eyes to their capacity and responsibility to create apps that meet local needs.”
His strategy seems to have worked. Trent Davis, a participant at the workshop shared, “It changed how I view our impact as a Caribbean region. I have to shift from being a consumer to a producer of content. It just makes sense.”
Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science and Technology, Honourable Dr. Edmond A. Mansoor declared that telecommunications costs, including charges for access to cellular technology and high-speed Internet access, will continue to decrease, while affordability and accessibility to technology will both increase. He praised the efforts of the workshop organizers for their initiative to encourage innovation and develop new local capacity in the mobile sector.
Fitzmaurice Christian shared “it is time to ignite the local market with mobile apps that meet local needs. The Authority is seeking to continue in partnership with the BrightPath Foundation, as well as other local and regional stakeholders who have an interest in supporting continued development in the mobile space in Antigua.
The BrightPath iCAN Mobile App Development workshop is expected to be next run in St Kitts and Nevis in November 2011.