A pilot workshop garnering the attention of more than 100 attendees has done its part in uplifting Fijian businesses into the digital space in safe, effective and environmentally friendly ways.

The Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) Pacific Islands Digital Capability Uplift Program has officially closed having been an enlightening and informative success according to many attendees.

With a delegation of speakers from prominent companies including Salesforce, SAP Software and Solutions, Amazon Web Services, Deloitte, Cyber- CX, Telstra and Digicel sharing knowledge with local institutions like Outsource Fiji, Fiji Airways, Pleass Global among others, the panel discussions provided a platform for in-depth discourse surrounding technology in all its benefits and dangers.

Technology and disability

Representative of the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation, Lanieta Tuimabu spoke of the many ways technology has been able to bridge gaps for many people with disabilities.

She also brought up issues surrounding availability and affordability of such technology in the hopes of more widespread accessibility.

Senior Director of Salesforce, Sassoon Grigorian concurred saying websites, both in the business sector and governmental, needed to be designed with the involvement and approval of people with disabilities from the start of the process instead of as an afterthought.

Discussions extended to inclusivity on every front with a panel of female speakers.

Consumer country to producer country

Fiji lacks neither the opportunity nor the ability to shift from being a consumer of technology to a producer of technology.

An inspiring thought expressed by Fiji’s Director of Digital Government Transformation Shivendra Deo and shared by many present. Salesforce’s Sassoon Grigorian believes the next wave of highturnover startups will consist heavily of eco-preneurs; startups using technology to solve climate issues.

“This is one of those areas Fiji can excel at,” he added, “and this relies on your greatest asset; your people.”

Integrating technology and education

Country manager New Zealand for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tim Dacombe-Bird said the AWS was in discussions with the University of Fiji about embedding the AWS curriculum into their computer courses.

They have also attained a deal with the University of the South Pacific for an ‘Immersion day’ planned for next weekend.

Cloud fundamentals and cyber security

Attendees were also provided an abundance of information about cyber security; its key aspects and necessity at all levels of organisation from large-scale companies to MSMEs with an online presence.

Tim Dacombe-Bird of AWS and Ramah Sakul of SAP spoke of the increased ease and safety of shifting from legacy systems to established clouds such as AWS’ own cloud computing services.

Further discussions also surrounded topics of infrastructure and the opportunities for improvement in terms of coverage with a possibility of satellite coverage for the region.

In closing

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Communications Manoa Kamikamica the Fiji government is currently negotiating the Indo-Pacific economic framework which has digital economies as a vital component in the framework.

As such Mr Kamikamica appeared eager for such a conference saying, “Some of you may not know this but I’m an IT graduate as well. I spent a part of my life leading IT teams in terms of transformation. So I have a very deep appreciation of what programs like this can bring to countries.”

AIIA chief executive officer Simon Bush was glad at the turnout and expressed his joy at “the people to people conversations and partnerships” that were built over the course of the twoday conference.

“So there were a number of conversations in there about how we can deliver and support Fiji from Australia and from our member companies, so there’s been a number of those conversations that mean there is going to be ongoing connections and relationships,” he said.

“That, to me, is what’s really powerful about doing these sorts of events.”

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