Q and A with KariBites

Q and A with KariBites

How did the idea for KariBites come about?

We were interested in entering the e-commerce space in the Caribbean. We conducted market research and found out that food is something people order frequently. We altered our idea to create a platform for ordering food online, which is called KariBites.

What is the story behind the name KariBites?

We were interested in using a name that represents the Caribbean region “KariB” and also suggests getting food “Bites” hence the name KariBites was formed. This is also a product of our parent company, KaribFusion which also contributed to the name of the platform.

Who are the team behind this app?

Raman Walwyn-Venugopal is the Chief Technology Officer who is responsible for building and maintaining the platform. Renee Thomas is the Chief Strategist who is responsible for management, strategy and sales. There are also other members on our team such as a Sales Manager and a Brand Ambassador.

What countries will the app be available in?

The app will first be available in Grenada however we hope to expand the service to other islands within the Caribbean region.

What technologies were used to build out this service?

Ruby on rails was used to build the server and React was used for the client side. Electronic payments will be handled using Stripe API or another similar service. We are currently experimenting with the electronic payments feature.

Any plans to work with popular fast food chains like KFC?

Definitely, our platform will include variety of restaurants including fast food chains. Our target market has a keen interest in fast foods hence our platform will include those restaurants. The restaurants available on the platform will heavily be determined by user interest.

Does the service allow for payment on delivery?

Yes, the service allows for cash payments which includes upon delivery.

Any plans for a maximum delivery time?

At the moment delivery will be handled by existing delivery services hence there will be no maximum time. Based on the needs of the market, we may consider expanding to include a delivery service and if we do then we’ll consider having a maximum delivery time.

Are there other food ordering apps in the Caribbean?

Yes, there are existing food ordering apps in the region such as eat868 in Trinidad and QuikServe in Antigua. However there isn’t a regional food ordering app and most islands do not have any online ordering service available to them, including Grenada. Currently the market favours such a service within the region.

How is the service monetised?

The service is monetised by receiving commission based on orders made through the platform as well as premium options for restaurants to get their restaurants featured.

What advice do you have for other appreneurs in the Caribbean?

Market Research is imperative, always seek to solve an existing problem and not just create something because it is cool. Try your best to solve problems that matters to people and what people are willing to pay for.

Anything else you would like to add?

Patience and persistence is key, don’t feel troubled if your idea isn’t validated. Reassess based on the feedback provided and try again.

Q and A with Progwhiz Solutions

Tell us about Progwhiz Solutions

We started a few decades ago concentrating mostly on programming languages to create software that basically bridged applications and migrating from legacy systems to more flexible platforms.

How did this start and what is the story behind the name Progwhiz?

CS is my field and coding is something that takes a hold of software engineers, it gets in your blood. We consider ourselves to be whizzes at programming, nothing complex there.

How would you describe what a robot is to a layman?

It’s a machine that relieves a human of a monotonous task, a dangerous task so that the human can be retrained and redeployed to other areas where they are needed. It is also useful in tasks where absolute precision is needed.

Give some examples of how robotics with technology can be used in Trinidad?

Medical precision in operating theatres; servicing hard-to-reach areas; menial tasks; dangerous tasks; drones for legal surveillance and operational maintenance.

What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence and IoT as it relates to robotics?

Everything can be used for good or evil, it’s up to the user. AI can be very useful in trying to create a ‘thinking’ entity in order to anticipate trouble scenarios and cater for contingencies. We all want to create ‘smarter’ objects, machines and software, we’re always trying to automate things.

What do you say to someone who is concerned that robots will replace them in the workplace?

Accept it, suck it up and dust off the old resume, LOL! Seriously, sure some tasks will be taken away from the human but the human can be retrained, adapted to other tasks where resources are needed. In addition, human jobs will be created by the need to service the robots.

Tell us about your project with St. Anthonys College?

St. Anthony’s is a good school with much prowess in the field of athletics but it needs to shore up its academic side and if the cutting edge of science and technology was included, all the better. There needs to be a computer lab dedicated to senior students, made capable of respecting the space and where real thought can take place. The more highways you build, the more people will buy cars. The more labs you build, the more students will be encouraged to use them in the pursuit of CS knowledge. The Principal, Mr.Maurice Inniss is a professional educator who cares about the well being and future of his students. He has a keen sense of the role that Technological Innovation plays in our country’s future so we have an excellent partner whom we can work with who is visionary in the purest sense of the word.

What are some of the challenges you see facing the tech space in Trinidad?

Meagre to nil support from the state and private sector to help high-tech entrepreneurs who are trying to change things for the better. We’re still stuck in the old ways of hoping to find more oil and gas and the private sector is too concerned about using that foreign exchange for short term profits that fatten the bank accounts of CEOs and Directors but leave the majority of the population cash poor and hapless when the oil runs out or sells cheaply. We don’t innovate, export near enough or create our own competitive products or services. We will never be a developed nation until we satisfy those requirements. Take, for instance, the IDB funded Global Services Promotion Programme (GSPP), it’s a colossally misguided initiative that seems to be designed to cater to ONE category of entrepreneur while leaving all the other gems to sit right in the soil. It’s so designed to look out for corruption that it threw the baby out with the bath water. In the end, it’s one hundred and twenty million shot that will have a negligible effect on diversification and that’s a real shame. It’s so constrictive and frustrating that it’s a barrier to entrepreneurs and innovation. A TRUE diversification initiative should have as many categories of entrepreneur catered for, not just one. It’s an exercise in futility that just leaves taxpayers with a $120mil loan to pay back. The IDB has a lot to learn about technological innovation and the entrepreneurs behind them.

What websites would you recommend someone go to learn more about robotics?

There are numerous websites that retail Robotic products that are designed for executing certain functions for a specific purpose. These products have a finite scope and are not modular or scalable and definitely do not permit the creation of new products that are financially viable. The few websites that teach the fundamentals of Robotics, while important, are not feasible to create a Robotics solution due to the tedious design, manufacture and production. So what we are doing different is that we bring a holistic exposure to Robotics that brings the power and flexibility to enthusiasts’ and students’ fingertips without the ‘black box’ complexity that traditionally is aligned to the field of robotics.

Anything else you would like to add?

We applaud your recognition of our endeavor to be new and of value and we look forward to being the catalyst to triggering new innovative products and services that moves our economy away from total dependency on the petroleum industry wholly dependent depleting resource.

Website : progwhiz.com

Q and A with Hike Transportation Technologies

Q and A with Hike Transportation Technologies
Pictured above from left to right: Jay Agarwal (CIO), Ayanna Caesar (Director, Marketing PR), Matthew Duke (President and CEO), Charmaine Peart (Director of Digital and Philanthropic Strategy) and Deon Caesar (COO)

How did you guys get started?

HIKE is the brainchild of our visionary President and CEO. He recognized a need, brainstormed solutions with the current management team, and now we are well on our way to showing proof of concept.

How did you come up with the name Hike Transportation Technologies?

The word Hike is synonymous with Journey. A journey can be done by oneself or as part of a group or team. Team Hike promotes Hike and the T&T community journeying together to get to the same destination – we believe Trinidad is poised to be the technological hub of the Caribbean and want to make this a reality. This journey will take time, it will require trust but the destination will be well worth it.

What technologies were used to build your platform?

Our platform is built on AWS with a slew of leading technologies.

Can persons pay with cash?

Yes. Payment with a credit card is another available option.

Any plans to do deliveries?

Not at this time as we focus on our first solution and working with government and others to address the challenges of traffic and limited access to transportation.

Are self-driving cars on your radar?

Not at this time.

What makes your service different from other ride sharing apps?

Our focus on the community. We operate more as a service to drivers than a partner by charging a lead or finder’s fee, rather than a fixed 20 to 30% of a driver’s fare.

Is the service restricted to specific locations?

Our goal is to not restrict the public’s access to alternate means of transportation. We will have driver availability throughout the island.

And what about Tobago?

It will be available there as well.

Tell us about your ambitions to be a regional and global player?

Once our launch is successful we will continue to hike across the globe

What are some of the challenges and what changes will help your service to grow?

One of our challenges is ensuring that there are enough legally operating resources/taxi drivers to meet the rider demand. As we continue to meet with the Ministry of Works and Transportation, as well as other officials and organizations, we believe that solving the H taxi shortage would not only help our business to grow but help meet a tremendous need for safe transportation.

Anything else you would like to add?

Making the communities we operate in better has to be the top priority in order to truly move forward.

Facebook page – facebook.com/HikeTT/
Website – hiketransport.com (Currently under construction)

Q and A with RSC Technology Club

Q and A with RSC Technology Club

I knew about this initiative before and I recently read about it again in the newspapers. I enjoy seeing stuff like this and especially since it is in the technology space. I support volunteerism and it is nice that it is happening for these persons at a young age. Something that they can carry into adulthood. I thought it apt that I highlight it on my blog and contacted them and these are the questions I asked. One of the main thing that the club does is refurbish and donate used computer equipment.

How and when was the club formed?

Concept started in 1997 as a personal project with no structure. Officially with structure it was launched as a model in 2015.

How did you come up with the name RSC?

This is really short for ” Restore A Sense of I Can”

What is the aim of the club?

Supporting students through the infusion of technology in education.

What are some of the challenges faced?

Scaling at the rate being requested

Have you thought about partnering with international organisations?

We have

Can other schools join this initiative?

Concept is open to any school. Currently we have clubs in Trinidad, St Lucia, Belize and Costa Rica.

How can interested persons contribute?

We accept various contributions

1. Used computer equipment
2. Support services ( eg mentors, trainers etc)
3. Partnerships with organisations etc.

For information check out their website – rsc.org.tt