Creating a technology industry that drives innovation and a community responsive to global trends cannot occur in a vacuum. In today’s world, specific institutional support systems produce the technical resources that drive business and competitiveness. The ./roots Developer Conference is about creating and fostering those support systems within the Jamaican context.
The conference reflects the goal of its parent group, Slash Roots – to foster collaborative innovation within the Jamaican developer and technology communities that is relevant to, and informed by, the needs of the private and public sectors. Slash Roots is a newly formed group of young tech developers and enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to ICT development, guided by the belief that increased technological innovation and connectivity is crucial to the Jamaica’s development. The brain child of tech developer Matthew McNaughton, Slash Roots came to life through the union of himself and two tech entrepreneurs, Roger Pixley and Dmitri Dawkins. The trio has since grown to a sextet of organizers for the ./roots Developer Conference. Hosted by the Centre of Excellence at the Mona School of Business, this year’s conference will be held from February 24-25 at the new UWI Faculty of Law Building.
The conference has attracted both local and regional attention and participation. Sessions include presentations by leading open data and tech developers from Cuba, Uruguay, the U.S. and from our local technology community. Additionally, persons outside of the tech development community will be speaking about their experiences as players in the second and third parts of the Slash Roots aim – the sharing and application of developed technologies.
The conference will also highlight projects that are innovative in their approach and which increase access to technology for the local population. This year’s main feature is the release of a new open data resource which has been developed for the Ministry of Agriculture. This data will be the subject of the conference’s most exciting element- the staging of a Developer Competition in which teams of developers will have 24 hours to create an application that visualizes some aspect of the agriculture data. Other activities planned include a Linux installfest and demonstrations from the Jamaica One Laptop Per Child Project.
The Slash Roots team hopes that this inaugural ./roots Developer Conference will mark the first of many annual ./roots conferences to come. We urge the Jamaican tech and academic communities, and private and public sectors, to show their support for this development initiative by engaging themselves in the conference events.
This conference would not be possible without the help of our partners, the Mona School of Business and the IDRC, who have given significant financial support as well as organizational guidance. In addition, the conference organizers would like to thank our sponsors thus far – MC Systems, Lime Jamaica, Digicel, Samuda & Johnson, and Trafalgar Tours – for coming on board in support of this effort.
For more information, to register for the conference or to apply to enter the developer competition, please visit the conference website at www.slashroots.org. We hope to see you there!