Organizers of the recent Pacific ICT Days in Port Vila were privileged to have an ICT Professional, Huseyin Ozel, at the event where he was able to share his knowledge and his views with ICT colleagues in Vanuatu and with attendants at the annual UN Day in Port Vila.
I put a number of questions to Mr. Ozel to find out more about him and his views on ICT and what ICT can do for Vanuatu.
JC: Can you please briefly tell us about yourself — who you are, where you’re from, what do you do, who you’ve worked for and where, doing what etc?
Huseyin Ozel: I am an ICT professional with over 16 years of experience across multiple industries. Within the last couple of years, I have worked at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise as a chief technologist specializing on mobile technologies, Internet of Things, and public services enablement such as smart cities. I am based in the Netherlands while my work covers the EMEA region.
JC: You worked for Hewlett Packard. Who are they, in brief?
Huseyin Ozel: Hewlett Packard Enterprise is one of the largest global technology organisations, mainly focusing on large-scale infrastructure implementations for major enterprises. It is the industry leader in most of its activity areas such as data-centre architecture, servers, storage, networking, and security solutions.
JC: How did you get to come here?
Huseyin Ozel: I have been thinking of visiting Vanuatu for long time since it was first nominated by a publication as the World’s happiest nation. At an industry event last year, I had the chance to meet Dalsie Baniala who is the country’s telecommunications regulator and we managed to stay in touch. I then planned my visit to Vanuatu for this May that suited well timing-wise to take part in the ICT event. It has been a pleasure of mine to stay in Vanuatu and get the chance to discuss multiple ideas here.
JC: I believe you gave a presentation at the Pacific ICT Days in Port Vila earlier this month, can you give us a brief summary of the main points of the presentation.
Huseyin Ozel: At the ICT event, I gave 2 presentations. One was on e-Government and another one was on Internet of Things.
My e-Government presentation mainly addressed how citizens and societies are evolving, how governments get the pressure to adapt and change accordingly and how technology can be an enabler to improve and expand public services to help the governments ease the pressure. I believe the main takeaway from my presentation could be that the necessary technology is available to us to achieve what we aim for with the public services such as healthcare and education, however the impediments and bottle-necks often are in the processes and procedures that we work with. Adapting technology does not only require the technical implementation but also the human element.
The Internet of Things presentation I gave offered an overall framework that articulates this technological setting with its domains and building blocks. Internet of Things is the underlying setting for most of the concepts we think of “smart” these days, but in its essence it has been around for quite a while.
It became a popular term recently due to the expanded connectivity, communication and computing capabilities and the resulting possibilities. There is a lot that governments could benefit from embracing Internet of things effectively such as for management of utilities, environment, natural disasters and so on.
JC: I also believe you see some opportunities or gaps for development of ICT in Vanuatu and may be a business opportunity? Can you briefly describe what you have in mind?
Huseyin Ozel: I believe that there is a lot of space for development in ICT in Vanuatu. We should see this as an opportunity, list out our ideas and needs and then prioritize these for a focused plan. On my visit to Vanuatu, we had the chance to do this to some extent with my friends Dalsie Baniala and Fred Samuel.
They were interesting conversations and it was exciting to see how well our ideas matched. We all agree that a very good starting point will be establishing the country’s technology infrastructure and the connectivity backbone that we can build up on.
JC: What is your view of ICT and internet services in Vanuatu?
Huseyin Ozel: It is interesting to see how well the use of mobile technologies and the Internet is blended into the daily lives of people in Vanuatu. Given the small scale of the population, the country could aspire for a connected nation and achieve such aim faster than larger nations. Once the future-proof technological infrastructure and the connectivity backbone that I was referring to is established, ICT could then help as a major catalyst to accelerate industrialization and economic development.
JC: Anything else you would like to say?
I would like to add that: to plan major infrastructure projects in Vanuatu, we need not only to look at today’s requirements but also the future’s. We need to plan for the long years to come with a future-proof imagination. Yet another point is that our understanding needs to be a global one, but not limited to Vanuatu itself. Global trends have impact on each country and no country can just plan by looking at itself only.
To give an example, Vanuatu should already start discussing the changes in the global taxation regime, especially with OECD’s BEPS plans, and understand what this could mean for the country, how the industries would get impacted and how technology could be important in the midst of these changes.