Informatization of the society, an engine of the economy

 y 

To turn the Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in a strategic development sector for the country is one of the main challenges, which has totally absorbed specialists of this and other disciplines of knowledge, along with the highest leadership of the government.

In this scenario, the First National Workshop on Informatization and Cybersecurity –inaugurated yesterday– turns out to be a step forward in the field of technologies towards a more efficient management of the political, governmental, state and mass organizations; and to accomplish a better quality of life.

Some members of the Political Bureau assisted to the opening session, namely Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Vice-president of the Council of States and the Council of Ministers; the General of the Army Corps Álvaro López Miera, First Vice-Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Chief of the General Staff; Mercedes López Acea, Vice-president of the Council of State and First Secretary of the Communist Party in Havana; and Adel Yzquierdo, First Vice-Minister of Economy and Planning.

Although the actions to take for this purpose are numerous, the specialists emphasized that Cuba has an approximate amount of 3 million users with access to the networks –including institutional platforms, email and Internet–, and put emphasis on the increase of the services of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba, which gathers 2.5 million of cellphone clients, 154 Internet navigation rooms and more than 0.5 million users with email service in their cellphones.

Regarding the digital television –extended to Havana and the main municipalities of the provinces–, it transcended that almost 250 000 individuals are users of this service, which main challenge rests on the installation of more transmitters.

In the opening session of the Workshop, that took place in Havana and was transmitted at the same time to 20 venues in the island, where also were presented the policy bases for the improvement of a safety informatization of the country, its national priorities and it was informed the creation of an organization that will gather all professionals of this fields: the Informaticians Union of Cuba.

SAFETY AND IMPROVEMENT, A CHALLENGE

 “The current situation of the Informatics activity does not meet the needs of the population, because of the scarce advance in the use of the ICTs in a uniformed and coherent way”, said Wilfredo González Vidal, Vice-minister of Communications.

That is why the policy bases for the improvement of a safety informatization of the country and its national priorities will allow these tools to become an “strategic development sector for the nation, strengthening the economy and facilitating a wide access to the contents of the digital services”, he added.

According to what he explained, the policy is composed by 9 axis including the training of human capital; electronic government and commerce; business models and economic sustainability; legal framework; international cooperation; content, applications and services; infrastructures and equipment, among others.

Regarding the actions promoted by the last one, he pointed out the integration of the telephone service, television and data, using the fixed and mobile networks; the creation of a data centers network in the country; to reach a coverage that allows the constant expansion of the communications infrastructure; and implements a renovation program that diminishes the technological obsolescence in the country, which includes 70% of the medical equipment, he expressed.

As for the electronic government and commerce he underscored the need of impelling solutions that simplify processes and administrative procedures and promote a bigger approach to the citizens, as well as the potentiation of online payment platforms.

In respect to services applications he said that among the steps to be taken is the enlargement of the capacities and the use of Internet by the population, with more affordable prices and competitive in comparison with the countries of the area.

Besides of it, he supported the view of promoting the development of national and secure computer solutions and strengthening the software industry.

Other topics considered, Gon­zález Vidal said, were the development of the a state-owned Informatics company in tune with the non-state management ways and the definition of an indicators system that allows to lead the informatization of the society and to evaluate the impact of the adoption of these technologies in the economy of the country.

There is also the fact of potentiating the protection of the technological systems, developing native computer solutions that guaranty security management, updating the penal and administrative law to encompass the array of information and telecommunication crimes.

In his speech, the Vice-minister of Communications commented that the national priorities for the informatization include aspects related to the public records, the online payment platforms to develop the electronic commerce and services for the citizen.

He added that the work in this last case would be directed to the procedures, the online government, a greater interaction with the organisms of the Central Administration of the State, the creation of applications for the environment in Internet, the social networks and the entertainment, and the information services for the citizen.

He said that in the production and social sectors of high interest, the use of technologies will be increased, and that will also require sectorial policies.

“In the current context –he concluded– it is necessary to expedite this design and it is indispensable to unite the efforts of all specialists of the sector to achieve results that have a decisive impact in the development of the country to do of the informatization another bastion in the defense of the Revolution.”

AN ASSOCIATION FOR INFORMATICIANS

One more topic discussed in the event was the constitution of the Informaticians Union of Cuba, an association that will gather professionals working in the fields of the information and communications technologies.

The requirements to be a member –with a voluntary character– include being graduated from majors related to the specified disciplines, and others that can prove their curricular activities in these topics.

It was informed, the Union will count on structures at the national and territorial levels and it intends to manage knowledge and promote the exchange with specialists of other countries.

LEADING THE WAY

Various opinions also determined the atmosphere of a debate, by the hand of an array of new implementations, changes and concepts that included not only the capital.

This gathering is the first stage to rethink what we have to do nowadays as a country to organize the whole informatization process, said the Doctor in Sciences Iván Barreto, specialist of the Ministry of Education, regarding the recent events. “Even though we have taken some steps, he explained, we were lacking this document regarding the creation of the bases with which we intend to lead the process”.

“The fact that the Ministry of Communications has introduced this policy today gives some thoughts to every one of the organisms and specifically in this case the Ministry of Education, to define how to redirect its informatization approach on the basis of what it is happening and being conceived in the island”.

Barreto also underscore how this session proved the need of a rearrangement on the basis of financing and of the use of the resources that we have as a country, in the interests of a sustainable and meaningful process for every organisms.

 “We all know that the Ministry of Public Health, for instance, is on an informatization process and the Ministry of Education counts also with computers on schools. Then this is a process that was born under the wings of a political idea and seeking to give kids access to more knowledge, but today it is being reorganized to make it more tangible, safe and sustainable in time”.

On the other hand, Yoser Tápanes, Chief of the Development Group of the Joven Club in Havana, referred to the importance of, along with the technological advance, conceiving and making evident the necessary methods and ways for the conformation of a more safe and coherent computer era.

Tápanes abounded in the fact that “guidelines are being set regarding rules and the means and methods to assume as part of the computer security applications. We are in the middle of an accelerated informatization process of our society, reason why we need to have solid bases that contribute to the fact that this development be as safe as possible”.

“We should immediately undertake the informatization of our society, an essential step for the integral development of our country”, assured from Santa Clara the PhD. Rafael Bello Pérez, Director of the Center for Informatics Studies, of the Central University Marta Abreu in that territory.

Bello, who participated from Santa Clara in the Workshop, declared to Granma that is not possible to move forward in today’s world if we leave aside the new Info-communications technologies, which have to do with all the economic, politic and social processes of a nation.

“To succeed in this objective Cuba has the essential, the human resources formed by the Revolution in more than 50 years, which allows facing any challenges in this field “, assured the experienced specialist, who added that we cannot be naïve and, along with the development we have to worry also about computer security.

Internet is kind of a battle field, where whoever takes possession with more intelligence, wisdom and responsibility will obtain the best dividends, said Rafael, who assessed the Workshop as positive and also said there should be a follow-up and the biggest amount of opinions should be heard.

For his part, Ricardo Jiménez López, computer teacher in the Special School Rolando Pérez Quintosa, of Santa Clara, who is also participating in this event, recognized that the ordinary citizens are those who could benefit the most with the informatization, taking into account the huge amount of bureaucratic procedures that could be eradicated and the improvements certain services could undergo.

As a teacher, he also reflected how education may be favored with these changes, which would be for the best, because you cannot turn your back on development, he said.

And the fact is that in parallel to the plenary session of the Workshop, it was held a discussion forum were professionals linked to this activity analyzed the topics on discussion.