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Empowered Excellence

02.01.24

As Barbados ventures into the advanced technology arena, Abode2 checks in with Export Barbados to see how they intend to position the country as a hub for industry, innovation and more.

Situated on the far eastern fringes of the Caribbean, Export Barbados works to overhaul Barbados’ industrial Barbados, renowned for its fabled history, serene waters, and warm hospitality, defies superficial judgments. Propelled by dynamic leadership, innovative problem-solving, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability, this ongoing metamorphosis has positioned the island as a technological hub.

Spearheading the national drive to future-proof Barbados is the Ministry of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology (MIST), with one integral component being Export Barbados, a government agency overseeing industrial development and export promotion. While MIST concentrates on national digital transformation, landscape, transitioning it into the fourth industrial revolution by leveraging advanced technologies. Pioneering this transformation, Export Barbados has initiated the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation into its daily operations.

Employing AI to optimise property management, the company employs Innovative Industrial Infrastructure and Estates, or INEZ, to streamline, automate, and digitise routine functions, including lease payments, contract issuance, renewal, and the facilitation of online payments. Export Barbados manages over 6 million square feet of land and more than 1 million square feet of office space in thirteen estates. Cobots play a vital role in maintaining physical infrastructure and simplifying space allocation processes. Plans are afoot for grass-mowing bots equipped with sensors to monitor and trim grass when it exceeds a specified height, reducing manual labour and the potential for allergies and injuries. Future programme phases promise virtual reality tours of lettable space, electronic locks to enhance tenant management, electronic asset tracking, energy-efficient smart buildings equipped with hazard- detection sensors, and predictive maintenance capabilities to pre-emptively identify and mitigate potential issues with buildings and utilities.

As a crucial element of the industrial ecosystem, Export Barbados is committed to providing the necessary infrastructure for local companies to thrive. Specific industrial estates are earmarked as designated hubs, such as Harbour Estate, set to transform into a technology hub for future tech and robotics companies, with plans in progress to elevate its infrastructure to global standards. Similarly, Newton Business Park will serve as a hub for medical tech firms, and a marine biotechnology park is planned for Colleton, St. Lucy. Export Barbados has integrated collaborative robots (cobots) with sensitive sensors to ensure workplace safety. Unlike traditional robots, cobots enhance efficiency and handle hazardous tasks, allowing staff to focus on higher-value activities. They play a crucial role in the Mechanics Bay and Spray Booth, performing tasks like spraying and sanding to protect workers from harmful compounds and eliminating exposure to solvents, paint fumes, and dust. Additionally, cobots safeguard intellectual property at the International Food Science Centre by handling proprietary recipes and formulas in an encrypted manner, ensuring precise quantities, ratios, and mixes throughout the production process with minimal human intervention.

Export Barbados aims not only to future-proof the country but also to showcase innovation, efficiency, and growth, positioning Barbados as a hub for industry and innovation. Nonetheless, securing Barbados’ future requires unwavering political commitment transcending election outcomes. Substantial investments in technology, a challenge for a small island developing state like Barbados, necessitate access to international funding, robust regulatory frameworks, strategic knowledge transfers, and the ability to attract and retain future tech companies. Barbados has set the stage for a technological transformation that promises to redefine industries and catapult the island onto the global stage. The nation’s significant progress stands as a testament to its commitment to progress and technological advancement. Despite its small geographical footprint, Barbados is bridging the gap between tradition and innovation, attracting global attention with anticipation of what lies ahead.

https://exportbarbados.org

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