EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

Jamaica 2019 | IT & BPO | INTERVIEW

GeoTechVision is the premier geospatial technologies company in the Caribbean, beating the competition through a user-requirements analysis geared at providing the best customized solutions.

Valrie Grant
BIOGRAPHY
Valrie Grant is the founder and managing director of GeoTechVision and the Executive Chairperson of Marlie Technology Park. With over 15 years of experience in the geospatial sciences with engagements spanning several territories across the Caribbean region, Grant is helping government and corporate entities develop data driven geospatial solutions to address organizational challenges and meet corporate goals. She maintains several certifications, affiliations and memberships, and serves on a number of national, regional, and international boards. An award-winning entrepreneur, she enjoys mentoring other women entrepreneurs, working with youths, and playing her part in leapfrogging innovation in the Caribbean and beyond.

What have been the main achievements of GeoTechVision so far?

GeoTechVision was one of the smallest companies that entered Jamaica's e-learning tablets in schools' project in 2014. Our core business in geospatial technologies is far from tablets and e-learning, though we realized we had to make education exciting for kids. Children are digital natives and need to use such technology in schools to make the transition to the workplace. We were tasked with delivering 5,500 tablets that we designed to schools across Jamaica. We also partnered with a company out of Israel and created a classroom management solution. We exceeded expectations in this project. Following this, in 2018, GeoTechVision was awarded its largest contract portion of USD16 million for the full implementation of the tablets in schools' project.

Can you tell us more about GeoTechVision's operations, strategies, and partnerships?

When it comes to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), we are the premier geospatial technologies company in the Caribbean. GIS allows us to model the real world in a computer environment to better understand interactions and find unique solutions to some of the problems we face. GeoTechVision is a solution-based company; all its engagements with a user-requirements analysis geared at providing the best customized solution for a particular customer. Over the last 10 years, we have grown organically and have customers in 15 different Caribbean territories. GeoTechVision's comparative advantage is that it offers not just the technology, but also an understanding of the local environment and culture.

Can you tell us more about GeoTechVision's Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives?

We focus on education; we have given a number of scholarships to students at the University of Technology. Moreover, we facilitate summer programs and GIS camps with children every year to get them enthusiastic about GIS. We also participate in GIS events and have been encouraging governments across the region to implement GIS education in schools. At present, we are the only company in the Caribbean that is a founding member of the UN's Geospatial Information Management Private Sector Network, and I chair that group for the Americas. We are also a founding member of the World Geospatial Industry Council launched at the UN in August 2018. This industry has a great deal of room to grow in the Caribbean and beyond. With that in mind, we recently hosted our third annual GeoExpo.

What needs to be done to maximize the use of geo-spatial technologies?

We need to take small steps, and this includes building awareness. We have follow-up meetings planned to look at ways, such as seminars and podcast, to raise exposure to geospatial technologies. One of the other things the company is doing in its new venture at Marlie Technology Park is partnering with We Robotics to set up a drone lab and program. We will teach people how to use drones to create sustainable businesses. Notably, high-profile international players spoke at our Expo in 2018, which is another way of raising awareness. Likewise, we participate in Geography Awareness Week every November and in the annual GIS Day across the Caribbean.

What are your goals and expectations at GeoTechVision for 2019?

2019 will be an exciting year. We are implementing our tablets in schools project, doing proof of concept for blockchain, and focusing more on enterprise development. Moreover, we are creating more management dashboards and working on our drone show services. We are definitely looking to expand into other markets, including becoming more deeply involved in the Latin American market. Cuba and Canada are other places we have our sights set on in our five-year strategy. We recently expanded in the African market and moving forward, we intend to expand into more African markers. Other than that, we have completed our first piece of engagement in the Pacific, in Fiji, and our engagements in the US are also on the rise.