TICAL, bringing together the educational community

30/06/2015

The Latin American and Caribbean scientific and educational community is getting ready to meet in Viña del Mar for the TICAL 2015 Conference, a place where Latin American universities will have the chance to share their knowledge on Information Technologies.

The meeting set to take place in Chile is the fifth meeting of the TICAL Community. There, technology leaders from multiple universities throughout the region will share their experiences, exchange knowledge and address common issues.

Macarena Larenas, TICAL Community Manager, and María José López Pourailly, CLARA’s Outreach and Communications Manager, spoke to LACNIC News on the scope of the conferences and the role they have played in ICT development at university level.

The TICAL Conference will be five years old in 2015. How important has the initiative been for ICT development in Latin America and the Caribbean?

Its importance can be seen in how much the community has grown. The first conference was held in 2011 and attended by 100 participants from 16 different countries; in all, there were 25 presentations. The 2014 conference was attended by 443 individuals from 27 countries. In addition, 443 people from 27 different countries submitted proposals in reply to our latest call for papers.

The community has not only grown in terms of the number of participants; it has also established itself as a hands-on community with specific actions throughout the year.

Last year, for example, a first study on Information Technology Governance Practices within Latin American Universities was conducted. Two hundred and four institutions participated in this study, the first in the region to address this particular topic.

Within the community’s framework, several seminars or talks have also been held aimed at identifying projects, problems and common needs, and a digital repository has been created for the work and experiences of the members of the community

Another important aspect that has contributed to TICAL’s sustained growth is the fact that the conference has become an ideal space for companies and organizations wishing to obtain the latest ICT information from Latin American universities. In turn, members of the TICAL community are pleased to come together with ICT companies, as it allows them to find out about the latest trends, products and services, and to compare the alternatives offered by leading technology companies.

What is the TICAL Conference? Who attends these meetings?

The creation of TICAL – the Network of ICT Directors from Latin American universities – was an initiative driven by RedCLARA established in 2011. At first, the creation of this community set up a working space which would later be expanded and consolidated through the organization of an annual TICAL conference beginning in 2012. The fact that directors from different countries actively participate in the conference’s organization makes it possible to take into account the varied realities of universities across the region.

The creation of this community seeks to promote a space for knowledge and collaboration where the universities’ directors of technology can, among other things, share experiences, exchange knowledge, promote different initiatives, understand current trends, and address common issues. TICAL also promotes networking among different institutions, thus promoting the creation of synergies within the group.

The TICAL Conference is the place where the TICAL community meets face to face and draws on the experiences, initiatives and knowledge presented by experts representing universities (mainly) from across the region, and provides meaningful and unprecedented solutions for all areas of university making use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Conference attendees include ICT directors from Latin American universities and their teams, in addition to academic network leaders and engineers, researchers working in the field of ICTs, and industry representatives.

What are your expectations for TICAL 2015?

This year, we hope to continue to grow, attracting a larger number of regional institutions involved in these initiatives, and to strengthen and expand the community’s activities to specific regional cooperation projects, some of which will be announced during this year’s conference.

What are the main themes for the 2015 TICAL Conference?

The fifth edition of the TICAL Conference will take place on 6-8 July and will focus on papers addressing the following themes:

ICT Solutions for Education: learning tools based on simulation, collaborative environments, virtual labs, managing and distributing software specializing in teaching support, ICT solutions for implementing MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), technology in the classroom, integral video solutions, the impact of mobility on teaching, institutional social networks.

ICT Solutions for Research Support: scientific visualization, simulation tools, collaborative environments for supporting research, managing and distributing specialized software, developing HPC (High Performance Computing) solutions, knowledge management (repositories, digital magazines), scientific data management, massive data storage services, cloud services for supporting research, etc.

ICT Solutions for Management: collaboration environments that enhance process effectiveness and efficiency, solutions that have allowed integrating different processes, systems for University Operational Management analysis (business intelligence, analytics, big data), accreditation process support,  cloud-based management models.

ICT Solutions for Outreach and Developing Ties with the Environment: continuous improvement projects, technical solutions to facilitate the integration of special needs communities, ICT services that extend beyond Campus, university participation in “smart city” projects, environmental sustainability, sustainable energy, solutions for events management, social responsibility, handling technological waste, the role of IT in measuring a university’s carbon footprint.

ICT Governance and Management: implementation of best ICT management practices (HR and organizational structure, policies, recruiting and retaining talent, calculating and managing service costs, process management, monitoring and metrics), implementing successful project management models, innovation management, ICT knowledge management, datacenter management, defining and implementing an ICT strategy, experiences that have allowed improving ICT governance maturity.

Infrastructure: network engineering and management to support BYOD, impact of mobility on infrastructure and services, wireless networks (internal and external WiFi solutions), PKI infrastructure, identity management solutions (single sign-on and mobility), storage solutions, datacenters, public and/or private clouds integrated into infrastructure, innovative VOIP solutions, IPv6 deployment, High Performance Computing (HPC), Green IT, outsourcing services, smart campus infrastructure.

Information Security: access management solutions, implementing international standards, implementing best practices, data management security, legal aspects involved in the provision of university ICT services and privacy protection, service availability, provider security management, cloud service security, important aspects to consider when incorporating social networks, security planning and management, safeguarding digitized intellectual property information.

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