Cuba is experiencing a ‘boom’ of national applications

HAVANA, Oct. 6th Given the vulnerability of large technology companies, which has recently shown the fall of Facebook, WhatsApp and other services,

more and more countries are betting on national digital development. Among them is Cuba, which is experiencing a ‘boom’ in digital applications, something that on the island is a relatively new phenomenon.

An example of national ‘software’ is Mandao, a popular Cuban home service application, which in the months of a pandemic has been the salvation for many private businesses.

In the words of Martha Deus, executive director of Mandao, the application “was really a great opportunity for those restaurants that did not have a delivery service, that had always had their tables, their customers who came to the place, to reach all those customers “

“We really grew little by little, gradually, and we have not stopped growing, because well, the issue of the pandemic still continues,” he adds.

Employment and learning opportunity

Tens of thousands of users and more than a hundred businesses have not been the only beneficiaries. Many citizens have found here a source of employment in difficult times.

But it’s not just about solutions, it’s also a new field to undertake. So believes Eris Igarza, the main developer of La Nave, one of the first applications in the country for the taxi service. The gamble was risky, but he was always confident that the balance would tip toward opportunity.

“I have an engineering degree in computer science, that is, technological training itself, and I always want to do something that would have a direct impact on people. Applications and services is a sea of ​​possibilities in the country still, there are a lot to do, “says Igarza.

Digital infrastructure

It is a true ‘boom’ of Cuban applications of all kinds, from dating to paying bills.

To achieve this new virtual reality, the creation of digital infrastructures has been important, such as Transfermovil, a payment platform created by the telecommunications company ETECSA, which has been vital in the development of electronic commerce. Here, users and operations number in the millions.

“The project is no longer from ETECSA, it is a country project, in which many entities have joined us and have contributed their best specialists, their best practices, and we have done important things, things that have greatly helped economic development and social of our country “, says Julio Antonio García, leader of the Transfermovil project.

Bloqueo de EE.UU.

What years ago was a military base is now the University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), a project promoted by Fidel Castro to place Cuba in the world of ‘software’.

The centre has been one of the main developers of applications and digital platforms on the island. Due to the US blockade, Cuba does not have access to certain services on the Internet and many of its contents are censored. Solutions to these problems are sought here.

“Having the talent, having a group of computer scientists in Cuba, it was illogical not to implement a national solution, which depended only on us, which was not aware of whether or not it is blocked to be able to use, and in that way we save traffic from the Internet to the country and we are collaborating to be sovereign “, explains Allan Pierra, director of technological support at the UCI.

Adapt to new technologies

That’s how Picta was born, a kind of Cuban YouTube; Todus, the local version of WhatsApp; or Nova, a replacement for Windows, to name just a few examples.

Cuba, for various reasons, arrived late to the Internet on cell phones, however, the growth has been exponential. The variety of local applications shows how quickly Cubans have adapted to new technologies in search of comforts, solutions to problems, and navigating more safely in an increasingly online world.(