Late last year, Eduardo Almeida took over as the head of Latin American region for Unisys, an IT company based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, with operations across the world.
Now that Almeida has spent more than six months adjusting to his new role, as Unisys’ vice president and general manager for Latin America, Loren Moss of Finance TnT recently caught up with him to discuss the company’s outlook and plans for growth in the Caribbean.
Almeida has an optimistic view for the company in the region, including Trinidad and Tobago, in large part due to the population’s track record of adopting technology and the demand for various industries, including the public sector, to upgrade their systems.
The following conversation discusses the Unisys view of the Caribbean, including a transcript below.
Loren Moss: Part of your role as the head of Latin America for Unisys also includes the Caribbean. When it comes to the Caribbean, people usually think about tourism, which is great! But, there’s a lot going on. There are a lot of banking concerns down there — both native, home-based in the Caribbean, but also a lot of the global players have operations down there. There is insurance, outsourcing. Where has Unisys seen the growth in the Caribbean region?
Eduardo Almeida: Well, absolutely. The Caribbean represents a huge opportunity for a company like Unisys. We’ve been seeing a lot of investments from the public sector.
We are seeing countries investing in border security and investing in cybersecurity to make sure that they are protected against digital threads. So we are basically talking about public sector, country transformation initiatives, border protection, and of course cybersecurity strategies.
Loren Moss: Great, and so tell me about Unisys’ presence in the Caribbean. I know Unisys has been in the Caribbean for a long time. A lot of global companies overlook it because they see a lot of tiny little different countries. But the Caribbean as a whole actually adds up to quite a bit. So tell me about the Unisys footprint in the Caribbean and your background there.
Eduardo Almeida: Well, we consider the north of Colombia as the Caribbean as well. We are also in Mexico. We are present in Costa Rica. And we do support the businesses of our clients all over in the countries in the Central American region.
“From a cultural standpoint, we also realize that the Caribbean populations are early adopters in using technology. In Trinidad and Tobago, there is high broadband penetration.” – Eduardo Almeida of Unisys
As a matter of fact, we are working with some other countries in the region to provide some more sustainable technologies to prevent crimes. And some of those countries are right in the spot like you said.
They are smaller countries and they have some better controls in terms of immigration, and we are providing some intelligent databases for them to analyze the visitors and have background checks.
Loren Moss: It’s interesting because you see that the fiber connectivity in the Caribbean region — places like Trinidad and Tobago — have international fiber links. And so it is really a growth market. They have businesses like petroleum, banking, financial services. In other countries, you have mining and extractive industries — and, of course, tourism is big. And that’s somewhere that you have a big need for connectivity in everything from hotels to the port infrastructure.
When you look at the Latin American region and the Americas region as a whole, what are the competitive advantages that you see that make companies look and consider saying, “Hey, maybe we ought to set up operations or shared services or even consider an outsourcing relationship to the Caribbean region?”
Eduardo Almeida: So, yes, in fact there’s a historical understanding that the Caribbean region is only a beautiful coast — blue ocean, white sand, and paradise. Yes, it is indeed, but it’s not only that, right?
So, when we talk about hospitality, for instance, there is a number of hotels that we have in the region. And there is all the diversity in the economy with new services — they are very service-oriented economies. And you see mining and oil, of course, represent a big opportunity.
But there’s something else. Why should companies like ours invest in the Caribbean? Well, I talked about the economy already, but there is something else. It is a young population. They have all the requirements to adopt advanced technologies — to leapfrog from the old world to the new digital era leveraging technologies.
“The Caribbean represents a huge opportunity for a company like Unisys. We’ve been seeing a lot of investments from the public sector.” – Eduardo Almeida
They are also democracies — they are established democracies — and their economies are pretty much growing. So we are seeing a lot of growth across the Caribbean region, and it represents a good opportunity.
From a cultural standpoint, we also realize that the Caribbean populations are early adopters in using technology. In Trinidad and Tobago, there is high broadband penetration. Fiber optics are being implemented. In different countries, fiber to the home is being implemented, including video streaming. You see also the service providers — the utility companies — are really investing in making the new technologies more popular.
And to finalize another point: The Internet of Things is also becoming very present, for example, to manage the pipes in the oil industry and to manage control and transmission systems. So, for us, as a solutions provider, we have a huge opportunity, and therefore we are investing significantly in the Caribbean region.
Loren Moss: For other large global companies that are considering going into the Caribbean and that have some fear about whether service providers are going to be able to support us here, Unisys does have the presence there to support those enterprise clients that decide to invest in the Caribbean region?
Eduardo Almeida: We definitely do. We definitely do. I was in Puerto Rico last month. You all know that Puerto Rico suffered with a natural disaster there.
However, when you go there and you see how alive the society is and how they are coming up stronger from this disaster, you do realize that there’s such a huge opportunity for companies like ours to be present — not only present as we are but to invest even more and extend our presence in those countries.
So, yes, we at Unisys have a presence in different countries and we are ready to support our business there.