After Maria, Puerto Rico sees blank canvas for innovation, cloud

As Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories in the Caribbean continue to recover from the 2017 hurricane season that brought Hurricane Maria, Luis Arocho sees opportunity to pair recovery with innovation.

“The crisis gave us the opportunity to start from scratch,” Arocho, Puerto Rico’s chief information officer says in a video interview. “We are clearly calling [it] the blank canvas for innovation.”

On that blank canvas, Arocho says he expects the territory will lean on emerging technologies like augmented reality and drones to set the stage for recovery from the next extreme weather event.

“We are working with one of the drones providers in the U.S. to do [an] artificial intelligence and deep learning project in Puerto Rico,” Arocho says. “[The project] will be using the drones to actually reach out and do the first initial assessment after the catastrophe.”

From there, Arocho’s team and the drone vendor will be able to use artificial intelligence and augmented reality to assess damage from the storm even before first responders arrive.

In addition to emerging technology, Arocho says the recovery from Hurricane Maria helped bring “naysayers” around on cloud computing due to the ability to have government technology infrastructure operations continue offsite.

“We are doing a lot of transformation through the cloud,” Arocho says.

Arocho claims Puerto Rico will be the first state or territory to have its entire enterprise resource planning system on the cloud. In addition, he says, the territory will also host its cross-agency project management tool and Office of Management and Budget data center on the cloud.

“We have the data center that runs key government services; it’s actually running 100 percent on the cloud now,” Arocho says.

Arocho on top priorities and projects:

Arocho on Puerto Rico’s greatest 2018 accomplishment:

Arocho on cybersecurity:

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ 2018 annual conference in San Diego.