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What Is Hawaii's Technology Future?


What is the future of technology in Hawaiʻi? According to a panel of tech leaders assembled by Pacific Business News, it’s most likely the growth of tech jobs in all industries.

There’s been a lot of discussion over the years about trying to grow Hawaiʻi's tech sector, but the reality is job growth in that area stayed flat for a decade — growing just 0.2% from 2009 to 2019.

That’s slower than the national average, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. DBEDT figures show just under 30,000 tech jobs here — about 3% of all civilian jobs in the state.

Local tech leaders say we shouldn’t expect opportunities to occur in a siloed, Silicon Valley-like tech sector.

Executives like Kelly Ueoka, president and CEO of Honolulu-based IT services company Pacxa, and DEBEDT broadband strategy officer and HPR host Burt Lum say tech jobs are intertwined through all industries and will continue to grow that way. This is driven by trends like cloud computing, and, since COVID-19, an explosion of virtual workspaces.

It’s also driven by vulnerability. Cybersecurity was one of the panel’s top concerns.

Sky Kauweloa, head of the University of Hawaiʻi esports academic task force, notes that during this work-from-home environment, hackers have been able to enter businesses’ networks via gaming devices in the home that share the same router.

Jordan Silva, senior manager of service delivery for Hawaiian Telcom says cybersecurity training gets most of that company’s training budget. Hawaiʻi businesses large and small would benefit from added cybersecurity expertise throughout their teams.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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