Intelligent Communities Summit - Day One
Originally posted on Half an Hour, October 6, 2009.
Set up with wireless access here at the Delta Beausejour here in Moncton where I'm live-blogging the Intelligent Communities Summit (which is starting late).
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Robert Campbell, president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University.
Mount Allison has always believed in the potential of a broadband economy. In a academic environment, the potential infuses everything we do. Mount Allison was the first wireless campus in Canada.
We don't replace the personal touch with wireless, we enhance it. It helps our scholars, working in a small town, stay connected. Students have state of the art computer labs.
We've looked for ways to create and distribute knowledge to the world, and we feel this technology is one of the ways we can fulfill our mandate.
Yvon Fontaine, President and vice chancellor, Universite de Moncton
(In French) We are involved in a significant way in preparing students to work with high technology and to contribute to an intelligent community. We are rapidly adapting to new technology and our students have access to a wide range of technologies.
(In English) Introducing Moncton Mayor, George LeBlanc. He has continued efforts to transform Moncton into an intelligent city.
George LeBlanc, Mayor, City of Moncton
Moncton has been recognized as one of the best cities to live, start a business, retire, and raise children. It was recognized by Reader's Digest as the most honest city in North America. We were recognized as one of the world's top seven 'intelligent cities'.
(Shows Moncton's intelligent cities video)
(in French) I would like to thank the sponsors national and international for contributing to this conference. (in English) This conference would be impossible to sustain without them (lists sponsors). Thanks City Council staff and recognizes council members present. Thanks to all the speakers.
Broadband: So what? Now what!
Robert Bell, Executive Director, Intelligent Community Forum, opening keynote.
We founded a think tank because there may be a lot of technology but you don't see the impact on the ground. The Intelligent Community Forum is there to provide information and tools communities can use to take advantage of new technologies.
Since 2000, we have been best known for our awards program. We have published the 'Future Cities' report. We have conducted study tours. About 80 communities around th world want to work together.
In 2009, we named 7 top cities.
OK, broadband, so what?
Facebook - launched in February 2001, Mark Zuckerberg. By the end of 2004, it has spread to most universities and colleges in the U.S. and Canada. 2006, opened up. 2009, more than 300 million active users. But what I want to ask is, why was it started at a university?
The students had broadband. The internet was basically invented by the academic community. The academic community had this incredible connectivity, they had this resource, and they did something incredible with it. It went from zero to whatever because they had the tool. That's my answer to the question, Broadband, so what?'
Look at the changes in the news industry. It's all about people accessing news differently. The U.S. postal services: 43 billion fewer pieces of of mail in 2010 than in 2006. Why? Who sends letters any more? An estimated 91 percent of all music is now distributed online.
We think broadband explains why things are happening at such high speed. It's been going on for a while. It really started in the 1970s when the telcos began fibering up the planet. It enabled the movement of information, transactions, at almost no cost. When transaction cost falls, volume explodes. It's what caused the melding of the financial markets.
(Chart showing the number of people lifted out of poverty). What is the major difference? Broadband communications. In 2007, broadband penetration exploded - it seemed so slow because we wanted it so badly.
What are the impacts? We don't have a complete picture. EU Study: they found that when penetration reaches 70 percent they are able to increase GDP 1.6 percent. Brooking: every 1 percent broadband penetration reduced unemployment 0.25 - 0.3 percent. OECD: process automation yoelded 22 percent increase in productivity.
Also, there is an impact in energy savings. State of Missouri saved $20 million per year. Cisco reduced energy needs 40 percent through teleworking. Washington State smart electricity study gave 100 homeowners digital tools, resulted in 10 percent energy use drop.
Also, it makes employees more effective. Anytime-anywhere collaboration. For example, Metropolitan Police, London, use wireless PDAs. Used to isue 20,000 parking tickets per week, of which 6,000 are contested - so parking officials now take a photo, so now when you get your ticket you go to a website and see the photo, resulting in a decrease in the number of challenges.
Also, quality of life. Location-based services can be delivered to the mobile device. You can pay parking, public transportation, etc., on your phone. You can have information overlay on top of what you're looking at. You can connect public transportation - as you know well in Moncton.
Now what? Mobile broadband. We had Jim Balsillie from RIM, who showed a video.
The hard thing: the economic challenges. Now people from Mumbai, Shenzen, New York and Jakarta are your next door neighbours. This is a new think. What Ross Perot called 'that giant sucking sound of jobs going to Mexico' is because of broadband. We are seeing super-charged competition. There is a rise in the minimum skill level - Peter Dricker, for exampl, predicted it would be impossible to earn a living with your hands. Local economic success is increasingly dependent on the digital economy. And we are seeing increased social stresses, pressures on social welfare.
At the end of the day, this is what it's about: it's about the children. People all want to be where children can be raised, where they can stay there and raise their children. Without economic activity that's never going to happen. The broadband economy has changed the rules, but that doesn't mean we can't learn the rules. Broadband has all these challenges, but it also has incredible opportunities.
Here are some opportunities. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the primary producers of jobs. They can now obtain global trading opportunities. Business and government can reduce their operating costs. Innovation now becomes as important as location, resources or capital. Children can go global in the search for education or culture. These tools, that connect us to the world, are also used to increase community involvement. Study on how children actually use their tools - they use them to talk to their friends, people they know. To increase their ties within their community.
Seizing the opportunity takes hard work, it takes intensive collaboration - business, government and institutions have to talk to each other. You need to educate and sell to the public. Doesn't this all sound familiar? It's what's been happening in Moncton.
Let me discuss how we see the world here. We have intelligent communities indicators:
- broadband - this is the only one we say you absolutely have to have
- knowledge workforce - are you building an intelligent workforce? There will always be manufacturing, always be food - but the growing area of employment is in knowledge work.
- innovation - when you create something new, that's your competitive advantage
- digital inclusion, the idea that you can't really afford to leave people out. There are people in society who are already marginal. The more successful we are, the greater the risk of further marginalizing them. But we can't afford to let that group fall behind because they cost us too much. Eg. 90 percent of the crime in NY takes place in five postal codes.
- marketing and advocacy - intelligent communities are good marketers to the outside world, they tell their story well. And they're good advocates internally.
How is Moncton doing?
- broadband? Pretty well - very few communities can boast of 99 percent penetration, wireless downtown, etc.
- knowledge workforce - doing well, good education here. But - are there opportunities to accelerate the integration of technology with education? And, are there opportunities for deeper integration between companies and universities? Maybe those relations can become more formalized - more formal networks.
- digital inclusion - you've got the access part of that covered, but there may be work to be done in skills training and community involvement.
- innovation - this is one area where Moncton is very strong - the city has done some incredible things - but, is there enough money out there for entrepreneurial companies?
- marketing and advocacy - is happening right now, you are being advocated to. And you're great marketers.
A couple of stories:
Waterloo. They are an example of a tech story, but they are looking out for the future. What they do and what Moncton may need to do is to formalize the process of talent-gathering. Eg. the University of Waterloo made it clear, if you're on the payroll and you invent something, it's yours. So people stay there. They have programs to keep that engine working. They have a $50 prize for the best business plan. They have programs to encourage investment from overseas - immigrant/network matching program.
Cleveland, Ohio. A non-profit called One Community convinced carriers to donate dark fibre to nonprofit users - they pay a fixed fee for unlimited broadband. They went into their school districts an set up an online teaching environment with audio-video content from partners including the Cleveland Clinic, encouraging then to go into medicine. You an imagine them watching surgeries in the classroom. They obtained a lot of obsolete PCs, got a company to refurbish them, and to sell them to the school. They created a whole curriculum out of them, a PC-Network shop.
Fredericton, NB. I went into the school system and was blown away by the way they integrated technology into the classroom. The teacher posted a set of questions to his blog, and the students were answering questions to the blog, real-time live. The depth he was able to reach with his students was a completely new phenomenon. They thought about how to integrate this technology - it's an opportunity that's just waiting for us all. So what I saw there was the beginnings of this here.
What is an intelligent community? It's one that sees the challenges and seizes the opportunities.
Interlude - a long unscheduled diatribe by a moderator, this while we're already running late.
Growing Intelligent Communities through effective Innovation Intermediaries
Richard Bendis, President and CEO, Innovation America
You've heard of speed-dating? We're behind, I'm going to do speed-PowerPoint.
I'm going to start with change, and this city and this region is doing what is required to change. Darwin, it is not the strongest, or the most intelligent, but those who respond to change.
Innovation - it really starts with knowledge, but it really needs global competitiveness. Companies need to think globally, not locally. Franklin: if a man empties his purse into his head, nobody can take it from him.
Knowledge is a confident understanding of a subject, knowledge economy is based on creating, marketing and trading knowledge. Innovation is the creation and transformation of knowledge in response to market need - not just products, but interactions, entertainment forms, etc. Moncton can innovate, but can it collaborate well enough to meet global needs.
Goals of Innovation-Based Economic Development (not TBED). Intervene at the margins of private sector flows of capital to build innovative culture. To do this, you have to deviate from traditional perspectives. You have to encourage public investment and risk-taking, and encourage trust through collaboration, and move from a tech-based strategy to an innovation-based strategy.
Three parties: public, academic, industry
- public: healthy, educated public. Invest in STEM. Long-term vision and planning, identifying gaps that exist, be a catalyst through strategic investment, seed capital, develop a balanced and flexible research portfolio, and engage private sector.
- academic - take the resource investment via knowledge integration to create a continuuous flow of innovation. Capitalism is a process of creative transformation.
- public-private partnerships - tech SouthEast will be a PPP. It will also play a greater role in the gloabal innovation environment.
- attraction of new businesses
- retention of existing businesses
- growing your own entrepreneurial new innovative businesses
Most places don't have an entrepreneurial environment, they don't have the base to support that. But all the assets exist in Moncton, and it could work here.
Look at the criteria for location in traditional industrial development: physical access, resources, etc. But for innovation businesses, it's specialized talent, access to research, workforce competencies and lifestyle. Moncton has all of this, what it doesn't have is an innovation intermediary - but Tech SE will do that.
What si an innovation intermediary? Something that is a catalyst to connect all the dots. It's at the center of the regions efforts to align local technologies, asserts and resources to work together to advance innovation. They:
- connect human and institutional players
- manage programs
- research and marketing
- leverage and alignment of funding and resources
There is an innovation paradigm shift. If you were looking for capital a few years ago, you could get capital if you had a proof of concept. But now, it also requires a proof of relevance. This means, identifying customers willing to pay for it, and showing that it's scalable, to become a large business.
Some innocation capital facts (form the U.S.)
- 58 percent of jobs
- 13 times more patents per employee
- employ 30 percent of employees
- seek only 500K to 1m in investment (which large VCs are not interested in)
In the capital markets, there is a 'perfect storm'. Angel investors invest as much as VCs to annually. $20 billion. But last year, angels invested 28 percent less than they did the year before. Also, in the U.S., 44 states have budget deficits, and they have technology develop initiatives, which support early development. So this means you have to get to prof of relevance, and you need innovation intermediaries to help them to get to where thy can b VC ready.
It's the 'valley of death' - between the sources of funding - the founders, etc, IRAP, similar small-scale funding. The valley used to be at about $500K - but now it is all the way up to a $5 million investment.
Does seed investing really create jobs? Does investing in early-stage companies really stimulate the economy? Consider the $800 billion stimulus fund. They define it as 'jobs created and retained' - $200K per job. The state of PA, $90m investment in an innovation fund, $11K per new job. Also, when we look at recovery from recessions, the vast bulk (80-100 percent) of new jobs in a recovery are created by small business.
Innovation intermediaries in Atlantic Canada:
- Tech Southeast - brand new
- Oceans advance
- PEI Bioalliance
The best practices that exist around these: longevity (20 years +), bipartisan support, independent organizations separated from government (they tend to do better as PPP), they area accountable, they have sustainability of funding, ans they have leadership.
- Ben Franklin Technology Partners
- Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp (KTEC)
- Innovation Philadelphia
- Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology
- UCSO Connect
- FirstState Innovation
(these are not places like Silicon Valley, etc. that had stuff in their backyard - these are regions that had to be developed).
Pennsylvania as an example (he really breezed through a set fo slides here). What they designed is programs - investment programs - value-added support programs that support companies based on where they are in a growth cycle.
You can't copycat - you can't just become Silicon Valley.
KTEC- they changes the Constitution of the state of Kansas so that they could create equity and hold equity in companies. The money that was returned became an evergreen fund to keep investing.
Clusters - we did a study in 1999 - what we did differently was to ask, what is you capacity in relation to the global economy. What assets match nicely so you cn become a global leader, not just one of many. In KTEC, we flagged life sciences, technology, aviation and agriculture. Then we created a whole series of investment and commercialization programs, and a series of PPP, each with a for-profit seed fund. As a result, Kansas ranks 8th in the U.S. for 'gazelle companies' - top mover and fastest growing firms. That's not something you would think of about Kansas.
A lot of people get educated in their own back yard but leave for greener pastures elsewhere. So we had a employee supply problem. So we created a program for people who were unaware that things has changed. comehometokansas.com
Why it worked? A clear articulation of the problem, a designated champion - KTEC - that identified gaps and created programs to fill gaps. The other thing is patience. You're not going to build an entrepreneurial mindset in one government, one term.
We did a study of Kansas - two of the sectors we identified emerged as stars. One was life sciences - money from successful businesses was involved an ongoing investment into research and development of new companies.
Philadelphia - similar mission as KTEC. When we started, everyone like to say what they don't have. Refocused on assets, changed th culture and way of thinking. We did the cluster study, developed an intermediary, set up angel investing, etc. Innovation Philadelphia became a branding agency. What worked was what worked in Kansas. But what you really need is leadership.
Big picture: the U.S. government has not yet addressed innovation, doesn't have an innovation plan or a way to bridge investment. So America now ranks 8th in innovation - if you look at the countries that are rising, you see a commitment to innovation (Iceland is one of those... ahem). UK, Canada - investing in business devlopment. W are trying to work with the Obama administration to see what an innovation roadmap would look like for America, to create jobs with a lot less investment than the stimulation fund.
You need to fin a way to get collaboration between those existing associations, the existing network, rather than create so many new entities. Also, there should be a national adviser, and an innovation intermediary to connect government with the private sector.
In closing - it's very difficult to go from basic research to commercialization. There are many different parts. I think the ingredients are present here, but they're not all connected yet. But Tech SE may be an intermediary to connect these pieces.
This conference is about broadband, and it's great to have broadband, but you have to have the capacity to transform this into economic opportunity. There are 5 Cs of this:
- capital - there's work that needs to be done on the commercialization of new ideas
Today - Moncton as an intelligent community. Tomorrow, Innovation Moncton.
Panel Discussion - How To leverage Technology
People ask, what does Mount Allison have to do being in tech, since it's a liberal arts university. But we have a clear interest in technology.
So we stay on the theme of how to leverage technology in the global economy.
Mario Theriault, President and CEO, Shift Central, Moderator
We're a little late, but I won't be a slav-driver. This morning, I will ask questions - that' my job. Obviously, about how we use IT, but also about the business.
I remember when we started ten years ago, we were going to be millionaires ago, we were going to tell people how to market. But we couldn't manage our own market, the bubble had burst. So it has been humble pie and organic growth,
Neri Basque, VP, Virtual-Agent Services
This presentation is about how we can do innovative things, not about technology.
Imagine (starts this presentation, for a global audience, with background music)
- capturing the spirit of small towns
- we find the spirit - they care about their community, they're mature, they're dedicated, they're more stable, they want to stay in their own town
- we captured that top create superior customer service
At VAS, we deploy the same kind of thing, but all in Moncton - Sussex, Hillsborough, Bristol, Perth-Andover, etc. etc. And we have recently opened our first PEI location.
So what we have done is to create a virtual call centre in a central location, and acted as though all those locations were cubicles in the central office. The way you do that is with broadband, all connected to Moncton.
How did that all happen? Here's what I think caused NB to be a location of choice for us:
- we had an NBTel CEO, who had a vision of putting in fibre everywhere - don't put massive amounts of fibre in one place, but a little everywhere - that was the start
- then it was followed by another visionary at NBTel, who started using that infrastructure to test advanced services to NBers
- then, the government with their rural vision - a company was created out of a way to find a way to generate call centre activities in rural towns
- local government support
- available infrastructure
(It's worth noting that NBTel was a government agency back then - later, it was privatized, became Aliant, and is not part of Bell, and these sort of innovative actions have some to an end -- SD)
We're a call-centre company, in-bound (we receive calls). We do it for hotels (reservations), gas and oil, insurance - about 10 different industries. Created in 1999, now about 1,000 employees, mostly in NB.
(The first innovation for me was, switching over to Macintosh, this week!)
Why we are here: the concept is non-urban communities. We bring the work to the people. And we are using systems that were under-utilized. There was close coordination with government agencies. And we had access to a high quality and underemployed workforce.
What we had in NB was the eagerness to get the knowledge - they might not have had all the knowledge they needed, but they were eager to get it.
The concept was a superior call centre model - the concept, again, is to bring work to the people. The ultimate extension of that is the home worker. We brought jobs directly to them in Doaktown. The fact that we're 18 locations is inherently redundant - if we lose power in one community, we have locations elsewhere.
Q. How do you train?
A. We can go to their home town, to train them in the location where they're working. But we're moving more and more to e-learning, because we'll be moving more and more to have people working out of their own homes.
Ken LeBlanc, Founder, President and CEO, PropertyGuys.com
What I'd like to share with you is the PropertyGuys model, and how we used technology to create a brand new business model.
Think about the last time you booked a flight. how many booked online? (All) How many called a travel agent? (None) What caused an entire industry to chan ge the way it did business?
Back in 1994 an upstart airline bet the farm on selling directly to their consumers on the internet, not travel agencies. It was predicted to be a disasters. Airlines depended on travel agents to recommend their services. Here in Moncton, we saw the same opportunity in property sales.
With nothing but a digital camera, some used election signs, and $100, we started PropertyGuys. Today, technology allows us to open the doors to franchising. We have franchises in 600 communities across Canada. The centre remains in Moncton. And we are looking at international expansion.
Example: a problem we had, and how we solved it. We had a contest, with $100K in prizes and a PropertyGuys franchise, with CBC marketing. But we only had 4 days to make the campaign a reality. How did we do it? Social media.
Using tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs, we launched the campaign. We filled the room and received national media coverage without one press release. This used to take months and months to do. Today, all you need is the passion to succeed.
It's far too easy to dismiss these new tools and business models out-of-hand the way so-called experts predicted the demise of SouthWest.
Q. It doesn't seem that all of real estate has gone online? What share would go online?
A. We're after the potential private sale market, which is about 25 percent of the market. But we're shifting the complete industry over.
Q. Do you view the traditional real estate people as potential competitors, partners...?
A. We didn't see them as competitors at first, but now as we go beyond that 25 percent they're feeling the heat.
Bill Barrett, Chairman, Barret Xplore, Inc.
When you live on a farm and you have cattle, you don't want to be told your fence is down and cattle are out. That happened last night - picked up one side, then the other, the realized I hadn't turned off the electric current.
Imagine about 7 this morning, I'm at the Big Stop in Salsbury with coffee on me...
Here's what we do: we are singularly rural. We we talk to our customer, we deliver on the promise of broadband. We have 116,000 customers across Canada, have 450 call centre employees. Raised significant capital. Strong PPPs.
(All of these people have to learn how to make slides that popl can read - this is the land of the tiny text -- SD)
What we try to do is to bring a hybrid approach of fixed, wireless and satellite technology. We've been 40 years selling to dealers one way or another in Canada. We were responsible for sales and distribution of DirectChoice (satellite TV) for years and built a national network of 4000 dealers.
We think that 2.5 million households in Canada don't have broadband, 1.6 million of them will only have satellite as an option - we don't compete with cable or DSL, it's where there are only 4 homes per square kilometer. We've also acquired a strong ownership of proprietary technology - eg., mapping. We focus on areas where we don't think there will be fixed wire access in the foreseeable future, and that's our market. Eg. for example, about 5 kilometers north of Kitchener-Waterloo, there's 4 houses, that's our market.
The dynamic, this paradigm has existed a long time - I have to go to the city to work, to shop, to gt to my markets ... I don't know that that's true any more. We'll have to see how it plays out. But we may be seeing finally a level playing field. I prefer rural life because I cherish what it brings, the quality of life, and I can have all that.
The percentages just resonate - 75 percent of businesses say high speed internet improved their businesses. 50 percent said that without it they would have had to relate. 25 percent of people said they could not stay with their current employer without it.
Stay true to your roots - the promises we make, we keep. Stick to what you know and become very good at it. We thought we could bring solutions to rural Canada because we know rural Canada. Invest in your people. Set audacious goals - modestly.
Q. How do you explain why you have success while many other rural entrprises have not been able to emulate that success.
A. I had a conversation with Roger Martin once, a long time ago, he asked the same question, I said, one of the things you learn in rural Canada, you have to work harder, and you have to work smarter, so there's a lot of discipline. And we stand on the shoulders of so many world-class companies, and we have the same attributes. You have to have confidence, take risk, and accept failures. I can't say why some are more successful than others, it's probably talents and willingness to risk.
Q. Does company need to be a certain size before it can raise capital in certain areas?
A. I don't think size matters, though I think small business has to use more non-traditional ways of raising capital. We didn't have success at first raising capital.
Carol Chapman, President, C2Communications (agents for McCain International)
We developed an international resource portal for McCain. Now you may ask, why would they come to us, we're not a technology company? But in 25 years o marketing experience with them, we understand that you have to understand the company.
McCain International works in emerging markets, and what they do - in a nutshell - is teach people how to eat french fries. We tool out traditional tools that had worked for many years, and put in a whole new technological approach for them. Three hours of lecturs talking about our products was making our sales-peoples' eyes glaze over.,
So McCainWorld.com is what we developed for them. The initial focus was for sales teams, but now helping to extend their reach. The challenges they faced were uneducated customers, long distances, multi-lingual audience, and unfamiliar markets. They needed a consistent international message, in multiple languages.
The opportunity here was, they wanted to engage loyalty. They wanted to connect in a way that was compelling to this international group, and they really had to deal with the many languages.
The website was cost-efficient internationally. One of the major costs was shipping - brochures, etc. We decided there was a centralized knowledge management issue here. Here's an example (videos of McCain describing itself). So the first issue we addressed was training in those markets. Now advertisers faced the same issues. So in four different languages we developed this whole online training, and delivered them on iPods. So when they go into restaurants, they can actually show the product on a plate, how it appears, how it is served.
The resource portal took on a life of its own. It really is a tool that goes well beyond. That's not so much that's new, it's the way they use the tool. It's localized. Eg. in a lot of these markets were spices, which are not traditional to them, they could lot get them. Now we are working on materials for QSRs (Quck Service Restaurants, aka fast food -- SD).
Where they're heading - or operational planning, all the numbers, etc., are in real time.
Q. Something about how a non-tech company got involved in tech?
A. Well, it our case, i was a matter of, "Let's take what we know, what do we know about our client." It's a matter of focusing on what we know.
Dan Martell, Co-founder, Martell Homes
How many people on Twitter? On facebook? (Most of the room, for both! Not bad for a suit & tie audience -- SD)
Three years ago, my brother came home from working as mechanic, threw up his hands, said "I'm done." Didn't want to be a mechanic any more, he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He wanted to build a home building operation.
So here was an opportunity for me to come from the world of enterprise sales and work with my brother, but I said to him, you have to decide to to something bigger, different. So we came up with the idea of the Martell experience.
It seemed weird that builders would outsource their brand to a real estate business. So, three years ago, they talked about the double-barreled entrepreneur - he not only wanted to build houses, but also to leverage technology to do something different. His audacious goal the first summer was to build 12 houses (the average for builders was 8).
He decided, "I want to create the Nike of home building in Canada." To do that, you need technology. I created a fake magazine customer to remind the team of their goals.
In year 1, he built 16.
Here's some examples of what we've done.
- the '99 day construction countdown' - they can log in, watch the construction, the teams, make decisions, etc. - every Friday we take a picture of the build and send it to our clients - I eventually saw our picture on Facebook
- social media - we went on Facebook, we have hundred of fans on Facebook - it's the 'word of click' marketing - we have potential to go viral on digital media -- also Twitter, the blog - we've leveraged all these from day 1, because we're going direct to the consumer
People ask, what's the benefit - next week, we're flying down to Vegas, to talk about how we've used it. It'll be on Holmes on Homes. Also - we took measurements - "how likely are you to recommend us to your friends." ATT&T is 16 percent. Apple is 78 percent. We are 72 percent - the woman doing the test said she'd never seen so high a number for an NB company.
More - we have a connection to Google maps, so we can see wherever our tricks are and give live video feeds. Other people talk about how builders hide the problems after - we have live video feeds, talk about transparency. And then Rogers, they have this thing, Red Rocket, Red Ball. We use this while we're driving. Red Ball has been prototyping wireless solar powered cameras we can put on every one of our construction sites - so instead of a photo they can login from work.
We all use Macs because thy just don't mess with your productivity, the batteries last 4 hours, etc.
Hopefully as Red ball expands we can move across New Brunswick. Drop me a line on Twitter if you have any questions.
Q. Did you find tech crated more costs, in time and money, and did you recoup that?
A. We staged things from year 1. We see things like, "I see the picture, and on the floor are spindles, but those aren't the spindles I ordered."
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc's Twitter feed.
Moncton snow clearing plan finally being improved
(Someone from ACOA - not on the program - congratulating the conference organizers)
Nancy Mathis, Executive Director, Wallace McCain Institute
My PhD is in chemical engineering and the role of catalyst is something I'm intrigued by. I'm employed by UNB helping entrepreneurs convert innovations.
My role in this chair is to keep my panelists in check, but interesting. Each will speak for 15 minutes, then after that I will open the floor for them to challenge each other.
Michael Bloom, VP Organizational Effectiveness and Learning, Conerence Board of Canada
The story starts with the realization that cities are the key to growth in Canada. Innovation is increasingly critical to competitiveness and economic development, but innoation isn't something we're particularly good at in Canada. (HAH! -- SD)
Most Canadian cities include universities as a key economic development strategy, and support HQP (high quality people), support cultural activities, and act as a magnet for the creative class.
What is innovation? Making new and better things, and making things better. Not just goods but services. Yet, we say at the Board, there is a shortfall of innovative and entrepreneurial excellence needed to move forward.
Here (diagram on screen) is the innovation cycle - creating, difusing, transforming, using.
Entrepreneurship is about initiating, operating and organizing a business,including assuming risk. Innovation is a complex long-odds process. From 3000 raw unwritten ideas, you get 300 ideas, 125 small projects, 1 viable business.
Tye team needed for innovation
- creators - could be university, not so much
- commercialization - leave to business
- management - government and business
How to do it? One way is the strategy around clusters. U of T's David Wolfe - geography around innovation. Across Canada, 19 clusters identified. Moncton? Clusters in food and logistics. Clusters allow for higher pay scales, efficiency, mobility of talent, opportunity for new entrants. The thing is, you can't do everything.
Innovation is more than science and tech, it is increasingly culture based, and more and more so. Culture often results in new tech. Statistics Canada knows it's big, and getting bigger. (This is the new-found discovery of culture cf. Harper singing at the NAC -- SD). Table of 14 culture industries, 84.6 billion dollars. You may be able to build on that to make money.
The skills calculus - what can the university do to help? There are skill shortages. Notwithstanding 9 percent unemployment, a weak recovery is underway. Two ways to do it: make your own, bring it in. Universities play a key role in both. We get a 'C' grade in production of science and tech grads (what a stupid metric -- SD). PhDs and equivalent - Canada is very low.
We have a number of challenges - Canada's competitive weakness is due to 'insufficiententrepreneurial motivation'. We need to improve management skills set. Skills include not just motivation but risk taking. We need management and business pograms. '0' percent of business leaders thought business schools are preparing graduates to be successful entrepreneurs.
Graduates need leadership skills, the ability to work with others. They other become managers because they know things, but they don't have management skills, team working skills, etc.
Tech transfer offices are amixed story in the country. They think of IP as like bank notes you trade like cash, while business leaders thing of it as bits you put together to build something. IP issues remain a problem - perhaps co-funded research and business funded reserach is the way to address that (good luck -- SD).
If the goal is developing people, that's what the university will do. But if they see the purpose as developing the economy, they will work toward that. Without the vision and purpose for that, you will have a challenge making that first class resource into a first class result.
Kimmo Kuuortti, Director of International Relations, University of Oulu
It's very rarely when I go to places that I get the kind of feeling I get here. It's like going home, the way people seem top be working together reminds me of home.
In my role, I'm not just working with students, but also curriculum, the international needs of industry, and more. We're right in the middle of Finland, a sparsely populated area (the majority of people live down south). Finland has a high percentage of graduate degrees (Canada seems to be best - "those are my statistics") (direct rebuke to Conference Board -- SD)
Structure of presentation:
- simple structures for collaboration
- innovation centres, an example
- graduate employment
Local and Global cooperation
Depend on closely knit networks, with work emphasizing concrete achievements. We're also infoma; and uncomplicated; it's easy to get wrapped up. Focus on deep ongoing cooperation with a limited number of targveted partners.
Fostering cooperation - cooperation within the university is the first priority. Then with sectoral research institutes, then industry. We have a strategic alliance in the Ouhu centre of excellence that includes all the key plays - city, university, VIT, etc., and centers of excellence (eg., the Centre of Internet Excellence, clustered around Nokia). Three lines: ubiquitous internet, internet interactions, and social networks.
(horrible horrible tiny text slides)
Finally, we have an annual crop of tens of invention, patents, and the rest; education meets working life requirements, and 76 percent of graduates find employment in northern Finland.
David Shindler, Executive Director, Springboard Atlantic
I'm struck by how comfortable I feel, transplanted from Toronto. As of yesterday I now have a house on the south shore of Halifax, so I have roots now.
I think it's really important that we discuss our issues frankly and take concrete steps.
Springboard as a case study: we're operating at the interfaces of innovation, we may not be doing it, but we provide resources for it. Decisions that we make on almost a daily basis will determine our longterm future. I'm very proud of Canada - search for University of Toronto is actually higher than Harvard or Yale.
MaRS Toronto - there's a real lesson here. It's meant to create a focus for the community. There's lots of room in these buildings. The MaRS centre co-locates 65 institutions and 2000 people. So far it has obtained $15 million investment funding. Actually MaRS was not started by government, it was started by 10 entrepreneurs. Each of them but in $1 million. Within 3 or 4 years they had maybe $350 - $400 million. "It's truly amazing this was started by just ten people sitting around the table."
Echos from this morning's themes:
- importance of focus in your community or region
- need for community-wide analysis
- it's critical to have institutions that can sustain long periods of innovation over long cycles
- we have to pay attention to critical factors and bottlenecks - eg., proof of relevance, seed capital, capital for expansion
- need leadership and management that seeks excellence at all levels - you can't give up on them wherever you go
Springboard Atlantic: supporting commercialization of university reserach and linkage with industry in Atlantic Canada. We were founded in 2004 - 14 universities and 4 colleges. Core funded by ACOA, members have $300 million in reserach money. Our competitive advantage is access to virtually all research output in Atlantic Canada.
Our HQP management team includes 30 professionals, typically 5-10 years experience; 5 directors with extensive experience, a central office management team, a board of directors. Programs so far: $200K proof of concept fund, $120K patenting and legal fund; training and internships. Fields are ostly IT communications and software, industrial materials, etc. We have a technology assessment committee, deploying internal expertise.
We have lots of different skills, and we have to think about these skills and bring them to the table.
Threats and challenges: industry collaborations - Canada is not a high R&D company; companies spend less on R&D and so collaboration opportunities are decreased (or - we could invest more with higher education). The other factor - skilled HR. We advertsie widely in the region, and can get people in the office, and we are encouraged, but resources have been cut, and we've had a loss.
Community imperatives - maintaining alliances, mobilizing capital at all stages, engagement with industry, building on our natural advantages, recruiting leadership - we want to put together a large-scale regional project.
Q. (from Bloom) - is there a lesson you have learned in Finland that we haven't learned in Canada?
A. (Kuortti) That's exactly what my colleague is going to talk about tomorrow. venture capital - I guess you know that. On the other hand, you have what we have, the very uncomplicated easy way of collaborating with each other. But I don't know your country, I don't know what your equivalent to out Tekas is.
Q. (Bloom) What's the key feature of Tekas.
A. Geared toward a product. We worry about our scientists are supposed to do science, they are not always thinking about transfer, Teckas does that.
Q. By a review process...?
A. By a review, certainly, you ahve to have very good talent. And management at the department level, the bosses of the scientists.
Q. (Bloom) The issue of how well the professoriate engages with innovation depends on the discipline. It turns out that government funded R&D is very big, but business R&D, we're weak there. So we have a lot of research in the universities, but the professoriate is not that keen on transfer. That's where most of the universities have their big challenge.
A. Shindler. Our funding agencies are very goo, but they hav issues coming up too. For example IRAP, they run our of money. But the grants are high quality, so is ACOA, AIF program. But we have to worry, we don't know what the net cycle of AIF will me. In Canada we struggle with short-term funding mechanisms. But our research councils do have long term finding, and they fund innovation, NSERC especially.
Q. (Kuortti) How do we get our companies to invest in innovation?
A. (Bloom) They don't much. We have some - Terry Matthews (Mitel). he has more than $1 billion. He's a guy who has vision and has an appetite for it. To some extent you can create a tax structure and laws about giving by the very rich. You see some activity in the IT sector in this. Some. We could do - part of this may be connecting the biggest leaders into the right level of decision-makers, creating a blue-ribbon approach to this. The Americans do this very well.
Q. (Shindler) That's a very important source of early seed capital, but it doesn't answer at all the problem of expansion capital. So I'll ask Kimmo - what mechanisms do you use to keep graduates in the region?
A. (Kuortti) There's something very significant in Finland, people want to go to university close to home, and people want to live there. The downside is international mobility. But they like to be there, they like to go cross country skiing. And - we have been able to demonstrate that there is work there, that you will be able to study, you will be able to have your work integrated with a real-life company.
Q. (from the floor) I've often heard we're pretty good at reserach, but we're not good at development, esp. venture capital and commercialization. Are we catching up? Better? Worse?
A. (Bloom) We're doing worse - we're getting better, but they're getting better faster. We have a big management problem - our management is good for managing for no change. They're not becoming the billionaires, the wealth creators. We have a culture that rewards people for doing well, but not for going all the way. The universities are full of highly intelligent people who are not immersed in entrepreneurial activity. Cambridge, Stanford, Harvard - there's an appetite for creating multi-million dollar professors. There's a piece there. Also, the VC role is not connected into the university closely enough - there needs to be a way of tying in creation coming out of the university to VC money.
A. (Shindler) I haven't lost hope yet. We're a small population. We can do things well. We have national resources. In 93 when we started in biotech we had no companies, now we have hundreds. This has resulted in something that we've built from nothing. It's right to say capital is our problem, management is our problem, culture is our problem, but there are signs of change now. There's a difference. This room is different from 10 years ago. We have successful people all around us, that we didn't have 10 years ago. We should measure success on our own terms; we don't have to be a Singapore.
Q. (from the floor) Students that leave the region - you say it's culture, but there has to be more to it.
A. (Kuortti) There's a couple of things I mentioned. They like to - the fact that in every study program that we have, training is a compulsory element. You will have to have a training element, So that person gets connected. They start building their professional network up there, in the north. It's quite a natural step, when you're looking for jobs, to go to the network. The metrics are very important - quality of life. Of course they have the opera, etc. We don't have that. But living is a lot cheaper, and looking for your first job in Helsinki? You will have to pay for an apartment. The quality of life is a lot better, you will end up with a lot more money. And making sure people know, making sure people have comparative data.
Q. (Shindler) I would like to mention Richard Florida. In his books he says you have to live in Boston, Toronto, SF, to be successful. I disagree with that. Creativity comes from the most unlikely of places. Alexander Graham Bell. Marconi. You look at the big big inventions of the world, they come from all over. Innovation isn't just R&D. I think we're a creative country. You have to look at scale and be successful on our own terms.
A. (Kuortti) We want to promote to them and get them to have that experience. end them out to learn.
Q (from the floor) asking for more data on the clusters. Do you subscribe to the theory that innovation is a contact sport, that email and internt are not sufficient?
A. (Bloom) The interactions are often not planned interactions, so part of the innovation process is bringing enough of a concentration of people into contact together. And there is a critical mass around creating capital and coming up with new ideas - applying something from sector A into sector B. A lot of this is really serendipity. And when that gets going, there's an optimism, there's a confidence buildup. So I think that's the way to go. So I've very optimistic - I'm not saing you have to do only those two clusters - but you can't do 12 things to compete with Toronto.
Q (from the floor). Discussion in the university environments - the discussion that there should only be five universities in Canada. Which brings to mind, the regional retention of 76 percent, which is substantial. In Atlantic Canada, we have an association of 17 universities in the region. In Atlantic Canada, we are net importers of university students, the only region in Canada to be importers. Roughly 80-82 percent of our students (Universite de Moncton) stay in the province. We need to be cheerleaders of these facts. There are some areas where we are not retaining, because the opportunities are not there - the finance sector, eg.
My question: cofunding research. We have AIF, and CIF. At the university, we know that we need that federal and provincial money, if we want to develop that capacity. In Finland, it's a lot higher. But when we have a financial crisis, the cheerleaders from business say, we know we have to pick and choose our investments. Mr. Bloom, are you for or against those programs? And in Finland - if you did not have Nokia, where would you be for entrepreneurs.
A. (Bloom) We are wondering where Nortel's research money will be winding up, and we're worried about that money right now. Nortel was so far ahead of everyone else. They used to spend billions. The large ones now spend hundreds of millions. I'm not sure they see the connection between the research and the success of their companies. Maybe you need to create a campaign - connect the university presidents with the CEOs, maybe a personal visit with the COs. Only the presidents have the ability to get through that door. certainly in the region, but also beyond the region, because the east needs some capital coming in. It used to be the 'big 13', now it's the 'big 5'. I don't think there's any appetite for that.
A. (Kuortti) That's a very bold question, I'm glad you asked that. Nokia is only 10 percent, directly. But driven - by subcontracting, etc. is another 20. And other wireless is around 10. And some more related industries around another 10.
I'm very happy to say now that we are less and less Nokia driven. We have to find new areas where we're strong.
Next Generation Technology
Rod Savoie, Group Leader, NRC LCT Group
It's a great idea to has followed up on the momentum that was developed in New York. For us in R&D, this is where we see the work that we do tiurned into economic opportunities.
(tiny tiny text on slides, and the sound is fading)
Most likely, we will member these times as the time software drove product to you - games, etc. Incredible advancement has come about from this sector, fom ENIAC on. At each step, we came to expect much, and we promised much. No more preinting 'time to play', 'no more tavel', etc.
Increasing productivity - that's what we expect to gain, and the promise is still great. Software has progressed from object oriented processing to machine logic, etc. But what about understanding data - we can generate lots of data, but then what? As the shift occurs, we see every domain full of potential applications - automotive, or any other vertical.
The traditional ways we can think of ICT - managing data, transmitting them, digitalizing, etc. What we need to think about is what this all means. What we need are systems that are pervasive, adaptive and secure, systems that interoperate. Is there a way this can help to fashion our decision-making process. And all of this needs to be available anywhere any time.
It's about the verticals in the economy. Some examples in our institute: technology and learning. Learn ing is more about the personal, technology is more institutional. So how do we make that work? We get information when we need it. So we talk about we view ICTs, how we can look at it in different ways, different lenses.
What a lot of people don't understand is, "why do we need math?" I say, "well we need math to make better decision-making algorithms." How can we take full advantage of science to improve everyday activities? Take translation - is there a one-to-one translation between languages? No - so tools are hard to build.
What this creates are a lot of needs and opportunities in the sector. ICTs have upped the trend at the institute. Other industries are worried about employment; I have trouble staffing in my group - we had 15, now we have 9 opening. Look at the poster - the 'radio doctor'. How many advances have we made since then?
So what excites us doing R&D? It's not just reserach for doing research. We like to see our stuff embedded in systems. Some of you might have seen in the news, the virtual brain tumor operation that happened at the Halifax hospital. What happened was, a patient had a tumor in the brain, and because of the sensitive location, it was better to work virtually. We were able to model that specific person through 3D imaging - that specific person, not just any person. So the doctor was able to rehearse two or three times first before doing the operation. He was able to discuss it with the patient. How much benefit can this bring? Imagine how that impacts not just the health sector but the education sector.
Another example, a real system, the visual bus system. What we've been able to do is integrate the bus system here in Moncton and in Fredericton. What's the advantage? You don't spend that extra 15 minutes going to the bus, because you know where it it.
Panel members will discuss specific subjects, then we will open up for questions.
Victor Garcia, CTO, HP Canada
(turn up the volume!)
Major industry shifts. There's been many shifts before. The shift is being driven by the need to communicate and collaborate. People are using internet and broadband technology to do very interesting things, not similar to what they used to do.
Think when you were in school, how many of you exchanged notes? This is made possible by social networks. There is an explosion of information. The amount of information doubles every 18 months.
'Cloud' is today considered one of the most important trends. We see a future that will be dominated by innovation and services through cloud-based applications. Allowing them to interact with technology...
What is cloud? Cloud is the underlying infrastructure. The new generation of very rich applications that deliver information services.
(I just can't hear him, and his slides are unreadable)
Example: carbon capture and sequesterization. Very complicated, Using senstors.
Example. Health delivery systems, tele-medicine.
We need new approaches to information management.
(I give up, I'll wait for the next speaker)
Mike Oster, CISCO Systems - and someone - Glenn Miller - via WebX from Toronto.
You are looking at a Cisco WebX view (a lot like WebX before it was Cisco WebX) - it's kind of like Skype on steroids.
(WebX demo is failing - trying again - looks like we're going to conference-call him in, maybe?)
Cisco WebX is among a set of tools. Now we'll introduce Glenn Miller.
(Glenn Miller, Canadian Urban Institute) - I see two opportunities to promote activity through technolgy. one is economic development by bringing research and innovation together, and the other is governance.
(Oster) Why focus on cities? Cities are less than 1 percent of the world, but greater than 50 percent of the popiulation and growing. Our flagship project is called connected urban development.
I led a delegation last year, where employees in the city of Amsterdam will go to a smart work station (near their home) about a 20 minute train ride away. Because of the popularity fo these smart work centers, we have a very powerful reservation tool.
Also, a very complex program in Seoul. People in Seoul are able to select routes on buses, etc. Also in transportation, we're working in Chicago and SF on 'connect a bus' initiatives. Also in SF, we worked with the administration there to create an eco-map that stimulated competition between industries in the different areas. And we're foc used on sustainable buildings and energy.
That's just giving you a snapshot. We are rebranding it into "Smart+Connected Communities". The communities agreed they would transfer knowledge to other cities.
It seems to us at Cisco that we are rolling out these powerful frameworks just in a nick of time. The internet is expanding to many other devices. The dirty little secret is that we too are polluters. But there's good news in that. But for every bit of carbon, the economy has been able to reduce elsewhere 10-fold. (It's in a Smart 2020 report).
We at Cisco believe that in a Smart+Connected community, ICT becomes a fourth major utility (after electricity, water, gas).
For cities, Cisco solutions:
- borderless networks
- virtualization / data centres
Telepresence is our highest-end solution. All our offices have a family & friends program where you can go into our office and have a meeting on us. Also - inhome health care centres.
(Yes, this talk really is as disjointed as these notes suggest -- SD)
Blain Adams, CEO Red Ball Internet
The only think I would like to have done differently is t not have to follow Cisco.
We've been in Moncton three years now as an internet provider and technology developer. We have Moncton covered with iBurst technology.
We are a team-first company - very focused on high-energy teams. We have a staff of 13 people and they are well versed in it.
Collaboration - we're an open source company. We share things, we share information, and in return we want people to share with us. We only work with the right customers, investors and partners. Our first partner was the City of Moncton, they're a strong partner, we've ben able to do things.
Who are we? We work with iBurst. We brought it into North America a few years ago. It is a 4th generation technology - it transports video extremely well. It's an advanced secure wireless system. We started in a rural area, and started with mobility thinking. But we want to create solutions that go well beyond laptops and handhelds.
New Brunswick is the perfect sandbox for iBurst. We are developing applications, we are marketing them and enhancing them, then selling them, NB first, Canada second, world third. We are developing data-first systems.
Public sector solutions include; remote area monitoring; GPS and fleet management, mobile wifi, bus and train location, connected municipal services (street lights, etc), mobile workforce, secure mobile video, and municipality-provided internet services. We are providing wireless internet on city buses. And the bus location system is in the trial stage and we will be able to launch it soon.
In the private sector, we started working with taxi cabs in the city. We have GPS and are looking at installing video for security, also voice over IP. Etc.
The future - the GPS-based advertising service. We are developing one - one, for example, is displayed on the side of a bus. You can change the ad based on the coordinates. The systems we build are modular, we build from the bottom up. There's also a system for public announcements. This can be segregated of so we have different announcements in different quadrants.
Innovation is not just creating or finding or inventing something new. It's also building on old ideas, making it work from end to end. Partnerships are key for us.
Russ Matthews, Busines Operations Manager, Motorola
I want to talk about networks. All of the tchnologies talked about today require network technology.
Municipalities face challenges of: safety and security, budgets, etc. How do we wok with municipalities, show them effective solutions? There's a lot of environmental concerns, finding ways cities can be greener. And there's quality of life - one of the take-aways from this conference, is there's a lot of emphasis on governance, but there's a lot more, there's building on that, building a culture, a good world and a better place, quality of life, better services, better transportation.
(More horrible horrible slides - I counted 21 lines of text on this one, in addition to the title, white-gray text on a light gray background - and obviouslycompletely unreadable)
(A bunch of examples of connected city employees from different cities, like Providence R.I., video surveillance, etc. etc.).
Once you start taking a look at what you can do with this technology, you have to start looking at the numbers. You have to want to do things with it. Eg., video - there's a trade-off, the cost of wires, screens, etc., vs. officers on the street. You look at the cost of trenching fibre - but this week, we;'re launching licensed microwave connections (we had that at the college, it worked fine -- SD). Story about water leakage, theft. You want to connect as much as possible - the better you're connected, the more you can do. Every time you connect something, it adds to the total value of the network. And you can connect things very inexpensively.
Different types of connectivity - big wire for massive data, medium for local area networks, and the tiny wire, for consumers and devices. Once you figure out the total benefit of ownership, we ask, what's the budget. You want to crate an application roadmap, a timeline. It's about bringing all these people together in a collaborative effort. Different technologies for different communities. Different networks for different parts of the same community.
5 10 15 minutes later - still on the same slide - ah! a new slide - same white text on gray - 18 lines long -- SD)
Case study of an unnamed midwest city that had a crime problem in the central area. Solution? More officers? 0.75 million dollars per year. Take that same area and deploy a wireless video surveillance system. $100K - $300K - payoff is anywhere between 2-11 months. So - it's wireless - once you set up, you can other devices. The criminal mind - it's not the severity of the penalty, it's the certainty. People who are criminals think they'll get away with it. That's the power of video - it almost assures someone will get caught.
(more awful slides)
David Gourlay, Executive Director, Public Sector, Oracle Canada
Citizen Relationship Management - CRM has been traditional in the business pace. Over the past few years Oracle has been transferring CRM principles into the public sector space. Citizens are becoming more demanding, and governments have been playing a bit of catch-up. If we can imagine our kids today - the 70 percent of kids who are cyber-savvy by age seven - this will be even more significant in the future.
It is in our mutual interest to develop new technologies to support public sector and citizen democracy. We must have a greater understanding of citizen needs, and also, to deliver ROI.
Before I joined Oracle, I worked in the federal civil service. I produced this slide - took me about a week (table of all departments, interactions, etc. - it's probably the worst slide of the day!) It's about 7 years old now. We wanted to get rid of the 'channels' and have seamless communication, collapsing the silos of government departments. Each department has its own phone number (and you'd go one to the next to the next...) but now we want a centralized model.
At the heard of a performance culture is the CRM model. Performance is driving a new decision-making culture, so managers have the data at their fingertips. You are transforming citizen data into action information. And you are extending citizen understanding throughout the enterprise. This kind of public sector organization is much more efficient, much more lean.
What is 3-1-1 -- in Atlantic Canada there' only one, in Newfoundland. It's designed to eliminate the blue (government numbers) pages. Baltimore was the first North American municipalities to implement 3-1-1. Behind it is the CRM back office. The municipality is able to have a better understanding of what citizens are calling about. New York City is oracle's number 1 reference for 3-1-1 and CRM. Note Bloomberg's quote, where it's a management tool. There's no reason why it can't be leveraged for any public sector organization. NY also has a website to provide a transparent and accessible way of seeing how they're delivering services. All the data is driven out of the CRM and the business intelligence tools. CRM is really about accountability.
Oracle Academy - invests $14 million per year to provide software to educational institutions to address skills gaps in the IT industry. It's embedded into CS computer curriculum, students graduate with Oracle certification. Graduates are hired by JD Irving, Government of New Brunswick, some of the Community Colleges.
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