29 April 2014

CMEs and the Internet of Everything

Yesterday George Brown College hosted a day long staff workshop on all things technology. The inaugural GBC Tech Day was co-sponsored by GBC Research and Innovation and our ITS department, and was really the idea of our CIO, Paul Ruppert. The day was a huge success, and I mention it here as a way to talk about the opening keynote by Rick Huijbregts, of Cisco Canada, also GBC Executive in Residence at our Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies. Rick has also spoken at the last Polytechnics Canada Research Showcase at SAIT in Calgary. 

Rick spoke about the world of a computationally connected future, with impacts in everything from smart buildings to mobile communications. The focus on the Internet of Everything (IoE) reflects the transformational potential of a world in which billions of devices and people are connected. This leads to new products, services and jobs, and connects well with the point I made in my last post about what Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO, spoke about when she said that "CMEs are the next SMEs." ‎Creators, Makers, and Entrepreneurs (CMEs) have a lot to do with invigorating our economy, and the IoE represents a key opportunity for Canada. Rick issued a challenge that resonates with our collective need to reach for the potential, and to have the courage to change what and how we do business in return for helping to shape the future.

Our Advanced Prototyping Lab, and projects we have conducted and are working on in our Green Building Centre, leverage the IoE concept as we help CMEs (and SMEs) realize new market potential. Watch this space for upcoming news about our work in these areas, and in particular plans we have to expand our capacity.

25 April 2014

Research Money Conference promotes "CMEs as the next SMEs"

The 13th annual Research Money conference was convened this week in Ottawa, and as in past years featured excellent discussion on the sate of research and innovation in the country. Following on the heels of Budget 2014 the conference theme was Budget 2014: Re-balancing Innovation Support Programs. What was interesting was the a major emergent theme of the conference was the need to expand our thinking in terms of embracing innovation far past the confines of discovery. This means ensuring that R&D is applied, as innovation, not the same as invention, means translating the fruits of basic R&D (in which Canada excels) into business outputs (where Canada lags).

An industry panel was among the many highlights, on which Vicki Saunders, Founder, SheEO, said "CMEs are the next SMEs." By this she refers to ‎Creators, Makers, and Entrepreneurs, reflecting a significant focus of the conference: the importance of the humanities and social sciences in effective business innovation. To this end, Vicki Saunders talked about adding Arts to STEM (STEAM), reinforcing that effective business innovation and entrepreneurship requires people who understand human behavior and psychology, particularly as this relates to selling inventions to make them into innovations. 

John Baker, Desire2Learn CEO, spoke eloquently about the need for innovation in the economy and his company's pursuit of it in the learning technology space. He also linked his speech into two of SSHRC"s Future Challenge Areas, further showcasing the relevance of humanities and social science disciplines in the effective R&D translation enterprise in Canada. To this end, innovation literacy requires a broad set of skills that are complementary to each other, much like disciplines working together are. This discussion bodes well for the future of R&D, and its translation into innovation for social and economic productivity. 

04 April 2014

Government of Canada launches Digital Canada 150

Today the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, announced the launch of Digital Canada 150. The new strategy has been in the works for quite some time, and comes at a time when the government is launching new initiatives designed to support Canadian industry. There are five pillars:

  1. Connecting Canadians
  2. Protecting Canadians
  3. Economic Opportunities
  4. Digital Government
  5. Canadian Content

Each offers key planks of the strategy designed to bolster Canada's knowledge based economy. Pillar 3 - Economic Opportunities offers some good incentives for firms to tap into $200M in funding to promote the adoption of digital technology. This is similar to the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program IRAP rolled out over the past few years, and which was  hugely successful in enabling polytechnics and colleges like George Brown to work with firms to get them online and productive. We focused a lot of our work on Building Information Modelling (BIM), as part of our Green Building Centre applied research focus. BIM represents the future of the construction industry and George Brown College is pleased to support this significant advance in concert with our industry partners.

Watch the video of the Digital Canada 150 announcement here, and check out the site.