Final Notes For Ec Dev Presentation For Distribution
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the recent initiatives in the ICT sector.Today, we want to provide some examples of where the city is working with the private sector, partnering with the many formal and informal organizations, participating in events, showcasing the breadth and depth of our talent in the city and creating partnerships to build the sector.All of this activity is to create employment opportunities and attract investment.Following my presentation, you will hear from representatives from the ICT community who arecontributing to the sector’s vibrancy through collaboration and partnership.They will discuss initiatives at the local community level such as the protech initiative, john davis,president of humber will elaborate.Other industry leaders will discuss their reach to high school students, their mentorship with entrpreneurs and their work with post secondary graduates and their respective technology start ups.What you will hear through this collage of stories and case studies is that Toronto’s diverse talent with itsglobal origins and with its global outlook is the fundamental driver of Toronto’s successful technologysector.Just to be clear about the terminology that you will be hearing today. There are so many ways todescribe the industry, and acronyms, ICT, IT, technology etc. Essentially, technology comes down tocomputers and they way they are being deployed. And IT is being deployed in every sector of theeconomy. There is tremendous convergence between the IT sector and other sectors. The sectorcontains may subsectors and as you can appreciate, its a large sector.
This past year has been an exciting time for the technology sector, and for Torontos ICT cluster.Toronto is a hub where capital, creativity, talent, infrastructure, and a strong ICT community comestogether to create a robust ecosystem. New ideas, new companies, the adoption of technology in allsectors of the economy has created one of North Americas largest ICT cluster by employment. Almost12,000 ICT firms and over 160,000 employees make Toronto Canada’s technology hub. And this numberof employees understates all the firms in Toronto who employ thousands within their firms. An example isthe financial sector which is a creator and user of technology.And in Toronto, everything is IT. Digital content is being created in every sector, and every sector isadopting and absorbing the IT, whether it be the: Financial sector where mobile banking has arrived In health care, the digitization of health records is transforming patient care In education, tablets and notebooks are being used in the classroom In the retail sector, smart phones are becoming your smart wallet In entertainment, animation and 3-d technologies have transformed IDM and in publishing-there has been an e books proliferationAnd I might add, the developments in one area are being applied to another sector. The 3 –dtechnologies that have transformed the entertainment sector are being used in health care and the nextgeneration of tablets will feature more 3 d applications. And the next generation is 3-6 months away.And the content is being created by Torontos talent which is young, entrepreneurial, educated, and hasendless enthusiasm. The coffee shop ideas are being percolated into products and services that havefinancial traction. At the coffee shops or at Sprouter events where 100s of entrepreneurs discuss theirlatest ideas, or at mobile Mondays or Wednesday start up drinks, there is a cheering on for the creation ofapps for tablets and mobile devices.This Talent isnt limited to the mobile market or to start ups. Global firms such as IBM and Microsoft areinvesting in cloud computing because the talent is here to support cloud networking.In locations throughout the city, there are mid size firms who are conducting r and d and exporting theirsoftware services. Mid size firms such as VIXS, recently announced the hiring of 40 more ICT relatedengineers to continue their r and d efforts. This is another example of the Toronto talent. Well hear moreabout the talent today from our presenters, including Nabil Harfoush, CIO and EVP for HelpcasterTechnologies.Not only is it a talented sector with a nimble work force, the sector is supported by Torontos robusttelecommunications infrastructure. Torontos data centres and network infrastructure serve as a nervecentre to the nation.Along with the talent and infrastructure network, there is an incredible network of formal and informalgroups and organizations in the sector. Theres a tremendous amount of networking in every sub sectorand across each sector. At a minimum, theres over 40 IT organizations in the greater toronto area.In addition, we work with our colleagues at invest toronto, so that potential investors can tap into thestrengths of the sector.And we collaborate with Provincial and federal governments so that firms conducting r & d or hiringtalent, such as VIXS, can successfully apply for tax credits and government programs.
During the past year, there has been an incredible buzz about the IT sector. And the buzz is beingcaptured by the local and international media.Internationally, article about open data in the guardian newspaper, and there was article in wall streetjournal about mobile apps. And the local press has published articles about mobile applications, gameapps, and the IT infrastructure.Its tremendous when a worldwide phenom such as Google acquires a Toronto company, Bump Top, aUniversity of Toronto start up, and when Google announces that it hiring more staff for its Toronto offices.The city has also benefitted from Ubisoft,, a French company with a global presence, that continues tohire local gaming talent and attract new talent.Social networking giants face book and linked in opened offices in Toronto. No doubt, they will benefitfrom the financial network in the city.And a Ryerson start up, Flybits, specifically From Ryersons Digital Media Zone, also made news whenthe firm launched its Mobile Transit App to the Paris Metro system.Companies have also benefitted from the citys Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation, Technology(IMIT) Grant. PEER one networks, a Vancouver firm, established a 42,000 square foot data centre inscarborough, spending 6 million dollars for reuse of a vacant warehouse. This kind of investment, alongwith my previous mention of cloud computing is testament to Torontos robust IT infrastructure…in otherwords, Fibre matters.The buzz and excitement that we see in the sector was also evident this past November at the inauguralTechnicity event.For the first time, the city brought together executives, entrepreneurs, small and medium sized business,representatives from the many ICT organizations, and post secondary partners from the GTA toundertake initiatives to attract talent and grow the companies in the sector.Technicity was advised by the Technicity advisory board, a board comprised of representatives of thecluster in Toronto, including Michael Williams as the Chair.Over 300 executives attended the event and actively participated in strategic think tank sessions toexchange ideas on talent, innovation, and investment.And our post secondary partners such as George Brown, Seneca, And Ryersons digital Media Zonehighlighted their gaming, open technology, and social networking applications. We will learn more aboutthe Digital media Zone from their director, Valerie Fox.Technicity however is more than a one day event. As one executive stated, "We are trying to build amovement." The ideas and dialogue from the entrepreneurs, small businesses and larger firms in all theICT subsectors are being translated into actions items to strengthen Torontos tech community.
As an example, Technicity emphasized that we should work with the education sector on building apipeline of talent. To that end, the city is working with the Information and communications TechnologyCouncil and private sector to encourage high school students in the city to consider career opportunitiesin the ICT field. Sergio Matues from Sapphire Technologies and Dennis Hitchmough from the Councilwill elaborate on the program.Along with Technicity, the City is partnering with the various sub sectors to build capacity, createawareness and build collaboration among the formal and informal organizations.The city is showcasing a number of events throughout the year MESH, a conference about web entrepreneurs Flash in the Can- building multimedia talent for the web Mobile Innovation Week,-trends and app discovery for mobile market Battle of the Apps,a mobile app competition where apps are being created specifically for the toronto community. The competition is a partnership between the private sector, the city and post secondary partners such as OCADU and Ryerson.For the citys gaming community, the City is also working with the Toronto chapter of the InternationalGame Developers Association to build the HR capacity for the growing game marketFinally, the City is also partnering with the CFO Technology Forum to support SME networking andbusiness opportunities.On the research side, and as part of Technicity, the city produced a well received report on the currentstatus of the ICT sector in toronto. You have copies today. We heard from the sector that the research isimportant.All the subsectors want the "what and how" in their sector to be published. The report is availableelectronically and has been distributed to provincial and federal counterparts both within Canada andabroad to highlight Torontos advantages as an ICT hub. You will receive more insight about the reportsfindings from Shane SchickFor 2011, the city will be engaged and actively participating in Technicity to create the second annualconference. In addition, we are exploring trends and themes to capture in a report to be published as partof Technicity 2011.And for the mobile sector, the city is partnering with the Ontario Media Development Corporation and theMobile Experience Innovation Centre at OCADU on a research study in order to capture the latest trendsand developments in the citys very successful mobile sector.These are some of the examples where the city is partnering with the many stakeholders in the citystechnology hub.Through collaboration and partnership with the private sector and with our public sector partners, we cancontinue to build the sector and create opportunities for corporate partners, for entrepreneurs, for smalland medium sized businesses, and for our youth.And given how IT is integrated in every business and sector in the city, its vital that we grow the firms andsupport the talent in the city.