Permanent BCNET, Atlantic Canada workshops to coordinate i-Nation applications; Alberta Summit features i-Nation message
The sudden coming-together of business and public sector leaders on both coasts shows that the moment has arrived for regional approaches to leverage ultra-high-speed broadband networking resources, according to an i-CANADA spokesman.
Brad Woodside, Mayor of Fredericton New Brunswick and member of i-CANADA`s Governors Council, said that ``Competition between our communities is destructive. We need to band together, and act as regions to build the infrastructure and applications Canadians need in order to compete globally.
“In the first week of October we have seen a break-through alignment of leaders to carry out the task of pulling communities together within the regions,” added i-CANADA Co-Founder Barry Gander. “We are seeing the birth of permanent executive workshops on both coasts, dedicated to coordinating the application and installation of broadband networks in regions critical to Canada’s success.”
I-CANADA is the movement to create an “Intelligent Nation”, comprised of communities with digital inclusion, employment growth and investment-worth innovation. Countries today are adopting strategies to create Intelligent Nations, to benefit from their high rates of growth and sustainable economies, said i-CANADA Chair Bill Hutchison: “Canada’s indexes of innovation and competitiveness continue to slide. Our Internet ranking is slipping. A major company like Netflix says that we have a Third-World Internet system. These alarm bells are being heard across Canada, and regions are taking action organically to help themselves.”
“A key seed-crystal for the formation of these groups is the inspiration that comes from Mayors of communities that have already won international recognition as best-in-class Intelligent Communities,” stated Mr. Gander. “We were fortunate to have one of Canada’s strongest speakers, Mayor Brad Woodside of Fredericton, New Brunswick, to act as a catalyst in inspiring the other leaders.” Mayor Woodside took part in a three-region meeting in the past week for i-CANADA. Under Mayor Woodside’s leadership, Fredericton has twice won the ‘Top Seven Intelligent Community’ award from the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum.
`Fredericton was the first city in Canada to offer free WiFi service to citizens,” noted Mayor Woodside. “Our basic Intelligent Community philosophy is that we don’t charge people to use the sidewalks; why would we charge people for connections?”
In Vancouver, the Mayor attended a special executive workshop led by BCNET President and CEO Michael Hrybyk. Mr. Hrybyk brought together the economic development officers and CIOs from eight municipalities and districts in the Vancouver area, plus provincial representatives and private sector experts.
John Longbottom, Smart Cities Leader at IBM, presented the framework for the IBM `Smarter Cities Challenge`` to help 100 cities over a three-year period to address some of the critical challenges facing cities. Lisa White of Surrey, one of the Challenge winners, said that her goal was to develop better insights to drive sustained outcomes in children’s healthcare. The importance of new IT-based applications for healthcare was reinforced by Shanti Gidwani, Senior Director of Business Transformation, Healthcare Canada, Cisco. A keynote speaker, Bill Schrier, Center for Digital Government, former CTO for the City of Seattle, presented a model that could work in Vancouver, describing the organic growth of Seattle`s fiber partnerships. Rick Adams, Manager, ICT, City of Coquitlam and General Manager, QNET, described how the city had created the most market-driven network environment in Canada. Alvin Chok, CIO for IT Services, City of New Westminster, said that their journey had started with a WiFi project in centre-town that had been very well received.
i-CANADA leaders in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick gathered in an i-CANADA TeleForum to take pragmatic steps to help their communities transform into globally-competitive Intelligent Communities. In a three-hour Tele-Forum, they shaped a plan to share best practices between communities in the two provinces.
“In this Tele-Forum, we were very fortunate to have two champions of pragmatic approaches,” said i-CANADA Co-Founder Barry Gander. “In addition to Mayor Woodside, we had Berry Vrbanovic, immediate past-president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, give his expertise on building the long-term foundations for economic growth and job creation.`` Mr. Vrbanovic, Councillor for the City of Kitchener, stressed the job-creation role of the Intelligent Community: “We need jobs that it makes no sense to ship overseas – knowledge jobs, not old-economy jobs. Innovation within communities is the foundation of this, and in Canada we need to act regionally to match global population masses. A new city the size of New York is being added to the world every month. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick together have a population of two million people; we need to bring them together.” Doug Robertson, CEO and President of TechSouthEast, picked up the theme, noting that “We have to organize locally to compete globally.”
Other leaders directing conversation in the Atlantic TeleForum included Jason Powell, President, Digital Nova Scotia; Chris Bryant, Halifax Regional Municipality; Nancy Flam, Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development; Terry Dalton, President and CEO, Canadian Informatics Consultants; Gary Stairs, Stellar Mobile Solutions; Doug Robertson, President and CEO, TECHSoutheast; Yves Bourgeois, University of New Brunswick; David Baxter, TG4; Larry Shaw, Knowledge Park; and Robert Foley, President, Startup Kitchen.
Mayor Woodside also spoke in Alberta at the Cybera Summit, organized by Robin Winsor, President and CEO of the provincial high-speed network: “In our Summit in Banff, Mayor Woodside provided inspirational insights into how and why to form Intelligent Communities. This fits with Cybera’s goals: to create fast networks that can give us an economic advantage through smart applications. The technology is the first step…and the entire province needs to be behind our coordinated drive to create applications for social and business advantage.”
Both groups of leaders in Vancouver and Atlantic Canada have now formed permanent workshops to pull together their respective regional networking and applications assets.
i-CANADA has had similar meetings in Windsor, Toronto and Stratford. The i-CANADA SUMMIT in Montreal on October 21st will bring the regional plans together. The i-CANADA Summit is a concentrated one-day event for 100 invitees, in which Governor Council Chair, Premier David Alward of New Brunswick, will be joined by Mayors, CEOs and sector leaders to plot the course of Canada`s plans for growth.
++ Call to Action: Join us at the i-Canada Summit, see below for registration details:
i-CANADA SUMMIT: A Canada for the 21st Century
Sunday, October 21, 2012
SAT Multi-Media Centre, 1201 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal