Month: April 2017

Tech Roundup for April 2017

Photo: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in conversation with Vidyard CEO Michael Litt (Communitech photo: Phil Froklage) Softwood, software and selling Canada abroad A month after his government’s budget won praise from Canada’s tech community, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Waterloo Region to reiterate his commitment to supporting this country’s innovators in taking on the world. In a free-wheeling chat at Vidyard with CEO Michael Litt, Trudeau vowed to back Canadian business abroad “whether it’s softwood or software,” a reference to the recent wave of protectionist talk coming from south of the border. Citing the interconnectedness of the Canadian and American economies, Trudeau also vowed to support returning expats and immigrant entrepreneurs who choose to build tech companies in Canada. The PM’s local appearance followed by one day a visit from Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who said Canada will stay on course in its efforts to attract skilled tech talent from other countries. And, on the same day as the Trudeau visit, Governor General David Johnston visited Communitech to discuss his new book, co-authored with OpenText Chair Tom Jenkins, about Canada’s long history of innovation. In its latest budget, the Ontario government also announced significant investments in innovation, including, among other measures, $50 million for artificial intelligence, $130 million for 5G wireless technology, $20 million for quantum computing, $75 million for advanced computing and $80 million for autonomous vehicle technology. While all of these efforts were aimed at raising...

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Cognitive Systems ships first units of motion-detecting Aura device

Less than a year and a half after announcing itself to the world, Cognitive Systems Corp. – a Waterloo startup stacked with wireless veterans – has started shipping its first product: a home protection system that reads the wireless signals in your house to detect unexpected movement. The system, called Aura, made a splash at its unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, where Cognitive began taking pre-orders at US$399. It consists of two pieces of hardware – a hub and a sensor – which plug into the wall and can be set...

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Laurier gets $2.5 million federal boost for scale-up data program

The numbers always tell a story. The problem is getting hold of the data. Which is why the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Thursday announced $2.5 million in funding for Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises to support a “national scaleup data platform” designed to capture and track growth metrics for Canadian startups. Laurier, the host for Thursday’s announcement, will partner with Toronto-based financial market data startup Hockeystick to make the data available — for free, for up to five years — to every innovation organization in Canada, including incubators, accelerators, scale-ups...

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M-Theory: Data privacy? I'm afraid that horse left the barn long ago

Hey, remember those wide-eyed, innocent days of 2016 when the Internet of Things was a security nightmare due to its easy hackability? Any mildly bored tween could hijack your baby monitor and talk to your kid, monitor your family’s comings and goings via your smart thermostat, or take over your car and steer you into a hydro pole. But this is 2017 and we’re so over that amateur level of privacy invasion and data theft. Hell, why do it for fun when there’s mad cash to be made? For the real go-getters, we are at the vibrating edge of...

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Conestoga College: Making its mark in Waterloo Region

Conestoga College has more than 300,000 square feet of teaching space spread across two main campuses straddling Kitchener and Cambridge. It has outposts in five other southern Ontario communities, a total enrollment north of 45,000, and its grads have a reliable habit of taking up positions of relevance throughout the Region of Waterloo’s tech ecosystem. Yet when stacked against the University of Waterloo and, to a lesser extent, Wilfrid Laurier University, it’s often overlooked as a tech talent producer, existing in a state of perpetual eclipse due to the bright lights up the road. “The reality is University of Waterloo...

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