It is the first and it is sold out. Fear Not! I have gotten a press pass so I can investigate a bit further. In the meantime, #BCTECH Summit 2016 is a joint venture between the province of British Columbia (BC, Canada) and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), a crown corporation formerly known as the Science Council of British Columbia. A Jan 6, 2016 BCIC news release tells the story,
With less than two weeks to go and tickets 95% sold out, world-renowned keynote speakers will reinforce technology’s increasing economic and social impact to more than 2,000 people during B.C.’s first #BCTECH Summit on Jan. 18 & 19, 2016.
With Microsoft confirmed as the title sponsor, the summit will feature numerous dynamic keynote speakers:
- Ray Kurzweil, inventor, futurist—described as “the restless genius”, with predictions that will change how people think about the future.
- Andrew Wilson, CEO, Electronic Arts—named one of the top people in business by Fortune magazine.
- T.K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, corporate vice-president, Microsoft—will explore how technology and the cloud is empowering Canadians and changing how we do business and interact in the digital world.
- Elyse Allan, president and CEO, GE Canada—named one of the 25 most powerful people in Canada.
- Eric Ries, pioneer of the Lean Startup movement—a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world; changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
In addition, panel discussions featuring B.C. business leaders and global thought leaders will explore the latest trends, including fintech, cleantech, big data and cyber security.
A technology showcase will feature B.C.’s most innovative technology at work, including robots, 3D printing and electric cars. A new exhibit, the 4D Portal, will take delegates on a journey of B.C. tech, from deep below the earth’s surface into outer space.
More than 500 high school and post-secondary students will also take part in the summit’s career showcase featuring speakers and exhibitors sharing the latest information about technology as a career choice that pays, on average, 60% more than the B.C. average.
As part of the career showcase, nearly 200 high school students will participate in a coding camp and learn basic coding skills. The coding camp will also be offered via live webcast so schools throughout the province can participate.
A key component of the summit will profile venture capital presentations made by 40 promising small- to medium-sized B.C. companies aiming to attract investors and proceed to the next stage of development.
B.C.’s technology sector, a key pillar of the BC Jobs Plan, is consistently growing faster than the economy overall. Its continued growth is integral to diversifying the Province’s economy, strengthening B.C.’s business landscape and creating jobs in B.C. communities.
The new $100 million venture capital BC Tech Fund, announced Dec. 8, 2015, is the first pillar of the comprehensive #BCTECH Strategy to be released in full at B.C.’s first #BCTECH Summit, Jan. 18 – 19, 2016. The conference is presented by the B.C. government in partnership with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC). To register or learn more, go to: http://bctechsummit.ca
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk –
“Strengthening our technology sector is part of our commitment to support our diverse economy. The summit provides an unprecedented opportunity for like-minded individuals to get together and discuss ways of growing this sector and capitalizing from that growth.”
President and CEO, BCIC, Greg Caws –
“We are pleased to provide British Columbians from across the province with the opportunity to explore how technology impacts our lives and our businesses. Above all, the #BCTECH Summit will be a catalyst for all of us to embrace technology and an innovation mindset.”
President, Microsoft Canada, Janet Kennedy –
“Microsoft is proud to be the title sponsor of the #BCTECH Summit—an event that showcases B.C.’s vibrant technology industry. We are excited about the growth of B.C.’s tech sector and are pleased that we’re expanding our developer presence in Vancouver and supporting Canadian private and public sector organizations through our investments in Canadian data centres.”
- The technology sector directly employs more than 86,000 people, and wages for those jobs are 60% higher than B.C.’s industrial average.
- B.C.’s technology sector is growing faster than the overall economy. In 2013, it grew at a rate of 4.7%, higher than the 3.2% growth observed in the provincial economy.
- In 2013, the technology sector added $13.9 billion to B.C.’s GDP.
- B.C.’s 9,000 technology companies combined generated $23.3 billion in revenue in 2013.
- New technology companies are emerging at increasing rates throughout the province. In 2013, there was an addition of more than 700 new technology companies in B.C., an increase of 8% over the prior year.
I’m not a big fan of Kurzweil’s but the man can sell tickets and, in days past, he did develop some important software. You can find out more about him on his website and critiques can be found here on Quora, as well as, a thoughtful Nov. 5, 2012 piece by Gary Marcus for the New Yorker about Kurzweil’s latest book (“How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed”).
As for me, I’m most interested in the trade show/research row/technology showcase. Simon Fraser University sent out a Jan. 14, 2016 news release highlighting its participation in the trade show and summit (weirdly there was nothing from the other major local research institution, the University of British Columbia),
Simon Fraser University is a gold sponsor of the #BCTECH Summit a new two-day event presented by the B.C. government and the BC Innovation Council to showcase the province’s vibrant technology sector
Simon Fraser University will be highly visible at the inaugural #BCTECH Summit taking place on January 18-19 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
In addition to technology displays from student entrepreneurs at the SFU Innovates booth, SFU research will be featured at both the Technology Showcase and Research Row. [emphasis mine] SFU representatives will be on hand at the Career Showcase to speak to secondary and post-secondary students who are interested in the industry. And several investment-ready companies affiliated with SFU will be pitching to elite investors.
During the summit, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, students and government will explore new ideas on how to gain a competitive advantage for B.C. The event will spark discussion on directions for the province’s rapidly developing high tech sector, while several streams will illustrate and share new innovations.
“This event provides us with an opportunity to showcase how SFU students, faculty, alumni and client companies are stimulating innovation and creating jobs and opportunities for British Columbia,“ says SFU Vice-President Research Joy Johnson. “And it highlights the work we’ve been doing to inspire, develop and support impact-driven innovation and entrepreneurship through SFU Innovates.”
SFU Innovates was launched in October to synergize and strengthen the university’s activities and resources related to community and industry engagement, incubation and acceleration, entrepreneurship and social innovation.
Johnson will introduce the summit’s keynote address by Eric Ries, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, on How today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, on Jan. 18  at 10:45 a.m.
SFU Faculty of Applied Sciences professor Ryan D’Arcy will be a panelist at a session titled Industry Deep Dive – Healthcare, moderated by Paul Drohan, CEO, Life Sciences BC, on Jan. 19  at 11 a.m. He will share how Surrey’s thriving Innovation Boulevard (IB) is progressing. SFU is a founding partner of IB and contributes via the university’s research strengths in health and technology and its focus on health tech innovation.
Steven Jones, an SFU professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and associate director and head of bioinformatics at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BCCA [BC Cancer Agency], will participate on a panel titled Shaping the Future of Health, on Jan. 19  at 2:15 p.m., to be moderated by the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health.
And Igor Faletski, CEO of Mobify (and an SFU alumnus) will participate in the “Why BC?” session to be moderated by Bill Tam, CEO of BCTIA [BC Technology Industry Association], on Jan. 18  at 11:30 a.m.
Students and delegates will also have the opportunity to explore the various research and technology showcases.
Backgrounder: SFU Innovations at #BCTECH Summit
• 4D LABS will showcase how it has helped B.C.’s academic and industry tech clients turn their ideas into innovations. The facility has been instrumental in bringing numerous ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace, advancing a diverse range of technologies, including fuel cells, batteries, biosensors, security devices, pharmaceutical delivery, MEMS, and many more. As B.C.’s premier materials research institute, the open-access, $65 million state-of-the-art facility has helped to advance nearly 50 companies in the local tech sector.
• SFU researchers led by JC Liu of the Faculty of Applied Sciences will display their cloud gaming platform, Rhizome, utilizing the latest hardware support for both remote servers and local clients. The platform takes the first step towards bridging online gaming systems and the public cloud, accomplishing ultra-low latency and resulting in a low power consumption gaming experience. Their demo shows that gaming over virtualized cloud can be made possible with careful optimization and integration of different modules. They will also introduce CrowdNavigation, a complementary service to existing navigation systems that combats the “last mile puzzle” and helps drivers to determine the end of routes.
•Molescope is a hand held tool that uses a smartphone to monitor skin for signs of cancer. The device is based on research that Maryam Sadeghi conducted during her doctoral studies at SFU and commercialized through her company, MetaOptima Inc., a former SFU Venture Connection client. The product was unveiled at the World Congress of Dermatology in 2015 and is also now available at the consumer level. Molescope enables people to monitor their moles and manage skin health.
• Engineering science professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park will showcase their Wearable Lower Limb Anthropomorphic Exoskeleton (WLLAE) – a lightweight, battery-operated and ergonomic robotic system to help those with mobility issues improve their lives. The exoskeleton features joints and links that correspond to those of a human body and sync with motion. SFU has designed, manufactured and tested a proof-of-concept prototype and the current version can mimic all the motions of hip joints. Researchers anticipate the next generation of this system early this year. The prototype will be live-demoed as an example of a breakthrough innovation.
Venture Capital Presentations
Several SFU-affiliated companies were selected to present investment pitches to local and international venture capitalists at the summit, including:
• H+ Technology, creator of Holus, an interactive, tabletop holographic platform that converts any digital content from your tablet, smartphone, PC or Mac into a 360-degree holographic experience. H+ was co-founded by three SFU alumni and was a former client company of the SFU incubator at the Harbour Centre campus.
• Optigo Networks, a VentureLabs® client company that delivers next-generation security for the commercial Internet of Things.
• Saltworks Technologies Inc., provider of advanced water treatment solutions and a company founded by two graduates of SFU’s Management of Technology MBA program.
• Semios, a VentureLabs® client company and emerging leader in agricultural technology innovation.
• VeloMetro Mobility Inc., a former SFU Venture Connection and current VentureLabs® client company with the mission to provide people with human-powered vehicles that parallel automobile functionality for urban use.
SFU Innovates Trade Show will include:
• H+ Technology (see above)
• Shield X Technology, creators of Brainshield™, an impact-diverting decal for sports helmets that is the result of six years of R&D at SFU’s School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering at the Surrey campus. An SFU spinout, it is a current VentureLabs® client company.
• Acceleration Innovations, creator of Birth Alert, the first ever app-enabled, automatic and wireless contraction-monitoring device. Acceleration Innovations was founded by a team of students from the Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program.
• ORA Scents, a mobile device company created by an SFU Beedie School of Business undergrad student, that is introducing the world’s first app-enabled scent diffuser that enables users to create, control and share personalized scents in real-time. [Sounds like oPhone mentioned in my June 18, 2014 posting.)
Also presenting at the VentureLabs area within the BC Accelerator Network Pavilion will be: PHEMI Health Systems, Semios, XCo, U R In Control, TeamFit, Instant, Wearable Therapeutics, V7 Entertainment, ThinkValue, and Aspect Biosystems. Lungpacer Medical and Metacreative, both companies formed around SFU faculty research, will also have exhibits.
I’m particularly interested in what 4D Labs is doing these days. (They used to brand themselves as a nanotechnology laboratory but they’ve moved on to what they see as more sophisticated branding. I’m just curious. Have they changed focus or is it nanotechnology under a new name?)