12 predictions for Canadian tech in 2018 – December Community Slideshow

For our last community slideshow of 2017, ITWC decided to look at the year ahead and ask executives to give us a prediction for Canada’s technology industry in 2018. Read on for answers from IBM, OpenText, Dell EMC, and more.

Adam Howatson, chief marketing officer with OpenText

“2018 is going to be all about artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things… We’re quickly moving towards a trillion connected devices in the Internet of Things, and the only way to glean useful insights from the volume of data that can be collected that Internet of Things is by leveraging artificial intelligence. The two go hand-in-hand.”

David Gens, president and CEO of Merchant Advance Capital

“Our industry [venture capital] is linked to the U.S. in many ways… and what happens there tends to happen here, perhaps with a slight delay. Fintech has definitely seen an industry shakeout in the U.S., particularly as it relates to the online providers of credit to small businesses. So I think that will continue to happen next year – you’re going to see some players fall off and disappear, and some of the stronger-scale players that are better capitalized thrive. So you’re going to see a separation of the pack.”

Kevin Connolly, Canada president of Dell EMC

“In 2018 we will witness a deeper partnership between man and machine, and this partnership will be interwoven into our day-to-day lives, transforming the way we live and work. Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence(AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), the Internet of Things(IoT) and cloud computing are accelerating us towards this new direction. IoT is expected to grow rapidly and by 2020, there will be 30 billion connected devices worldwide-from wearable technology, to self-driving cars to hospital equipment. We expect AI will continue to dominate the digital era, changing the way we spend our time acting on data, and not just curating it for smarter, faster decision making.”

Michael Martin, senior executive, Internet of Things lead for IBM Canada

“As we move forward to a new year, we anticipate that the Canadian tech industry will experience a new wave of innovative disruption that will help change the way we live and work. Everyday objects – from toasters, to hospital beds, to elevators, to cars – are becoming connected and digitized to help create a safer world for us, a better consumer experience and excellence in service while eliminating redundancies. 2018 will bring an evolution to Internet of Things (IoT) with the intelligent, federated fabric of networks that service these applications, where multiple independent systems can send messages and share data from one system to another to enhance resources and improve quality of service. This will be a new era of augmented intelligence where man and machine bring advanced levels of efficiencies together.”

Tara Kelly, CEO of Splice Software

“Ninety per cent of brands will launch a skill in Alexa’s, Google’s, Siri’s or Cortana’s voice instead of their own brand voice, putting billions of dollars of brand equity at risk. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent building a brand. It’s essential as voice-first devices begin to dominate that brands continue to differentiate. Consider how you recognize a voice from across a room, and how colors and smells are used in branding. A brand experience has to go beyond visual. Why let Alexa, Siri or Cortana be the voice of your brand when the interface allows you to use your own?”

Cameron Dow, president of SAS Canada

“AI and machine learning will continue to intensify in 2018. With Canada’s healthy innovation ecosystem, more government and industry investment will be made to support the understanding of the technologies, recognition of business value, and adoption. Canadian organizations will welcome the next era of analytics: the analytics economy. Now we have more than just data. We have accessible data, fueled by advances in compute power and connectivity, and interpreted by ever-more powerful analytics. In this new economy, disruption and innovation can come from anywhere. Organizations that perfect the path from data to decisions stand to capitalize most. The analytics and data science skills shortage will continue to pose challenges for businesses looking to innovate at scale.”

Jodie Wallis, managing director of AI at Accenture Canada

“2018 will be the year we see artificial intelligence moving from experimentation into the heart of Canadian businesses. Our research indicates that businesses who successfully apply AI solutions will increase profitability by 38 per cent by 2035, and that humans and machines will continue to collaborate with each other, transforming the workforce as we know it. The lines between AI and humans will continue to blur as machines offer strengths and capabilities to cut through complexity, clearing the way for strategic thinking and action. With AI in the mainstream, Canadian businesses will be able to evolve faster, become more efficient and deliver better value to consumers.”

Luc Villeneuve, country leader, Red Hat Canada

“Blockchain technology has been hyped for years because of its potential to transform many industries, particularly financial services. This year I’ve been hearing so much debate and discussion about Blockchain and I expect 2018 will be the year we see interesting developments, perhaps solutions. Financial Services is an important vertical for Red Hat and we’d like to help in a smooth transition. AI and Machine Learning have reached a critical peak on the hype cycle and in 2018 I hope we’ll see fascinating solutions designed with customer’s needs and value in mind, rather than solutions that are just first to market.”

Kirsten Sutton, vice president and managing director of SAP Labs Canada

“Into 2018, we will continue to see a deepening focus on diversity and inclusion as key drivers of innovation. With the unprecedented advantage of 5 generations in the workplace, a better understanding of how to effectively include differently-abled people in our teams, and by unlocking the potential of young and early talent, tech leaders will see tremendous leaps in innovation as we bring together a broad range of people to solve complex challenges.”

Mark J. Barrenechea, CEO and CTO of OpenText

“In 2018, everything from the cloud, edge points, machines, automation, supply chains, security, and customers will become more intelligent. This will give us greater business insight, real-time decision making, and better planning to repurpose skills. Equipped with AI and cognitive systems, big data analytics, and machine learning, the insights-driven Intelligent Enterprise will leverage agile development to build apps in the cloud, automate processes and menial tasks to optimize efficiency, and explore data lakes for sophisticated insights and better decision making.”

Cindy Gordon, CEO of Saleschoice

“Mobile first is history, and AI and robots first is about to dominate everything in life. In my role as CEO of an AI company which specializes in guided AI selling that helps sales professionals spend their precious time on the best opportunities instead of distractions, we have had the privilege of analyzing the largest SalesForce client data set in the world and have learned that we can predict losses with our deep learning algorithm at 99 per cent accuracy before they even start to sell. This means literally trillions of dollars can be released into our global economy from using AI in sales. The degree of AI success will lie in our clients’ dataset completeness and, more importantly, the quality of the AI algorithms – that is, machine learning – methods at work.”

Paul Teshima, CEO and co-founder of Nudge.ai

“In 2018 AI will do the opposite of what most people think. Instead of creating a world which is more inhuman, it will actually free up people’s time to be more human.”

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former IT World Canada associate editor turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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