20 more Canadian tech leaders look to the future for #Canada150

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we asked as many technology leaders as we could, “What do you see for Canada’s future and how will technology play a role in that?” We received so many responses, we needed another slideshow to fit them all. Some answers are edited for length. Happy Canada Day!

Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO of Ladies Learning Code

“Canada’s next 150 years are going to look vastly different than the past 150 as technology increasingly impacts every part of our lives. But, that future is bright. As we work towards equipping all Canadians – especially youth – with critical digital skills and opportunities to build our future we’re going to find ways to solve our biggest problems and create advancements that enable our strong and diverse country to thrive.”

Huda Idrees, Founder and CEO of Dot Health

“Technology is Canada’s future. As a country, we already have the key ingredient for developing new technologies that are globally successful: a collaborative, diverse, open community that is constantly evolving, improving, and growing. I can’t wait to witness the future we build.”

Dino Trevisani, President and General Manager of IBM Canada

“As IBM Canada turns 100 this year, we are building an exciting new era of technology that has significant implications for how we work and live. Competitive advantage will go to those who are best able to extract insight from the key natural resource of their age – and in our time, that resource is data. Unstructured data, in particular, is where the deepest insights lie and we now have the technology to unleash the power of this data to help make our world healthier, safer, more productive, more creative and fairer. Just imagine a world where there is no need for a second opinion – there is only one, based on known facts.”

Kirsten Sutton, SAP Canada managing director

“Technology is this country’s future. Canada has created a world class standard of living from the natural environment, the open borders, the generosity of our people and an economy built on commodities and raw materials exporting. But, technology is the future for maintaining and improving both our standard of living and our environment. This is a country of inventing and innovating. We invented peace keeping, insulin, and java programming, and now we’re becoming a hub for technology innovation being used and sold around the world. This continued spirit of innovation is what will ensure Canada maintains its relevance on the world stage.”

Robert Watson, President and CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)

“Canada has built a dynamic technology ecosystem over the past several decades that has shown it can evolve as industry trends and industry leaders change. Unlike many other places, we have taken a clear stance that Canada is welcoming to the best and the brightest from around the world. Our economy is evolving from resource extraction to innovation – but undoubtedly in the next 150 years we will need to use technology to get greater benefits out of our immense resources – both natural and human.”

Mary Whittle, principal of digital transformation consulting agency Strategic Marketing Matters, Inc.

“Canada will continue to be a magnet for immigration, giving us rich diversity and global perspectives, if we continue to build focus on innovation. We have all the ingredients – world class universities, global leaders in AI and quantum computing, excellent public private co-operatives such as MaRS and Communitech, committed governments at all levels, and a growing confidence in our technology start-up communities that are gaining the attention of VC companies around the world. Technology is Canada’s next growth sector!”

Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech

“The future I see for Canada is one in which our entrepreneurs lead the world not only in building great companies, but in using technology to tackle some of humanity’s biggest problems. They will be able to achieve this because of the distinctly Canadian values that we collectively hold dear: ingenuity, compassion, global-mindedness and the recognition that diversity is our great strength, not a weakness.”

David Berliner, CEO of CoPower Inc.

“Over the next 150 years, Canada will become a global leader in the sustainable economy. Clean energy technologies, coupled with the internet of things and fintech will converge such that our buildings, communities, and cities will be powered by low carbon infrastructure that everyone is able to invest in and profit from.”

Andrew Eppich, managing director of Equinix Canada

“I see a future that builds on the Canadian brand of (technology) pioneers and entrepreneurs! Canada is beautiful and bold because it is a mosaic – drawing on the best of where many have come from, and allowing for the new combined picture to be different and better than any of its individual parts. Canada will continue to become more interconnected within its sovereign borders and perhaps more importantly, interconnected in the technology fabric that envelops the globe. Happy Birthday Canada – look forward to continuing the interconnection for 100’s of years to come!”

Tim Empringham, director of IT with retail consultants the Central Group

“I am proud to say that Canada has always had one of the most inclusive and diverse cultures in the world. I believe that new technologies such as AI and VR/AR will benefit from our diverse backgrounds as we move toward engaging employees, customers, and partners in new ways. As we completely redesign the human interface to technology we will need to draw on the experiences of people of all walks and backgrounds to ensure we stay aligned to human ethics and social dynamics and norms around the world.”

Ray Vankrimpen, risk partner and cybersecurity expert with financial consultants Richter LLP

“Most Canadian businesses have been slower than their US counterparts to adopt technology. At the “grass roots” Canada has a lot of potential. Canadian technology entrepreneurs have been quick to innovate, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (e.g. Kira Systems) and block chain (e.g. Ethereum). Success stories will continue to grow out of Canadian technology hubs.”

ChickAdvisor cofounder Alex de Bold

“Technology has become a commodity. Just take a look at the adoption rates of smartphones, cloud services and now AI. The consumption of new products and services is nearly instantaneous and the key to survival will be an ongoing commitment to innovation for customers and consumer alike.”

Jim Love, CIO of ITWC

“Remember BlackBerry? They were once the powerhouse of the Canadian tech sector. They used to be in the phone business until they were ‘disrupted’ by a powerful US competitor and their market share plummeted. What you might not know is they have reinvented themselves as a software company – a profitable one. Digital disruption spans the globe and is, without doubt, an enormous threat to what remains of our manufacturing and our resource based economy. But it’s also, if we follow the BlackBerry story, an incredible opportunity for us to reinvent our legacy economy, to move from natural to human and cultural resources. And fortunately we have the new resources to leverage that.”

Darrell MacMullin, COO and head of payments and technology with Goldmoney Inc.

“Canada is home to numerous innovation hubs and has an immense amount of talent. I feel there is no limit to the ways homegrown tech can continue to advance our country in the future – but talent drain is a massive issue. It’s the only thing standing our way. Many talented people choose to head south to work at American companies or decide to launch in the Valley as they believe there is greater opportunity and a better chance for securing funding. Additionally, talented individuals who stay local tend to think too small and overbuild for our market instead of thinking globally. We need to retain talent and level the field so Canadians can build and commercialize global products here at home, and I hope to see our industry drive the changes that are required for Canada to continue to grow as a major global player.”

Grant Hall, CEO of Nuvyyo

“As creators of compelling content and disruptive technology, Canada has the opportunity to take a leading role in shaping the future of media distribution,” said Grant Hall, CEO at Nuvyyo, the makers of Tablo. “Our commitment to a free and open internet and steps taken to improve choice for TV consumers are a good start, but increased regulatory support for innovation can help us break free from the shackles of current business models and ownership structures to become a true breeding ground for next-gen TV and media infrastructure.”

Roy Piera, CEO of Zoom.ai

“The state of tech in Canada is strong and growing fast– particularly in the Artificial Intelligence space . We have great talent here and we now have a positive government strategy to bring in the talent that it needs to grow. The number of innovative tech startups and later stage companies being run in Canada today is a testament to our drive and ingenuity. I can’t wait to see how far we can go in the next 10 years.”

Mike Silagadze, CEO of TopHat

“Our country is at an inflection point. We have the infrastructure, the growing investment, and the talent pool—and, because of the political climate in the US, we’re a magnet for more talent. If we take advantage of this moment, we’re guaranteed to become the next great hub for tech innovation.”

Michael Serbinis, CEO of Toronto-based health benefits startup League

“This is a pivotal moment in time. Canada is transforming into an innovation nation and defining what it means to build an AI-driven economy. Across deep learning and AI, quantum computing, regenerative medicine, fintech and more, Canada is leading the way globally.”

Mark Endras, CEO and co-founder of TradeRev

“Technology has now become the building blocks of society. As we continue to adopt new and innovative tech into all of our industries, it will continue to not only advance us as a nation, but open up exciting professional opportunities for our citizens. We need to be sure that we continue to think big and work to solve problems that will help society progress forward.”

Paul Teshima (left), CEO of Nudge.ai

“I see a future in Canada, where startups and innovation have become core to our economy. And not because we have had to change who we are, but because we have doubled down on our strengths: A.I., diversity, and a global approach to growth.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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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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