We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Canada has a vital role to play in the digital universe and the fifth annual conference, Canada 3.0 was designed to fortify the country’s leadership in the sector. The two day conference was packed with business leaders, entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring, students, researchers and members of the academic community.
The vast majority of the booths were represented by dynamic startups, a very positive sign of Canada's strides in entrepreneurship, while a few were represented by the more established companies. There were notable international representatives including delegations from the Netherlands and Japan, who were aspiring to establish meaningful agreements with their Canadian counterparts. Our interaction with one zealous Dutch entrepreneur showed us the extensive scope for collaboration between Canada and The Netherlands with significant opportunity to establish common goals in digital media space.
In this electrifying and optimistic environment, keynote speakers such as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, executives from Facebook, YouTube and CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi shared their insights on the future of the digital universe and illustrated how digital ambition has moved mainstream.
The talks were inspiring, opening new doors of opportunities and expanding our ways of thinking about the possibilities that existed in those spaces. Some of the most interesting talks were:
Datawind talk - Suneet Singh Tuli
The talk discussed opportunities in emerging economies for new technologies that deliver content to the masses. As people continue to have more and more access to information, the awareness levels are higher in these countries than ever before, and thus the opportunity for growth in mobile technologies is substantial. It will be interesting to see what the removal of barriers to information will do for the people of the emerging economies. If information is power, populations hungry for education with unlimited access to information have the potential for truly transformative change.
Gamification talk - Jane McGonigal
This was one of the most popular talks in the event. Games are ubiquitous now with broad applications across various industries. The talk discussed how games act as a catalyst for social change and help in enhancing human understanding in a very efficient and engaging manner. If we can tap into the intense focus experienced by gamers and apply it to some of society’s everyday passive audiences such as a disengaged workforce, or an uninspired generation of youth, can you imagine the possibilities?
Future of TV - Reed Hastings
The talk discussed the application based content consumption where the focus will not be a competing for customer’s business but rather competing for their entertainment time. This is an interesting thought since people will subscribe to multiple solution provider applications and therefore will view content from multiple providers. Reed Hastings envisions a future where on demand is the norm, traditional channels will be obsolete and infinite and immediate choice will become the standard. Let’s see if he is right.
In every conference, the keynote speakers change, industry leaders evolve and the audience will be transient, but what does remain constant is the shared vision, commitment and a sense of purpose to make Canada a leader in our fast changing digital age.
John Early, Melissa Young Sing, Karin Schmidlin, and Aseem Sharma at Canada 3.0.