The Wheel

HIGHRISE IS BORN FROM A COMMITMENT TO BALANCED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND AND A TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESSFULLY RALLYING DISPARATE INTERESTS FOR THE COMMON GOOD.

ITWORLDCANADA: VANCOUVER CTO ON CANADA’S FIRST MUNICIPAL DIGITAL STRATEGY

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In 2013, digital specialist Jessie Adcock, now the CTO of the City of Vancouver, was tasked with landing the planes at the City of Vancouver. The City had approved Canada’s first municipal digital strategy. And Adcock was the country’s first public sector Chief Digital Officer. She would lead the way.

“The City had benchmarked its digital maturity against other cities and it was deemed to be low in comparison to other global cities. Our presence on social was just beginning, public Wi-Fi was limited, services weren’t yet mobile,” says Adcock.

“Online, our website was more notice board, less service delivery and engagement channel. We needed a common playbook in terms of digital goals and objectives.” Adcock took a citizen-centric approach in executing the four-year digital strategy. The people of Vancouver were demanding it.

“That’s basically what drives the business case for digital in government,” she says.

Fast forward to 2016, the final year of the strategy. The City’s website is easier to navigate and mobile optimized. Public Wi-Fi is available in 80 locations. Citizens can use the VanConnect app to stay updated and submit service requests as well as access tools built with open data sets. People are emailing the City to say their experience has become easier.

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ITWORLDCANADA: NAVIGATING THE FUTURE OF ENTERPRISE CLOUD COMPUTING

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Despite the significant progress in cloud adoption, the ubiquity of Enterprise Cloud services, and clear understanding of the barriers to value creation, there remains one final barrier to transformation that has held business innovation back for over two decades and perpetuated legacy and obsolete technologies in enterprises.

The prohibitive cost of transforming obsolete, customized, and inflexible technologies, when combined with lack of capital in many industries, leads to over half of transformation initiatives never seeing the light of day, and over 95 per cent of technology spend continues to be sundered on the maintenance of increasingly obsolete solutions. Even when executed, traditional approaches to transformation are associated with an abysmal track record, with 65 per cent of initiatives failing to meet scope, cost, or time objectives, the average cost overrun being 50 per cent, and a mind-boggling 90 per cent of initiatives requiring immediate remediation due to obsolescence caused by long planning and execution cycles, typically three-four years from ideation to execution.

Progressive technology companies and leading enterprises are responding by disposing of the traditional portfolio management and capital budgeting approach to transformation, and instead adopt Zero Cost Transformation approaches.

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ITWORLDCANADA: THE NEW REALITIES OF CLOUD COMPUTING IN 2018

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Over the past five years, cloud services have moved from being perceived as a risky solution suited for non-critical services to prevalence in the vast majority of enterprises impacting the vast majority of business functions.

Cloud services have reliably addressed the false promises of inflated expectations, myopic forays into disjointed and non-critical solutions, the steady assault of misleading claims from legacy vendors cloudwashing legacy solutions, challenges from frivolous new entrants who trivialize the concept of cloud, and legitimate concerns about security, privacy, and sovereignty. For cloud services to become ubiquitous across enterprises and business functions in the face of these challenges is a testament to the steep change in utility costs that cloud delivers, the acceleration in innovation that cloud enables, and the potential for discontinuous business value that cloud makes possible.

This success has been accompanied by exponential increases in the criticality of business functions which leverage the cloud, the diversity of technology and service delivery models delivering cloud services, and the complexity of management and governance models for cloud services. As cloud services have matured beyond the confines of peripheral and experimental solutions into the core of the enterprise, these enterprises need to integrate cloud into transformation strategies, leverage cloud for enterprise-scale solutions, and manage cloud as a strategic imperative.

This new breed of enterprise cloud services is already the foundation of enterprise transformation. Whether it can be the catalyst for the next wave of technology-driven innovation depends on how enterprises shape the direction of transformation and harness the power of enterprise cloud.

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ITWORLDCANADA: DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP IN ALBERTA: 3 PUBLIC LEADERS DISCUSS INNOVATION PROJECTS

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Alberta, for long the engine of Canada’s growth, faces not only these policy debates, but also a new uncertainty related to what has historically been its primary resource – non-renewable traditional energy sources. Optimism in the face of uncertainty is no policy, and Alberta needs to balance a continued focus on the oil sands with a diversified and renewed focus on the other two critical natural resources every sovereign has at its disposal – land and people.

The planned and purposeful application of emerging technology to economic development, through a true partnership between entrepreneurs, governments and societies, can create new employment opportunities, new pathways to success, and new communities linked through technology into common social and economic pursuits.

Financial institutions, particularly through credit, become critical to this new model for economic development, by supporting the various drivers of innovation, making opportunities available to a broad ecosystem of citizens and residents, and reflecting emerging patterns of value and consumption that are different from what existed even 10 years ago. Innovation in finance, when partnered with technology-driven economic development, can truly revolutionize how societies are defined, formed and function, and how value is defined, created, and shared.

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BETAKIT: CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS TACKLE PRIVACY PROTECTION AHEAD OF CONTROL CONFERENCE

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Over the last several years, many Canadian researchers and news outlets have commented on the rise of political propaganda bots on social media platforms. There are reports of Twitter bot usage in Quebec politics as early as 2012, and yet it seems these trends continue unabated without any meaningful regulation. Reasonable calls for a digital campaigning code of conduct seem to fall on deaf ears, leaving policing of these matters to the very social media outlets that allowed this to happen in the first place. What does it mean for democracy when a propaganda bot is indistinguishable from a human account?

The recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica and its alleged Canadian offshoot AggregateIQ have put these modern political tactics under increased scrutiny, but will anything actually change?

In an effort to get ahead of this issue, I sat down with three of the biggest names in cybersecurity — Robert Herjavec, CEO of Herjavec Group, Michael Hermus, former CTO of the US Department of Homeland Security, Lance James, chief scientist at Flashpoint and Richard Rushing, chief information security officer at Motorola —  to analyze the state of play and find out what citizens, governments, and political parties can do to take advantage of the benefits of these new tools while hedging against the potential ethical and societal risks.

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BETAKIT: THREE WOMEN TECHNOLOGY TITANS DISCUSS THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE AT THE CANADIAN CLOUD COUNCIL’S CONTROL

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Melba Roy Mouton, defying the immense inequality women and people of colour experienced in the 1960s, went on to lead a group of mathematicians known as “human computers”—the job title designated someone who performed mathematical equations and calculations by hand, notably in a segregated environment. These “computers” tracked the Echo satellites and space missions in the 1960s and helped turn around the space race. Melba and her team played a major role in keeping NASA personnel safe and advanced the science of space travel.

Katherine Johnson, one of these “computers,” did trajectory analysis for NASA Astronaut John Glenn’s Mercury mission. Despite the astronaut’s trajectory being planned by hardware computers, Glenn reportedly wanted Johnson herself to run through the equations to make sure they were right. Any organization could only be so lucky to have someone with the skill and aptitude of Katherine Johnson.

The Canadian Cloud Council digital council member, Fereshteh Forough, is an inspiring modern example of this legacy with her “Code To Inspire” initiative. Code To Inspire empowers women and girls in the Middle East by teaching them how to code, and supporting their journeys towards socio-economic independence.

Ahead of our upcoming event Control, I sat down with three of our incredibly bright and talented women digital council members and asked them about the present, the past, and the future; the struggle to find diversity, spirit, soul, and meaning in this dystopian world we’ve created. 

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BETAKIT: THE CANADIAN CLOUD COUNCIL EXAMINES THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AT ENTERPRISE TECH CONTROL CONFERENCE

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Anthropocentrism has become our centre of ethical gravity. It is dying a painful and protracted death, but it is most certainly dying. Our cosmos harbours abundant life, and given the statistics, this includes intelligent life. And yet, here we are, onboard Apollo 13, drifting through the void with no mission or destination. We’re exhausting our fuel and provisions, and our atmosphere is a growing threat to our existence. Most of us still have no substantive sense of a present or pending peril, never mind a clear and meaningful sense of purpose.

And with those words, the opening words to the script of our eighth major event, I sat down for a virtual espresso with one of Canada’s very best and brightest: Joshua Mckenty. Mckenty is the CTO of Pivotal, co-founder of OpenStack and Piston Cloud (a company he sold to Cisco), and long-standing member of the Canadian Cloud Council. He’s also a returning speaker at Control; a major return to form for our organization and unapologetically heavy discussion about the impact of technology on human (d)evolution.

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