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.

THREE DIGITAL LEADERS EXAMINE THE FUTURE OF URBAN INNOVATION

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In the private sector, every successful company has matured into a technology-centric organization; and inevitably, every propitious city will be compelled to embark upon a similar evolutionary trajectory. Several of the world’s greatest municipalities are already leveraging urban innovation to build more open, equitable and prosperous communities and technology is rapidly becoming one of the best tools municipal leaders have to inherently improve the quality of life for all of its citizens.

Can the urban economy be reconstructed to serve the future of all of humanity; and not just a select few? Can we finally reconcile growth with equality; profits with people; privacy with security and economics with the environment?

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HIGHRISE FOUNDER NAMED AS AMBASSADOR FOR THE MEANINGFUL BUSINESS 100

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It is with a combination of sincere humility and tremendous pride that we announce that Highrise founder, Robert Brennan Hart, has been named an Ambassador for the Meaningful Business 100.

“Highrise’s core belief, that the digital economy can be reconstructed to serve the future of all of humanity, and HopTopics.ht’s goal of facilitating meaningful business conversations between the world’s most influential leaders, are complementary, helping both organizations achieve their worthy goals,” says Highrise Founder, Robert Brennan Hart.

“Both organizations strive to improve the social impacts that emerging technologies are having on society, by driving innovation and business change in thoughtful and deliberate ways,” he added.

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FORBES: SHARK TANK’S ROBERT HERJAVEC ON AI, AMBIENT COMPUTING, CYBERSECURITY, AND EDWARD SNOWDEN

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Ultimately, what’s going to protect our computer systems is artificial intelligence … an always-on system that is continuously probing for vulnerabilities, searching for dangerous patterns of traffic and access, and patching holes in real-time. That’s going to take a while to achieve. In the meantime, Herjavec sees three intermediary steps.

The first is orchestration: setting up systems like Splunk or Phantom that can control different devices on your network and automatically update them as needed. The second is integration: deeply integrating those systems and devices to enable that control. And the third, Herjavec says, is creating a heterogeneous ecosystem where everything can work together.

Ultimately, however, security is a tough game: “Security is unique,” says Herjavec. “Inevitably we deal with threats that we didn’t know exist, so we’re always going to have this constant catch-up … that gap of technology that will continue to make security such a difficult industry.”

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THE GLOBE AND MAIL: A BELL IS A CUP UNTIL IT IS STRUCK

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To date, Canadians have seemed relatively powerless against technological assaults to our democracy. Public education of the ongoing threat is moving orders of magnitude slower than those actors perpetrating it. Those who seek to destabilize our elections deal with politically polarizing topics that have a natural constituency. Attempting to separate fact from fiction in this realm is a very tricky grey area — for social media, the government and the citizen alike.

In an effort to move the conversation from one of reaction to proaction, I sat down with Robert Herjavec, Founder and CEO of global cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group, Jason Hermitage, Vice President of Public Sector at Microsoft Canada and Bryan Rutledge, Canadian Country Manager at McAfee, to find out what citizens, governments and political parties can do to protect against the potential ethical and societal risks of this emerging threat.

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ITWORLDCANADA: HELEN WETHERLEY-KNIGHT, CIO OF CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE’S PHILOSOPHY OF WOMEN IN IT

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Helen Wetherley Knight’s grandmother was a mathematician in Australia in the 1940s. When she got married, she could only find work as a math teacher, and once she had children, she could no longer practice her love of mathematics. Helen’s mother was a scientist in Australia in the 1960s. She was accepted to study dingoes in the outback, but once they discovered she was a woman they sent her a letter that said “We rescind our offer as we now have a male applicant”. Although this was devastating for Helen’s mother, she returned to school and studied to become a science teacher, heeding the advice from her mother that the only way she could work in the field she loved was as an instructor.

It all worked out for Helen though, because at Sydney University another student was working on a bold thesis that the schools new Super Computer could be used to survey people on their interests, encode the data onto punch cards and find love matches creating the world’s first computer dating system. Helen was lucky that both her mother and father volunteered to support the experiment, as that is how they became matched, fell in love and eventually had Helen, a true product of artificial intelligence.

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CNN BUSINESS: ARE SMALL CITIES THE SMARTEST?

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With the shift to 5G and superfast bandwidth speeds, IoT has the potential to make cities more convenient — enabling technology such as traffic sensors or autonomous drones.

Cities don’t have to be custom-built to be able to unlock this potential. The ancient cliffside city of Matera in southern Italy is working to become one of the first 5G-enabled cities in Europe. It believes 5G can help it become a center of digital tourism, using technology such as Virtual Reality to show off the cultural and artistic heritage of the city that was named European Capital of Culture in 2019.

“There’s been a real focus to rejuvenate this area. And to make it a center first of all of tourism but also to take efforts to make it a place for investment in an industry,” says Jonathan Reichental, an expert on emerging technology trends in urban environments.

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YAHOO FINANCE: CANADIAN CLOUD COUNCIL, CITY OF PALO ALTO AND GARTNER EXECUTIVES ANNOUNCE HIGHRISE – AN EVOLUTION SHIFTING STRATEGIC ADVISORY GROUP

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On this very morning, world-weary but optimistic as ever, Robert Brennan Hart, serial technology entrepreneur and social activist, announced Highrise; the highly anticipated successor to the Canadian Cloud Council and Politik.

Highrise Advisory Group Inc. is predicated on the belief that the digital economy can be reconstructed to serve the future of all of humanity and not just a select few. The organization believes that in order for this future to be realized, innovation must be purposefully redirected to finally reconcile growth with equality, people with profits and economics with the environment.

In addition to Hart, Highrise’s founding executive includes Edward Wilson-Smythe, former Senior Leader of Gartner Consulting and Jonathan Reichental, former CIO of City of Palo Alto. Highrise is headquartered in Toronto and operates offices in Palo Alto, Edmonton, New York, London and New Delhi. Hart, Wilson-Smythe and Reichental promise to reconstruct the future of humanity from the bottom up.

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ITWORLDCANADA: WHAT EXACTLY IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ANYWAYS?

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Over a three-year period from 2015 to 2018, the top 10 per cent of companies in terms of successfully developing and executing digital business strategies have seen margins grow by 215 per cent compared to the median through a combination of sustained revenue growth and systematic cost reduction, as shown in the chart below. These impacts are a function of purposeful identification of opportunities and systematic execution of initiatives that impact top-lineline growth and operations improvement.

Critically, the same data also show that innovation is a key driver of competitive advantage, with the top 10 per cent of companies far outperforming the bottom 25 per cent in terms of cost reduction across all business functions. Therein lies the challenge of digital innovation. While the top performing digitally-enabled companies, those that are born digital or have adopted digital early and effectively, have benefited disproportionately from digital innovation, the majority of companies have struggled to adopt digital innovation and are increasingly falling behind the competition.

The days of digital innovation being equated with shiny new toys or risky experiments are over; the challenge now is to ensure that the promise of sustained competitive advantage is consistently kept.

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ITWORLDCANADA: AMERICAN HISTORY IN BINARY CODE – AN INTERVIEW WITH VASU JAKKAL, CMO OF FIREEYE

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In the case of the so-called “Arab Spring” of late 2010, technology platforms such as Twitter allowed 10s of thousands to organize outside of the tightly controlled communication channels in Tunisia, much to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dismay. More recently in the U.K., Pro-Brexit campaigners took advantage of high tech organizing strategies to micro-target the individual voter and flip the table of the European order. Those same companies went on to enter the collective mind of the United States and help propel a former reality TV host to the White House.

The media coverage around these high-tech antics has mostly centered around the negative effects, but these advanced tool sets can be looked at in another way. One could even argue they must be looked at in another way if the average citizen is ever going to have a chance to keep up. Millions of dollars from an international bipartisan buffet of political operations have been pouring into sophisticated marketing campaigns usually only commissioned by major brands and big-box chains. The societal anxiety over the sway marketers have on our youth and on our culture isn’t itself new, but the advanced nature of the threat landscape is. The key technological advancement of this threat is the application of modern marketing tools to the political world, in many cases for the first time.

Will the resistance to these digital weapons of mass destruction be born out of the fight for human rights and democratic freedoms, or the ages-old entrenched technology oligarchs co-opting yet another resistance movement and branding it progress?

I sat down with Vasu Jakkal, EVP and CMO of FireEye to find out.

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ITWORLDCANADA: TECHNOLOGY AS A CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC EQUALITY – INTERVIEW WITH HELEN WETHERLEY KNIGHT, CIO AT THE CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

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As western societies grapple with the full impact of the great schism between growth and equality, there will be long-lasting impacts on future generations. Seniors and youth alike will realize that traditional patterns of consumption and traditional definitions of value are unsustainable. The current financial system and institutions will continue to lose even more relevance, and not matter in the lives of a substantial part of our societies. Banks, credit, stock markets, home ownership, nuclear families – all foundational to social organization in the last 70 years, will be replaced by new models of social and economic organization based on the shared economy.

Perhaps no city on the planet has felt the impact of this story greater than the City of Calgary. Even though Calgary is consistently named as one of the “most livable cities on the planet”, there is a noticeable divide between the rich and poor; and a real hunger to drive from the economy from one reliant on non-renewable resources to one reliant on people and digital technology. And as the head of technology for the Calgary Drop In Centre, the largest drop-in center in North America, Helen Wetherley Knight is driving forward this transformation.

I recently sat down with Helen to discuss the impact of the changing future on the everyday Calgarian; and how she is leveraging technological innovation to fight poverty and create a brighter future for a city in desperate need of socio-economic transformation.

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