GBTN – End of Year Newsletter

“Poof”, what’s that you ask, just the time vaporizer consuming another month.  It’s been a busy time with kiddos, events, work and Christmas prep but here we are with the End of Year Newsletter.  Just over a year ago on December 12, 2016 the Owen Sound Technology Facebook group was created.  It’s been a fun first year and has turned out much better than I could have imagined.  There have been many good meetings and a lot of opportunity to provide input from the technology sector into local governments. These meetings with the county and the city help with the goal to encourage more of “us” to relocate to the area / connect in the area. I am excited that we have a seat at the table and our input is welcomed.  I look forward to 2018 and beyond.

So what’s happened since the last newsletter?  Well let’s get right to it, shall we.

I attended the Grey County Economic Development mixer at Thornbury Cider in early November sponsored by Bluewater Wood Alliance http://bluewaterwoodalliance.com/ and Incubator North http://incubatornorth.com/ .  It was a great opportunity to network and was nice to see a few members out at the event.  Both the Wood Alliance and Incubator North gave introductions about what they were all about. The wood alliance is a “cluster” which is a very interesting concept of what would be seen as competitors in the market working together to be stronger through innovation and best practice / knowledge sharing.   Incubator North based in Thornbury provides a space and assistance for ideas to come alive.  Started by Tom Andersen and James Palmer, the principles behind Palmer Andersen Design & Development, Incubator North has the ability to provide software services big or small to move an idea to market.

Next up was our end of year meet up at the new offices of KP9 Interactive https://www.kp9.ca/ .  An informal meet up with VR toys to play with and a tour of the office space provided a nice way to close out the 2017 meeting season.  April and Wil were wonderful hosts with a special KP9 shot creation (so yummy) and lots of snacks.  Wil gave us insight into the KP9 ExplorAR app and introduced us to beacon technology, a piece of equipment I was not familiar with before.  I have no doubt that the app and associated technology are going to be a game changer in tourism and marketing, all proudly developed here in Owen Sound. I have to say I may not be cut out for VR, it really messed with my perceptions, at times I was putting down the controller onto the virtual table, but it might have been the KP9 shot J

Later on in November I headed over to Meaford Hall for the Ag 4.0.1 conference. Being a resident of the “MoM” I was very happy to see it play host to this conference.  Many people have a bit of heartburn over the Hall but I love the venue and have seen so many good shows there, I am happy some of my tax dollars support it.  The hall made for the perfect venue for the Ag conference.  Ag 4.0.X is the brainchild of Philly Markowitz from Grey County Economic Development, Philly was very instrumental in connecting our group with Grey County and helping grow our numbers.  I was excited by the program and the connection of technology and agriculture, especially around farm automation and big data usage.  The I,Robot? Session was a very interesting discussion on the realities of switching to robotics and other tech solutions. It is apparent the future farmer will need to be more dependent on brain rather than brawn. Several sessions gave light to the massive amount of data being generated by farms and how this data can be leveraged to improve practices both in production and environmental protection. I believe furthering ag-tech in our area would be a great opportunity for the potential community hub and a program focus at the college, providing the necessary tech skills needed for our area farm community.

SWIFT update!  Middlesex County signed on with SWIFT in late October. This valuable addition means that SWIFT now represents the combined connectivity interests of ALL 15 members of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus Inc. (WOWC) as well as the Town of Caledon, City of Orillia, City of Windsor and the Niagara and Waterloo Regions.   Here is a recent article from TVO about SWIFT.  https://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-next-ontario/the-need-for-speed-slow-internet-connections-burden-rural-ontarians

I for one can attest to the reliance on towers for internet.  We are looking for property to build a new home and the availability of a connection to a GBTel tower is a primary consideration. I certainly hope we see fibre at least to our existing towers in the near term, leaving the “last mile” still delivered by wireless technology.  This approach would give me and others on the towers a faster link.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday January 23rd, 7pm at the CTRE Production Studios in Downtown Owen Sound.  I am excited to see Russ’ space and hear more about what CTRE and Ellis Gray Consulting are doing.  Russ has been a great supporter of the group and I believe along with Iain Campbell have perfect attendance for all our meet ups.  Appreciate the support guys!

So that wraps it up.  Again I thank everyone who has come out to meetings, your participation is vital in maintaining the groups profile in the community and further the goal of more tech people and businesses in the area.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  See you in 2018, when I hope the time vaporizer slows down.

Cheers, Mike

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