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Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery 2017

The Ontario Centres of Excellence held its Discovery 2017 on May 15 & 16, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario and attracted key players from industry, academia, government, the investment community as well as entrepreneurs and students to pursue collaboration opportunities.  According to organizers, it is Canada’s leading innovation-to-commercialization conference.  It brought together over 3,000 attendees and more than 500 exhibitors - it is a showcase of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech, including energy, environment and water.  Keynote speakers and moderators led discussions, knowledge-sharing and new perspectives. Networking opportunities featured key influencers from government, academia, industry and leading sectors.  With the weakening manufacturing sector in Ontario, creating a strong innovation economy is thought to be key to Ontario’s future - Discovery facilitates the exchange of ideas and encourages new ways to collaborate and push the boundaries of research and innovation through to demonstration and development.

Keynote Panel: Technology of the Future

The leaders of some of the world’s largest & most successful global corporations at Discovery shed light on how technology will effect their business and how their business will have to evolve to meet the needs of a changing world such as uberization of business and how manufacturing is changing.  Employees will have to adopt to what employers are looking for in employees.  After the presentation, many entrepreneurs expressed great interest in being mentored by these executives or being able to pitch their project to them.

It was moderated by Annette Verschuren, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NRStor Inc.  The panel members were Linda Hasenfratz, Chief Executive Officer, Linamar Corporation;  Mark Henderson , Chairman, Ericsson Canada Inc.; Dana (Keoki) Jackson , Chief Technology Officer,  Lockheed Martin International; P. Thomas (Tom) Jenkins , Chair of the Board,  OpenText Corporation; Geoff Smith , Chief Executive Officer, EllisDon Corporation.

Lessons in Innovation from the Criminal:

Underground and the Future of Financial Crimes
This session was introduced by Janet Ecker, President and CEO, Toronto Financial Services Alliance; moderated by Steve Rampado , Partner, Cyber Risk Services, Deloitte.  The speaker, Mr. Marc Goodman is the Chair for Policy, Law, and Ethics at the Silicon Valley’s Singularity University and is the author of “Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It.”  Mr. Goodman spoke about the vulnerabilities on the internet and how we are all vulnerable and discussed the major hacks.  The recent global WannaCry ransomware attack – which used NSA developed malware which was hacked and released and modified.  Microsoft is being critized for releasing a patch for its supported Windows systems of March 14, 2017 but didn’t issue a patch for its older unsupported systems i.e. XP until May 13, 2017.  NSA knew about the flaw, which could be exploited by an NSA tool called EternalBlue - that was a month before the hacker group, the Shadow Brokers released EternalBlue.

With the recent “WannaCry” ransomware attack which takes advantage of a flaw in Microsoft’s software and was apparently discovered by the NSA and leaked by hackers increased the interest in this topic.  While Mr. Goodman raised the alarms on this and other attacks, the solutions seem straightforward - always update your software, train your staff to prevent phishing etc. and have in place good practices in privacy and security protection.  Also update your software if the manufacturer no longer supports it – which of course is Microsoft’s goal.

Innovation Agenda:

Will the Ontario government’s innovation agenda be successful? According to its website, the Ontario government is spending $3 billion over eight years on it innovation agenda.  Will the government funded start-ups be able to scale?  Will they be sold to companies in the U.S. or will they expand in Ontario creating jobs?  One incentive was to create a technology corridor in the Toronto Kitchener area to create successful start-ups and have them scale up and remain in Canada.  Another factor told to us by one successful entrepreneur, if it is sold to investors in the U.S. that money gets recycled in Ontario to create other start-ups.  However, it would be more beneficial if Ontario could retain some of the scaled up companies in Ontario.  Others argue that intellectual property law reform is needed for Canadian companies to scale.

The future will tell if the government’s innovation agenda is successful.

Discovery 2018

Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery 2017 was a great event to encourage innovation – so mark your calendar for next year’s Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery 2018 and check back here for details!

© 2017 TorontoArtsandEvents Photos, Articles and layout.  Editors please contact us for use.

Category: Business Events
Start Date: 2017-05-15
End Date: 2017-05-16
Venue: Metro Toronto Convention Centre South

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