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YORK REGION WAS FRONT AND CENTER AT COLLISION CONFERENCE 2019 – NORTH AMERICA’S FASTEST GROWING TECH CONFERENCE
Last year the business and tech media was a buzz: the organizers of North America’s fastest growing technology event – Collision Conference – announced they were moving the conference from the U.S. to Canada in 2019, following a successful bid spearheaded by the City of Toronto.
This was potentially a risky move. Many in the tech space – specifically in the U.S. – questioned if the move to Canada was the right decision. Paddy Cosgrave even highlighted the point in his opening remarks to kick off this year’s conference. With the conference now in the rear-view mirror all indications are the gamble was the right move!
In Downtown Toronto, from May 20th to 23rd at the EnerCare Centre over 26,000 attendees representing tech startups, investors, the ‘who’s who’ in the tech corporate world, media, and international delegations converged for series of 15 conferences under one roof with a range of side events including night festivals and professional networking socials throughout the city.
York Region, Canada’s second largest tech hub, was front and centre at Collision Conference’s inaugural debut with an 1100-square-foot space, aptly named the #YRtech Experience Pavilion. York Region’s Economic Development team partnered with local tech scale-ups, startups, innovation support organizations, and a few of our local municipalities – Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan – to create a space for Collision attendees to “play” and “interact” with cutting edge technology in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), autotech, intelligent building solutions, gaming, virtual reality (VR), smart watches, robotic vision solutions, mobile app development, and more.
As the pictures below show the #YRtech Experience Pavilion was buzzing with activity and attracted significant attention both on the conference floor, by media wanting to discover the latest in Canadian developed technology disrupting their respective industries, and on social media via #YRtech and #CollisionConf.
WATCH THE #YRTECH EXPERIENCE PAVILION RECAP AT COLLISION CONFERENCE:
HERE ARE THE TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE #YRTECH EXPERIENCE PAVILION:
1. Powered by York Region tech – smart watches, robotic visualization solutions on a collaborative robotic arm, virtual reality tours of a future downtown, and much more!
a) The robots are taking over – If you were at the conference weaving back and forth from the different conference stages it is likely you noticed crowds of people watching Markham-based Bluewrist’s robotic vision solutions on a collaborative robotic arm in action.
Marketing Manager for Bluewrist, Jason Niu spent 3 straight days at the Collision conference demonstrating their latest technology and as he said in his recent blog “The Bluewrist Preciscan3D Inspection Station demo provided countless hours of entertainment, inspiration and education for the tens of thousands of people that visited the booth.” And the financial post was just one of numerous media outlets wanting to learn more how their technology was transforming the manufacturing sector; checkout the video interview: Robot inspectors aim to revolutionize the factory line.
b) Buildings that keep getting smarter – Attendees interested in intelligent building solutions were drawn to Mircom’s demo of their award winning 3D building management software; a technology company headquartered in Vaughan. Special shout out to Mircom’s Brian Leung, Senior Manager of Engineering, for being featured in the following article about Microsoft’s interest in Mircom’s 3D building software.
c) The world’s most elegant smart watch – Richmond Hill headquartered Internet of Things (IoT) company Laipac Technologies had their latest version of the “LooK Watch” – a standalone line of smart watches – on display for attendees to try out and play around with its many features.
d) The future connected car – If you were a car lover at the Collision, Markham-based CIeNet Technologies had a car infotainment system demo that offered interested attendees a glimpse of the features that future connected cars might have.
e) Take a stroll through one of the GTAs fastest growing new downtown areas (virtually!) – The City of Vaughan showcased the fast-growing “Vaughan Metropolitan Centre” (VMC) to the attendees at Collision. Using the latest in VR headset technology attendees could take a fully immersed walk through the VMC and even experience a face-to-face presentation delivered by Mayor Bevilacqua discussing the areas future growth plans.
2. Demystifying tech to the masses: One-on-one interviews with Technology Expert, Marc Saltzman
North American technology expert Marc Saltzman – Host of CNBC’s ‘Tech Impact’, as well as a syndicated TV/Radio Host across USA Today, CNN, and others – was catching a lot of the attendee’s attention in his designated media corner in the pavilion. Marc was extremely busy conducting a full line up of interviews with York Region scale-ups, start-ups, and local innovation support organizations, which will be released in the coming weeks.
His interviews took a closer look at some of the types of technology being showcased from York Region at the conference. Marc also had numerous conversations with York Region startup support organizations – Innovation York, ventureLab, Startup York, and YEDI – discussing ways they support startups and the type of resources available to support their growth.
And if you were at the Growth Summit stage on Thursday, May 20th you would have seen Marc hosting a series of pitches from other international startups.
3. Atari Pong® coffee tables from Markham-based UNIS Technology Canada makes a big impression at Collision 2019!
One of the most popular tech attractions – for obvious reasons – was UNIS Technology’s new Atari Pong® coffee tables that were located in the #YRtech Experience Pavilion’s lounge. This Markham-based company helped this product go from a kickstarter campaign in Uruguay struggling to get off the ground to the amazing product you see today providing support in a variety of ways including R&D from the development team in Markham.
The iconic video game – originally developed in 1972! – has been transformed from a TV-based videogame to a standalone artificial intelligence driven coffee table game allowing you to play against the computer if you wanted to play with just one person.
These tables drew a lot of attention from all ages, old and young, and it was impossible for attendees to resist not giving it a try; even Breakfast Television got into the action. Check out some behind-the-scenes coverage of the live segment (tweet to the right).
Things were also getting competitive at times with many heated battles including tech personalities Marc Saltzman and Amber Mac going head-to-head for an epic battle on day 2 of Collision; they’ve already set a rematch for Collision 2020!
Even stand-up Comedian, Actor, and Venture Capitalist Hannibal Burress and the CEO of GIPHY managed to squeeze in a game on the Atari Pong® coffee table. Not to mention the thousands of other attendees who sat down to play a game on this innovative Atari Pong® coffee table.
4. Surprise visits by Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, and Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng.
With Collision being the largest global technology conference ever hosted in Canada it was no surprise to see political leaders at all levels attending and participating in the conference.
Special thanks to Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, and Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng, who took some time from their busy schedules to meet some of the technology and innovation partners in the #YRtech Experience Pavilion and check out first hand some amazing “Made In Canada” technology coming from companies in Toronto area’s York Region!
5. City of Markham announces its plans to develop a new innovation hub.
On the second day of the Collision, City of Markham Mayor, Frank Scarpitti, held an announcement in the #YRtech Experience Pavilion highlighting a new planned innovation hub for companies in Markham. He was joined by other City of Markham Councillors and senior staff. As the pictures below show many attendees were interested to hear what the Mayor’s future plans were for the new innovation hub. It was also featured across many different media outlets including the Toronto Star: Markham uses Collision to put spotlight on land parcel designed for innovation hub
The #YRtech Experience Pavilion was a huge hit and offered a unique platform for attendees to learn why York Region is one of Canada’s largest and leading technology hubs. We’d like to extend a special thank you to Collision Conference organizers – and specifically Elaine Hanly, Patrick Griffith, and Keith Wallace – for all their support in helping us organize the #YRtech Experience Pavilion and having York Region Economic Development as part of the host committee for Collision Conference.
Finally, a special thank you to all of the York Region partners that participated in York Region’s #YRtech Experience Pavilion at Collision Conference. Everyone played an important role in making the space a huge success and we successfully collectively showcased the strength of York Region’s tech ecosystem on a global stage and why it is a great place for tech companies to scale and grow.
SEE EVERYONE AT COLLISION 2020 IN TORONTO! ENJOY SOME ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM THE #YRTECH EXPERIENCE PAVILION IN THE GALLERY BELOW:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gordon Scheel is a Senior Business Advisor with York Region’s Economic Strategy Team. Gordon works with local and international technology companies to expand and grow their businesses in Toronto Area’s York Region. He is passionate about telling the York Region “place making” story and why it is one of the most sought after communities in Canada to live and work. Outside of work, Gordon enjoys all things German soccer and being active outdoors through cycling or hanging out with his dog.