13th January 2011

Good News From Indie Studios Beenox and Frima

frima studioFrima Studio has announced that its Facebook version of Pocket God has already reached the 100,000 monthly active users milestone.

Originally developed by Bolt Creative for the Apple iPhone™ and iPod® touch, the Facebook version of Pocket God is a brand new way to experience the colorful, death-inducing, all-powerful and hilarious universe of Pocket God, one of the most popular iOS games in history. With all-new socially integrated features, episodic updates and a host of hilarious ways to both dispose of and resurrect the immortal pygmies of each island, the Facebook iteration of Pocket God offers a fresh experience for both fans of the mobile versions as well as those looking for an omnipotent new twist in online social gaming.

Since moving into open beta on December 20, 2010, Pocket God Facebook users have had fun torturing the Pygmies in a variety of wacky ways that have entertained players since the title’s iOS debut:

* 85,000 players have created accounts and have sacrificed over 7.5 million pygmies, more than the entire population of Massachusetts!
* Nearly half (46%) of the Pocket God players are from the US
* Close to 300,000 Facebook friends have been sacrificed & 60,000 of those had their head eaten by a shark

Beenox StudiosActivision Publishing and Beenox announced today that the Quebec studio has been named the primary developer on upcoming Activision titles featuring Marvel™’s famous web-slinger, Spider-Man™. Beenox’s most recent breakout success was with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, one of the most highly rated Spider-Man titles to date and Wizard Magazine’s 2010 Game of the Year. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has also been nominated for awards at the Canadian Video Game Awards, which will take place in Vancouver this May.

“Beenox’s creative vision reinvigorated the Spider-Man gaming experience among critics and fans in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Patrick Kelly, Senior Vice President, Activision Studios. “We can’t wait to see where this talented studio will take this franchise in the future.”Spiderman Shattered Dimension

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to continue our close, collaborative relationship with Activision, Marvel and everyone’s friendly, neighborhood hero, Spider-Man,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head, Beenox. “Being able to map out Spider-Man’s interactive future gives us the creative freedom to really craft the best gaming experience for the fans.”

“Beenox has done a tremendous job showcasing the essence of Spider-Man while pushing new creative boundaries with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” said Todd Jefferson, Director of Games, Marvel Entertainment’s Global Digital Media Group. “We look forward to working with Beenox on creating new Spider-Man game experiences.”

homick labsHomick Labs preschooler app Noah’s Matching Ark is now available in the iTunes store for the iPhone, iPod noahs arkTouch and iPad. This free title is fun and educational, and geared towards children age 2 and up. Kids will love matching the tiles of the various themes and earning stickers to be placed in their sticker album. With pleasing graphics and fun music, this interactive application is sure to become a family favorite.

The Creative GroupSocial media isn’t just a trend taking the world by storm; it’s also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey by The Creative Group. Also high on the list: “synergy” and “ROI,” which rankled respondents in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm and was based on 250 telephone interviews — approximately 200 with Canadian marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.  The advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, what is the most annoying or overused buzzword in the creative/marketing industry today?”

The top-ranked responses include:

1. “Social media/social networking”
2. “Synergy”
3. “Innovative/innovation”
4. “Extra value/value added”
5. “Going green”
6. “Free”
7. “ROI/return on investment”
8. “Culture change”
9. “Think out of the box”
10. “Interactive”
11. “Proactive”
12. “Social media expert”
13. “Multitasking”
14. “End of the day”
15. “Integrated/Integration”

“Certain buzzwords may be commonly used amongst marketing and advertising professionals, but when overused, they can quickly lose impact and cause people to lose interest and tune out,” said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in Canada. “In order to ensure your ideas are conveyed effectively, aim to keep your messages simple and direct.”

The Creative Group offers four tips for eliminating jargon in your communications:

1. Translate your thoughts. It’s typical to think in the lingo you use every day. But when putting your ideas to paper or in an e-mail, take the time to explain the concepts in terms that your audience will
easily understand.
2. Edit, edit, edit. Many buzzwords are unnecessary. Think carefully: Does a phrase like “at the end of the day” really add to what you’re trying to say? Probably not.
3. Break bad habits. We all rely on certain phrases when we speak. If the ones you gravitate toward are on the list of annoying buzzwords, think of alternatives that convey the same meaning.
4. Show instead of tell. Rather than relying on buzzwords, use concrete examples to convey your thoughts. For instance, instead of discussing your fully “integrated” marketing strategy for a product rollout,
describe the various elements and how they work together.

KMI CanadaBlake Melnick, Chief Knowledge Officer of The KM Group (TKMG), Graham Westwood, CEO of Procarta and Douglas Weidner, Chairman of The International Knowledge Management Institute, have announced the official launch of The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada (KMIC). The Institute will be headquartered in Toronto and will conduct industry level research and provide KM training, learning and professional certification programs, which address sector and Industry challenges related to:

* The aging of the Canadian workforce.
* The pending loss of critical knowledge through attrition.
* Managing knowledge necessary to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency and promote operational excellence.
* Improving organization performance and profitability.
* Creating competitive advantage through continuous improvement and the creation of new knowledge.

“The world has changed. Canada is experiencing a tipping point, where age old structures which previously shaped how we thought about work and learning are being transformed by information, communication technologies and the democratization of knowledge,” said Blake Melnick, KMIC’s Chief Knowledge Officer. “For Canadian companies to continue to prosper, and attract and retain key talent and expertise, they must embrace new ways of thinking, working and learning, which align with the realities of a global knowledge-based economy – this is where we believe the Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will have an exciting and challenging role to play.”

The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada will operate as an independently owned, licensed affiliate of the International Knowledge Management Institute of Washington D.C., working with industry, government, business, education and the not for profit sectors to develop certification, accreditation and professional development programs tailored to meet their evolving operational needs and the training and learning needs of their workforce.

KMIC programs will assist organizations manage change by training knowledge managers how to leverage critical knowledge assets, improve the transfer of explicit and tacit knowledge across the their organizations; capture and transfer critical knowledge and know how from retiring experts to new employees to effectively bridge the knowledge gap which exists between formal classroom training and learning and field experience. With a focus on key industry sectors where pending knowledge loss is most acute and where the acquisition of new knowledge is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global marketplace, the Institute will serve as an incubator for emergent knowledge and information technologies and cultural practices designed to improve sector, industry and organization best practices.

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29th December 2010

When Snow Falls and Sheep Float

psychicparrot gamesToday is the final day of PsychicParrot Game’s giveaway for their iPhone title Farm Jump, an Open-Feint farm jumpenabled game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Wills friends, so grab them when you can.

Lawyer Sean Kane, a member of the Intellectual Property practice and a member of the Social PillsburyMedia, Entertainment & Technology team at New York law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, has released a white paper titled A Guide to Business Incentives for Interactive Entertainment Production in Canada (PDF). While many of you may already be well-versed on the various programmes and contacts, I still recommend giving the document a read-through, just to see if it contains new information that may be of use to you or your projects. Mr. Kane has also published a white paper on incentives available in the United States (also PDF), which will definitely be of use for anyone pondering an expansion south of the 49th. **Note – it has been pointed out to me that the White Paper on Canadian Incentives has a few facts wrong in regards to the Canada Media Fund. Please be sure to check with each programme’s guidelines to be certain that you have current and correct information.**

snowseekersIt’s 7 a.m. and your alarm goes off, but it’s not that work alarm that most of us dread. This alarm is powder filled. SnowSeekers is stoked to release a free smartphone app filled with bells and whistles that will make iPhone-using snow seekers everywhere smile. The powder alarm takes feeds from your favorite ski and snowboard resorts and alerts you when your destination(s) of choice receives over five cm of snow overnight – just in time to get you out of bed and into the goods. The BlackBerry and Android versions are scheduled to launch later this month.

Over $150,000 has been invested by SnowSeekers in the past 12 months to bring snow seekers around the globe a smartphone application that unlocks the best of Western Canada’s winter destinations.

“Our focus groups told us they wanted all the bells and whistles in this app and that they wanted it for free. I am snowseekers-whistlerconfident we are delivering on their request,” said SnowSeekers President Jim Barr (aka Doc Pow).

“Last season our first app acted as a digital guidebook. This new 2.0 version is more of a digital concierge. It really takes you by the hand and directs you to where you need to go and what you need to do in order to maximize your time in Western Canada. And that goes for both local and international travellers.”

Major upgrades include:

* The guides are GPS-sensitive, delivering location-based information to the traveler when they are in X destination. It acts as a great pre-planner, too, as you can thumb through any of the destinations before even setting out.
* A digital coupon book filled with discounts, offers, and savings (think of an entertainment book, only digital). Based on what you choose to receive, push notifications that contain exclusive offers are delivered via the app.
* A real-time heat map allows travelers to check into their hot spot of choice. Each destination features a comprehensive list of pubs, clubs, and night spots. “One of the big requests we had from our focus groups was the app should unlock special events and the hot locations in town,” explains Barr. Check-in to the location you are at or the location you are going to be so other travellers can look at the map and know “what’s hot.”
* Comprehensive guidebook listings. “We’ve invested over 800 man hours to develop shopping, accommodations, après, nightlife and dining directories for the 19 destinations represented in the app,” said Barr. Includes Google Maps, descriptions, phone numbers, and web addresses.
* Other features include current weather supplied by The Weather Network, snow conditions, and a digital trail map.

Engine Digital announces the launch of an innovative mobile web strategy for client BC Hydro, featuring a mobile compatible web experience for on-the-go smartphone users. The Engine Digital designed BC Hydro mobile website offers instant access to relevant Power Smart content, safety tips, as well as a GPS-enabled power outage lookup feature. Mobile compatibility of web content is fast becoming a necessity for companies and Engine Digital is leading the pace in mobile web strategy, mobile marketing, and both design and development for the mobile screen.

Utilizing the Mobify platform, Engine Digital was able to integrate the mobile site for BC Hydro with existing web technologies and content, providing a single point of content management across both web and mobile channels. BC Hydro MobileThrough their mobile device, BC Hydro mobile website users are able to determine power outages in their area, including real-time estimates of power recovery. The mobile site caters to smartphone and feature phone users, with a focus on touch-based devices including iPhone and iPod touch, Android, and BlackBerry touch-devices.

With branded utility – brands creating useful experiences for their customers – becoming a common strategy for organizations wishing to create an unfair advantage within their category, many marketers are looking to mobile as the space where utility can be quickly delivered to both a location- and time-aware audience.

“As consumers increasingly access brands on their mobile device, there exists a growing expectation for both content and features to be formatted for the mobile space,” comments Stephen Beck, Partner and Creative Director at Engine Digital. “Pulling up a desktop website or a non-functioning Flash-based website inside of a mobile web browser is a broken brand experience that can result in frustration across the Smartphone user base. For BC Hydro, mobile provides a new opportunity to deliver outage data using location-based services via GPS to both mobile customers and technicians away from their desktop browser.”

The BC Hydro mobile site includes both content and functionality adapted from the corporate website including:

* Outage Data: up-to-date status on power outages available in map or list view format, along with planned outages, restoration history, expected timeline for the restoration of power and the number of households affected.
* Power Smart Green Guides: tips on saving energy and money for home and business through conservation of power.
* Electronics Guides: tips on choosing brands and products designed to conserve energy. Users can search and compare brands, products, and their power smart ratings on mobile devices while they shop.
* Safety Tips: tips for power related safety at home, in the workplace and during outages. In the event of an emergency, users have access to safety information and help contacts.
* Events Calendar: listing of upcoming events hosted by BC Hydro.

TekSystemsTEKsystems Global Services Canada today announced findings from its quarterly IT and Talent Survey among Canadian IT leaders. IT contracting in Canada is on the rise relative to other North American markets, with nearly 50% of Canadian respondents indicating increases in IT project needs and IT hiring over the next six months.

This is in contrast to 41% of the respondents citing the same in the United States. According to Executive Director of TEKsystems’ Montreal Solution Centre, Charlie Hall, “We are seeing a shift in that CIOs seem to be moving toward more variable-based or flexible workforce models to get work done. As we emerge from this recession, our clients are seeking the ability to ramp projects up and down quicker than ever as demands increase.”

Survey data shows IT workers will be in high demand to support the continuous flow of expected project needs moving into 2011. Of the most challenging projects, Enterprise Architecture tops the list with 55.9% of Canadian respondents rating the difficulty a seven or above, on a one to 10 scale. More than half of respondents also rated Business Process Engineering, Business Intelligence, Network Architecture and Database Administration a seven or higher in terms of difficulty to staff and manage. “Limited supply of certain technical professionals is just one factor that makes these projects a challenge for our clients,” shares Hall. “IT leaders are also challenged to find partners that possess applicable industry knowledge, a high degree of business acumen and have the chemistry to fit into their culture,” comments Hall.

Given the increased focus on IT initiatives to drive business value, IT leaders will need to conduct intense and proactive workforce planning exercises to ensure they can support business goals. However, according to the survey, 52.2% of Canadian respondents indicated feeling only “somewhat prepared” to handle an increasingly competitive labor market. “To obtain the right skill sets when and where they need them, many businesses are realizing the value of partnering with an IT services provider that can deliver project-based or outsourcing solutions with an underlying competency in attracting and retaining large numbers of quality IT resources,” said Hall.

IT leaders say they plan to maintain (50%) or increase (36.5%) their current level of IT outsourcing; and nearly 80% of respondents expect to maintain or increase offshore and near-shore IT services moving into 2011. “More often, we’re seeing IT leaders make the decision to outsource based on criteria that extends beyond cost benefits. They are thinking about the degree of complexity they want to maintain versus offload. They are also thinking about which providers can be a true partner, building customized solutions and delivering results through teams of qualified IT professionals,” said Hall.

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22nd December 2010

Serious Fun and Serious Learning Now And In The Future

games for changeTwo Canadian-made serious games have made the short list for the 2010 Games For Change favourite social impact games. The titles were nominated to the list via Twitter, Facebook and the Games For Change Google Group. Voting is now open to pick the top favourite. The Canadian titles named to the list are Inside Disaster – The Experience about the Haiti earthquake and Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics.

Inside Disaster – The Experience was produced by PTV Productions in association with TVO. Funding was supplied in part by the Canada Media Fund, Bell Fund, the Canadian International Development Agency and Ontario Media Development Corporation. Inside Disaster was created to challenge “assumptions made about relief work in disaster areas.” Inside Disaster is not a game in the traditional sense – there is no score; instead, this very graphic and to-the-point experience allows you to work within the parametres of a relief helper, and then experience the outcome of any decisions you commit to. Note – this is not a game for sensitive people. The images are graphic and can be disturbing. Please heed the warning on the game’s site.

Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics. Apparently the game isn’t as scary as the name implies. According to its site, the game is “just an interactive game that lets you contribute to science.” Phylo was made with the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, McGill School of Computer Science, McGill Centre for Bioinformatics and the McGill Computational Structural Biology Group.

Discovery Channel Canada has a series of six videos from Popular Science’s: The Future Of…  that looks at innovation in the field of Play. I believe that the videos on Discovery Channel Canada are only viewable via the web for those with a Canadian IP address, so my apologies to our international readers. Here is a link to the show on Discovery.com (US), and a link to Pop Sci’s videos on Discovery.com, which may or may not work for international viewers. These episodes of the show feature information about a mixed reality lets you reach into the computer game and control it with your hands, a smart football that teaches us all how to play sports like the pros, pervasive games take over entire cities and discover siftables: kids’ alphabet blocks on steroids.

Relic EntertainmentTHQ and Relic Entertainment have released a new trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution™, which is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011. In this latest chapter, which takes place years after the events in Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising™, Retribution allows players to choose their perspective with the first multiple-race single player campaign in the Dawn of War II series. The first race to be revealed is the savage Orks, but no matter which race is chosen players will be taken on an epic journey through each story arc, revealing the answers to many questions left open in previous Dawn of War titles.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

As well as the single player campaign, Retribution will feature new multiplayer units, maps and an entire new playable faction when it ships.

Get Set Games has released Mega Jump for the Android platform. Available free of charge, Mega Jump can be Mega Jump For Androiddownloaded to your Android phone by scanning the game’s QR Get Set Gamescode on the Get Set page.

Mega Jump on Android is compatible with all phones running Android OS 2.0 and up, and “features the same great graphics, hilarious sounds and action-packed gameplay. It also has the same leaderboards and achievements as the iPhone version – thanks to OpenFeint – so you can compete against your friends who have the iPhone version.”

ParetoLogicParetoLogic’s staff has come together once again this holiday season to provide gifts and charity for those in need. The Salvation Army Christmas Angels campaign and the Mustard Seed food bank have both been long-time recipients of ParetoLogic charity activities. This year, staff managed to up their donation levels, to provide happier holidays for those in need.

The Mustard Seed collects non-perishable foodstuffs for the underprivileged, and feeds over 7000 people a month in the Victoria area. To collect food, an extra-large hamper has been a mainstay of the ParetoLogic offices for the holiday season. The 125-litre bin is full to the rim with donations from ParetoLogic employees and their families.

Marlee Wilson, ParetoLogic’s Office Manager and de facto co-ordinator of charities, was optimistic about donations. “I can tell you that we have a full bin and I’m going to drop this off and hopefully we can fill it again before Christmas.”

The Salvation Army Christmas Angels program collects donations of toys and distributes them to children in need. An estimated 6000 children will receive gifts through the Christmas Angels program this winter. Donators are provided a child’s age and gender, and then pick out an appropriate present. The gift is transferred to the child’s parents, so they may give their daughter or son a happy Christmas. ParetoLogic staff donated 33 gifts this year, for children aged between two and 18.

“Mustard Seed is a charity for life, but the Christmas Angels is a charity for the soul. All children deserve a merry Christmas, and we are delighted to help do that,” said Wilson.

Readers of Canada’s national current affairs magazine can now enjoy Maclean’s at their tech-savvy macleansfingertips with the Maclean’s App for iPad, now available on the App Store. The inaugural issue of Maclean’s magazine for iPad features content from Maclean’s Newsmakers 2010 special issue.

Each issue of Maclean’s comes complete with all the news, commentary, photography and columnists that have made the magazine the country’s most indispensable weekly read for more than a century. The content is beautifully rendered for iPad with an array of enhancements that bring the pages to life: embedded video, photo galleries, digital links, a live letters section, issue-at-a-glance and other navigation tools, and also gives readers the ability to save their favourite articles and share them with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

The inaugural Newsmakers 2010 issue features:

• an animated video cover
• dozens of beautiful photos/photo galleries
• video of Justin Bieber performing live
• video montage of newsmakers who passed away in 2010
• our regular columnists: Andrew Coyne, Scott Feschuk, Paul Wells and more

“Maclean’s is dedicated to bringing readers relevant and thought-provoking content on today’s latest technology,” says Maclean’s publisher and editor-in-chief Ken Whyte. “With the new Maclean’s App for iPad, our readers can now enjoy everything they love about Maclean’s from the convenience of iPad.”

While the Maclean’s App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, each downloadable issue is priced at $2.99. Maclean’s 6th annual and biggest-ever Newsmakers edition looks at the year’s winners and whiners, heroes and heartbreakers, sinners and saints. Among them: Newsmaker of the Year Sidney Crosby and other Canadian Olympic heroes; Justin Bieber and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; the arrival of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the election of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president; and the exits of Michaëlle Jean, Simon Cowell, Lloyd Robertson and Cathy cartoons; the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners, the many setbacks of Barack Obama, the comeback of Conrad Black—and the triumphant return of Betty White.

ABI researchDriven by North American, European and Asia Pacific markets, online gaming continues its steady growth and the latest purchasable study from American-based ABI Research forecasts revenues of slightly more than $20 billion in 2012. Technology developments will mean new opportunities for connected devices beyond the computer.

The Asia-Pac region, especially China, will be the engine behind much of this growth. However, in China, due to generally lower levels of personal PC ownership, the business models are evolving a little differently. According to industry analyst Michael Inouye, “World of Warcraft, for instance, generates significant revenue for Activision in Europe and North America on a subscription basis. But in China, despite a large ‘subscriber’ base, the revenues are far smaller: it’s more of a pay-as-you-go model (prepaid game cards). This also creates a greater reliance on ‘cloud’ or server-based games.”

Another difference in Asia is regulation. “In China, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere the rules are more exacting in what they allow. Some games for instance, have had to alter their content: using WoW again as an example, the developers had to remove the virtual blood.”

The increasingly varied and range of connected devices will also permit gaming on more platforms. For example Free, a French broadband and IPTV provider, has partnered with Intel to develop a very advanced set-top box (Freebox Revolution). The STB includes an Intel Atom processor, controller with gyroscopic inputs, Blu-ray player, powerline adapters, Wi-Fi, and a game controller. While these games might be more locally- based for now, they point to the potential for opening this up to multiplayer and MMO gaming.

There are challenges, though. Mobile gaming (eg. on smartphones) could be disruptive. The market is fragmented, with proprietary platforms the rule, posing difficulties for developers trying to serve a number of smaller platforms rather than a few big ones. And the growth of cloud gaming demands more and bigger servers and data centers.

ABI Research’s “Gaming in the Cloud” study examines the casual and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games markets and the potential role for connected consumer electronics. It contains regional revenue forecasts and discusses pressing technical issues and is part of the Digital Living Research Service.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services.

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16th December 2010

Venture Capital For Canada Campaign Launched by CATA

CATACATAAlliance, Canada’s largest high tech association has sent out a statement about the launch of its advocacy Campaign aimed at increasing the availability of Venture Capital funding for new and growing companies.

Known as the “Venture Capital (VC) for Canada” campaign, it is part of the industry’s Innovation Nation program, developed under the tutelage of Canada’s leading entrepreneur, Sir Terence Matthews that lays out what we must do as a nation to move us from a 13th place ranking to first place in innovation rankings.Sir Terence Matthews

Recent studies such as The Global Trends in Venture Capital: Outlook for the Future Survey (March/April 2010) point to a contraction of VC Funding in Canada, in contrast to significant growth in available funding in emerging markets, such as, China, Brazil and India.  Canadian VCs find that our lack of critical mass creates a poor climate for investment and innovation, a dynamic that sets up a shift in wealth creation from Canada to the more favoured jurisdictions. The study was sponsored by Deloitte in cooperation with other VC associations around the world. It surveyed venture capitalists in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Of the total number of respondents, 61% were based in the Americas (of which 7% or 36 firms were Canadian), 16% in Europe, and 23% in Asia Pacific.

According to CATA Leadership Council Director & Senior Vice President of OMERS, John Ruffolo, “clearly, Canadian venture capital firms are up against serious competition from emerging markets, as are their counterparts in the U.S and Europe. But with the small size of the Canadian industry, the impact of this decline is even more devastating.”

Ruffolo, added “We face an urgent situation; public policy makers need to move now with measures that improve the success prospects of this vital sector here at home. We need to get more dollars into the hands of existing Canadian VCs, and also encourage the creation of more domestic VCs.”

A recent study of the BC Venture Capital program (i.e., Hellmann Schure 2010 Venture Capital Report) offers some insight into the B.C. VC program, established to increase the amount of growth capital available to innovative early-stage small- and medium-sizes enterprises (“SME’s”) in that province. If the other provincial Programs were to be modeled after the Investment Capital Program (Eligible Business Corporations) operated by the Government of British Columbia, these programs would include:

  • Credits: 30% of the invested amount, refundable to individuals / creditable against Ontario taxes payable for corporations with carry-over availability
  • Contribution Limits: $250,000 per annum for individual or corporate investors ($75,000 maximum tax credit)
  • Budget Size: $100 million in tax credits for direct investments (e.g., proportional to Ontario’s overall population). Amount would leverage $333 million in equity investments for eligible SME’s in Ontario)
  • Target sectors: to be determined, but potentially focused on priority sectors Such as the bio-economy and clean technologies, pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, digital media, information and communication technologies and advanced manufacturing
  • Eligible investments: SME’s with up to 100 employees, a payroll where at least 75% of wages go to Ontario residents (50% for export-oriented SME’s) and equity of $25,000
  • Term: minimum of five years, with pro-rated refunds if sold earlier
  • Eligible investors: residents and corporations

CATA CEO, John Reid, calling for industry engagement through traditional and social media channels to advance solutions, pointed out that “Companies participating in the BC program generate more taxes than they consume tax credits, and consistently create new jobs. The overall program has a provincial tax multiplier of 1.98 and Canadian tax multiplier of 2.92.”

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As a first step the Venture Capital (VC) for Canada campaign is calling for the introduction as quickly as possible, of a shared federal/provincial “Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit” system based on the very successful model currently operating in B.C.

The CATAAlliance invites you to review the Venture Capital (VC) for Canada campaign communiqué and join the Conversation by offering your guidance, views and feedback on the CATA Linkedin social media site as well as sharing electronically and/or printing out and faxing the Venture Capital (VC) for Canada communiqué and follow up with a phone call to your local MP, media and network of contacts, inclusive of posting on your own social media accounts.

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8th December 2010

What You Could Be Doing Next Week

VFSVancouver Film School presents its Digital Design Winter Graduation Show, Delicious Bites of Digital Design, on Wednesday, December 15th at the VFS Main Theatre.

Not your typical grad show, this event is open only to those from the design industry, and each graduate will be presenting the one project of which he or she is most proud in back-to-back three minute presentations. The presentations will be followed by a festive mingler with interactive portfolio kiosks and plenty of food and drink in the lobby.

Come and meet these promising designers before they are snatched by others in the industry who are looking for talented team members and be among the first to sample the tastiest student work in areas such as branding, music videos, interactive design, experimental motion design and iPad applications.

Special guest Adam Neilson from the Nation Film Board will be kicking off the evening’s festivities as he walks guests through the NFB’s most immersive, interactive projects, such as Test Tube and Waterlife, that have swept the design awards this year, including SXSW Interactive.

Wine, beer, eggnog and hot chocolate at 5:00pm with the presentations starting promptly at 5:30pm. Please see this event’s Facebook page for information on how to register – deadline for registration is December 13th.

CanWITThe BC chapter of CanWIT (formerly CATA WIT) will be holding its  Holiday Networking Event from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday December 15th at the Yaletown Milestones restaurant on Hamilton Street. This event is free, but pre-registration is required.

You are invited to come network with other professional women in the tech community and learn about our exciting programs for the new year. During the event, CanWIT representatives would like to hear from you about your interests and suggestions for future CanWIT workshops. Be sure to bring your business card for door prizes. We look forward to seeing you for holiday cheer!

49 pixelsPixel To Product and 49 Pixels would like to invite you to a casual 2 hour working session, where attendees will gather to hear from digital media professionals about the kind of work they do and what they’re interested in learning more about where it concerns the habits of those who work in the Canadian digital media space.

This event is part of the 49 Pixels study currently underway across the country which is gathering information to aid Canadian in their drive to understand the digital media space we work in, one of the goals of our research study is to get a sense for the size of the digital media workforce; how many professionals are employed in our industry, their geographical location, salary, benefits and other qualitative, quantitative and behavioural data.

Agenda
Jet Cooper
5:30: Pre-event networking
6:00pm: Gather in the event space to set the context for the conversation
8:00pm: Wrap-up and break for the evening

Many thanks to Jet Cooper for donating their space at Jet Cooper # 307 – 20 Maud Street, Toronto, and helping to convene this working session, which is being styled as a roll up your sleeves, break-out-your-moleskin working session with clear goals and deliverables. Expect a casual working session with smart and creative industry personalities like yourself working together towards a larger outcome.

The next industry survey will be looking at the qualitative, quantitative and behavioural aspects of Canada’s digital media professionals; namely, where they’re located, what they do, and their working habits. The outcomes of this working session will be a draft list of questions for this survey, a strategy to distribute and promote the survey as well as put together a team of advocates to help further spread the word.

Register online by selecting the ticket type that best describes you in the list.
Add your contact information, and tell us what gifts you’re bringing to the table. Remember to check your inbox afterwards, as you will receive an email confirmation of your registration.

Please note, space is limited for this working session, so please do not register unless you’re absolutely certain you can attend. If your plans change, please let us know as soon as possible so that we may offer your ticket to the next person on the wait list.

Canadian Games ConferenceAlso, a reminder that the Call for Papers for the Canadian Games Conference 2011 is now open. Everyone loves a good story….and there are many out there. If you have a riveting tale to tell about challenges faced or success achieved in the Game industry – we want to hear about it!

The Conference will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre next May 19th and 20th. All entries must be received by midnight of January 25th, 2011. Invited speakers will be notified by March 10th, 2011.

2011 Conference Topics:

New Business Models
Rapid Game Development
Box vs. Bits – Alternative Distribution Models
Game Design Stories
Social Games
Games on the Go
Content Creation
Programming
Student Stories

Session formats this year will include 25 and 60 minute lectures, panels and roundtables. The advisory board will be selecting submissions based on depth of content, relevance and interest, speaker credentials, and takeaway value. The intellectual property rights of those submitting papers for review will be respected throughout the process.

Submissions will only be accepted online, please provide the following information with your submission:

Name of speaker
Title
Organization
Phone number
E-mail Address
Expertise Level: (Executive, Management, Developer, Publisher)
General Theme (see below)
Topic (25 words or less)
Abstract (250 words or less)
Bio (200 words or less)

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3rd December 2010

Canada Q4 Information Technology Report Now Available

research and marketsThe Q4 Canada Information Technology Report from Research and Markets, which provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, information technology associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Canada’s information technology industry is now available for purchase for approximately $780.00 (581.00 EUR). Here is a summary of what is contained in the report, but you can receive a sample of the actual report by registering on the Research and Markets site.

Market Overview

The Canadian addressable domestic market for IT products and services is projected by BMI to reach US$41.4bn in 2010 and US$47.5bn by 2014. Canada PC sales grew strongly in H110, with unit sales estimated by BMI at more than 3mn units, and new outsourcing and IT services contracts in the public and private sectors pointed to underlying demand potential.

In our core IT forecast scenario, market growth will be around 10% in 2010 and advance at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6% over our five-year forecast period. Government spending in 2010 will be constrained by a focus on cutting costs, but a stimulus measure allowing business taxpayers to expense all of the value of their investment in computers and systems in one year is forecast to provide a boost to the IT market over the next two years.

The government’s digital economic strategy provides a framework for IT market growth, with a number of two-year programmes having been confirmed in the federal 2010 budget. Meanwhile, the consumer segment remains a bright spot, with a steadily improving unemployment situation supportive of consumer confidence.

Industry Developments

In its 2010 budget, delivered in March, the Canadian government confirmed plans to launch a digital economy strategy. In the 2009 budget, the government announced several two-year programmes, and much of the budget this year was focused on the roll-out of these existing plans rather than new funding initiatives. Among the initiatives confirmed from 2009 was Broadband Canada, which received US$225mn of funding over three years.

In the 2009 budget, the government introduced a subsidy for business computer hardware purchase, which is expected to have a major impact on the IT market. The measure proposed a 100% capital cost allowance rate for computer hardware and systems software acquired between January 27 2009 and February 1 2011. It has been estimated the measure could provide a US$700mn boost to the information and communication technology (ICT) market.

Competitive Landscape

International vendors dominate the Canadian PC market. HP, Acer and Dell were the leading vendors in Q210, ahead of rivals such as Toshiba and Lenovo. Telecoms operators have emerged as one significant channel for PC sales. This year, Canadian telecoms companies competed to offer bundling deals involving Apple’s iPad. Rogers and Bell both offered plans that gave users 250MB of data for CAD15 per month, as well as a high-end plan of 5GB of data for CAD35 per month.
Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd November 2010

Canadian Companies Need To Improve IT Risk Management

Ernst & YoungAccording to a study by Ernst & Young, less than a third of global businesses, including Canada’s, have an IT risk management program in place capable of addressing the risks related to the use of new technologies. Borderless Security, the firm’s annual global information security survey, reveals that in spite of the rapid emergence of new technology, only one in 10 companies consider examining new and emerging IT trends as a very important activity for the information security function to perform.

A significant increase in the use of external service providers and business adoption of new technologies, including cloud computing, social networking and Web 2.0, is recognized to increase risk as much as 60% for respondents. Yet, in spite of this fact, less than half (46%) intend to increase their annual investment in information security.

“Technology advances have provided Canadian companies with seemingly endless ways to connect and interact with colleagues, customers and clients across the globe,” says Tony Ritlop, Canadian Leader of Ernst & Young’s IT Risk and Assurance practice. “While these developments represent a massive opportunity for IT to deliver significant benefits to the organization, new technology also brings significant risk.”

For example, more than half of respondents state that increased workforce mobility poses a considerable challenge to the effective delivery of information security initiatives, due to widespread use of mobile computing devices, allowing individuals to access and distribute business information from anywhere at any time. For almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents, employees’ level of security awareness is recognized as a considerable challenge.

For the first time, continuous availability of critical IT resources was identified by respondents as one of the top five risks. Increased mobility and lack of control over end-user devices can cause problems when trying to implement effective and efficient business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities — identified by 50% of respondents as an area of increased expenditure.

Cloud computing services are gaining greater adoption: 23% of respondents are currently using cloud computing services and a further 15% are planning to use them within the next 12 months. When asked if an external certification of cloud service providers would increase trust, 85% of respondents said yes, with 43% stating that the certification should be based upon an agreed standard and 22% requiring accreditation for the certifying body.

“It’s vital that companies not only recognize these developing risks, but take action to avoid them,” says Mr. Ritlop.

According to Mr. Ritlop, in addition to implementing new technology solutions and re-engineering information flows, companies must focus on informing the workforce about risks. The delivery of effective, and regular, security awareness training is a critical success factor as companies attempt to keep pace with the changing environment.

Half of respondents plan to spend more over the next year on data leakage and data loss prevention — a seven percentage point increase from last year. To address potential new risks, 39% are making policy adjustments, 29% are implementing encryption techniques and 28% are implementing stronger identity and access management controls.

Communities are changing; populations are aging; competition for talent is intensifying; the economy is slowly recovering; values are evolving and technology is rapidly shifting. Can leadership, knowledge and innovation save us?

public policy forumThe Ideas Festival brings together emerging leaders with established leadership from across all sectors and industries to discuss a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to energy and technology to creativity.

The Public Policy Forum (PPF), an independent, non partisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of governance in Canada and 21inc are co-hosting the conference in St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick at the Fairmont Algonquin, November 24-26. Event hashtag: #ideas2010

Topics include:

* Can innovation save health care? Business model innovation in health care
* Can Atlantic Canada be an energy hub?
* The Future of Media: How new media is changing our roles and relationships
* Conversations with people changing the game and shaping our future
* The Economic Future of Atlantic Canada

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation announced today that it has launched Absolute Manage Mobile Device Management (MDM) for iOS 4 devices, such as the iPhone® and iPad®. The breakthrough solution available with Absolute Manage allows IT departments to efficiently manage and secure iOS 4 devices alongside their PC and Mac® computers from their platform of choice, Mac or Windows.

“Apple mobile devices are immensely popular with consumers and are now making a notable impact in the enterprise. People want to use their preferred device at work as well, but IT has been hesitant due to a lack of solutions on the market that can provide security and management capabilities for Apple mobile devices. Absolute Software is a leader in managing and securing endpoints, and our customers asked us to extend our cross-platform capabilities to iOS 4 devices,” said Peter Frankl, vice president of lifecycle management at Absolute Software. “With the launch of Absolute Manage MDM for iOS 4, our customers can have the control and security they need for the enterprise while keeping their employees happy and increasing productivity.”

Absolute Manage is one of the first software solutions to allow IT administrators to remotely manage, wipe and lock Apple® iOS 4 devices from either a PC or Mac, computer -without the need for extra hardware or software infrastructure. With the addition of MDM, Absolute Manage customers can manage PCs, Mac computers and now iOS 4 devices from a single, comprehensive user interface in a PC or Mac infrastructure.

YANGAROOYangaroo has been granted Canada patent number 2,349,797 titled “Biometric Rights Management System” by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The Biometric Rights Management (“BRM”) patent relates to YANGAROO’s innovative use of biometric security measures to provide secure online distribution of digital media. The BRM patent will be in effect until June 2021.

“The receipt of this fourth patent grant is further confirmation that we continue to lead through innovation,” said Cliff Hunt, Chairman and COO of YANGAROO. “As more and more valuable media assets are made available online, the need to control and monitor the users accessing that media continues to grow. The utilization of BRM in our Digital Media Distribution System provides a secure, user-friendly and portable way to link media access rights to an individual through their unique traits, rather than to a machine or an easily shared password. This feature provides our customers with the most advanced solution available today.”

This BRM patent augments YANGAROO’S intellectual property portfolio, which includes the related United States patent number 7,003,670 titled “Biometric Rights Management System”, United States patent number 7,529,712 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and Canadian patent number 2,407,774 titled “Content Distribution System and Method”. YANGAROO also has pending U.S. continuation patent application number 12/398,238 titled “Content Distribution System and Method” and U.S. patent application number 11/854,289 titled “Media File Distribution System and Method”. Together these provide a North America-wide safeguard for the company’s sector leading innovations.

Project X LtdToronto boutique advisory and technology services company Project X Ltd. has entered into a partnership with California-based BigDataLabs, Inc. to distribute the company’s technology in Canada.

Project X will be the sole Canadian partner for BigDataLabs GeoDash™ technology. GeoDash is a new way to add GeoSpatial context to business intelligence environments through the integration of MicroStrategy technology and Google Maps. GeoDash is a lightweight solution for the business intelligence market with no extra hardware or server costs and no extensive training needed for users.

Project X President, Stephen Hayward remarked, “BigDataLabs matches our rapid business intelligence model and like Project X, is focused on fast to market technology that demonstrates maximum innovation and value for customers.”

Ajo Abraham, BigDataLabs founder commented, “We looked for a Canadian partner with the right combination of experience and passion for delivering business intelligence solutions with the best technology available and found Project X. As we expand into the Canadian market, they will lead the way.”

AOL CanadaAOL Canada Corp. is making big gains heading into the holiday season. According to comScore’s Media Metrix, Canada, All Locations October 2010 data, the AOL Inc. owned and operated web properties have grown by 10% from last month to 9.2M unique visitors. With the reach of their ad network, Advertising.com, AOL advertising properties reach over 20 million Canadians each and every month.

This upsurge in traffic is largely attributed to the strategic acquisitions of the web properties TechCrunch and 5Min. TechCrunch brings with it breaking tech news and insight into the innovative world of start-ups to the AOL Technology suite of sites, and matches perfectly with the expert content of their marquis tech property, Engadget.com. The acquisition of 5Min allows AOL to significantly expand its consumer offering of contextually relevant, high-quality video across its sites and increases AOL’s appeal to advertisers, allowing it to capture share the growing video advertising spend. This combo delivers a power punch technology content offering and expands the affluent male audience key to advertisers in this category. (AOL Networks: Technology is 78% more likely than the average Internet web site to generate page views with males 25-34 and 103% more likely with males age 35-44 as well as 47% more likely to attract unique visitors with a household income of more than $100k. comScore Media Metrix. Canada, All Locations. October 2010.)

To support this growing business AOL Canada has made a number of strategic hires as well. Since Graham Moysey joined AOL in August of this year, he has grown his team by 10, most recently hiring Laura Pearce as Director of Marketing, Dana Toering as Director of Business Development and Tanya Iliakis, Account Executive. Laura brings with her valued experience in online media and marketing, hailing from Postmedia Network and companies such as Trader Media and Dell Canada, and will be key to the strategy of positioning AOL to consumers and advertisers as a leader in premium content and network advertising, under an innovative and creative global brand.

Other hires include Michelle Edwards-Boldt, heading up Moysey’s office, Melissa McLintock, Alia Iannuzzi and Tanya Penala, all Account Managers and previously announced Brad Cressman, Head of Content, Julie Howlett, Account Director & Allison Burley, Account Executive.

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23rd November 2010

Robert Half Predicts Top 11 Jobs for 2011

Robert HalfAs people look to the coming year with hopes of continued economic recovery and increased job creation, new research may hold clues as to what the most promising professional positions will be in 2011. According to the Salary Guides just released from Robert Half, 11 roles representing several fields – including accounting and finance, technology, legal and administrative – show promising increases in starting salaries and growing demand among employers.

“The common thread among the jobs highlighted in our research is that they help businesses improve efficiency and profits, and foster a more positive customer experience,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “The most successful job candidates bring multiple skill sets, a track record of success and a strong sense of accountability to their roles.”

Following is an overview of the 11 Top Jobs for 2011:Professional Employment Report

1. Performance analyst – Among nearly 130 finance and accounting positions listed in the 2011 Salary Guide, performance analysts are expected to see the largest jump in starting salaries. Average starting compensation is projected to rise 5.1 per cent to the range of $56,250 to $86,750. Many Canadian employers seek talented professionals who can prepare portfolio, benchmark and statistical reports; maintain and update performance databases; and evaluate return on investment for the company.

2. Controller – Average starting salaries for controllers at midsize companies ($50 million to $100 million in sales) are expected to climb 4.9 per cent, to the range of $85,500 to $113,750. Organizations are adding controllers and assistant controllers to oversee accounting operations, enhance accounting and internal control systems, and assist with growth initiatives. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd November 2010

Bacardi Conducts Canadian Social Media Poll

bacardiCanadians might be kissing that good-night kiss good-bye as 75 per cent of social media users confess that the last thing they do at night or the first thing they do before getting out of bed in the morning is check emails, text messages and social networking sites, according to the BACARDI® Together Poll released today. If you live in Toronto or Montreal, you might want to have your smartphone beside you on your pillow since you are the least likely to get kissed as 80 per cent of those online in these two cities cite the same behaviour.

According to the BACARDI Together poll of 1,524 adults surveyed by Angus Reid Public Opinion, despite our love for smartphones, Canadians are clearly craving the joys of face-to-face connections as 69 per cent admit that one can only have meaningful relationships in-person. When asked how they prefer to interact with others, over 8 in 10 people strongly prefer face-to-face communication with family (83 per cent) and nearly as many with close friends (79 per cent).

“Human beings are meant to be together – to socialize, to share, to connect,” said Ellen Karp, social anthropologist, author, and expert in LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). “‘Social media togetherness’ is clearly not the same as ‘in-person togetherness.’ While social media is quick and efficient, there is no replacement for one-on-one time with close friends and family.”

While only a quarter of Canadians (27 per cent) cite spending too much time online as a reason for not making time for the all-important face-to-face gatherings, the other challenges we face are managing the time we spend at work (64 per cent) and raising our families (46 per cent).

Social media may be helping 78 per cent of Canadians using those channels keep up-to-date on what is happening with their friends and acquaintances, but we are not interacting with them personally or individually. It’s no surprise then that 69 per cent of Canadians think we are becoming more superficial and 75 per cent agree that we are losing our social skills because of social media when:

* Almost half of Canadians (44 per cent) believe it is okay to take or make calls while in the toilet;
* 51per cent of Canadian women between 19-44 years of age who use social media cannot imagine their lives without it (vs. 37 per cent for all social media users);
* Nearly a quarter of all Canadian social media users (23 per cent) spend between 10-20 hours on social networks each week followed by 7 per cent who spend over 20 hours a week; and
* One in five Canadians online (21 per cent) believes that they are at risk of social media burn-out. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd November 2010

Funding And Strategies Will Move Us Forward In A Digital Economy

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF), successor organization to the Canadian Television Fund (CTF), has published the CTF 2009-2010 Annual Report (French) outlining its funding activities over the past year, which saw the CTF disburse a record amount of $327 million to help produce 4,400 hours of programming, including 932 hours of new broadcast programs. Flashpoint, The Young Romantic, Les Invincibles, and Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin are only a few examples of programs that received numerous awards, attracting many repeat viewers as indicated by audience rating numbers.

“If there were a theme to this year, that theme would be dialogue” said Louis Roquet, Chair of the Board of Directors. “The dialogue between the various stakeholders of the corporation was strengthened through an extensive year-long consultation”. The consultation process and the significant review of content funding parameters led to the creation of programs and policies currently provided by the Canada Media Fund.

Highlights of the CTF 2009-2010 Annual Report include:

· The CTF supported a total of 931 projects, including 476 Production and 352 Development projects.
· Development funding reached a record high of $9.8 M.
· 427 CTF funded programs were nominated for awards and won 95 Gemini and Gémeaux awards.
· 2009–2010 total production budgets climbed above $1 billion, or 20% above the average of the preceding four years.
· Performance envelopes (BPEs) were allocated to 59 English and 20 French broadcasters; five new broadcasters received envelopes in 2009–2010.
· Regional production received 30% of the funding allocated in 2009-2010 (including Aboriginal Language Projects).
· The Digital Media Pilot Program budget grew from 2 to 10 million dollars. The number of projects funded by the program increased almost twofold from 30 to 77.

Government of CanadaThe full text of the speech delivered by The Honourable Tony Clement, PC, MP Minister of Industry at the International Institute of Communications Canada Conference which is currently underway in Ottawa, is now available online.

In speaking on Canada’s future in a digital economy, Minister Clement stated that he is looking to the future “with confidence, even optimism. Not because I am insensitive to the challenges, but because, like you, I see the possibilities. And few areas offer greater reason for optimism than the digital economy.” He also outlined what we can expect when the Digital Economy strategy is launched in the spring of 2011, saying that “it will be a living document, one that will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of changing times. But it will be an important milestone in Canada’s path to greater competitiveness and innovation.”

Minister Clement went on to reiterate five areas of particle interest that are critical to creating a digital Canada:

* building a world-class infrastructure that connects ideas, individuals and opportunities.
* encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies to boost their productivity and drive innovation.
* developing a digitally skilled workforce to take advantage of the opportunities these technologies provide.
* growing successful Canadian companies — to supply digital technologies to global markets.
* creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms to bring Canada to the world.

Following this, Minister Clement touched on several areas of forthcoming change for both the digital industry and industry at large, in Canada. These include changes to policy at the Business Development Bank which will see ICT becoming a focus for new and expanding enterprises. He also covered other areas to be visited by the Minister Clement playing NFS at EA Canada in August 2010. Source: Richard LamDigital Economy strategy, including access to broadband in all regions of Canada and the cost of services from our telecom providers. Minister Clement also touched on what the government is working on in regards to ensuring “a well-functioning digital marketplace by introducing important new laws and amendments — including copyright, anti-spam and privacy legislation.”

Minister Clement also spoke about the need to nurture Canadian ICT talent and educational programmes, whereupon he announced the “awarding of 25 Knowledge Synthesis Grants on the Digital Economy. The research proposed by the recipients reflects both the diversity of Canada’s intellectual capital and the diversity of the digital economy itself.” He concluded his presentation with discussion of growing Canada’s digital economy both within our borders and internationally, as well drawing attention to the Canada Media Fund and Canada 3.0. During his speech, Minister Clement also noted that The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, will be presenting more about digital skills development today at IIC (see below). You can read the full text of Minister Clement’s speech on the Industry Canada web site.

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, delivered her comments this morning at IIC as part of her update on Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley (photo Government of Canada)development at an industry conference earlier today, opening her presentation with the acknowledgement that technology is becoming more and more intertwined in Canadians’ everyday lives, and supporting digital skills development will be key to our future economic success.

“For Canada to be a leader in a rapidly developing, global digital economy, Canadians need to have strong digital skills,” said Minister Finley. “That’s why the Government of Canada will develop and implement a strategy that will help us work in collaboration with our industry, education and government partners to build a skilled workforce and a stronger Canada.”

As Canada heads towards economic recovery, new digital skills needs are being added to existing labour market challenges. Recent public consultations on the digital economy will help the Government develop a strategy to address many broad challenges.

The conference, entitled Connections, Content and Consumers: Towards a National Digital Strategy for Canada, was hosted by the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications (IIC Canada).

Mr. Bernard Lord, Chair of IIC Canada, welcomed the Minister’s remarks. “The Government of Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart the path Canadians will take towards prosperity in the 21st century,” said Mr. Lord. “Networks and connections will enable that prosperity, but it will be the digital skills, hard work and inspiration of Canadians that will maximize it.”

While elements of digital skills training can be found in existing Government of Canada programming, developing an overarching Digital Economy Strategy will improve our innovation and competitiveness and help prepare Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow.

DIG London 2010A coalition of over 40 Canadian video game developers, academic institutions, and intermediate enabling organizations are working together to establish Canada as the globally recognized innovator and exporter of digital interactive game development software, technology, and IP. Meeting at the Digital Interactive Game Developer’s conference, DIG 2010, key partners discussed this initiative, striking an action committee to define the initiative’s strategic priorities and execution plan, with hopes to launch in the summer of 2011.

Through a robust partnership, industry, academics, NGOs from across Canada are working to create a Centre for testing, validation, and commercialization of game development IP. With over $5.5 million raised in cash and $5.5 million in-kind contributions, the team is committed to levering existing investments and assets to create a competitive advantage for Canadian game developers. The partners are putting together a program to:

* Identify and aggregate existing digital interactive game technology IP
* Support small and medium sized game developers to access the resources required to identify, validate, and accelerate the commercialization and licensing of their IP
* Facilitate and promote the ongoing collaboration among and between industry, academia, and national networks to mobilize the resources needed to solve technology related problems and develop marketable digital interactive game technology
* Develop, attracting, and retaining highly skilled software developers and engineers, researchers, and IT professionals
* Provide a conduit for digital interactive game developers to leverage access to industry information
* Host an annual series of national workshops – physical and virtual to bring together partner organizations for education, networking, and development of new programs
* Contribute to Canada’s digital media content creation by establishing and facilitating a path to market for hundreds of new Canadian digital interactive game technology licenses and content

“An opportunity exists to position Canada as a global leader in the creation, commercialization, and licensing of digital interactive game technology. This opportunity will be achieved by enabling synergistic interactions at all levels of game technology development through access to technologies that enable development, industry intelligence, and research,” says Michael Schmalz, a key leader of this initiative. “Our recent application to the National Centres of Excellence was not funded, but our team is committed to moving forward with our plan and defining the best opportunity for our industry,” adds Schmalz.

“It is ultimately our intent, shared by many supporters in industry, academia, and government across Canada, to create increased opportunities for Canadian digital interactive media technology developers, commercialize their IP, and export Canadian Digital interactive media technology globally,” says Douglas Robertson, President and CEO of Tech Southeast in New Brunswick.

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