25 Innovative Technology Companies Showcase Talent and Celebrate Community At NextBC

On May 15, the top 25 tech companies in BC gathered together on the second-floor concourse of The Telus World of Science to showcase their latest innovative breakthrough and to celebrate the influencers and visionaries of the future.

NextBC, presented by DigiBC, the Digital Media and Wireless Association of BC, invited out a diverse collection of game/life-changing companies, from experienced money managing tools [Payfirma] to digital health advances [Conquer Mobile] to HD cameras in the exosphere, shooting perfect images of the Earth [Urthecast].

“At DigiBC we recognize that technology is changing our lives in so many ways,” said Howard Donaldson, President of DigiBC. “Our objective is to promote innovation and that is really what inspired this event.”

NextBC was designed not only as a conference with keynote speakers and panelists, but also as an award show, highlighting the company that has excelled and continues to show great potential.

The top 25 companies, at the end of the night, were chiseled down to five. From there a panel of judges were selected to ask important questions that focuses on four factors that include; breakthrough or rapidly advancing technology, the potential for broad impact, the potential for significant economical impact, and disruptive impact that transform how people work and live. The five companies chosen were: General Fusion, D-Wave Systems, Avigilon, Urthecast and CapTherm Systems.


How many years from commercialization do you think you are?

“Eight years,” responded General Fusion’s representative. “We want to build a power plant; that is not something you can whisk up in an afternoon.”

“Hopefully in the next few years we’ll demonstrate the physics that the power plant is based on, which when we compress this very hot gas, we can make fusion energy,” he continued. “Demonstrating that will take around two years, but this will not be a power plant, this will be a test that can show that it can be done. After that we need to build a piece of hardware, which will take some years and a lot of money, and just raising the money will be difficult to build a power plant like that.”


What is disruptive about your business model?

“We have the ability to stream data from space in utterly new and innovative ways, disrupting how it was done for everyone else,” said Urthecast’s representative. “We can democratize the view of Earth for free for anyone with Internet connection. That free platform that we put out to everyone in the world allows us to generate huge numbers of eyeballs. And those eyeballs can in turn be monetized much like the classic model of Internet companies.”

“I’m happy to say that we are very profitable,” said Avigilon’s representative, “and we are the fastest growing software company in North America. We go to market through certified Avigilon dealers. We directly sell to them and they sell to stadiums, transportations, etc. That’s pretty disruptive because a lot of our competitors mass produce to market distributors, and they dilute their product and their pricing model.”


Why are you here in Vancouver?

“From a national level, the support for research and development in Canada is second to none,” said CapTherm’s representative. “We feel really fortunate for the support we received from national research councils and scientific research and experimental development. We do utilize the ETC tax credits, we got a substantial portion off the pie last year and overall I couldn’t find a better place to run the company out of.”

“As you might imagine quantum mechanics take some pretty smart people to do what we are doing,” said D-Wave System’s representative. “So when we started the company here, we were able to attract some of the world’s best physicists to work on the dream that we had. People have come from all around the world: a lot of European countries, all over the States and across Canada. They always had this dream and that’s why they are here.”

When it was all said and done, the tension had built and the drum roll had fizzled out, General Fusion was awarded the Gold honours, D-Wave System with the Silver and Avigilon with the Bronze—and Fusion Pipe Software Solutions took the People’s Choice Award.

Vancouver’s Mobile Community Discusses Future of Marketing at DigiBC’s MoMoVan

There was once a time when we would roll out of bed and flick on the television and digest the morning news with a fresh cup of coffee.

Now many people admit that they start the day off by reaching for their mobile devices and routinely checking each of their apps and sites for current events, social and business correspondences and progression in their Clash of Clans economy. Mobile devices have changed every little thing we do, but it is still a relatively new technology and businesses are only starting to understand how to harness its full potential.

On Monday July 8, 2013, DigiBC presented MoMoVan, a digital marketing event that addressed businesses’ shift to become mobile first. Whether it is promoting a new product or supplying news, companies recognized that mobile is the media format of the future. But which platform should a company choose is still to be determined, mobile sites versus apps? That was a major question the panel at MoMoVan tried to tackle.

“It depends on what you are trying to accomplish,” said Johann Starke, president of FCV, an interactive and digital marketing agency. “Apps work great, but if you are building an app for a political party with a campaign where the content has to change, it depends on how it is structured. What if there is a problem? What if you need to update it? You are totally at their [App Store approval] mercy. I think the things that have time constraints, you are better off doing a mobile site and use apps for things that are product based.”

“Apps are a bit of a gamble,” Starke added. “You got to be careful that you time it right. I’ve heard horror stories about stuff taking 90 days from the time you send it in for approval and if they reject anything you’ll have to fix it. So it is tricky.”

Apps are a big commitment for companies, but for users they tend to be nothing more than a short-term fling, a impulse download followed by neglect and then deletion. There are only a handful of apps that have sustainable relevance and remain a permanent fixture on my iPhone.

Apps are a premium experience and it comes with a price. A quality app with a poorly planned purpose will result in lost of time and money. “The reality is,” said Sandy Fleischer, Managing Partner at Pound & Grain, “apps are going to break. It depends on the complexity, but ultimately apps are software, while websites can sometimes be brochure-ware. In general, the maintenance requirement for an internal app is going to be more so than on a website.”

Despite all that, new apps are being produced. Apple announced that in June that there are now over 900,000 apps in the App Store. That is a 28% increase from one year ago.

In terms of user data, people spend a lot more time on apps than browsing mobile site. But some believe the market is now saturated and it is about time we see a decline in app productions. We don’t need another weather forecast, currency converter or food review app. We have reached a point where only the best apps should survive.

After all, what is the point of spending money and time creating something that will only be lost in the desolate sea of icons?