BC Tech Summit 2019

Gary C. Bizzo  |

I love the opportunity to attend this annual event at Vancouver’s Trade and Convention Centre. The innovation coming from British Columbia is world class. I took a colleague to the fourth annual Summit because from the look of some of the technology, I needed someone who could nerd speak and translate for me.

The #BCTECHSummit was delivered by the Government of British Columbia and Innovate BC, a Crown Agency. It featured three full days of content, with 100+ speakers, 150+ exhibitors, and 3,000+ attendees. There was the smell of innovation in the air.

This year’s theme, “The Reality Revolution,” was evidenced by how these emerging technologies are being put to use, from AI to Robotics, Quantum to Cleantech, Blockchain to AR/VR, aimed at solving the biggest challenges facing BC and the world today.

This year’s workshops, master classes, seminars and more featured speakers from global organizations like Walt Disney  (DIS), LinkedIn  (MSFT), WeWork and General Electric  (GE) were a feast of knowledge. Additionally, there were multiple side events happening at the Summit, including the Investment Showcase, Women in Tech Showcase and Youth Innovation Day.

Key speakers included Duncan Wardle (Disney), Manjit Minhas (Minhas Breweries & a member of the Dragon’s Den), Anousheh Ansari (XPRIZE Foundation), Eric O’Neill (Georgetown Group), Tan Le (Emotive) and the Honorable John Horgan (Premier of BC).

I find it satisfying to see the First Nations so well represented with the Indigenous Business and Investment Council, First Nations Technology Council, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and more.

The Times of India said BC is “the fastest growing tech ecosystem in the world.” Indeed, there were 25 countries represented from over six continents.

Some of the companies represented were global leaders in technology. STEMCELL Technologies, headquartered in Vancouver, specializes in developing cell culture media, cell separation systems, instruments and other reagents for use in life sciences research across the basic to translational research continuum.

This IP rich company has over 900 employees spread over four continents.

On the heels of Digital Technology Supercluster’s March 5th announcement of seven projects, all five of the Superclusters were onsite to share ideas and resources. The C$40 million fund went to the seven projects approved under the Technology Leadership Programs:

  • Learning Factory Digital Twin
  • Predictive Analytics for Manufacturing Processes
  • Forest Machinery Connectivity
  • Earth Data Store
  • Tailored Health – Pharmacogenetics
  • Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network
  • Secure Health & Genomics Data Platform

Based in British Columbia, the Digital Technology Supercluster uses bigger, better datasets and cutting-edge applications of augmented reality, cloud computing and machine learning to improve service delivery in the natural resources, precision health and manufacturing sectors. Their technology focus: virtual, mixed and augmented reality; data collection and analytics; quantum computing.

I spoke to Nasrin Zedah, COO of EPIC Semiconductors. EPIC produces battery semiconductors the size of a grain of sand. These battery-free energy harvesting sensors with integrated and artificial intelligence pre-quantum super position processors communicate wirelessly to the Cloud. And you thought I was kidding about taking my own expert to this summit to explain these things to me.

EPIC calls this, “the AI chip with feelings.” Its AI chip senses human action (like presence, gesture, and touch), physical forces (temperature, pressure, vibration, humidity, etc.), chemical reaction and even vital signs of any living organisms. The cost to manufacture - a cent!

Like you, I have security on my office computers but nothing like what Carbon Black has rolled out. Carbon Black’s enterprise Predictive Security Cloud focuses on understanding attackers’ behavior patterns, enabling companies to detect and stop never-seen-before attacks. Leveraging the power of the cloud, it analyzes more than 500 billion events per day across millions of global endpoints, staying ahead of emerging attacks.

Government agencies, funders and research groups were out in force from the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, Opportunities New Brunswick (a long way from home), to the Vancouver Economic Commission.

I ran into Thealzel Lee of the Vantec Angel Network scouting the new talent for her group of VCs. Thealzel co-manages the VANTEC Angel Network and is a founder and president of the E-Fund Angel Investment Fund. She co-hosts the Vancouver chapter of the Keiretsu Forum.

Since 1999, Vantec has been hosting monthly angel investment meetings where 8-12 early stage companies present their business and investment opportunities to an audience of angel investors. Vantec is often the first investor community where startups pitch. They offer entrepreneurs a 90-second preview pitch and the chance to give a full presentation based on investor interest.

One of the best features of the summit, besides the exhibitors, was the opportunity to meet world-class entrepreneurs, researchers and academics who are on the ‘bleeding’ edge of technology. My colleague and I spent hours picking their brains. The knowledge, strength and breadth of new ideas covering so many industries and technologies were hard to count.

BC Tech is alive and doing very well!

Gary is CEO of Bizzo Management Group Inc. in Vancouver. He has mentored over 1000 business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs. London-based Richtopia placed Bizzo on the Top 100 Global Influencers in the World for 2018

DISCLOSURE: None


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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
GE General Electric Company 9.98 -0.29 -2.82 81,563,530 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 117.05 -3.17 -2.64 33,624,528 Trade
DIS The Walt Disney Company 108.23 -0.43 -0.40 24,133,840 Trade

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