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First of its kind study by Ryerson University explores role of mobile technologies and adoption in the Canadian Workplace

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 The Transformation of Work, released today at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, is a first of its kind national research study by researchers at Ryerson University, with support from Rogers and Mitacs, that explores the role of mobile technologies and adoption rates in the rapidly evolving Canadian workplace. The report shows that in spite of the potential benefits, many Canadian organizations lack the capacity for adoption. Only half of managers (50 per cent) surveyed had clearly integrated mobile technologies into their business strategy.

The lack of mobile technology adoption is a major business issue that, if left ignored, could have a major impact on productivity and competitiveness for Canadian companies. The report advises that new technologies, including wireless and mobile devices, strong network infrastructure, web-based collaboration tools, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), pervasive and scalable cloud-based IT solutions, as well as analytics and applications can lead to dramatic improvements in productivity, development of new products and services, and more engaged employees and customers.

Transformation of Work reinforces the findings from other reports that suggest that a disjointed approach to managing technologies in Canadian organizations is limiting adoption and impeding productivity and innovation. “Digital technologies have the potential to transform virtually every sector, said Wendy Cukier, Vice President Research and Innovation, Ryerson University and co-author of Transformation of Work. “There is ample evidence that under-investments in technology are impeding growth and productivity improvements. A strategic approach supported by management and operational policies, measurement and a culture embracing innovation are essential. Creating something new does not produce innovation unless it is actually adopted.”

While only half of companies surveyed are integrating mobile technologies into their business strategy, according to the report there are many companies who are leaders in adoption of mobile technologies. These organizations had well-defined mobile strategies linked to corporate objectives and the policies and structures needed to support their implementation and they also reported significant benefits from their use of mobile technologies.

Reasons given for not utilizing mobile technologies to the fullest include challenges with privacy and security concerns, integration with legacy systems, the costs of implementation, and the policies, processes and talent required to implement them effectively.

A key finding in the report shows that businesses are just starting to understand and manage the opportunities in mobile technology and need help to develop management processes that drive value.

Ryerson University understands this important business challenge. Adoption of technologies is a key area of research at Ryerson. Its researchers work with partners to develop next generation technological solutions, but they also explore the strategic, organizational and individual factors affecting their adoption.

“The Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context-Aware Computing (RC4) partners with industry not just to develop leading edge technology and tools but also to examine the impediments and drivers of mobile technology adoption, and to develop evidence-based strategies to promote them,” said Jarrod Ladouceur, a contributor to the report and project manager of RC4.

Other key findings from the report:

1) Mobile technology adoption is important and growing in Canadian organizations:

  • Almost all (96% of) companies are using mobile technologies.
  • Canada has a higher rate of smartphone adoption than the United States, yet is behind the US in the adoption of mobile apps in the workplace.
  • 70% of Canadian employees are mobile in some way (physically) and this is expected to increase to 73% by 2016.
  • The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) estimates that every 1% increase in mobile technology adoption will lead to 0.08% of GDP growth.

2) Mobile technology is clearly impacting and transforming the Canadian work environment:

  •  Mobile technology is improving access to information and changing the very definition of the workplace.
  • The workforce is becoming more mobile and workers increasingly expect flexibility and support for their use of technology.
  • Organizations reported improvements in effectiveness, collaboration, and access to information.
  • Fewer than 30% of organizations see a clear value proposition for the technology.
  • Half of managers reported more research is needed on impacts and metrics.

3) The adoption of mobile technologies is being driven by a number of factors, but understanding and measuring the value remains elusive:

  • Change is coming from both the needs of management and the demands of employees.
  • There is an unclear return on investment (ROI) for mobile adoption.
  • Businesses do not completely understand the potential of the technology as it applies to their workplace — less than 30% of companies saw a clear value proposition for the new technology.

4) Obstacles remain to maximizing the value of mobile technologies in the Canadian workplace:

  • Privacy and security concerns are the most talked-about barriers to adoption.
  • Mobile technology management has been ad-hoc or opportunistic and differentiated across organizations.

For Canadian companies to reap the full benefits of mobile technologies, Cukier advises, “Canada is preoccupied with the innovation gap and most of our attention has been focused on supporting entrepreneurs and startups that commercialize and develop new technologies and processes – the supply side.  Unless these new technologies are actually used, there is no innovation. We need additional focus on understanding the human, organizational and policy issues that affect the demand and adoption of these technologies to drive productivity improvements and global competitiveness.

HealthCare Lunch and Learn
Technology is changing the healthcare sector in dramatic ways. Innovations such as cloud computing, data analytics, 3D and mobile technologies are improving response times, catching preventable diseases earlier and have improved the overall delivery of essential services. Join us for an interactive panel discussion about the current state and future direction of healthcare technology. The panel will feature experts from IBM, Deloitte Health Services, St. Micheal’s, Saint Elizabeth Healthcare, and Prompt Alert Inc.
Cara Commons, TRS 1-148 & 1-150
Ted Rogers School of Management
55 Dundas Street West
Toronto ON  M5B 2K3
This workshop is free and lunch will be providedRSVP Here by April 28

IBM NoSQL Workshop April 2015

As part of our ongoing series of workshops led by IBM Analytics, RC4 in partnership with the Ryerson Launch Zone hosted a workshop on NoSQL databases for a group of 55 developers looking to expand their expertise on April 16th. In this 2-hour workshop IBM Senior Manger Raul Chong reviewed the history of databases, why NoSQL was created and the types of applications best suited for this type of database. As Raul and his team explained NoSQL (sometimes referred to as Not Only SQL) databases do not adhere to the traditional relational database management system (RDMS) structure. As a result NoSQL databases are increasingly being used for big data and a real-time data applications. To accommodate the diversity and complexity of these applications different types of NoSQL databases have been developed and understanding the type of NoSQL database to use for your application can be a challenge. At this workshop there were four types of NoSQL databases were discussed:

  • Key-value: fast data access
  • Document: flexible structure
  • BigTable/Column-oriented: large “reads”
  • Graph: connected data

Following the lecture IBM staff led a demo and hands on exercises to with a NoSQL database to help attendees better understand how they can use these databases.

For more information on this workshop and the topics covered you can access the presentation here.

These workshop are open to everyone looking to develop their skills and network with professionals working in cloud and context aware applications.

Don’t miss our next workshop on Working With Data and Analytic Warehouses on April 23rd!

From one of the most iconic buildings in Toronto, the former Maple Leaf Gardens; IBM, Ryerson University, and We Are Wearables Toronto (WWTO) have joined forces to bring you SportsHack at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. This event will allow participants to work with the coolest wearable, Cloud and Analytics technologies applied in the world of sports. SportsHack is the first Wearable Technology Hackathon in Toronto where the main theme is Sports.

rsz_flybitslogo_hires-01TORONTO, Canada (August 20, 2014) — Flybits Inc., a Toronto start-up that has created a context-aware experience development platform for mobile environments, has closed a $3.75 million Series A financing. Led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) and Trellis Capital Corporation with participation from MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Ryerson Futures, Inc., the investment will advance the company’s product development and international growth in the United States and Europe.

This announcement was covered in the National PostTechVibes, Fortune Magazine‘s Term Sheet Blog (Dan Primack)BetaKit, and PEHub.

Since spinning off from Ryerson University in 2012, Flybits has raised a total of $4.05 million to date, including a seed round from MaRS Innovation. Flybits technology has been used in developing smarter cities, connected stadiums, smart corporate campuses, shopping malls, conference venues and even fashion shows. The company also concurrently incubated its technology at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone in Toronto and Vodafone Xone in Redwood City, California.

“Flybits is RBVC’s first investment in Canada,” said Luis Llovera, managing director of Robert Bosch LLC based in Palo Alto, California. “The company has demonstrated a unique and innovative approach in building foundational technology to deliver Contextual Mobility Services for both display-driven devices and for the emerging Internet of Things applications. Flybits’ strong roots in tangible and high impact R&D, their ability to predict the required infrastructure for the industrial Internet and their global entrepreneurial ambitions were some of the reasons we were attracted to this company.”

“Involving high-quality investors such as Bosch and Trellis demonstrates the potential in our unique approach to designing Intelligent Mobility Solutions that are intuitive and scalable,” said Dr. Hossein Rahnama, CEO and founder of Flybits. “In particular, having Bosch as a strategic investor means we leverage their global expertise in software automation, connected communities and sensor technologies as we support new and existing international customers, and scale and develop both our team and our products.”

“Recognizing the Flybits’ platform potential to create next-generation mobile experiences at an early stage, MaRS Innovation worked closely with Flybits to launch the company and secure initial market traction,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation.

Flybits’ intuitive visual platform is so easy to use that users can build unique contextual experiences without sophisticated IT or other technical integration. Flybits’ goal is to build a platform that allows anyone to create context-aware mobility experiences without worrying about semantic analysis or context processing.

“Flybits is a great example of how innovation is becoming global and borderless,” said Mr. Werner Wnendt, German Ambassador to Canada. “Connecting industrial powers like Bosch in Germany to a unique and promising Canadian university start-up is a very exciting, innovative collaboration between Germany and Canada. It shows how fruitful the cooperation of our two countries is in the sphere of science and technology. I had an opportunity to visit Flybits last year and I am pleased that Bosch has decided to accelerate its growth.”

About Flybits
Flybits is a young and hyper-innovative software company based in Toronto with smaller offices in London and New York. Flybits develops tools that allow users to create predictive and context-aware computing environments for mobile, wearable and connected devices. Flybits leverages the exponential growth of data, augments it with sensing capabilities and enables its users to intuitively create and customize a unique contextual experience for their entity of interest.

About Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC)
RBVC is the corporate venture company of the Bosch Group, a leading global supplier of technology and services. RBVC invests worldwide in innovative start-up companies at all stages of their development. Its investment activities focus on technology companies working in areas of business of current and future relevance for Bosch above all automation and control, energy and environment, enabling technologies, and healthcare. RBVC also invests in services and business models as well as new materials that are relevant to the above-mentioned areas of business.

About Trellis Capital Corporation
Trellis Capital Corporation (Trellis) is a private venture capital fund that invests in small to mid-sized Canadian companies in select technology-based sectors. Trellis’ investment activities focus on innovative companies with highly scalable and capital efficient business models that have the potential to be disruptive in their respective markets. Trellis provides capital, expertise, and a network of contacts to the companies it invests in, as well as assists in their expansion into emerging markets if the opportunity exists.

About MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund
The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) (@MaRSIAF) provides seed funding to qualified emerging companies in Ontario. A critical component of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), the IAF supports the launch and development of innovative companies in Ontario’s priority sectors of information technology, advanced materials and manufacturing, cleantech and life sciences.

About Ryerson Futures
Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) is a Founders First Accelerator program connected to the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, focused on assisting early stage technology companies as they grow and scale. RFI manages a venture fund and provides seed financing, advisory services and customer connections to select startups in exchange for an equity stake. Since 2010, RFI and the DMZ have incubated over 130 startups that have raised in excess of $40m in funding.

About MaRS Innovation
As the commercialization agent for 15 of Toronto’s and Canada’s top universities, hospital and research institutions, MaRS Innovation (MI) works on the behalf of its members to take their most promising research breakthroughs from the lab bench to the market.