A dancer twirls gracefully through the air, the fabric of her clothing floating on currents of air. The spotlight illuminating her is pulsing with a rhythm that grows in tempo, then falls, then rises, and on again.
This pulsing light show is called ‘A Canada in conversation’ — literally, the real-time pulse of Canada’s Internet traffic. As Canadians chatter more over their networks, the pulsing grows more frequent.
Visitors to the joint i-CANADA/World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) summit in Montreal on Oct. 21 - Oct. 24 will be treated to this remarkable display.
It’s meant as a metaphor for the increasing importance—and beauty— of a connected Canada, explains one of the organizers.
Barry Gander is the executive director of CATAAlliance
, a Canadian high-tech association that fosters collaboration among the various communities and regions of Canada to tackle shared challenges.
The Montreal summit will address some of the most worrying concerns Canada has in the ICT sphere, he says.
“Our indexes have been slipping for Canada, for competition, for innovation, and certainly for our Internet ranking in the world, and we have to change that,” says Gander.
Bringing together representatives from different levels of government, as well as non-profit organizations and businesses large and small, the event is intended to “make sure that the best experiences of the best cities in Canada are reflected at a local level for everybody,” he says.
The summit will feature the experience of Ottawa first-responders who are part of an “LTE test bed” for the use high-speed broadband in emergency services, for example. And aside from the technical aspects of Internet connectivity itself, the summit will also cover issues like crowd funding
for startups, health care and open data.
The main challenge in Canada is not simply about building new broadband infrastructure across the country, says Gander. “It’s not that we’re looking at the need for absolutely fresh, brand-new infrastructure everywhere — some places need it — but in quite few places, and I’m in Atlantic Canada at the moment so it’s fresh to me, there are already very good networks available.
“But they’re not coordinated with each other. “And that’s the next challenge, to synchronize them all and build out a regional plan that takes advantage of each region’s strengths and each community’s strengths,” he says.
Along with the discussions, presentations and dance, the summit will also celebrate winners of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee awards, many of whom have contributed to Canada through technology.
For more information about the upcoming event, click here