Sidebar: ITAC’s Ingenious 2014 award winners

Here’s a synopsis by ITAC of five of the Ingenious Award winners (the sixth, TMX Group, was covered in the main story) and their projects:

Large Public Sector category: Alberta Health

When the number of organ and tissue donations began to decline in Alberta, the government turned to information technology to help reverse the trend.

Working with 93 groups, including Service Alberta and Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health created the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry, a service that enables donors to register their desires regarding donations online.

With support from CGI, an information technology and business process firm, the registry was implemented by Alberta Health in just six months.

Close to 50,000 people have already signed on to the registry, and last night the registry was named as one of the most innovative information and communications projects in Canada by the nation’s ICT industry association.

Before the introduction of the Web-based registry, donors could only express their intent by signing the back of their Alberta Health card. The new system ensures donors are readily identified and that proper consent is in place when required.

“Our goal was to make it easier for people to register their consent to donate, which is intended to contribute to increasing organ and tissue donation rates in Alberta,” said Sherri Kashuba,  the registry’s interim managing director.

“The registry has shown its worth through the growing numbers of Albertans who have registered to help save and improve the lives of others.”


Global Relay CEO Warren Roy at Ingenious 2014 awards. ITAC photo
Global Relay CEO Warren Roy. ITAC photo

Small/Medium Public Sector category: Global Relay

Once a three-person email archiving service, this Vancouver provider of critical business and compliance services recently built a $24 million green data centre powered by hydroelectricity. The company has also invested $15 million in redesigning its archiving architecture.

It now employs more than 350 people provides archiving, eDiscovery, and supervision services to 20,000 customers in 90 countries including 22 of the top 25 banks.

Privately held and employee controlled, its success is fueled by a focus on the future that seen its R&D team work with its head in the cloud for years.

“This is great recognition of Global Relay’s strength in developing and operating innovative technologies on a world scale over the past 15 years,” said Warren Roy, CEO and founder.

“Our cloud-based ‘big data’ messaging technologies are redefining collaboration in the financial world and we are immensely proud of building a global company that brings foreign revenue back to Canada and provides hundreds of professional jobs for Canadian workers.”

Michael Healey, left, VP Halifax Airport with David MacDonald, CEO Softchoice. ITAC photo
Michael Healey, left, VP Halifax Airport with David MacDonald, CEO Softchoice. ITAC photo


Not-For-Profit category: Halifax International Airport Authority.

With 3.6 million customers carrying 2 million pieces of luggage annually, Halifax airport needed to serve travellers efficiently . With the help of Softchoice Corp., a custom-built, automated self-service bag-drop solution was created.

Available to all passengers – a first in North America — it allows travelers to take their bags to a kiosk, input their flight information, print their own baggage tag and drop their bags off without long lines or waits.

It cuts the average check-in time from 10 minutes to under two minutes.

“We are committed to making the travel experience at Halifax Stanfield International Airport smooth and easy, especially through the use of technology,” said authority CEO Joyce Carter. “We saw this project as an opportunity to be an industry leader, offering an enhanced, time-saving service to our passengers.”



Small to Medium Sized Public Sector category: New Brunswick

When New Brunswick decided to upgrade and centralize its cyber-threat protection systems, it was a daunting task. Until 2012, every government department was responsible for controlling their own cyber security, inevitably leading to a duplication of effort, competing standards, incompatible equipment and vulnerability.

But with the co-operation of its partners, the Office of the CIO moved the initiative forward, integrating more than 1,000 different sensors and security devices into of dozens of different agencies, departments and Crown Corporations.

The effort has paid off. The Security Event Management Centre has reduced alerts requiring “desk-side action” by 96 per cent and generated  HR savings expected to top of more than $100,000 a year.

The office now oversees cyber-infrastructure security through the delivery of a uniform, consistent security event management and oversight service.  Centre staff monitor and report on suspected cyber incidents, recommend mitigating actions, respond to emergencies and develop strategies for the future.

“With cyber security concerns keeping even the best CIO’s up at night, the innovative, yet practical  approach taken by the New Brunswick Office of the CIO provides a “best in class example” that others will undoubtedly model,” said  Karna Gupta, CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada


Don Shilton, St. Mary's Hospital, left, at Ingenious 2014 awards
Don Shilton, St. Mary’s Hospital, left, gets award from HP Canada’s Lloyd Bryant, ITAC photo

Large Public Sector category: St. Mary’s General Hospital, Kitchener, Ont.

A trip to the emergency department is never fun, but for Kitchener-Waterloo residents the wait time is at least more predictable.

The top question patients ask when arriving is “How long will I wait?”  This hospital turned to technology to give residents more accurate responses.

A real-time ED wait time clock on a Web site was developed in conjunction with the Waterloo Region technology company, Oculys, which estimates emergency department  times to see a physician or nurse practitioner. With the wait time explained in easy to understand language patients can make informed choices before they leave home about how, when and where to seek care. It also shows the number of people waiting and the number being treated, a projection of wait times over the next six hours in the emergency department based on past trends and a list of alternatives to emergency department care.

The success of the technology prompted nearby Grand River Hospital in Kitchener to launch its own  real-time wait time website, also powered by Oculys.

Following the launch of the Wait Time Website, the St. Mary’s General  Hospital ED  saw a 12 per cent reduction in the volume of patients who aren’t seriously sick. The trend remains consistent.

More than 4,000 people refer to the website clock each month.

“When we first launched this website we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We didn’t know if people would use it,” said hospital president Don Shilton.  “We were pleasantly surprised when, right from the beginning thousands of people began accessing the site each month.  When we talked to those who were using the site they said how much they appreciated knowing what to expect.  It helped them make informed decisions about when to come to the ED or even to decide not to come to the ED and instead seek care from the family physician or go to an urgent care facility. ”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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