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Branding, Smart Communities the focus of Canadians Connected 2017

A recap of the discussions that took place at Canadians Connected 2017: CIRA symposium and annual general meeting.
By Spencer Callaghan
Director, Brand & Communications

A recap of the discussions that took place at Canadians Connected 2017: CIRA symposium and annual general meeting.

The Canadian internet community gathered in-person and online earlier this week as CIRA hosted Canadians Connected 2017 in Ottawa.

Prior to the annual general meeting, the event featured an excellent keynote speech by Terry O’Reilly, host of Under the Influence on CBC Radio. O’Reilly spoke about the importance of building a strong brand and the value of storytelling in doing so.

O’Reilly spoke highly of the value of a truly Canadian internet presence, and what that .CA brand means for consumers, web users, and the world in general.

“.CA is the Canadian pin on your digital backpack,” said O’Reilly. “Canada’s brand is well known and loved. We’re peacemakers.”

O’Reilly added that world events and the current political climate make it an ideal time to embrace Canadian identity online, making .CA a valuable tool for brands and individuals.

The event was capped off with an engaging conversation on the Smart Communities panel. The panel, moderated by journalist David Aiken, featured Sri Elaprolu, Global Lead & Senior Manager, Public Sector IoT, Amazon Web Services; Jan Harder, Ottawa city councillor; Dan Mathieson, Mayor of Stratford, Ontario; and Byron Holland, CEO of CIRA.

The focus of the panel was on how to leverage the opportunities presented by new technologies, and greater access to data, that Smart Communities provide in a way that benefits everyone.

While individual cities and communities may have limited resources, the ability to coordinate and collaborate across the province or the country must be a focus for governments that wish to get the most from the Smart Cities revolution.

“People talk about data and all the great data that’s there, but what are you going to do with that data?” said Mathieson.

The panel also touched on the importance of having the right underlying communications infrastructure to support Smart Cities, and how municipalities can maximize their investment by thinking ahead.

“If you’re digging and laying track make sure you lay fibre,” said Holland.

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About the author
Spencer Callaghan

Spencer Callaghan is the senior manager, brand & communications at CIRA. He is a writer, former journalist, and has experience in technology, non-profit, and agency environments throughout his career. His areas of expertise include content marketing, social media, branding, and public relations.