Posts Tagged ‘ict’

By Vanessa Caldwell
Toronto's tops in tech
Toronto is Canada’s high-tech hub

Toronto is known for lots of things. The longest street in the world. The tallest freestanding structure in the world (at least, such was our claim to fame until 2007). North America’s largest continuous underground pedestrian system.

Toronto is also gaining global steam as Canada’s leading high-tech hub: home to 30% of Canada’s ICT workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial environment where the number of ICT service firms has increased by 2,000 since 2002.

A recent report, Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto, showcases highlights from Toronto’s high-tech scene, including an overview of the entire sector and details about our city’s research and innovation community, talent pool and investment environment.

The report also details Toronto’s emerging tech scene–including mentions of many MaRS clients.

Mobile device proliferation will drive mobile platforms and apps

By the end of 2010, 4.6 million smartphones made their way into the hands of Canadians. Businesses are looking at how these devices can be used to improve efficiency and accuracy across all fields, from health care workers to sales staff. The mobile scene has exploded in Toronto in recent years, growing to include events such as MobileMonday @ MaRS and Mobile Innovation Week.

MaRS clients in the mobile space:

Digital media will transform creative communication and interaction

Digital media is well positioned for healthy growth in Canada: 42% of Canadians share pictures online, 41% play games, 36% download music and movies and 35% access online newspapers. Businesses are going digital too–think paperless education, reviewing presentations on the fly and sales presentations with clients onsite.

MaRS digital media clients:

Social networking mania will demand attention and insight

Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in the ways people connect, from our personal lives to our interactions with organizations. According to a 2009 consumer survey, 74% of respondents participated in or posted to social networking or community sites. 50% of Canadian organizations use social networking for recruiting and 40% use it as an information source when making ICT purchase decisions.

Toronto is home to Facebook’s Canadian office and will soon be home to a LinkedIn outpost. With two of the biggest social networking sites setting up their Canadian offices in Toronto, opportunities for thought leadership, knowledge sharing and partnerships will undoubtedly arise.

MaRS social networking clients:

Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto (download the PDF here) illustrates and confirms the City of Toronto’s motto: Diversity is our Strength. The breadth, depth and scale of the tech sector in Toronto is enormous and is poised for tremendous growth in the years to come. Where will you fit in?

Reposted from MaRS

Vanessa is a writer at MaRS. She writes all kinds of things, like posts for the MaRS blog, articles for Convergence (the MaRS magazine) and the weekly MaRS eNewsletters.

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By Caitlin McCabe
doctor mobile technology

Technological developments in the last decade have radically and rapidly changed the average Canadian lifestyle. Our research practices and social habits have moved online with society’s transition to a mobile, quick-access style of information access and distribution.

But what do these changes mean for health care? Innovative companies have a new vision for the delivery of health care, a vision in which modern technology is leveraged to improve the speed, accuracy and personalization of diagnosis and treatment.

The health care IT portfolio includes, for example:

  • Consumer digital health products such as smartphone apps that allow patients to take control of their own care
  • Analytic platforms in helmets and watches which alert the wearer to get tested for concussions or heart problems
  • Monitoring software that tracks the spread of infections within hospitals
  • Online health management tools that help a patient find a local doctor or keep track of their prescription schedule
  • Medical devices that improve the success of surgical interventions

Such innovations offer promising and potentially game-changing solutions for many gaps in our current health care model. But each division has unique business development challenges.


Entrepreneurs in the health care IT sector face challenges that span the divide between the life sciences and information technology groups. Some of the challenges include:

  • Clinical validation
  • Technical development
  • Privacy
  • Regulatory issues
  • Often-prohibitive health care policy
  • Hospital infrastructure that may not readily adapt to change

All start-ups have hurdles to overcome, but for health care IT ventures in particular, the potential for improving health care delivery — not just in Canada, but in the wider world as well — is great motivation to stick with the cause.

MaRS’ burgeoning health care IT client portfolio contains many such dedicated futurists, and to these clients, I say: keep an ear to the ground for upcoming Peer-to-Peer sessions and programs designed just for you!

Check out the following resources for more information:

Reposted from the MaRS  Blog

Caitlin helps make sure our clients in the life sciences and health care industry have a great experience with our life sciences practice at MaRS.

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By Mark Zimmerman

Learn from the stories of crash test dummy start-upsWhen a start-up is looking for advice or models to follow, the obvious place to look is for successful ventures that have a similar business model or similar markets.  Lots can be learned by studying success stories in books like Founders at Work or on the web.  However, I think even more can be learned by an honest and thoughtful post-mortem of a failed start-up.  I know I learned far more struggling than winning. 

Marc Hedlund, co-founder of Wesabe recently wrote a fantastic blog post analyzing why he believes Wesabe lost to Mint.

If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s the Coles Notes version: Wesabe and Mint were both online personal finance sites that sought to displace the industry leader Intuit’s Quicken. Wesabe is now closed.  Mint was acquired by Intuit for $170 million.

In the article, he dispels much of the conventional wisdom about why Wesabe lost to Mint and offers his own explanation:

“Between the worse data aggregation method and the much higher amount of work Wesabe made you do, it was far easier to have a good experience on Mint, and that good experience came far more quickly. Everything I’ve mentioned — not being dependent on a single source provider, preserving users’ privacy, helping users actually make positive change in their financial lives — all of those things are great, rational reasons to pursue what we pursued. But none of them matter if the product is harder to use, since most people simply won’t care enough or get enough benefit from long-term features if a shorter-term alternative is available.”

The post has generated lots of discussion in particular this piece from Eric Reis and has prompted other founders including Ben Yoskovitz of Standout Jobs to share.  A collection of 32 such postmortems is here. Definitely worthwhile reading for any entrepreneur.

Mark advises entrepreneurs in the information technology, communications and entertainment practice at MaRS. He specializes in B2B enterprise software, SaaS business models as well as security and privacy.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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