ITAC CEO Robert Watson speaks to member representatives and the media at the organization's inaugural Internet of Things forum on Nov. 29.
ITAC CEO Robert Watson speaks to member representatives and the media at the organization's inaugural Internet of Things forum on Nov. 29.

Published: November 29th, 2016

TORONTO – The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) is looking towards the future.

Though it will continue serving its diverse membership base regardless of sector, for now the organization plans to help them – and their enterprise partners – focus on three topics in particular, CEO Robert Watson says: Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud.

“Moving forward, we want Canada to be a leader in those three files,” he says, noting that he expects enterprise and government employees to be a key part of ITAC’s efforts as well.

“Everything is integrating and moving forward,” he says. “More than ever, IT is becoming an essential part of every industry sector.”

Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing will be especially integral to future technology, which is rapidly incorporating IoT, and therefore relying on the cloud and requiring cybersecurity whether Luddites in Canada or elsewhere are embracing it or not, Watson says.

“Internet of Things is moving forward whether we like it or not, cloud computing is the way to handle it… and security and privacy are fundamental for their future,” he says. “So it’s a necessity that we keep track of those three files.”

When it comes to cybersecurity, for example, ITAC plans to continue organizing a regular Cybersecurity Forum to support networking, clustering, and information sharing; run industry-driven trade missions with a large cyber focus; and collaborate with the government on the industry’s behalf to ensure the federal cybersecurity policies focus on innovation, growth, and awareness among businesses, Watson says.

With IoT, the organization recently held its first IoT Forum on Nov. 29 and has released two IoT-related papers during the past year and a half, including its recent digital economy innovation paper, which calls on the government to adopt a national IoT strategy.

Finally, the organization has also been working closely with governments at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels to develop a strategy for moving government resources into the cloud. ITAC representatives even attended the OECD Digital Economy conference in Mexico this past June, where they contributed to discussions regarding openness and inter-operable regulations for cloud data, Watson says.

Watson emphasizes that ITAC has always served and will continue to serve as a facilitator rather than go-between, providing its members with opportunities to reach the enterprises that rely on their services, and the governments that use their services and create policies that affect them, both in Canada and elsewhere.

“Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing are all integrated, but they’re also three distinct topics,” he says. “So we’re going to make sure that we become a vocal part of helping the government and our members develop standards and policies for them.”

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