Invest more in digital infrastructure, warns TechRev Innovator

At a night celebrating Calgary’s entrepreneurial tech success, one mobile video distribution business executive warned that the growth of Canada’a digital startups could be hampered unless more is done to improve Internet infrastructure.

MoboVivo Inc. CEO Trevor Doerksen expressed concern when discussing the challenges facing the Canadian tech industry, saying that digital infrastructure is a significant constraint for growth. Bandwidth issues force Doerksen (among others) to courier hard drives to the United States as an efficient means of transporting data—and a lack of political and corporate will to invest in infrastructure will result in continued challenges to the Canadian tech industry.

Doerksen’s firm, a white-label video app solution, was one of the companies recognized as a TechRev Innovator. Counting CBC and Rogers Communications Inc. as clients, MoboVivo offers media companies the ability to distribute digital video content on a variety of platforms.

“Mobile video is taking off—an innovation largely spurred by the release of the iPad in early 2010,” said Doerksen. Mobile video consumption has increased significantly over the last 18 months, and consumers are demanding complementary content be available for second screen devices.

Doerksen is optimistic for growth in mobile video and content delivery, however, he did not discount the challenges the tech industry will face if there isn’t enough investment in Canada’s digital infrastructure. Entertainment and productivity will suffer, and Canadians will be unable to compete globally if investment doesn’t occur, he said.

Calgary tech entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders gathered at the annual TechRev Innovators event on Thursday, which recognized 10 local companies for their achievements in the tech sector over the last year. The recognition event gave Calgary a boost of confidence in the sustained growth of a tech ecosystem.

TechRev was established in 2008 as an initiative of Innovate Calgary, in order to increase awareness of and investment in the technology sector in the Calgary region. Companies such as SMART Technologies, Poynt, and Tynt have been recognized in past years by TechRev for their contributions to the tech sector, and have demonstrated Calgary’s ability to drive tech innovation and compete internationally.

With 350 companies from the Calgary tech community nominated, 10 were selected by TechRev for their roles as innovators, as driving forces behind tech momentum in Calgary. The companies recognized come from a number of fields, ranging from geomatics to clean tech to life sciences, a reflection of the growing tech sector in Calgary. Innovate Calgary cites 3,500 companies employing approximately 80,000 people in the Calgary tech sector.

Innovate Calgary President John Masters highlighted the successes achieved by companies in the TechRev community—35 per cent have been founded in the past 5 years, 77 per cent have released at least one new product in the last year, and 48 per cent of companies in the TechRev community are profitable. Masters cited these numbers and a 10 per cent growth in headcount of the TechRev community as evidence of Calgary’s burgeoning tech industry.

iNovia Capital’s Shawn Abbot expressed confidence in Calgary’s tech sector, congratulating entrepreneurs for their achievements in driving the industry forward. He cited MoboVivo’s incredible growth since its launch in July 2010 as evidence of a increasingly successful tech ecosystem in Calgary.

Over the last 6 months, 250,000 subscribers have been actively viewing content supported by MoboVivo’s apps, and that number is expected to grow to one million by the end of the year. Abbot cited MoboVivo as a company he has been watching with great interest for several years, particularly given iNovia Capital’s focus on digital media companies in their venture portfolio.

The TechRev Innovators even offered Calgarians an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the local tech industry, and offered evidence that Calgary’s tech ecosystem is seeing a period of sustained growth.

Martin Studzinski is a marketing and communications professional and technology enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter @martstudz or reach him via email at [email protected].

TechRev Innovators 2011

Aqua-Pure Ventures is an oilfield engineering and services firm that has developed and commercialized cutting-edge technology that transforms wastewater from a liability to an asset.

Blackline GPS integrates satellite tracking with cellular technology to provide solutions to address growing markets in asset and resource security, recovery, and management.

Chaordix applies the principles of crowdsourcing to a company’s marketing and business objectives, developing communities for co-creation, market prediction, testing and solving.

Circle Cardiovascular Imaging develops analytical software for the cardiac imaging community to facilitate the efficient quantitative evaluation of medical  imaging studies.

ComplyWorks is a global leader in providing Compliance Management Solutions to help customers streamline contractor and supplier management and supply chain processes.

Hemisphere GPS, a pioneer and global leader in the geomatics field, designs and manufactures products for positioning, guidance, and machine control applications.

MoboVivo enables anyone who owns video content, such as the media and entertainment industries, producers and broadcasters, to manage, mobilize and monetize their content.

Motive Industries is a specialized vehicle design and engineering company involved in ideation, design and engineering; all the information that’s required to actually construct advanced automobiles.

Splice Software connects call centres and web applications for enterprise clients, allowing them to connect with their customers through a unique human audio application.

Sky Hunter Corporation uses proprietary technology to conduct airborne surveys that map microseep data, predicting the presence of pressurized hydrocarbon reservoirs.

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