Check out the following video that does a great job as showing what took place at the T4G Big Data Congress here in Saint John last month:
There was a great article in yesterday’s Telegraph-Journal around the Open Data and Saint John:
SAINT JOHN – As IT experts converge on the city for the Big Data Congress on Thursday, a discussion has resurfaced over whether the City of Saint John should implement an Open Data policy to make internal collections of information public.
“I believe the concept is really all around making sure that information that isn’t private is being released. Maybe its’s mapping information for the city, maybe it’s locations of bus stops, maybe it’s fire hydrants,” said Shawn Peterson, an ICT professional who will be attending the conference.
“I think it’s a different mind-set. Municipalities and governments aren’t necessarily used to sharing raw data with people,” he said.
Open data policies have been adopted across the country – most notably by Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Toronto – as well as by the federal government. They release a variety of data sets, including lists of public amenities, statistics on city services, or budget reports.
City councillor Greg Norton said there can be many advantages in making that information public. “If we do share the data that we have in a municipality, there’s going to be huge potential for our city to overcome challenges,” he said. “Open data reveals all of those essential elements that would allow the outside, the private sector in particular, to establish themselves not as outsiders but as equals in creating solutions for provinces.”
He said Saint John is in an especially strong position in that respect because of its thriving ICT sector, “which to me is a gold mine, something that we need to embrace,” he said. “We need to give protective license to allowing them access to information that can allow us within the city’s framework solve some of the hurdles that we struggle with, provide efficiency that we may not have realized if we didn’t share data.”
Norton said it’s a matter of finding a strong leader to bring the idea forward to council, and be willing to invest the time to make the project work. “The quicker we buy in to open data, the quicker we’re going to create efficiencies, the quicker we’re going to see growth in economic sector. At the end of the day it’s working in collaboration,” he said.
At Thursday’s conference, a hackathon will allow people to see the direct results of making data available to the public, said Michael Whelton, a school principal. Several of his students from St. Malachy’s High School will be joining in with their teachers, playing with data provided by the City of Saint John.
Peterson said the data includes Saint John transit numbers, as well as data sets relating to flooding and snow clearing.
Brian Woods, the city’s manager of information technology, said
“What the hackathon is looking for is people who are passionate about questions and passionate about data,” he said. “If you find passionate people, then you’ll get really engaged activity, and the information that comes out and the knowledge that comes out – they’re going to go that extra mile.”
He said before making it public, city staff have to go through the data sets and remove private information, and spend time formatting it. That can take time, and staff.
“If release a data set that has been cleaned, and is opened, and from that we depose some questions and people come up with some answers, maybe the next step in my mind is we can take that and apply it to our data proper,” he said. “That’s the power of open data.”
He said the four Canadian cities leading open data are much larger than Saint John, and can devote more time and resources to the project. He said some of the city’s data – mainly the GIS mapping software they use – is sold to private industry, making it part of the city’s revenue. As well, much of the data is already available on the city’s website through council minutes. It’s just not as easily accessible.
“This open data is not a new thing but with the way it’s starting to get used and the answers coming out of it, it’s really exciting,” he said.
via telegraphjournal.com (written by Carolyn Thompson)
The article features Geoff Flood, President of T4G Limited, and Larry Sampson, CEO of the New Brunswick Information Technology Council, talking about the potential for Big Data and the idea of a Data Science Centre of Excellence.
From Facebook posts to Tweets to mobile news updates, we live in a world of constantly flowing data and information.
Much of that data is useless, of course. But much of it is extremely valuable.
Yet drawing out the important bits is akin to drinking from an ever-growing fire hose: the flow of data is overwhelming.
“It’s coming from all directions, all the time. We’re talking about an exponential increase in volume,” says Saint John technology entrepreneur Geoff Flood.
“It’s like nothing we’ve seen before,” he adds. “The sheer volume of data requires a different approach to managing it and analyzing it and interpreting it.”
The sector focused on harnessing and filtering that wave of information is called “Big Data”. And it’s a sector Flood believes Atlantic Canada is well positioned to gain from.
That’s why his technology firm, T4G, is the lead sponsor of the upcoming Big Data Congress. To be held Jan. 24 in Saint John, the conference will bring together national delegates from the business sector, government and academia. It will also feature leading authorities on the future of Big Data. Among the speakers will be Andrew McAfee, a best-selling author and principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business.
“The primary objective of the conference is to help people see the potential,” says Larry Sampson, CEO of the New Brunswick Information Technology Council, a co-organizer of the event.
“Big Data is a means of capturing and parsing and dealing with vast amounts of data… so that we can leverage that information to improve the quality of our lives and the performance of businesses.”
As Sampson notes, Big Data is an emerging field within the computer science world – one with the potential to alter many aspects of society, from business to health care.
It’s also a field that New Brunswick is familiar with. Radian6, the province’s best-known technology company, rose to fame – and later fortune – by helping Fortune 500 companies see what’s being said about them online.
More recently, the province’s main tech startup accelerator – Launch36 – helped develop LeadSift. The startup, which recently raised $1.1 million from investors, sifts through reams of Twitter data to generate sales leads for companies.
And the potential for further Big Data job creation is immense.
According to Gartner, a technology research firm, 4.4 million jobs will be created worldwide by 2015 as companies work to harness and filter the Big Data deluge.
Atlantic Canada, argues Geoff Flood, must work cooperatively to ensure many of those jobs are created locally.
That will require universities to provide proper training for mathematicians and analysts. Governments must also embrace the opportunities presented by Big Data.
As well, Flood is hoping the Big Data Congress will lead to the creation of a Data Science Centre of Excellence – to unite the public, private and academic sectors.
“This is something we can pursue. It just requires a commitment and an alignment across government, academia and industry,” he said.
“There’s no reason why we can’t do this here. We have as much opportunity as anybody.”
via telegraphjournal.com (written by Quentin Casey)
Learn more about the event at leadingthinkers.t4g.com!
It’s been an exciting week for Greater Saint John!
True Growth 2.0, our revised Economic Development Strategy, has been approved by all Regional Councils: Grand Bay-Westfield, Quispamsis, Rothesay, St. Martins, and Saint John.
In addition to the strategy being passed, it appears that funding from all communities is going to be in place to allow Enterprise Saint John to begin implementing the strategy.
I also received the final True Growth 2.0 document that you can download below:
Stay posted for opportunities to get involved in the new year!
How I See The Opportunity
Why is this such a BIG deal to us in New Brunswick – and especially in Saint John?
Big Data is a huge (and growing) opportunity and we are well positioned to take advantage of it.
In Saint John, ICT (Information Communications and Technology) is one of the high-growth sectors identified in True Growth 2.0, our recently revised Regional Economic Development Strategy. I was honoured to be a member of the volunteer Steering Committee that spent four months interviewing community leaders to figure out how to renew and update Saint John’s regional development strategy. During those conversations, big data came up a lot – and not just with traditional ICT companies. Everyone is grappling with figuring out how to manage data, including how to create a workforce ready to meet this growing need. That’s why a Centre of Excellence makes so much sense to a growing number of people.
That’s why it’s so fitting the Big Data Congress take place in Saint John at Port Saint John’s two cruise terminals, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. This is the same location where a single cruise ship, redirected here due to a hurricane, ignited the idea of a cruise ship industry in Saint John. Since that time, we have welcomed over 1.5 million visitors – boosting the tourism sector in our region and across the province.
This event can be the same type of catalyst – learning from leading thinkers, identifying opportunities, and spurring action to move forward.
I hope you can attend and be part of this initiative!
Information is being frequently updated on the Leading Thinkers website:
Big opportunity. Big ideas. Big data.
T4G and the NBITC invite you to spend the day with some of North America’s leading Big Data thinkers, doers, and innovators on January 24th, 2013 in Saint John, New Brunswick. Data science is driving economic and technological change and the implications are limitless for the private and public sector.
Join us as we bring together Atlantic Canada’s emerging data science innovators with some of North America’s leading thinkers and doers for a day of open conversation to explore what big data means for us, our communities, and how it can reshape your business.
A trio of big data thinkers headline the Congress.
- Breakfast keynote: MIT researcher and author Andrew McAfee (Race Against the Machine; Enterprise 2.0)
- Lunch keynote: Harvard lecturer and Deloitte Analytics senior advisor Tom Davenport (Judgment Calls; Analytics at Work)
- Closing keynote: Wired contributing editor Steven B. Johnson (Future Perfect; Everything Bad is Good for You)
The Big Data Congress also features breakout sessions, workshops, a Big Data Kitchen Party, a Maritime dinner feast and a closing concert with award-winning Canadian rockers Joel Plaskett Emergency.
via Leading Thinkers
If you are interested in attending, sponsoring, or just looking for more information - please contact me!
Related Big Data Articles
A collection of power plants, shopping malls, industrial sites and commercial properties are the big winners in a multi-million dollar property tax cut introduced by New Brunswick’s cash-strapped provincial government last week, a CBC News review shows.
No numbers were given over how the cuts will be distributed, but a CBC review of current tax assessments compiled by the website propertize.ca shows the 10 highest taxed properties will eventually save a combined $3.4 million a year.
NB Power’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station will be the single biggest winner with a property tax cut of $759,768, followed by:
- NB Power’s coal-fired generating plant in Belledune ($411,306)
- Champlain Mall in Dieppe ($397,579)
- the new Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (PCS) mine in Penobsquis ($343,633)
- Irving Oil Ltd.’s refinery in Saint John ($319,546)
- NB Power’s oil-fired generator at Coleson Cove ($300,251)
- Regent Mall in Fredericton ($242,360)
- the old PCS potash mine also in Penobsquis ($238,332)
- McCallister shopping mall in Saint John ($197,510)
- Irving Paper’s east Saint John mill ($194,205).
via CBC.ca (written by Robert Jones)
- Has Propertize.ca helped you?
- Is Open Data important to you?
Let me know what you think!
A steering committee led by Saint John Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart has proposed a way to harness Enterprise Saint John’s strengths more effectively, by integrating the city’s economic development policy with the provincial government’s efforts to stimulate development regionally. The idea makes sense – and it’s refreshing to see this council asking how ESJ can be improved, rather than proposing to gut it.
The future of regional enterprise agencies was cast into doubt earlier this year, when the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced that it was pulling their federal funding. The provincial government followed suit, and now proposes to replace the enterprise agencies with a network of 12 regional economic development advisory councils. This has led community councils across the province to ponder whether additional means are needed to support local economic growth. At least one municipality – Fredericton – is closing its enterprise agency.
This is not an option favoured in Saint John, where fostering new growth is one of the newly elected council’s top policy priorities. The question before councillors is, how can the city ensure that its efforts complement what the provincial regional advisory boards will be doing?
Deputy Mayor Rinehart has served as Dean of Business at the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus, and as chairwoman of Enterprise Saint John’s board. Objectively and personally, she understands the impact that this agency can have on the growth of the city’s industrial, commercial and retail base.
Her committee has recommended expanding energy-related industries; advanced manufacturing and industrial fabrication; financial, insurance and professional services; information and communications technology; health sciences; and tourism. The committee also urged council to review Enterprise Saint John’s board structure and appointments process with the goal of fine-tuning it for a new role – to act as a regional advisor to the minister of economic development.
Like the deputy mayor, we see this as a logical evolution. Enterprise Saint John has always had a regional mandate; if municipalities in the region continue to support it, we see no reason why it could not become the region’s chief champion and facilitator of economic growth.
Saint John Medical School (aka Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick) students created a recruitment video for Dalhousie Medical School MMI weekend 2012:
A parody video called Saint John Style spoofing the South Korean song Gangnam Style has become a hit on YouTube with more than 2,500 views.
The video was written, created and features students from Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and shows them dancing in lab coats and colourful tights at key landmarks in the city, such as the Saint John sign, in front of John Hooper’s statues and at the skate park.
The intention of the video was to show applicants that Saint John is a good place to study and the student culture is warm and welcoming, Chan said, but they also wanted to raise the program’s public profile because it’s only three-years-old. He said many people don’t realize that Halifax’s Dalhousie University has a satellite medical school program for New Brunswick residents.
Chan and filmmaker and editor, Ron Yan, said what’s different about DMNB is that the class size is small, which means they get a lot of one-on-one time with doctors and tutors in a hospital setting.
“I think one of the biggest things we wanted to convey with this video and what can’t be understated is the chemistry that we have with each other,” Chan said, “and the non-competitiveness and the constructive atmosphere we have with all our classmates.”
via telegraphjournal.com (written by Otiena Ellwand)
It’s been a busy few days!
True Growth 2.0 was handed over to the Regional Mayor’s last night after several months of work.
At the public portion of the event, Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart gave a high level overview of the plan. Below are a few snippets from today’s Telegraph-Journal article on the event and plan:
A proposed strategy to bolster economic growth in the region will focus on attracting jobs and investment in six sectors that range from health sciences to financial services.
The economic development plan for Greater Saint John seeks to build on the region’s strengths, such as affordable living and the port that offers a shipping gateway to the world, to draw more workers and businesses.
Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart, chairwoman of a steering committee behind the proposal, said business leaders and the region’s economic development agency will be responsible for setting goals and seeing them through.
“In January there will be a call to action, and I hope all of you are ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard,” Rinehart told a crowd of business executives and politicians at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.
The new strategy focuses on attracting jobs and investment in six areas: tourism, energy, financial, insurance and professional services, advanced manufacturing and industrial fabrication, information and communications technology and health sciences.
Many of those were part of the old plan, dubbed True Growth, but Rinehart said her steering committee confirmed over the last few months that there is still great opportunity to grow these sectors even more.
via telegraphjournal.com (written by Reid Southwick)
The executive summary of the report was handed out at the event, and I wanted to make sure was shared online for anyone that wasn’t able to attend. Click the image below to download a copy:
Update: The full report can be viewed here!
Well, we actually did it (after many lunch hour practices) – and it turned out to be a very fun evening!
Not only did we get a chance to perform at the event, we also managed to raise over $16,000 for MindCare NB.
Want to check out our performance? See the video below that was shot by a co-worker at the event.
Who says technology companies can’t dance?