Support for the development and adoption of cloud technologies is critical in boosting Canada’s competitiveness in the global economy, according to the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliances (CATA Alliance) but the country currently lags in the adoption of advanced technologies “despite a massive IT budget.”
“We are lagging behind other nations in cloud technology adoption because we have become very comfortable with legacy and traditional structures,” John Reid, CEO of CATA told IT in Canada. “We have to change our mindset…and the government can help nurture and direct a bolder vision and strategy through legislation and policy.” The CATA chief spoke during the launch today of the organization’s Cloud 1st for Canada Advocacy Initiative.
Reid noted that a report by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a global organization of software makers, Canada was ranked 9th among 24 countries in cloud readiness. The same report placed Canada 24th in ICT adoption; 47th in government adoption of advanced technology; 24th in average bandwidth per broadband user while being 37th in cost; and 92nd in cellular cost.
“No business, let alone a nation, can maintain a first-tier presence in global markets if it is handicapped by legacy business models,” Reid said. “There is no question that there will be some legislative and other barriers…rethinking needs to be done or else we cannot fully embrace the model of a new economy.”
Competence in cloud technology will be critical in navigating other key technology trends that will impact businesses and the public sector, he said. Among these key trends are the Internet of Things, data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, supercomputing as well as the increasing importance of cyber-security. These technologies “feed off” each other and are increasingly becoming connected, according to Reid.
“By 2020 there will be more than 50 billion connected devices, all creating data that can be analyzed,” said Reid. “Market intelligence will drive business development because once you understand consumer behavior patterns you can develop apps and devices that meet those behaviours and needs.”
Under its Cloud 1st for Canada Advocacy Initiative, CATA put forward eight points which the association believes will help Canada boost its tech standing:
- Begin a pan-Canada discussion on best ideas on how to accelerate the country’s cloud platforms and cloud software. The discussions will need to recognize and address regulatory factors, data gravity and the “sovereignty it entails.”
- A panel meeting of leading Canadian experts to have a best practice discussion on cloud computing in Canada
- An Internet Bill of Rights for Canadian businesses and consumers in an era where connectivity is a fundamental human need
- Investment in world-class data centres and true cloud platforms
- Encouragement of risk capital investment in software and platforms for digital business, tax credit programs and other forms of economic stimulus
- Join Digital 5, a network of leading digital governments with the goal of strengthening the digital economy
- Enhance and exploit common global perceptions that Canada is more digital-friendly than the United States
- Developing a blueprint for Cloud 1st which addresses the areas of ensuring privacy, promoting security, battling cybercrime, protecting intellectual property and ensuring data portability
CATA said blueprint will also include the harmonization of international rules, promotion of free trade, removal of access barriers and the establishment of necessary IT infrastructures.
“The Cloud 1st for Canada Advocacy Initiative aims to engage federal political parties, MPs, media and other major influencers through video interviews, roundtables and other conversational tools designed to connect them to the voices of community leaders in the public and private sector,” said Ian Rae, CEO of CloudOps Inc., a Montreal-based computer support and services firm. Rae is also the national commentator for the CATA Innovation Leadership Council.
“Canada needs to help cloud computing achieve escape velocity,” Rae said.
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