Technicity 2017

Sponsored By: Cisco Logo

AI opportunities and challenges explored

Technicity 2017, a one-day conference exploring the impact of the AI revolution on business and government, covered a lot of ground. Through presentations and panel discussions, close to 200 attendees learned about the ways organizations see AI will enhance services, increase efficiency and improve citizen engagement.

Speakers at the conference represented multinationals, startups and two levels of government. The topics ranged from the best practices for introducing an AI culture into the workplace to the look and feel of Toronto’s new Quayside digital neighbourhood.

Special thanks to the City, those who attended and the sponsors who made the event possible.

If you have ideas we should consider for Technicity 2018, use the contact tab to reach out to us.


2017 Speakers

Giri has 20+ years of experience as a technology executive. He’s worked in larger companies, including several years at NVIDIA, a pioneer in AI HW technology. deepPiXEL is his fifth startup. Giri holds a degree in engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Fawn Annan is the President, Chief Marketing Officer and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada. She is also partner and CMO for Haliburton’s Digital Reno, a new story-telling agency created to use the power of brand journalism to bring innovative video, podcast and written content to companies seeking to increase their online audience. Ms. Annan is Chair of the Canadian Channel Chiefs Council, sits on the Ontario Board of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and serves on the national board of Canadian Women in Communications and Technology (WCT). Ms. Annan has operated her own business and held senior positions in marketing and strategy with a variety of firms. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for her contribution to the IT industry.
Jason has been solving digital enterprise technology challenges for over 20 years as a new product developer and entrepreneur. His award-winning solutions are transforming the digital landscape from modernizing Content Services to leveraging Machine Learning and AI to deliver Cognitive Information Management. Jason is the driving force behind Shinydocs’ success as OpenText’s Technology Partner of the Year 2016 & 2017 and its best-selling 3rd party technology worldwide. A testament to Jason’s breadth of experience and vision, CIO Review named Shinydocs one of the “20 Most Promising Document Management Solution Providers” in 2015.
Tracey Cook was a Police Officer in Toronto for over 18 years and left to pursue executive roles within the private sector. In 2012, Tracey returned to public service as the Executive Director of the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division for the City of Toronto, where during her more than 5 year tenure, she has overseen significant policy and regulatory initiatives including a new regulatory regime for street food and food trucks and two significant reviews related to the taxi industry. In 2016, she was responsible for the development of a new Vehicle-for-Hire bylaw, which included redrafting regulations for the taxi industry and developing new regulations to permit "Private Transportation Companies" such as Uber.

Tracey continues to represent the city in discussions on the role and response of government to the evolving "sharing economy", focusing on how to balance governments' regulatory role and ensure public safety, without stifling innovation during this era of technology driven disruption. She has represented the City of Toronto and spoken at events on this topic and others, from New York City to Amsterdam, San Francisco to Seoul.

Tracey is currently focused on addressing the municipal impacts related to the pending legalization of cannabis including the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries, and on the rise of short-term rental platforms, such as AirBnB. Tracey was a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, and in 2016 was named Toronto Life's 13th Most Influential Person.
Jeremy Depow is Vice President of Policy and Research for the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Jeremy works to support ICTC’s objectives of strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy with the aim of enabling a competitive and inclusive digital economy, an innovative and entrepreneurial society and economy, and a trusted and secure economy. Prior to joining ICTC, Jeremy served as Executive Director of Canada’s Digital Policy Forum, a national think-tank, which he founded to intensify dialogue and collaboration on building digital policy in Ottawa.
As the Chief Architect for Amazon Web Services, Glenn is responsible for creating architectural best practices and working with customers on how they use the cloud and innovation to transform their own businesses or disrupt new markets.

Glenn has held previous roles in AWS, most recently as head of architecture for Asia Pacific and EMEA for Amazon Web Services where he managed regional teams working in the fastest growing region. Glenn has experience in working in mature and emerging markets, helping customers use the latest advancements to give them a competitive edge.

Glenn is a hands-on technologist with more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. Prior to joining AWS, Glenn was the CTO of WebCentral where he worked on highly scalable web platforms and big-data systems for customers. He also held roles at OzEmail and UUNET the world’s largest network provider.

Glenn has worked in engineering, R&D and technology leadership roles working with customers such as Facebook, Twitter, NASA and working on projects such as the Hadron super collider, interplanetary networking and large scale distributed systems. Glenn is passionate about his customers and about technology and how it is changing how we live and work.
Ted Graham is the head of Open Innovation at General Motors where he helps identify partnerships that will help build new forms of mobility including autonomous and connected vehicles. He is also the former Innovation leader at PWC and a McKinsey strategy consultant with a focus on understanding and leveraging people networks to influence the spread of ideas.

Ted often speaks to audiences about The 5 things I learned about disruptive innovation as an UberX driver and how to apply some of these lessons across a multitude of industries on the cusp of disruption. His first hand account was initially released as a widely read LinkedIn influencer post, then a CBC Metro Morning interview and is now part of his book called "The Uber of Everything". /div>
Andrew Graham is co-founder and CEO of Borrowell, a financial technology company that helps Canadians make great decisions about credit. Borrowell is the first company in Canada to offer credit scores for free, and also provides low cost personal loans. Through a partnership with CIBC, Borrowell powers an online loan product to the bank's customers. In 2017, Borrowell was named by LendIt as one of six young companies globally "that has demonstrated the greatest potential to impact the future of consumer lending." Previously, he led PC Insurance, a fast-growing consumer finance unit within Loblaw Companies Limited. Earlier in his career, he has held senior roles in corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions. He holds an MA in economics from the University of Edinburgh and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Hillary is the Chief Digital Officer for the province of Ontario. As the Deputy Minister for Digital Government, she leads the Ontario Digital Service, a team of designers, developers, and product specialists tasked with making government digital services easy for the people of Ontario. Previously, Hillary was the Deputy Executive Director of 18F, the U.S. government's digital office, and a former Presidential Innovation Fellow. She was also previously the Director of Integrated Marketing at NIC Inc., which helps state and local governments embrace new internet-based technologies and approaches necessary for government modernization. She has extensive expertise in technology, digital strategy, design thinking, and public engagement. As Ontario's Chief Digital Officer, she will partner with government ministries in delivering major digital projects. Hillary will also help accelerate transformation across government by setting new service standards for digital products, attracting and empowering digital talent, and aligning partners around delivering the best possible customer experience.
As Strategy Lead for SAS Canada Steve Holder is responsible for creating and driving SAS solution strategy in the market. A key part of this is providing thought leadership for the SAS Analytics, Big Data and Cloud portfolios. A Canadian analytics evangelist Steve has seen first-hand how the use of analytics and data can help customers solve business problems; make the best decisions possible and unearth new opportunities. Steve’s passion is making technology make sense for everyone regardless of their technical skillset.

With many years of software industry experience, spanning: management, solutions architecture, presales and sales, Steve brings alignment and execution across SAS’ customers, sales teams, and partners.
Councillor Michelle Holland was elected to Toronto City Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. She has served on the most important City Council Committees including Executive Committee, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, Budget Committee and Economic Development Committee. She is currently Chair of Scarborough Community Council, Vice Chair of the Economic Development Committee and Chair of the City’s Corporations Nominating Panel where she has been leading efforts to facilitate gender equality on boards. As a graduate of the Director's Education Program she has considerable board experience including the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Design Exchange and the Art Gallery of Ontario among other boards. For several years she has been a leading voice on the innovation and technology file. In December 2016, Michelle was appointed by Mayor John Tory to serve as the City’s first Advocate for the Innovation Economy. She will lead the City’s efforts to encourage growth in the sector, promote and protect innovation and technology jobs, encourage greater gender diversity and position Toronto as a leader in the innovation economy in all respects.
Marlina Kinnersley is the CEO and Co-Founder of, a machine learning based cultural alignment and scaling platform that is used by leaders to obtain actionable insights resulting in a dramatic 80% improvement in recruiting efficiency, as well as improved employee engagement and productivity. She also founded Culture Labx Toronto, leading the way in redefining workplace culture that brings together founders, C-suite and senior leaders, and culture practitioners. Marlina has over 10 years experience in marketing and sales across agencies and companies, as well building engaged teams. Originally from Victoria, BC, she moved to join Toronto's thriving tech ecosystem and is well on her way to building a world-class culture first company.
Michael Kolm is the City of Toronto's first-ever Chief Transformation Officer. A seasoned executive with extensive experience in business transformation, Michael provides strategic leadership to help the City become more effective and efficient in its delivery of public services, now and in the future, while delivering maximum value for public dollars. With a long and successful background in consulting with powerhouse firms such as EY and PwC, Michael worked with private and public sector clients to plan for and realize the benefits of implementing business transformation. Leading the City's Transformation Office, Michael works closely with internal and external leaders, partners and stakeholders to lead transformational projects that will ultimately drive social, environmental and economic benefits for all those who live, work and play in Toronto.
Jaime is a business enabler. She brings a fresh approach to IT with the goal of helping clients’ unlock their digital potential. Drawing on her deep experience in technology and leading successful teams, Jaime oversees sales and customer management in Canada and the Asia Pacific region. She is focused on expanding the business’ market presence and developing new indirect sales strategies through a network of partners.
Jim Love is an IT leader, consultant, writer and Internet journalist with 35 years ‘experience across a variety of business and industry verticals. Jim has worked as an executive and a consultant for many large companies in Canada and internationally. Currently he is the CIO & Chief Content Officer at ITWC – Publisher of CanadianCIO, Computer Dealer News (CDN), Computing Canada, Direction Informatique (DI), and - and the leading provider of IT related events in Canada.
Craig is Founder of TorontoStarts (formerly Startup Toronto). He has helped over 20,000 entrepreneurs through the development of the most active startup community in Toronto, now with to over 6400 members. Craig also founded The Startup Launch accelerator Program, hosts Startup Talk Toronto's Startup Podcast, and is an active motivational speaker. He is passionate about helping startups build successful businesses that scale, and has personally coached over 400 startups.
Rob Meikle is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Toronto. In his role as CIO,Rob provides visionary leadership for the delivery of flexible and integrated information and communication technology solutions that enable and drive Service Excellence. Rob is a strategic business leader who is innovative and results driven with a proven track record of 20+ years’ experience planning, developing, and implementing award winning global business and technology solutions in the private, public and not for profit sector. Rob was twice named a global CIO 100 Honoree and Computerworld's 2013 Premier 100 IT Leader. Prior to the City of Toronto Rob was the Chief Information Officer at the City of Brampton and has held various leadership roles in the private sector including Global Operations, Customer Service, Marketing, eBusiness and Information Technology.
Matthew Pegg is the Fire Chief and General Manager of Toronto Fire Services – the largest and most complex fire service in Canada. Toronto Fire Services is comprised of nearly 3,200 staff and respond to emergencies more than 275,000 times each year.

He is the past President of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs and past member of the National Advisory Council to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. He is a renowned and sought after keynote speaker and author of the "Leadership Forum" column in Fire Fighting in Canada magazine. Matthew is the recipient of the Fire Service Exemplary Service Medal, Ontario Medal for Firefighter's Bravery and the Heroism and Community Service medal.
Roy began his first startup after attending Carleton University’s computer science program. Since then he’s created several startups and worked with numerous tech companies based in Ottawa, Silicon Valley, and Toronto. While at Cisco in California, Roy was an integral part of the team that founded the security business unit, generating more than one billion in annual revenue. As an inventor, Roy holds patents on remote access IPSec VPN software. In 2007, Roy started the world’s first Facebook marketing agency. In 2009 he started his fifth startup, known as Shiny Ads, to help the world’s top digital publishers better monetize premium ad buys and, in the process, invented an alternative to RTB called “automated guaranteed.” Shiny Ads was later acquired by Rubicon Project (NYSE-RUBI), based in LA, in 2014.
Tomi Poutanen is co-founder and co-CEO of Layer 6 AI (, which offers the world’s most accurate prediction engine for enterprise data. Layer 6 AI was the first company to offer clients a prediction engine powered by a real-time Deep Learning framework. Layer 6 AI helps banks, media, cable/telco and e-commerce companies leverage all of their data to predict customer needs and personalize each customer experience.

Tomi is a serial tech entrepreneur with exits to Microsoft and Yahoo! The acquired software powers Azure’s cloud storage and the search ranking algorithm of Bing and Yahoo Web Search. While at Yahoo, Tomi built a novel $200M search advertising program, Paid Inclusion, and launched Yahoo! Answers.

Tomi is also a founder of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and a founding Fellow of the Creative Destruction Lab, the World’s leading AI venture accelerator. Tomi holds an MSc in Computer Engineering and an MBA from University of Toronto.
Evan Ross is one of the founding principals of Dimensional Strategies Inc. (DSI), a Microsoft Gold Partner and boutique IT firm specializing in helping companies turn their data into actionable analytics. He acts as the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Security Officer and has turned DSI into one of the leading data analytics companies in Canada.
Mike joined the City of Toronto in 2009. His main responsibilities include the implementation of the City’s Economic Development Strategy, Collaborating for Competitiveness, and its Culture Plan, Creative Capital Gains. He also sits on the boards of a number of local agencies connected to the City of Toronto, and in a volunteer capacity, the board of George Brown College. Mike has spent the majority of his career in general management, research, marketing and consulting, locally and internationally. Mike has an M.A. in Urban Geography and is a Certified Management Consultant (C.M.C.).