Wavefront Summits coming to Ottawa next week

The mobile enterprise explosion is seen by some as being as significant as the invention of the steam engine or electricity, Wavefront CEO Jim Maynard told OBJ recently.

Mr. Maynard was speaking ahead of the fourth annual Wavefront Summits, which are coming to the Shaw Centre May 5 and 6.

The first three meetings were held in Vancouver, which serves as the home base for Wavefront, which started out eight years ago as the Canada Centre of Excellence for Mobile Enterprise.

Wavefront is active in 29 countries, Mr. Maynard said, connecting Canadian mobile enterprise and Internet of Things companies with global opportunities. But he said there was a need to not just bring Canada to the world, but bring the world to Canada, and that was why the conference was born.

Mr. Maynard said the time was right to take the summit on the road, and Invest Ottawa was eager to partner in the event.

“Bruce (Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby) was jumping up and down, saying, ‘I’ll do it, I’ll do it. Take me,’” Mr. Maynard said.

“Ottawa has a great complementary tech culture to what’s going on in Vancouver,” he said. “The business-changing aspect of mobility with the strong telecom culture. It’s all coming together. It’s all merging. It’s just a natural thing for us to partner with Invest Ottawa and bring it to the Ottawa region.”

Mr. Maynard said mobile enterprise is changing how all business is done, whether it be the energy, transportation or health-care industries.

“It’s not just a bunch of tech geeks,” he said. “This is now talking about how do you blend doing business and use technology as a platform because it’s the first time technology is really a strategic weapon as opposed to business enabler. It’s now a strategic weapon for competitiveness.”

And the change is coming quickly, according to Wavefront vice-president of technology and operations Alan Swain.

“Before, this stuff used to take years or decades to roll through,” he said. “(Now) it’s going to happen in the blink of an eye.”

The summits feature keynote speakers from around the world speaking on a number of mobile enterprise and IoT issues.

Mr. Swain said one speaker who stands out for him is Robin Duke-Wooley, CEO of Beecham Research. He will be speaking about the business implications of wearable technology.

“From a business perspective, there’s all sorts of things you can do around the wearable side of things,” Mr. Swain said.

There will also be B2B meeting opportunities that registrants can sign up for, and companies have been invited to the Innovation Showcase, a pitch event where they will have three minutes to promote their products.

Ottawa-based Zighra is one of the companies presenting. President and CEO Deepak Dutt said he’s hoping to attract some attention to his company, which has created a security and authentication system based on behavioural biometrics such as the angle people hold their phones or the pressure they apply on the touchscreen. No passwords would be required.

“How do we get some good eyeballs coming in and some good connections where we can further our partnerships in the mobile space or the IoT space?” he said.

Mr. Dutt said he is bringing his whole team, currently housed at Invest Ottawa, to take part in the two-day event, so they can learn more about the mobile and IoT space.

“This kind of event doesn’t happen in Ottawa too much,” he said.