Tech demos lead Ottawa firms’ talent blitz at Discover TechNATA

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You.i TV talent advisor Kylie Hurst at Discover TechNATA 2019. Photo by Asen Aleksandrov.

Ottawa’s talent-hungry tech sector gathered once again for this year’s Discover TechNATA event on Tuesday morning, with a sizeable turnout for Ottawa’s biggest technology expo and career fair.

The annual event, which this year opened with the Women in Communications and Technology’s Breaking Barriers panel on diversity and inclusion, presents companies in Ottawa with arguably their best chance to sample local talent and scoop up qualified employees who are just entering the market or perhaps just looking for a chance.

More than 80 companies representing the Kanata North Technology Park and Ottawa organizations from further afield vied for the attention of some 2,500 attendees, many of whom were at Discover TechNATA with the explicit goal of networking and finding future job opportunities, as evidenced by the stacks of resumes piled on most booths by the end of the day.

So, how do you stand out and attract fresh blood for your brand? Every exhibitor had their own unique way of achieving it, but there was no shortage of fun and unusual tactics in play.

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The crowd at Discover TechNATA 2019. Photo by Asen Aleksandrov.

‘Candy bribes’

“Lots of booths with candy bribes!” quipped Veronica Farmer, the director of operations at the Kanata North Business Association. Indeed, a number of exhibitors – such as Fidus Systems and Entrust Datacard - offered various snacks, refreshments and swag-bags to prospective talent.

You.i TV – which has run a booth at Discover TechNATA every year since the event’s inception in 2016 – had a popcorn machine running and handed out flashy reusable water containers.

”We are in growth mode right now,” said Solink business development specialist Anthony Moussignac in between taking down job candidates’ contact info on a tablet and offering them donuts from a country fair-style booth. “There’s a ton of talent in this city. The thing we want to do here at TechNATA is to acquire a little bit more of it … We want to bring people who are here and who have learned here, to learn from them.”

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Solink business development specialist Anthony Moussignac. Photo by Asen Aleksandrov.

Tech demos

Fourteen companies demoed their new offerings on Discover TechNATA’s floor and competed against one another for the title of Serious Tech Lives Here Coolest Tech Demo. Solink won the competition with its AI-powered video software product, which integrates point-of-sale systems with security cameras to capture analytics for customers in the retail and restaurant industries.

GBatteries showcased a new charging protocol technology. Its demo featured an over-the-counter battery pack upgraded with this technology, which in just roughly 10  minutes charged a power tool that normally takes more than an hour to fully charge.

“Our mission as a company is to accelerate the global mass-adoption of electric vehicles,” said GBatteries co-founder and chief commercial officer Tim Sherstyuk. He explained that the company’s technology also improves overall battery life.

Over at You.i TV’s table event-goers were encouraged to don VR sets to road-test their app, which You.i TV talent advisor Kylie Hurst described as “a virtual living room.”

“You’re watching your show, and you can actually interact with the ads, which are posters on the wall.”

The demos were not solely there just to wow and entertain. They presented tangible examples for prospective employees interested in the exhibit companies.

As Hurst explained, You.i’s demo showcased the React Native technology that its future software developers would need to be familiar with. CGI’s demo – an interactive robot capable of analyzing human emotions using photos – outlined its own appetite for cybernetics specialists and AI developers.

If the exciting tech on display in Canada’s largest research park wasn’t enough to entice prospective talent about a career in local tech – well, there’s always a pile of swag and sweets to fall back on.