Last night, DigiBC brought together five of Vancouver’s technology thought leaders to combine their perspectives ranging from the community level to business and government. The topic of discussion was the future of Vancouver as one of the worlds leading technology hubs. The emphasis was on how Vancouver will accomplish this feat more so than when or why. The panelists identified many obstacles and attitude shifts necessary in order for Vancouver to pull ahead of the pack. Throughout the discussion three things became abundantly clear:
1. Vancouver Is Attracting International Attention
Vancouver has reached a critical point where we have more eyes on our fair city than ever before, and it’s not because it’s a pretty place (though it doesn’t hurt!). We are garnering the attention of talent and investors alike and are home to a blossoming startup ecosystem. We are no longer simply destination, we are a place where people see a journey, whether it’s building their career working for one of our many tech companies, building a business from scratch, or catalyzing the ideas of one of our budding entrepreneurs. However, we haven’t secured the spotlight just yet.
“We can lose it-” Ray Walia, director of Launch Academy, stated repeatedly throughout the event discussions.
He drove home the message that we have to collectively seize the opportunity to make our city a 21st century digital leader. Doing so will require a 360 degree strategy that reaches to the top of our government and education system and permeates our communities.
2. Vancouver Poaches Talent
Other Canadian cities have voiced that they are losing talented developers and entrepreneurs to Vancouver’s emerging tech hub. However, just as quickly as Vancouver attracts talent it absorbs it, leaving thousands of job vacancies in the tech sector and driving up the cost of hiring developers.
3. Technology Is Everywhere…Yet Nowhere
Technology is not only infusing itself into our lives through our cell phones, it’s playing an increasingly large role in everything from education to business. Having a digital strategy is becoming an element of every business strategy rather than an optional add-on. It’s a must, and therefore our schools and universities should be putting more of an emphasis on technology.
But there is a gap.
On one hand there is now a generation of adults that haven’t known their lives without the internet, on the other hand there is a generation that grew up before the internet became ubiquitous. Many of these individuals are our professors, teachers, parents, and politicians. There is a need to educate older adults on the importance of technology. Indeed, there is a need for the governmental systems and structures we have put in place to undergo significant changes in order to keep pace with the ever accelerating rate of innovation and globalization.
The discourse at the ‘Future Vancouver’ event brought to light many actionable components of how Vancouver will become a digital leader and helped us at Gravit-e Technologies define how we see ourselves as one of those components:
We are the builders. As the scope, demand, and cost of talent escalates we will ensure that high quality, affordable, on-shore development remains available to businesses in Vancouver who may not require or have the means to hire their own in-house development team. We hope to increase our collaboration with startups and make our team of talented developers available as the architects of entrepreneur’s ideas and we will continue to help existing companies streamline, automate, and reimagine the way they do business.
We look forward to playing our part in Vancouver’s bright future and watching our company grow alongside it.