Your roundup of the best tech news for January

Every month, we round up the best tech news to stay on top of changes in the tech space.

The importance of starting with a network that will grow with you
This year’s GROWTH 2020: CEO Summit – an exclusive, invitation-only conference presented by Canadian Business for senior executives – took place virtually over four mornings in November. Among the impressive lineup of speakers who provided insight and ideas, Dr. Brett Belchetz delivered a keynote address he called How Technology Has Made the Impossible Possible. Dr. Belchetz shares the incredible growth story of Maple, the virtual platform revolutionizing the Canadian healthcare landscape, from a first-month revenue of $49, to the delivery of more than 3,000 medical consults per day (that’s 10 times the busiest ER in the country). The arrival of COVID increased their business six-fold and literally forced the company to multiply its server capacity by 10 overnight.

Mobile app for Inuit with tools for ice safety hits 6,000 users
In his article about the Arctic Archipelago, Lee Rickwood reminisces about the days when residents of Canada’s Far North would jab at the ice with a harpoon to see if it was thick enough to bear their weight. That’s risky business, particularly when climate change is making glacial melt a constant occurrence. A safer option these days is an app called SIKU, the Inuktitut word for sea ice. Along with its host website and companion social network, the project is more formally known as SIKU: The Indigenous Knowledge Social Network and is now being used by 6,000 people. While it offers tools for weather and ice safety, it’s also a social platform for Elders in the community to share oral history with youth. What could be smarter than communicating with young people over technology they already use constantly.

Shaken and stirred: a cocktail for reducing scam calls
In 2019, 26 billion illegal robocalls and scam calls eroded subscriber’s faith in telephone service worldwide. That’s a statistic from Tom Li’s article about Canada’s struggle against telephone scams. With the rise in volume of spam calls, people are insisting on new ways to defend themselves. In Canada and the United States, an advanced form of call protection called STIR/SHAKEN is being implemented. With a nod to a line from James Bond, this defence promises to go above and beyond the capabilities of basic call protection and rudimentary blocking features to combat call spoofing and spamming. Implementation is planned for June 2021.

It’s time to pull AI from pilot projects and start using it for real
International Data Corporation (IDC) recently forecast that worldwide revenues for artificial intelligence (AI) will total more than $156 billion in 2020. In her article on leveraging AI tools to drive operational efficiency and promote brand, Suzanne Robicheau says the writing is on the wall. With a global pandemic disrupting customer service at every turn, customers have come to expect voice-based services. Not only does it elevate your brand, it has a major impact on operations for customer support. According to Robicheau, voice-based interfaces should be at the top of the investment list for technologies that support contactless experiences.

Free QR-based contact tracing tool launched by Ontario-based tech company
Canadian tech company GroundLevel Insights has launched Canatrace, a free contact tracing tool, across Canada, says Pragya Sehgal in her article about alleviating stress for small businesses in various industries. Whether managing a bar, restaurant, museum, gym, workspace, or educational institution, Canatrace will collect and keep COVID-19 contact tracing data such as name, email, phone number and screening questions. This new QR-based digital solution digitizes and simplifies data collection by allowing visitors to provide their contact information directly on their own smartphone using a QR code uniquely branded for that business.

What tech news have you learned recently that has helped you? Let us know below in the comments, or share it with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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