On Air – Collision From Home

Collision at home conferenceBy Practicum Student

July 2, 2020

Collision at home conference

The annual Collision Conference brings together noteworthy tycoons from across the globe, including 32,000 attendees from 140 countries, named the “Olympics of tech,” by Politico. From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, the 2020 Collision Conference drew together a wide range of industry experts and leaders. By no surprise, the main topic of most conversations was COVID-19 – How COVID impacts businesses, startups, investors, and even climate change. 

Digital Pay-For-Play Advertising Is Necessary During A Crisis Like COVID-19

From a media and marketing perspective, we learned from CEO of CBC Catherine Tait that 75% of the digital advertising world is dominated by Facebook and Google leaving the rest of the market to fight over the remaining 25%. We also heard from experts in the newsroom that pay-for-play ad spend is necessary during crisis’ like COVID-19 when the news narratives are controlled by one thing and one thing only. Perspectives change and pay-for-play isn’t seen as the short-cut to having your story heard but a strategic approach to raising brand awareness. 

Discussions with Gretchen Carlson, journalist, author and advocate, speaking about her role in paving the way for the #MeToo movement and of course, celebrity appearances such as LL Cool J and Shaquille O’Neal provided edge and excitement on the otherwise business-focused conversations. 

Leveraging Strong Tech Infrastructure and Digital Platforms Has Helped Businesses Adapt To A Digital Economy 

Most memorably, hearing from Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC, Joe Natale, President and CEO of Rogers Communications and Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada on what lies ahead for Canada’s economy, employment and recovery. We learned that technology and communications have played a critical role for Canadian businesses looking to reopen during COVID-19. As we navigate our way through the pandemic, strong tech infrastructure and digital platforms have allowed many businesses to adapt by moving their customer experience online. With network consumption up 50%, making significant investments in technology has paid off for many Canadian businesses. However, this has not been the case for several small and medium-sized businesses whose limited digital experience has left them behind. Only 10% of small businesses were able to facilitate e-commerce and market themselves online, highlighting a digital gap that government and policymakers need to bridge. 

Canada Has The Opportunity To Become A Global Leader In Tech

What was most inspiring to learn was the potential the move to a digital economy provides for the Canadian tech sector. In order to succeed in this economy, businesses need strong tech infrastructure, regardless of what industry they are in. This move also accelerated the need for robust tech talent. Prior to COVID-19, the Canadian tech sector was exploding with over 60,000 new jobs created. With government and private sector support, Canada has the opportunity to become a global leader in the tech space and a destination for top talent. This can be done by encouraging risk capital investment from abroad to support Canadian entrepreneurs, continuing to promote strong private investment, increasing connectivity and having policies in place to facilitate hiring key talent from abroad. 

Attending Collision Conference, one of the world’s largest tech conferences, was an inspiring and thought-provoking experience for the Switchboard team. We look forward to seeing increased growth and innovation in technology as we continue to move forward in a digital economy.


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