Delve into some of the inspiring industry success stories from Think Summit Canada!

In a period of extraordinary change and opportunity, we hope you find these industry success stories informative and inspiring.

While experiencing the next generation of cloud, AI and cyber security can help bring to life the power and potential of this technology, we know there’s nothing like hearing from industry experts and peers about how they are using it to solve some of today’s most complex business challenges.

Every digital journey is different, but we hope that you will be able to take away some ideas and learnings that you can apply on your own.

Portraits

Frank Attaie

Vice President, Cloud,
IBM Canada

Indra Kubicek

CFO, President,
Kids Code Jeunesse

Rohit Mohindra

Lead System Architect,
Armstrong Fluid Technology

Ray Boisvert

Associate Partner,
IBM Canada

Andrew Cant

Vice President,
NexJ Systems

Devashish Paul

CEO, Founder,
BluWave-ai

Shingai Manjengwa

CEO, Founder,
Fireside Analytics

Ally Karmali

Associate Partner,
IBM Canada

 

 

Explore their stories

How does IBM Cloud help companies solve problems?

“We are in the business of solving the most complex problems in the world and in order to do that you have to have a mature understanding of the problem. Our mature understanding of the problem is built around the fact that we have long-standing relationship with clients that transcend some of the technology trends in the marketplace. From an IBM Cloud perspective, it’s flexible, it’s secure and it’s mindful of your data.”

– Frank Attaie, Vice President, Cloud, IBM Canada

Companies are adopting hybrid cloud strategies to drive innovation and meet the shifting needs of today’s digital customers, while managing security and regulatory requirements. Through the migration of critical workflows to the IBM Cloud, companies are able to develop the innovative digital offerings its customers are demanding while maintaining end-to-end visibility and control.

Economical Insurance, one of Canada's leading property and casualty insurers, has teamed up with IBM Cloud to provide new digital and web-based services, in a secure and scalable way, with the potential to connect to higher value services like AI, blockchain and IoT.

Moving past productivity and cost improvements, the IBM Cloud is tuned for the AI and data demands that are driving true differentiation in today's enterprise. IBM's private, public and hybrid offerings provide the global scale businesses need to support innovation across industries.

About Frank

Frank leads a group of talented professionals who provide Cloud, Cognitive and Software Solutions to the Canadian Marketplace. Attaie has the privilege of working collaboratively with our Canadian clients to solve some of these most complex and essential challenges that face the Canadian economy.

How is the Cloud helping empower rural communities with digital learning tools?

“Many of the future jobs young people will be doing are jobs that don’t yet exist yet.  But what we do know is that technology and AI are going to play a large role in employees’ jobs.”

– Indra Kubicek, CFO, President, Kids Code Jeunesse

Most of our clients are from the education system (schools, schools boards and teachers). A major issue teachers have is gaining confidence in learning coding skills, knowing where to find these resources and being able to register a schedule online. Additionally, schools in rural areas don’t necessarily have access to these services. Between the skills set of our organization, our instructors and staffs, and with the technical side of the platforms and abilities of IBM, we feel there is synergy there to solve a majority of these issues.

Whether you are creating a technology tool, interacting or speaking to employees who do create these tools, technology is and will continue to be an intrinsic part of the skill set needed to be able to join the workforce.  Kids Code Jeunesse introduces this at a very young age (starting around 5 to 7 years old) to show youth that learning these skills is interesting, fun and that they can enter the workforce with the skills set that they are going to need.

Kids Code Jeunesse approaches these issues by teaching actual technical skills of learning, computational thinking, coding and AI. We also do a lot of unplugged activities, enabling learners to step away from their computers to think about the ethics, collaboration and other skills that are needed to be able to interact in a digital world. We find creative games and activities that the youth can relate to.  We work with the education system, parents, teachers, and youth to teach them about data, ethical ways of gathering data, and using a data set representative of a population in order to make ethical decisions.

There are so many ways that technology is going to improve people’s lives and there are so many ways the youth can get involved.  However, our organizations focus on sustainability and on using AI in a positive manner. When we get to the classrooms, we look at issues such as climate change and how we can solve similar issues. There are a variety of technologies that young people today will create based on the skills we are providing them.

We have a physical presence in major cities across Canada (Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto) but the groups we really need to reach are our rural communities. We are looking into creating a platform and using online services to have the ability to tap into rural communities. We would have one of our instructors based in a major city on camera and the class could join online from a rural community in a workshop.

About Kids Code Jeunesse

Founded in Montreal in 2013, Kids Code Jeunesse is a bilingual, national non-profit organization helping to build sustainable digital skills communities that will inspire and empower children across Canada. From classrooms and libraries, to science centres and governments, we help groups integrate coding into their services. Since 2013, Kids Code Jeunesse has reached 250,000+ children and supported over 8000 educators across the country to integrate coding in their classrooms.

How is Watson AI helping businesses reduce their energy use?

“With IBM, we are able to connect to our equipment, transmit data to the Cloud and have IBM Watson analyze the data and send customers back not just information, but real, actionable insights that they can use to manage their equipment and make sure it is running optimally.”

– Rohit Mohindra, Lead System Architect, Armstrong Fluid Technology

Like IBM, Armstrong Fluid Technology is very much in tune with the constant changes happening in the world.  One of the major issues we need to solve right now is climate change. Our equipment is usually installed in mechanical rooms across data centres, condos and university campuses. In most cases, our equipment can and will be running autonomously without the need to monitor it. This presents a problem since customers want to ensure that the equipment is running properly but often don’t have the capabilities to frequently check it. 

Armstrong Fluid Technology’s prime focus is on energy optimization, equipment running optimally and peak performance.  When this doesn’t happen, we’ve realized that equipment can waste energy. By having IBM Watson constantly monitoring our equipment and analyzing it against a base performing case, we can see when the equipment drifts and when we are using more energy than we need to. We are helping businesses, buildings and cities reduce their energy consumption by making sure that equipment don’t run rogue and unmonitored.

We are not simply about collecting data and relating it back to the customers. We know that our customers care about insights and not raw data. They want to know what the problem is and how they can fix it and that’s where we’ve really leveraged IBM Watson to send us predictive maintenance instead of just preventative or scheduled maintenance.

About Rohit

Rohit Mohindra has worked with Armstrong Fluid Technology since 2010, most recently as Lead System Architect for the Building Services and Performance Management Team. In that role he is responsible for directing and supervising code development for the Armstrong Pump Manager platform.

How is IBM helping businesses address cybersecurity threats?

“What's great about IBM Cloud services for us in particular is its hybrid offering where a bank can still be very certain about where the data is, that it's controlled and that they can manage privacy while at the same time have all the benefits of cloud efficiency with the power that comes along with that.”

– Ray Boisvert, Associate Partner, IBM Canada

One of the biggest issues in banking has been for a long-time data protection and data security. With the new regulations that are being implemented all over the world, financial institutions are becoming more and more sensitive to what happens to the very personal data they hold about their clients (they don’t want this data to get out into the world).  

With the invention of cloud services, the banking industry has been very slow to adopt that because of the concerns around privacy.

People in general are more sensitive about their data and what happens to it. Regulations are going to enforce a lot more control and ownership going back to the individual rather than remaining with institutions. Looking forward, things like open banking will force that ownership back to the individual where they can control their own data.  So, we can foresee that blockchain in conjunction with IBM Cloud is really going to power the ownership of that data back to the individual themselves.

There's some very powerful technology available now. A big struggle for software providers is to come up with real solutions of how people can use that data for their businesses to add value. Next Systems' clients only want to know what this technology does, and which value does it provide.

It is often difficult for our clients to line up technology solutions and all the power that they have with the real business problems they have. That has been a big barrier to adoption. What we love about IBM Cloud pack for data are the real business-driven solutions that are coming through that are appropriate for our clients.

We need solutions that really drive engagement with clients. This is an area that technology can really support. One of the great things around AI is the ability to make people better at their jobs and to be able to deliver better service to their clients. Particularly in the financial services sector, it is very hard to make a very personalized connection with a client because generally, advisors tend to have too much too many clients and too many things to do to actually deliver a hyper-personalized experience which people are looking for in every aspect of their lives.

The elements around privacy and security have some impact on what technology we can use to be able to provide solutions. The hybrid solutions from IBM Cloud are really why that's great for us because certain things our clients would never ever have in a public cloud. Every so often there are breaches of data being released into the public and for our clients, particularly in Switzerland and places where they're very closed in terms of data that would be catastrophic for us as a business. Therefore, having the flexibility to have a public cloud or a private cloud, or a secure on-premise option is incredibly powerful for us.

About Ray

Ray is the Associate Partner for Ontario within IBM Security. Given his deep background in national security, as well as consulting within the realm of threats to corporate assets and initiatives, Ray is focused on assisting IBM clients to better identify and mitigate security risks in an integrated, strategic manner.

How is IBM Cloud helping protect valuable data?

“What's great about IBM Cloud services for us in particular is its hybrid offering where a bank can still be very certain about where the data is, that it's controlled and that they can manage privacy while at the same time have all the benefits of cloud efficiency with the power that comes along with that.”

– Andrew Cant, Vice President, Financial Services Solutions, NexJ Systems

For many years, one of the biggest issues in banking has been data protection and data security. With the new regulations that are being implemented all over the world, financial institutions are becoming more and more sensitive to protecting what happens to the very personal data they hold about their clients.  The banking industry has been very reluctant to adopt cloud services because of the concerns around privacy.

People in general are sensitive about their data and what happens to it. Regulations are going to place more control and ownership back on the individual rather than remaining with institutions. Looking forward, things like open banking will force that ownership back to the individual where they can control their own data.  We can foresee that blockchain in conjunction with IBM Cloud is really going to power the ownership of that data back to the individual themselves.

There's some very powerful technology available now. A big struggle for software providers is to come up with added value solutions on how people can use that data for their businesses. NexJ Systems' clients want to know what this technology does and what value does it provide.

It is often difficult for our clients to marry technology solutions to their business problems. That has been a big barrier to adoption. What we love about IBM Cloud pack for data are the real business-driven solutions that are coming through that are appropriate for our clients.

We need solutions that really drive engagement with clients. This is an area that technology can really support. One of the great things around AI is the ability to make people better at their jobs and to be able to deliver better service to their clients. Particularly in the financial services sector, it is very difficult to make a personalized connection with a client because, generally, advisors tend to have too many clients and too many things to do to actually deliver a hyper-personalized experience which people are looking for.

The elements around privacy and security have some impact on what technology we can use to be able to provide solutions. The hybrid solutions from IBM Cloud are great because our clients would never allow their data in a public cloud.

Occasionally there are breaches of data being released into the public.  For our clients, particularly in Switzerland and places where they're very closed in terms of data, that would be catastrophic for us as a business. Therefore, having the flexibility to have a public cloud or a private cloud or a secure on-premise option is incredibly powerful for us.

About Andrew

Andrew is Vice President of Financial Services Solutions at NexJ Systems, a leading provider of Customer Relationship Management software for the financial services industry. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s strategic product vision, planning, definition, and development of Financial Services-specific functionality.

How is Watson AI helping you power the world?

"BluWave-ai uses data from IoT sensors in electricity utility systems to predict what’s going to happen next in the electricity smart grid, optimize how the electrons are flowing and send a dispatch to manage how all that happens. We use Watson for training our AI models so we can service customers better. It’s just like how an athlete goes and trains at the gym. They go on game day and they’re better because they’ve trained at the gym.” 

– Devashish Paul, CEO, BluWave-ai

Weather feeds via IBM Watson and data flowing from the utility IoT sensors allow us to understand the current landscape. There’s AI inference and AI training. Inference is when you’re looking for patterns in the data and then once you notice those patterns you can do certain things. To do that, you have to train these models on historical and past data. IBM Watson and IBM Cloud help us train our AI models for the utility system. Then, when we have to do the inference on the live data from the utility network, we’re better. This allows us to improve the performance of how our AI models work so that we can offer better service to our clients.

Our goal is to be the premier renewable energy AI company worldwide. We’re a Canadian company, but want to serve customers all around the world. That means getting data from IoT sensors across geographical locations. Doing that in our own company’s IT closet is probably not going to scale well. So, immediately something like IBM Cloud takes care of that whole geographic roadblock. Furthermore, from a geographic context, because we gather sensitive customer data, our business partners want to keep it geographically co-located in their region. So, having a global partner with cloud computing presence in multiple geo-locations is hugely helpful.

Secondly, because they are utility customers, some of them are private but some of them are public organizations. They need to know that their data will be handled and stored in a responsible fashion and they’re used to doing business with the likes of IBM. For us as a small, early-stage company, our customers knowing that the back-end is industrial-grade is a tremendously beneficial aspect.

About Devashish

Devashish Paul founded BluWave-ai coming from a background in the semiconductor industry focused on Supercomputing, AI and networking. During his 20+ year tech career, he has led innovative product development to successes in a diversity of markets at Canadian startups and Silicon Valley public companies where he ran large strategic product management organizations across global operations. He has grown large businesses in Europe, Asia and North American starting from startup to building up to $110M annual revenue run rates.

How is IBM Cloud enabling data science students to solve problems?

“Working professionals today are seeing the trend toward data science because of the explosion of data in everything from mobile technology, cloud computing, or social media and they’re trying to see how they can apply those technologies to their current roles.” 

– Shingai Manjengwa, CEO, Fireside Analytics

Fireside Analytics is a data science education solutions company. We develop content to teach data science concepts ranging from statistics to machine learning. The way we do that is through online courses and we’ve been very fortunate to partner with IBM using the CognitiveClass.ai platform to deliver some of our educational content. This has allowed us to reach a huge audience. Courses by Fireside Analytics have been taken by over 360,000 people.

Another way that IBM has supported us is through their Cognitive Labs platform. This allows us to access computer programming technology and environments through a browser that is incredibly powerful for people who are located in different geographic areas. Through online learning, they can take the course and access the theory content and they can do the practical sessions using the Cognitive Labs platform – which is a cloud environment through IBM.

This data science shortage skill is not some future problem we’re trying to solve – it’s current – because you have a workforce that came through a traditional education system and is now trying to supplement their skills. Fireside Analytics creates online courses to get those folks up to speed to leverage this big data era that we’re currently living in.

About Shingai

Shingai is the CEO of Fireside Analytics, a Toronto based ed-tech start-up that offers customized, cloud-hosted, data science training and consulting services to corporates, governments, and educational institutions. Data Science courses by Fireside Analytics have over 360,000 registered learners on platforms like IBM's CognitiveClass.ai.

How does IBM help you make smarter business decisions?

“The IBM Hybrid Multicloud allows you to keep data safe without moving it across jurisdictions and providing the ability to tap into proprietary data and third-party data creates the opportunity to power the technologies that we have to help you – the client – make the best business decisions.”

– Ally Karmali, Associate Partner, IBM Canada

One of the big risks that companies are facing today is climate change. At IBM, we have built a Climate Risk, Resilience and Energy Transition practice. The purpose of the practice is to help clients understand these risks. The products that we provide ultimately helps organizations become more resilient in the face of risks. The products and services that we look to help clients with are the exponential technologies that surround the service offering of Climate Risk & Resilience. That includes blockchain, IoT, AI, geo-spatial data layering, hybrid multicloud, and advanced analytics. 

The way that we can help both companies and communities is really to understand where the greatest impact lies from a climate change point of view. In Canada, the greatest risk now is flooding. However, when it comes to changing flood plains, that is where we see the unknown. Geo-spatial data layering would help us identify where these flood plains are and how hydrology geomorphology will create changes that can cause an impact to homeowners.

Data is paramount in order to create valuable solutions and insights that we can give to homeowners and companies. The use of data for making decisions around climate change is extremely important. The IBM Climate Change & Resilience practice allows us to improve that decision-making process. The IBM Hybrid Multicloud offers a good opportunity for companies to think about keeping data virtually without having to shift it around regional jurisdictions. Stitching together proprietary data with third-party data not only makes your decision process more effective, but allows you to function without tripping any regulatory or privacy-based wires.

One of the most exciting tools when it comes to climate variability is the ability to understand visually where our impact is. Where is my geographical exposure if I overlay my assets on top of that? A business model is very much a process, but if you overlay that it becomes tangible. Geo-spatial data layering allows us to visualize these assets across an organization’s business model and hybrid multicloud allows us to connect to disparate sources of data whether it’s proprietary data or internal data. Putting them together and visualizing what comes out of that helps you make the right decisions.

About Ally

Ally is an Associate Partner and a Practice Lead for Risk & Compliance in Cognitive Process Solutions at IBM. His background includes over 12 years of risk and compliance expertise in banking, management consulting, and regulatory supervision for mid-to-large financial institutions across Canada, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Learn more about Think Summit Canada

Learn more about Think Summit Canada