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article imageToronto solidifies its place in tech world with Collision

By Karen Graham     May 28, 2019 in Technology
Hosting the Collision tech conference is a real coup for Toronto and Canada as 2019 marked the first time it was held outside the United States. The conference wrapped up on May 23, following a four-day showcase of Canadian and international innovation.
Collision has become the crossroads for the world’s largest buyers and sellers of technology, alongside many of the world’s most disruptive emerging technology companies. This year, over 25,000 people from 125 countries came to listen to 730 speakers discussing the most pressing issues in tech.
Besides Canadian tech companies having the unique opportunity to meet international investors, do some networking, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Toronto, the conference itself, held at the Enercare Centre in downtown Toronto, was a big deal, featuring five main stages and about a dozen smaller stages, making it almost impossible to take in everything, reports the Globe and Mail.
Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave told VentureBeat, “Collision is riding the wave of Toronto. “Toronto is here already. It’s arrived. If Collision never came here, would it make much of a dent? I’d argue, possibly not. If anything does come of it, that’s a great incidental benefit. But Toronto had already arrived before we came here."
Tech industry discusses its new sense of responsibility
Over the years, tech conferences were soapboxes for the tech industry, where companies paraded their humanity saving innovations for all the world to see. But more recently, according to the Globe and Mail, this message has changed, with a more cautious message and a new sense of responsibility being aired.
It is gratifying that Collision made no attempt to hide the growing awareness of problems such as hacking and privacy breaches, and even environmental awareness. These and other concerns were discussed on and off the stage.
Other problems in the industry were also discussed, like employee burnout and mental health issues, corporate social responsibility, and the digital war against the anti-vaccine movement, among others. Actually, one of the conference’s main stages, Planet: Tech - was entirely dedicated to discussing ways the tech industry can return to its previous position as a beacon of progress and hope, and included speakers from the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Oceana and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Inclusion and diversity were also discussed, with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remarking on opening night that the country’s diversity and inclusivity are its main competitive advantage in today's world.
“We’re at a time where big countries around the world are closing themselves off more to immigration, at a time when Canada is realizing we need to stay open and draw in the best and the brightest from around the world,” he said. “It’s not just a moral, right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Diversity and resilience go together.”
A conference for startups and giants
The conference included speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors from many of the worldʼs biggest tech companies. Also included were pitches and showcases specially tailored to the startup community, along with keynote addresses by executives representing major companies such as Samsung, Sony, GE, and Microsoft.
A densely packed startup exhibitor space on the conference floor was very well-attended, offering a different experience that the large interactive displays offered by household names that included Royal Bank of Canada, Siemens, Interac, Cisco, Amazon Web Services and others.
As Toronto Mayor John Tory pointed out in his opening night address, Toronto’s tech industry isn’t just booming because of the strength of its homegrown startups, but as a result of access to enthusiastic partners from well-established adjacent industries, such as finance and health care.
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