Journal Update: Dec 3/2018

Weekly? What was I thinking? =)

For those of you out there who know me I’m a big fan of experimentation and learning! This journal has, and continues to be, an experiment! I’ll continue to update the community through this journal series but the frequency is going to vary a bit…. well it already is. There will be some weeks when there’s not much to share as well. Ideally, at some point, I’d like to see this journal update penned by others who want to guest post on the SH site. If you’re interested contact me

Focus on Canadian Entrepreneurs and Local Ecosystems (continued)

Bluewater Wood Alliance (BWA) Cluster

On November 21st, I attended the Bluewater Wood Alliance’s quarterly networking event at the Ron Joyce Centre, which is home to the DeGroote School of Businesses MBA and Executive Education programs. It’s important for Silicon Halton members to be aware of organizations like BWA, a not-for-profit wood manufacturing cluster serving Southwestern Ontario, that facilitates the interests and needs of their members. They are integrally involved in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster initiative being managed by Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen). BWA will be helping their members – wood manufacturers – gain access to a portion of the $950M being allocated through Federal Government’s Supercluster Initiatives program. BWA represents an end customer market for Silicon Halton members who deliver technology services and solutions that will enable BWA members to adopt newer technologies to help them become more competitive and digitally transform. 

It’s very important that Halton Region stands apart and is recognized as fertile ground for cluster development programs and cooperative collaboration. A good example of this in action is the AMS Halton working group formed by the Milton Chamber of Commerce. This working group includes representatives from Silicon Halton, MTechHub, HalTech, bdc, Oakville and Burlington Chambers of Commerce, Milton Economic Development and more. Stay tuned for updates. 

The Entrepreneurial Life!

I really get a kick out of bumping into Silicon Halton members outside of “our orbit” of meetups and peer to peer sessions! I was playing a squash game at Glen Abbey Recreation Centre last weekend and sitting on the bench outside the court watching was SH member Brett Gillett! His comment to me “you look a lot more tired than the other guy”! He was right! The good news is I won the match. 

It turns out that his partner, Karen, was exhibiting in the craft fair at Glen Abbey. She offers really interesting art maker kits for kids and it was a great Christmas present for one of my niece’s little ones.

Now It’s Your Turn

These journal posts are done weekly (ish) and I report on the things I’ve been up to. I try to get out three to four times per week. If you’ve got something going on that you’d like me to participate let me know. Any key announcements you’d like for me share I can do so here as well, subject to space and time availability. Those members and their businesses that are giving first to the community take precedent along with strategic priorities and partner sponsors. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are many places to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well.  

Some key activities I’d like to high lite are below. 

Weekly Journal for Week of Nov 11/18

Focus, focus, focus on….!

The week has gotten away from me but my commitment to a weekly journal post remains in tact! These posts, pretty much reflect on, some of the things I experienced within our SH community and with members. Some times I’ll post things that reach outside of the community but merit you knowing about them. My theme, if you will, is all about focus. All of us, in my humble opinion, must focus on our collective success as Canadian entrepreneurs and professionals. 

Focus on Canadian Entrepreneurs and Local Ecosystems

Government’s View and Approach on Economic Development is Bass Ackwards!

The distraction of attracting Amazon to every Canadian city (no doubt with serious concessions) is just one example of how we aren’t focused on what matters. I’m not a nationalist and believe that partnerships with people and companies around the world should be encouraged. But, the focus has to be on how we, as a country (and a region), are building an entpreneurial and economic ecosystem that is based on self determination.

Made in Canada matters more today than it ever has. So, sorry Amazon, Google and [put non-Canadian company here being courted by politicians] we’re good. Yes, I up, a see a sense of irony in that we named our community Silicon Halton to emulate Silicon Valley but I like to think we have the opportunity to be better…. especially in the areas of social responsibility, inclusion and ethical use of data. 

We all know that it takes more time and money to acquire a new customer than to retain one. Then why is it that all levels of government are obsessed with attracting new companies vs. addressing the needs of local companies? Why is it that some of our Universities are developing IP for foreign companies and countries with no strings attached [read the story here]? While, a local Canadian startup is in a dispute with a Canadian University regarding rights to the IP they developed while in their incubator [read about it here]. This is crazy!  Why is it that our Prime Minister declined an invitation, twice, to visit a local technology company but was more than willing to fly to Silicon Valley and court the local technology companies about the quality of our talent [yup, this is true too]? 

“Well, for starters we need to see our government supporting more Canadian companies that are looking to build and grow at home.


We need our government to work with industry leaders to develop the right innovation growth strategy for Canada, a strategy designed to support our scale-up companies that are emerging on the world stage.


We need government to listen to and nurture our scaling companies here at home, instead of chasing giants from abroad.”

– Carl Rodrigues, CEO of SOTI, Inc.

How committed are we all to developing a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s primary focus is on starting, growing and sustaining made in Canada companies? The recent Supercluster program is encouraging but it’s early days. So, I will continue to step up and do what I can personally and through my ventures to be focused on creating and supporting world class Canadian entrepreneurs and companies. In fact you need to as well. So when a local entrepreneur asks you for help and wants to partner talk to her. Be open and realize that if we don’t lead in the creating and growth of Canadian companies we won’t be able to control our destiny in any industry. 

China Will Lead in AI … but for the Wrong Reasons

Canada, supposedly is the leader in AI, or is it? Yes we have some well known pioneers in AI heading up labs and holding senior roles at Universities. But, how does one define “leading”. I would argue that China already leads based on investment, number of AI developers and outcomes. But, it’s for the wrong reasons, just watch the video below and you’ll see why. My question to Universities is will you being doing more research and development for Chinese companies for AI? Or, should you go “all in” and focus on Canadian companies exclusively? You know where I stand.

But, We Can Lead … for the Right Reasons!

I’m believe strongly that we have the best talent, the best entrepreneurs and the greatest opportunity available to us more than any other country. If we can do it in hockey why not building great forever lasting ventures?! But, I have to call out the things that concern me about whether we’re on the right path or not. And, we need to believe that there is an abundance of opportunity for us all and work together to create a path that will make us succeed as professionals, entrepreneurs and yup, human beings! And we need to step up and contribute. 

Last week’s TU20 Policy in Technology event is one example where people, in this case students, are choosing to lead and give a voice as to the path we should take. In this case it had to do with policy an AI. Below are some select tweets from the thread we published during the competition. Check the thread out here.

I was at the event and witnessed an amazing group of students who put forward policy recommendations as part of a case competition focuses on policy and technology. There were three winning teams and you’ll notice that five of the seven winning team members were women. Overall there were more male students participating in the event but we were encouraged with the number of female students participating and their result! Each winning team member received a plaque and the first place team $1500. 


Now It’s Your Turn

These journal posts are done weekly and I report on the things I’ve been up to. I try to get out three to four times per week. If you’ve got something going on that you’d like me to participate let me know. Any key announcements you’d like for me share I can do so here as well, subject to space and time availability. Those members and their businesses that are giving first to the community take precedent along with strategic priorities and partner sponsors. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are many places to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well.  

Some key activities I’d like to high lite are below. 

Weekly Journal for Week of Nov 4/18

Social Good Was The Theme for the Week!

Last week was fantastic! In addition to serving our Mi6 Agency clients my Silicon Halton travels including getting together and engaging with SH members and the broader Halton community. I’m a big believer in the concept of “abundance” — thanks to Mark Fornasiero [LinkedIn | Twitter] who is a growth and exit strategist who introduced me to this concept — which means there is plenty to go around for us all. 

This way of thinking means that collectively we can all benefit from progress by sharing, helping and collectively aiming for success. In fact it’s my strong view that the current way we to business is broken and too few are generating too much for themselves. A new vision on what business can and should do to distribute value to our society and to each other is long overdue.

I’d like to think that Silicon Halton plays this role for many of us. Our community, our companies and our economy leave people behind… that has to change. 

Youth at Risk in Halton Region

Oakville Community Foundation (OCF) Releases Vital Youth Report

On Nov 6th I attended Oakville Community Foundations launch event for their: “Vital Youth Report, A Tale of Two Childhoods”. I was taken aback at the realities of youth at risk in Oakville and the surround area. However, the presentation and event achieved a balance of dire news with hope and opportunity. 

Vital Youth Report

But first, we all must understand what’s happening to our youth and the vulnerable groups within it. Watch the video below or check out my tweet thread for some alarming stats.

So, Canada sucks when it comes to supporting youth. So does Halton Region. Let’s call a spade a spade first! 

Now, let’s do something about it shall we? Get involved in local charities, make a donation to one of OCF Funds, not for profits and programs like Silicon Halton’s TU20 program. Equally important is be mindful that more of our youth are in need than you’d think. Start with your own kids and families. Silicon Halton the the TU20 team are proud to be working with OCF in 2019 to help affect positive change in our community. Stay tuned to learn more.

Diversity Program to be Announced

Two key activities happened last week on the subject of diversity. First, we had a kitchen table discussion with a small group of SH members on the topic of diversity. Elizabeth Bolton Lim [LinkedIn], Diversity Officer from BDC share with SH members how BDC has implemented a diversity program. And, we met with Kimberly Neale [LinkedIn], who is working with SH member Noel Martel [LinkedIn] to launch a diversity program for SH. Stay tuned. 

Taking it To The Street with Santa!

Some of you may know that I’m an advisor at Emoggo [Website | Facebook| Twitter], a social enterprise and app, designed to help local shops and restaurants connect with shoppers. It’s now launched in Milton, Burlington and Oakville. Last week Lisa Denis [LinkedIn]. Last week we visited local stores in Milton wearing out ugly Christmas sweaters (photos were banned from the Internet!). Our goal was to tell them about Emoggo and that a team from Emoggo and Re:Soul Youth Centre [Website] will be in Milton’s Santa Claus parade on Nov 17th!  And, Emoggo will be in the Burlington Santa Claus parade as well. 

Milton Santa Claus Parade

The goal is to generate awareness, end users and enhanced business listings. Emoggo is designed to help the following groups: 1) Businesses: to generate foot traffic and mobile first customers; 2) Shoppers and Diners: to discover, support and remember nearby shops, restaurants and more; 3) Community Partners : like BIAs and business groups to deliver more value to their members, and 4) Charities and Clubs: as another channel to generate awareness and financial support. 

Now It’s Your Turn

These journal posts are done weekly and I report on the things I’ve been up to. I try to get out three to four times per week. If you’ve got something going on that you’d like me to participate let me know. Any key announcements you’d like for me share I can do so here as well subject to space and time availability. Those members and their businesses that are giving first to the community take precedent along with strategic priorities and partner sponsors. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are many places to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well.  

One key activities I’d like to high lite is below. 

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Oct 28/18

Lot’s of Face Time!

Updated: Nov 13/18 | By: Chris Herbert

I found myself out and about the Silicon Halton community for a host of reasons this past week. Getting out of the office and talking to people can be such a rush and last week was like a breath of fresh air. Many of us spend so much time in our offices and in front of screens! What’s even more cool is that many Silicon Halton members were out and about last week too! 

Last IoT and Women in Tech Peer2Peers Were Awesome!

Great Turnout at IoT Peer2Peer

On Friday November 2nd, Jacques Lirette [LinkedIn] from SKY data sims [Website] discussed how combining IoT hardware, sensors and global data coverage can simplify and speed up IoT deployments.

SH IoT P2P, Nov 2

You can think of Peer2Peer groups as splinter SH community groups that get together based on a topic area, such as IoT, or role (entrepreneurs), gender etc. Special thanks to the MEV Innovation Centre [Website | LInkedIn | Twitter] who is a strategic partner of Silicon Halton. 

Women in Tech Talk and Learn About Body Language

No photos, that I could find, from the last Women in Tech Peer2Peer session. The topic was very interesting though! Technically this didn’t happen the week of the 28th but I wanted to give a shout out to the WIT team. 

Next IoT Peer2Peer Session: I’m not sure if one is planned for December or not but you can learn more about the group here and join it on

Next WIT Peer2Peer Session: Hiring 101 Nov 27th. More details here.

My Tour of Hamilton Technology Centre

Rob McCann [LinkedIn], the President of Hamilton Technology Centre [Website | LinkedIn], gave me a tour of his facility which his company Clearcable [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] purchased from the City of Hamilton [Article] in 2017. This is an interesting story in that Hamilton Economic Development sold their technology innovation hub and incubator to an entrepreneur as part of a strategic decision. Check out the video below to learn more about the Centre and thanks to Rob for the tour!


Enable Education Grows and MTechHub Welcomes Visitors from Spain!

Enable Education’s Brand new 8000 sq ft Space With World-class Training and AV Studios

Congratulations to Ben Zimmer [LinkedIn] and Amy Leask [LinkedIn | Twitter] on the continued success of Enable Education [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter].  On Nov 1 they held an open house to show off their new digs! One of the coolest things, and offering, is Enable’s classroom and AV suite which you can book to teach, record and then edit your session! Here’s a promotion video they made and some Twitter chatter about the opening as well!

MTechHub Hosts Institutional Mission from Spain

Key leaders from various technology innovation centres in the region of Murcia, Spain visited MTechHub [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] last week to learn about their work and capabilities and to look for collaboration and synergies with MTechHub and their membership. MTechHub is an Industry 4.0 Innovation Centre and Community located in Burlington. Silicon Halton is working closely with MTechHub, and they are an Mi6 Agency client (one of my ventures) .

Over the past 18 months the MTechHub team has been investigating digital adoption use cases, academic and innovation center Industry 4.0 initiatives. Numerous “point” technologies were examined. However, the cornerstone of Industry 4.0 is connected systems.

What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are many places to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well.  

Two key activities I’d like to high lite are below. 

CORRECTION: The event below takes place on Nov 17th NOT the 24th

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Oct 14 to Oct 27/18

All Caught Up!

Updated: Nov 10/18 | By: Chris Herbert

It’s Saturday October 27th and this weekend finds me catching up on my Journal posts, playing in Squash Ontario’s Masters Tournament [Twitter thread] and wishing my youngest grandson a very, very happy fourth birthday. Some cool things happened this week in and around our community and here’s three things that came to mind. 

Technical Deep Dive at Silicon Halton Software Peer2Peer (P2P) on JSON Web Tokens

On Mon Oct 22 Chris Larsen [LinkedIn | Twitter] gave a presentation on JSON Web Tokens. 

Chris’ presentation is below and to learn more read his post “JWTs: More Than You Think“. Here’s a snip from his post:

JSON Web Tokens, or JWTs, are a very important aspect of internet technology, be it Internet of Things, or Internet of People. Knowing this makes it very confusing as to why there’s so little discussion about it, and so much misinformation about it. So I’m writing this blog post to share some information, and hopefully clear away the mists that surround this subject.


This software P2P group is one of our strongest with over 270 members led by David Ashton with support from my cofounder Rick Stomphorst, other P2P members and organizations like Indellient [Website | LinkedIn| Twitter], Apple Suites [Website | LinkedIn] and alternawork [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] . The topics have been set for Nov and Jan. [Learn more].

Make in Halton App Emoggo Launches!

Congratulations to Lisa Denis on the launch of her new venture Emoggo [Website | LinkedIn | iOS | AndroidTwitter].  Emoggo is a mobile digital marketing channel developed to generate a community of customers who will support, through sales, local businesses. It’s an app that connects consumers with all the local businesses that are around them in Halton Region. Plans are to roll out Emoggo in other markets.

Halton is the pilot market. Download the app [iOS | Android] and if you own a business or know of someone that does make sure the claim the listing and find out how to use Emoggo to generate traffic and sales. I’d like to personally thank and acknowledge Mark Arteaga [LinkedIn | Twitter] , Hazel van der Werken-Small [LinkedIn | Twitter] and the RedBit Development team [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] for the amazing work they’ve done working with Lisa to bring this app to life! A great example of Silicon Halton community members working together!

Thinking and Acting Beyond “Smart Cities”

As some of you may know Silicon Halton has held two smart cities meetup in 2018 including:  Silicon Halton Meetup #102 – IoT in Smart Cities and our Smart City Meetup with Silicon Halton and Town of Oakville. The IoT Peer2Peer group has presented on smart buildings and LP Wan as well. There’s a very important reason why we’ve been doing this and the video below illustrates this very well. It’s from the Intelligent Communities Forum who had a round table event earlier this week which I attended on behalf of the SH Community. Invest seven minutes of your time to learn why it’s important for the broader community to work with government and in some (many?) cases take a leadership role.


I tweeted the agenda below and this is what makes ICF THE organization to be involved with when it comes to Smart Cities. Case study after case study! Sharing lessons learned with each other! Awesomeness! intelligent communities! You can check out my full tweet thread from coverage of ICF Canada’s [Website | Twitter] Round Table Forum earlier this week here.


One of the best presentations was by the City of Hamilton which included this awesome video promoting Hamilton. The video is great, the tune is great and what makes this video very special to me is the City of Hamilton is using local artist’s Monster Truck [Website | Twitter] song “Not Enough” [Spotify]. This City gets what it takes to be an intellligent community. 


What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are two places on this site to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well. 

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Oct 7/18

Playing Catch Up!

Well it’s October 23rd and I’m finding myself behind in my weekly journal posts! These posts share some of the things that happened the previous week within the SH community and news that caught my attention that is relevant to our local tech ecosystem. I’ll allow editorial leeway as well though! 

Affordable Housing

A key issue facing Toronto (any city for that matter), especially those developing technology clusters, is the availability of affordable housing. There are many factors that contribute to this problem, some caused by technology companies specifically, but regardless of the cause affordable housing for all people is vital in any community. I mean ALL people including those in need, young professionals, new families and older people. And, we need fresh thinking when it comes to commercial and residential property development especially when it comes to mixed use. I’d love to see a complex that is designed specifically for first time commercial AND residential property buyers. 


Congratulations Lisa Denis

Silicon Halton member and Women in Tech Peer2Peer co-lead Lisa Denis is a 2018 winner of the 50 over 50 awards [More here] . Lisa’s newest venture is Emoggo [Website] a social enterprise and application that will help small businesses grow while supporting local community groups. It’s great to see that entrepreneurs over 50 are being recognized! The 50+ group pumps out more entrepreneurs than any other demographic [Source]! 


Is Your Technology Invention Protectable?

Special thanks to our sponsor Bereskin & Parr who presented at meetup 108 on October 8th. What’s great about our community is the talent and expertise our members have and offer. This meetup was a “drinking through the firehose” experience! It was quite comprehensive and time well spent for sure. The takeaway? If you’re developing a technology product be sure to invest time, effort and money in understanding IP protection and how it can be used to your advantage. In my experience working with technology professionals not enough time is spent in this area! The Oct 8th meetup was a great information primer. Thanks to Ian McMillan, Patent Partner [LinkedIn]; Catherine Lovrics, Partner, Laywer and Trade Mark Agent [LinkedIn], and Matthew Graff, Partner [LinkedIn] from Bereskin & Parr for presenting and allow us to share the presentation deck below.  

 What’s Next in Our Community?

I’m still playing catch up with my journal posts so look for a couple more very soon. In the meantime check out Silicon Halton’s upcoming events [Events page]

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Sep 30/18

Defining Our Direction?

If you were to spend one night chatting with Silicon Halton members you’d find out very fast that we have world class entrepreneurs, technologists, data scientists, software developers, lawyers, sales reps and marketers. That’s why when I heard about the City of Toronto “partnering” with Google’s Sidewalk labs my first question was why? Make no mistake that the direction we set when it comes to things like “citizen data”, “smart cities” and AI will affect our countries destiny. So, do we really need Google to make the City of Toronto “smart”. Nope. Made in Canada and made for Canada is better.  Check out Jim Basillie’s article in the Globe and Mail entitled: Sidewalk Toronto has only one beneficiary, and it is not Toronto [Article link].

IoT and Facility Management

At this past weeks IoT Peer2Peer, we discussed the evolution of technology solutions that involves integration of software, sensors and trackers (IoT devices) and data networks (integrated solutions) to manage the utilization and performance of facilities & assets (fixed and mobile) for driving the desired business outcomes. Bhuwan Sharma [LinkedIn], from Kibog Inc [Website], shared his thoughts on the industry, based on his interactions with facility and physical asset managers, provide a demo and share lessons learned from collaborating with customers to build/bootstrap an integrated facility & asset management solution.

Thank You

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed spending time with your friends and family. I’d like to express my thanks to the many Silicon Halton members that have are contributing to make our community very special. This is a partial list for sure! Thanks to:

 What’s Next in Our Community?

  • Tomorrow is our 108th meetup asking If Your AI Invention is Patentable? [more and register] and were’ very lucky to have Ian McMillan [LinkedIn], Patent Partner and Catherine Lovrics [LinkedIn] , Partner, Lawyer and Trade Mark Agent from Bereskin & Parr [Website]. 
  • Oct 16th learn how to Successfully Lead in a Multi-Generational Workforce [see events]
  • Oct 22nd the Software Peer2Peer group is covering JSON Web Tokens [see events]
  • Oct 24th the CEO Peer2Peer is covering Channels to Get to Market [see events]
  • Oct 24th the Women in Tech Peer2Peer is covering Body Language [see events]

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Sep 23/18

We’re Here to Help Each Other

I don’t care what anyone tells you, business is personal and emotion does factor into what you do as a professional. Maybe not every waking minute of the day but often, very often! Last week, more than anything, was about helping people in our community. Whether it was helping a member get more experience in QA, initial planning for a diversity initiative or a member’s company giving the green light for next years TU20 fellowship program… it’s all about us helping each other. 

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups user experience has changed (again) and as far as I’m concerned it’s a major step in the wrong direction. Since 2010, LinkedIn, has taken away key features and functionality that made groups useful. I wrote about it eight years ago where I asked the question: “What Was LinkedIn Thinking” [read it here]. The same question applies today! I’ve posted a discussion in our LI group to get SH members thoughts [discuss it here].

Local Tech Matters and So Does Lower Power Wide Area Networks

Over the past year I’ve been recommending that local municipalities engage with the local tech community early and often when it comes to Smart Cities [read our series here] and the Internet of Things. Our local technology and entrepreneur ecosystem are leaders in this space and larger companies in the “smart cities” and IoT space like Siemens, Cisco and WPP should be more involved with the local tech scene and not compete against it. Silicon Halton member Lisa Denis [LinkedIn] recently covered McRock Capital’s IIoT Symposium and in her recap post “Wonder and the Importance of an Ecosystem” [read it here] she drives this point home. There is NOT ONE company that can make a city smart. There is NOT ONE company that is the answer to IoT. There are many!

One key company in our ecosystem that matters is, Oakville based, Quaenet [post and interview here] who are deploying Lower Power Wide Area Networks in North America and Italy. Their network is built off of LoRaWAN™ networking protocol [definition] which based on a recent LPWAN report is seeing widespread adoption.  

Reality Check on Alphabet and Blockchain

For those who know me I’m a huge fan and advocate of emerging technology and the professionals and companies that are working in and on bleeding edge technologies and business models. What I’m not a fan of is unproven and unchecked hype and a lack of understanding and dedication Canadian leaders have towards supporting made in Canada solutions. 

We need to keep an eye on the Quayside project, and Google to make sure that if the project proceeds that it’s very clear what Canadians are giving up in exchange for working with Alphabet. Municipalities are like Dominos. If one goes with a solution they tend to follow. Do you want Google to be your smart city partner in your city or town? 

It’s very early days when it comes to Blockchain and from what I can tell the only people making money are those putting on events about it! 

What’s Next in Our Community?

This week’s goings on include a bunch of stuff happening at MEVIC (Milton Education Village and Innovation Centre) including our Silicon Halton Day, an IoT Peer2Peer session and workshop on GDPR.  [Learn more and register here].

We’ll be back in Milton on October 9th for meetup 108: “Is Your AI Invention Patentable” presented by Bereskin & Parr [See who’s presenting here]. 

What is LPWan and LoRaWAN? A conversations with Sam Reid from Quaenet

Posted: Sep 27/18 | By: Chris Herbert 

Here’s our next installment in our conversation series with Silicon Halton members, sponsor partners and generally some pretty cool people that we’d like you to get to know. Our guest is Silicon Halton member Sam Reid, Director of Business Development [LinkedIn] for Quaenet [Web Site | LinkedIn | Twitter].

Local Matters

Local companies like Quaenet, from Oakville, are extremely important to the success of our entrepreneur and technology ecosystem. Canada (Halton Region) needs to lead in key emerging technology fields like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Blockchain etc. There are many reasons why but the most obvious one is why not?!

So we’ll keep telling you about some amazing people and companies, in tech,  in our back yard and encourage you to support them. These local companies drive economic development, partnerships and jobs and are well suited to provide technology solutions and services not only globally but to the many non-tech companies here in Halton region as well. 

Let’s Learn about LPWan, LoRaWAN and Quaenet!

Sam presented to the Silicon Halton IoT Peer2Peer group recently [Learn More & Join] and he and I had a conversation. HIs slides and the recording of our conversations are below. Enjoy!

NOTE: The timeline below outlines what we discussed. To fast forward to a spot in the interview press the > key on your keyboard. 

00:35 What is LPWan and how is it better than than using cellular and wifi for IoT?
01:53 Most telematics solutions required connectivity using cellular or satelite? What is the use case for LPWan for fleets?
03:49 Who is Quaenet and what’s the status of their LPWan roll out? How is Quaenet funded and what are some key partners integral to building out Quaenet’s LPWan infrastructure?
06:55 What is LoRaWAN and how can you get started using LPWan technology? Should you set up your own private network or use a public one like Quaenet’s? What are the advantages of using a public LPWan operators network?
11:10 How is 5G different than LPWan/LoRaWAN?
13:35 What types of customers is/can Quaenet support and what are some use cases. Examples covered include Smart Cities, asset management, farming and even golf courses.
22:07 What is it that you want Silicon Halton members to know about Quaenet and some of the key goals for the company?


Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Sep 16/18

Where to Start? What a Week!

There wasn’t a lack of things to do last week! I continue to be amazed at what technology leaders and supporters are doing in the SH community. Here’s a quick run down of what happened. 

TU20 CE Conference

The leadership team for Silicon Halton’s TU20 program had their inaugural C3 conference on Saturday. Key speakers were recruited for this event by the TU20 team. The goal of this event was to bring key leaders in business together with U20s to cover a range of topics on careers, technology, fake news… and what’s next for the U20 crowd! This event was covered on Twitter using the #TU20C3 and #C3Conference hashtags.

TU20 Summer Fellowships

Another new initiative launched by the TU20 team this past summer was the Fellowships program. U20s submitted a technology solution idea they were passionate in creating. There were NO conditions on our part as to what they wanted to create. Three U20s were given a $1000 fellowship. Learn about these amazing U20s Fellowship experiences and the apps they built to help diagnose concussions, track the medication you’ve taken and a web tool for city planning using Geotab’s Data Platform.

Machine Learning Using ML.NET

The SH Software Peer2Peer group got together to dig deep (pun intended) into machine learning using ML.NET. Special thanks to members Dave Ashton [LinkedIn] and Chris Larson [LinkedIn] for their leadership in making this group a success! Thanks to partners sponsor Alternawork [website] for hosting the event. 

Nuvo Network Open House!

I met with the Nuvo Network team during their open house last week. The coworking facility and community is the next evolution the Halton Hive. It’s a very ambitious initiative and something we need to get behind and support. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

Tomorrow night the Women in Tech Peer2Peer are getting together to discuss: Kick-Starting Your Fall.  This month they are sliding into the new season with some brainstorming on upcoming sessions, hacking solutions to most pressing problems, pitching a project that they can collaborate on, updating some past sessions and getting ready for the best Fall ever! [More

The CEO Peer2Peer group meets on Wednesday. [More]

Chris’ Weekly Journal For Week Of September 9/18

Silicon Halton Meetup 107 Was Awesome!

Last week’s meetup 107 was a great opportunity to learn about OMERS Ventures from managing partner Jim Orlando. I first connected with Jim in 2014 when I was working on my 7 Question Series ebook on funding advice for tech startups. OMERS Ventures invests in North American technology companies with market disrupting potential. The chart below outlines OMERS Ventures areas of focus.

Source: OMERS Ventures


To date OMERS Ventures have invested $450M in 40 North American companies creating more that 7,500 jobs attracting two billion in capital. 

OMERS Ventures, Capital Raised

Some key things I learned at the meetup about OMERS Ventures:

  • They’ll invest at any stage in a company! Two founders can get funding even if they’ve not generated revenue yet.
  • They receive 1,000 pitches every year; they fund up to four companies. 
  •  Five key trends they have their eyes on include: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Privacy, Quantum Computing and Synthetic Biology (think Crispr)

A special thank you to Lou Schizas for his continued support of Silicon Halton and our members. Listen to his coverage on 640AM. 

The Network You Didn’t Know About

On Friday, Silicon Halton member Sam Reid from QuaeNet Inc., presented at Silicon Halton’s IoT Peer2Peer on LoRaWAN™, a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWan) protocol. The room was packed! The IoT stack includes communications and in order for some IoT solutions to be financially viable they need low cost yet reliable connectivity delivered via LPWan networks. 

As some of you know I’m advocating that local municipalities become more engaged with the local tech community especially in the area of smart cities technologies such as smart parking. It was good to see a couple of folks from the Town of Oakvile. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

I’m looking forward to tonight’s Software Peer2Peer on Machine Learning with ML.NET and this weekend the TU20 team have their inaugural C3 Conference on Saturday. I’ll be attending both. Hope to see you around the community this week!

Interview with Jim Orlando, OMERS Ventures on 2018 VC scene

Updated:  Jul 30/18 | By: Chris Herbert 

Here’s my next installment in Silicon Halton’s conversation series. I’m interviewing people within the SH community and beyond. The topics and reasons for each interview will vary but the common goal is to help our members and the community to grow.

For us growth is a core part of what keeps the heart of the Silicon Halton community beating. We want you to grow through learning, grow your networks, grow professionally, grow your company and do everything possible to help the hi-tech industry grow in Halton region.

Interview with Jim Orlando, General Partner at OMERS Ventures

OMERS Ventures is the venture capital investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds with over $95 billion in net assets. OMERS Ventures is a multi-stage investor in growth-oriented, disruptive technology companies across North America.

This interview is with Jim Orlando who is a Managing Partner and OMERS. Jim’s “Ten Canadian Startups and Venture Capital Predictions for 2018” is a must read. I love that Jim puts himself out there with these predictions but also grades himself on them as the year unfolds!” 

I reached out to Jim to drill a bit deeper into his predictions and to get his take on the health of the venture capital investment and exit scene in Canada for 2018. Enjoy! 


Use the timeline to pick what you want to listen to | Full conversation transcript.

00:43 The Canadian Venture Capital scene: the good news & the bad news
07:50 How many rounds of fundraising are too many?
15:11 Are there enough investment opportunities in Canada? Is the lack of exits due to the lack of “quality” companies? Plus the importance of “optionality”
20:32 Are Canadian startup companies just a bunch of “sellouts”? Is the only way for them to succeed is to be acquired instead of continuing to organically grow or going public? 

Silicon Halton Member Creates Ask Oakville Alexa App

Updated:  July 13/18 | By:  Chris Herbert

Brett Gillett, Chief Orbiter, at Curious Orbit attended Silicon Halton and the Town of Oakville’s meetup on Smart Cities last month. Brett has been supporting smart city initiatives over the past years and he continues to do so with the announcement of his “Ask Oakville Alexa App”.  Brett offers a newsletter that you can subscribe to here.


Hi Chris,

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Smart Cities meet up co-sponsored by the Town of Oakville and Silicon Halton.  It was interesting to have a chance to hear many different perspectives on what precisely a Smart City is.  Many people spoke at the event including town employees and consultants, as well as from Silicon Halton members.

After the formal part of the meeting had concluded I had the opportunity to chat with a few different folks about Smart Cities in general and in particular Open Data.  We talked about how in some cases there still seems to be a  lack of openness or in certain situations datasets which used to be publicly available are removed when the interests of those who are responsible for publishing and maintaining the data sets shift – or the technology responsible for storing the data makes it more difficult to publish.

I left the meeting energized and with a rediscovered sense that while Smart Cities are inevitable, the real value will come when the data collected is provided to citizens in a form they want, when they want it, and in ways that are easily consumable.

With the idea of making data accessible to consumers, I left the meeting with an idea for an Alexa app.  Over the last week, I’ve built a simple prototype Alexa app, called ‘Ask Oakville.’  Right now, you’re able to get information about your Oakville councilor, when the next town council meeting is scheduled and when should you put out your recycling, green bin or garbage.

Currently, I’ve added data manually from many sources – the town website (councillors and meetings) and the physically printed waste collection calendar, but I’m hoping in the future for some new data sets to be published so the application can be more easily maintained.

Here’s a simple overview of how I built the ‘Ask Oakville’ Alexa application.

(Graphic by Brett Gillett, Curious Orbit)

Until next week – get out there and build cool things,


— Chief Orbiter


Related links:


Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

Cofounder, Silicon Halton

Chris Herbert is a social entrepreneur. His current ventures are: Silicon Halton, Mi6 Agency and TechIgniters. He's a former squash professional and passionate about helping entrepreneurs, technology companies and professionals achieve success. He's a proud Canadian and plans to make Halton region the greatest place on the planet to live, work and play.

Smart City Meetup with Silicon Halton and Town of Oakville

Updated: Jul 19/18 | By: Chris Herbert

And It Begins!

Tomorrow will be an interesting day as Silicon Halton members and key leaders from the Town of Oakville meet to discuss “Smart Cities” and the Town’s plans to revitalize the downtown core starting in 2019.

How’d This Meeting Surface?

In May, I met with some key town leaders to discuss ways in which Silicon Halton and the Town could connect and collaborate.

My goal was, and continues to be, for local technology companies and professionals to be an integral part in planning and shaping Oakville’s future.

We decided that the first step would be to have a meetup on the topic of “Smart Cities”. Key members of the Town’s leadership team, and WSP,  will be updating a group of Silicon Halton members on plans to revitalize the downtown core starting in 2019.

Major infrastructure upgrades like those planned for downtown Oakville are critical moments in time and an opportunity to reflect on the needs of the community and the role technology, in part, can play. It’s also an opportunity to bring interested parties and stakeholders together to collaborate and work together … especially local citizens and entrepreneurs.

Why Is This So Important?

There are many reasons why this meetup is important and why local groups, people, organizations and companies need to connect and collaborate together in new and better ways.

  • First, perhaps you’ve noticed that storm clouds are starting to form. The thunder you hear is the rhetoric and threats coming from south of our border. Lightning has hit the steel and aluminum industry already and there is the threat of a 25% tariff on auto imports.
  • Second, another clap of thunder is disruption. While an overused buzzword, disruption is ushering in new business models and companies that are changing how we travel (Uber), where we stay (AirBnB) and what we watch (Netflix). All are leveraging data, the cloud, software and the internet to create, deliver and capture value… and create jobs.
  • Third, the competition for talent and the race to lead in key emerging technology fields such as artificial intelligence, security, internet of things, additive manufacturing, robotics and autonomous vehicles is now happening between countries and not just companies. What country isn’t trying to be the leader in AI or Fintech? How do we compete against mega economies, such as China, where two AI companies recently raised over $1B in venture capital alone? We have less people, less resources and maybe we’re a bit complacent to boot.

What is a Smart City Anyways?

Is it technology that makes a city smart? Nope, in fact it can create the opposite effect. A smart city is one that establishes a community culture where connectivity, collaboration, cooperation, co-creation, innovation and shared success is baked into the way we think, feel and work… together for people with varying needs including people like Ron whom put this video together for us.

The reality is no one person or organization will make a city smart. Collectively we can and should work together so we can weather the storm and show the world how its done! Why not?



Related links:

(Image Source: TechTarget)

Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert is a social entrepreneur. His current ventures are: Silicon Halton, Mi6 Agency and TechIgniters. He's a former squash professional and passionate about helping entrepreneurs, technology companies and professionals achieve success. He's a proud Canadian and plans to make Halton region the greatest place on the planet to live, work and play.

My scores for this year’s TU20 Cup contestants

Updated: July 22/18 | By: Chris Herbert

On Saturday March 3rd, 2018 the second annual Tech Under Twenty Cup (TU20 Cup) took place. There were 13 teams and over 50 students from local high schools in Halton and Universities. I was a judge and I pledged to the teams that I would post my scores and comments publicly.

About the TU20 Cup

For those of you not familiar with the TU20 Cup, it is a multi-month event focused on motivating youth to get involved with technology and business. Teams of 2-6 students work with the help of a mentor to innovate a solution using technology relating to the yearly theme, in advance to the day of the event. This years’ theme was: how to make your town or city smarter.

How the Judging Worked

Each team had twelve minutes in front of the judging panels broken down as follows:

  • Two minute video about their business idea, product or project
  • Five minute presentation and demo
  • Five minute Q&A with judges panel

There were thirteen teams, six judges and two judging rounds:

  • Round One: teams and judges were split into two groups and presented concurrently in separate rooms to the judges. Participants, attendees and parents were welcome to sit in on the presentations. The top two teams for each group advanced to round two: the finals.
  • Round Two: The four finalists presented to all seven judges. Participants, attendees and parents were welcome to sit in on the presentations.

By the way, you can refer to the judging criteria document [link date: Mar 12/18]  for more details on how teams and judges were prepared by the TU20 executive.

How I Ranked the Teams

In round one, there were three judges including myself in our group. The teams that presented were: RouteE2M (E2M), SensorFlow (SF), Halton Flow (HF), EventHost (EH), Reach (REA) & A2B. Below are my scores:

Criteria Value E2M SF HF EH REA A2B Avg.
Presentation of project /10 5/10 8/10 10/10 8/10 9/10 5/10 7.5/10
Implementation of theme (making smarter cities) /15 13/15 11/15 14/15 11/15 12/15 10/15 11.8/15
Impact /15 12/15 12/15 14/15 13/15 14/15 8/15 12.2/15
Technical Product/Demo /20 18/20 7/20 18/20 14/20 14/20 14/20 14.2/20
Creativity & Innovation /20 15/20 14/20 18/20 16/20 18/20 15/20 16/20
Business plan /15 4/15 8/15 9/15 8/15 10/15 8/15 7.8/15
Project Video /5 3/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 3/5 3.5/5
Total /100 70/100 65/100 88/100 75/100 77/100 63/100 73/100
Place   4 5 1 3 2 6  

My top three, in this order, were Halton Flow, Reach and EventHost. But, I was one of three judges that were presented to and after factoring in their scores the top two in our group that were put forward for round two were: EventHost and Reach.

In round two, there were seven judges, and the top two teams from each group in round one presented. The teams that presented were: Road Alerts, Halton Info, Reach and EventHost. Below are my scores:

Criteria Value RA HI REA EH Avg.
Presentation of project /10 7/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 7.8/10
Implementation of theme (making smarter cities) /15 14/15 11/15 12/15 11/15 12/15
Impact /15 12/15 12/15 12/15 13/15 12.3/15
Technical Product/Demo /20 15/20 16/20 16/20 14/20 15.3/20
Creativity & Innovation /20 14/20 15/20 15/20 16/20 15/20
Business plan /15
Project Video /5 4/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 4.5/5
Total* /100 66/85 67/85 68/85 67/85 67/85
Place   4 2 1 2  

* Note: Judges were not provided with business plans to review from other group so it did not factor into my ranking. During the Q&A sessions I was silent when my groups two finalists were up to allow those judges who were seeing them for the first time to ask questions of the teams.

[NEW] A Word (or two) to All TU20 Cup Participants

After the 2017 TU20 Cup I put this video together that I hope entrepreneurs, of all ages, can use to help them stay motivated, not feel alone and remember to bake “value” into their business models. BTW, I’m a slow talker so bump up the video play speed to 1.25 or 1.5!


Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

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