Canadians are opposed to the federal Liberals instituting a new tax on Internet and mobile services to pay for Canadian content, but a plurality would be okay with paying sales tax on their Netflix service, a new poll finds.
The poll from IRG, carried out for consumer advocacy group OpenMedia, found 70 per cent of respondents were opposed to a new tax on internet and cellphone bills, with 51 per cent strongly opposed. Only 14 per cent backed it.
During consultations last fall, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly heard from media industry representatives who argued for a tax on the Internet to cover the cost of funding Canadian content. Revenue for CanCon is drying up in an era when traditional Canadian media is competing in a global Internet.
A majority of Canadians back the idea that the federal government should create a new source of revenue to pay for CanCon, the IRG poll found. Fifty-three per cent agreed, with 20 per cent opposed.
Canadians are more responsive to the idea of extending GST/PST or HST sales taxes to streaming services such as Netflix. Forty-seven per cent say they would agree to this, with 29 per cent opposed.
Foreign-based streaming services are technically subject to sales tax on their Canadian sales, but no system has ever been established to collect the tax.
A briefing prepared for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly last month suggested expanding the sales tax to cover Netflix. It argued that not charging a sales tax on foreign content services like U.S.-based Netflix is unfair because it places domestic competitors at a disadvantage.
It also “represents a significant loss of potential tax revenue for government,” the briefing stated.
Joly held consultations last fall where she heard from media industry representatives who argued, among other things, for an Internet tax or at least a sales tax on streaming.
But the Department of Finance has been adamant that no such taxes are in the works. A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau told HuffPost Canada last month that expanding the GST to Netflix “is not part of our plan.”
Speaking before the Canadian Media Producers Association last week, Joly said she heard from Canadians that they want all media providers to be treated equally, but they don’t want to see their Internet bills go up.
“We have to bear in mind that Canadians are anxious about their cost of living,” Joly said, as quoted by the CBC.
This article was original posted on the Huffington Post Canada Website. Please read it here.
Last year, I wrote an article about the 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2016, which highlighted tech companies of all sizes in Canada that were ready to make headlines over the following 12 months. The great part about most predictions is that people tend to forget about them by the time your prognostication should have matured. My friends at BetaKit didn’t let me off that easy, though. You can read my assessment of last year’s predictions here to see how my crystal ball stacked up.
For 2017, I wanted to avoid simply pointing out those who will drive headlines in the coming year, but rather focus on a handful of companies that I feel will make significant strides in 2017 (and hopefully well past that!). Once again, I couldn’t find a way to whittle the list down to 10, so here are the 11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017:
League is a new digital alternative to traditional health insurance that connects employers and employees to a comprehensive network of health services and benefits, giving them unparalleled choice, convenience, and value.
2016 was a busy and productive year for League, which raised an impressive $25 million USD Series A (in addition to their previous $4 million seed) and launched a partnership with RBC to expand on insurance offerings.
Mike Serbinis, CEO of League, announced his master plan at the end of 2016 to turn League into a billion-dollar company by 2018 and that he would be raising more funds for League in 2017. There’s only going to be a small handful of “insurtech” companies that succeed, but those that prevail are going to do so in remarkable fashion. I would not be surprised if Serbinis reaches his three comma goal.
CEO Stephen Lake also announced that it’ll be opening a 50,000 square foot factory in Waterloo and employing over 100 people. I’m going to keep a keen eye on anything that can get civilization closer to the gestural controls utilized by Tom Cruise as he manoevered content around glass computer screens in Minority Report. (In reality, Myo can already do much cooler things.)
There are certain industries where technology is just starting to scratch the surface of disruption, and real estate is one of them. Since taking over the online real estate brokerage from Rogers Communications, and raising $1.35 million, Zoocasa has hit the ground running.
While Zoocasa’s current business model is using technology to improve the home buying experience, they are not completely removing the human broker. This puts them in a great position to build traction in an industry that’s still trying to figure out what the future will mean for availability of data. One thing I am confident in: this team is a safe bet for building a successful business around Canadian real estate. Just look at what they’ve done with RateHub and Scholarhood!
Top Hat’s cloud educational platform leverages mobile technology to turn classrooms into interactive learning experiences. As one of Canada’s fastest growing companies, Top Hat was listed at number 18 in Deloitte’s Fast 50, growing its revenue by a gigantic 607 percent in 2016.
The company hired its first chief marketing officer at the end of 2016, recruiting Nick Stein (former VP of marketing at Vision Critical) into its leadership team.
2017 looks to be another year of strong growth for Top Hat as it expands its platform into more classrooms and universities across the country and the world.
Influitive helps companies mobilize their advocates to produce massive increases in referral leads, reference calls, social media participation, and more.
With the swarm of capital pouring into startups beginning to die down, this change in focus from rapid growth to profitability will fuel Influitive’s success in 2017.
In 2016, they led an additional Series B funding round of $8.2 million, topping their total investments to nearly $50 million. They also acquired Ironark and TriggerFox to strengthen their team and technology offerings. Influitive hit their speed bump in the summer of 2016, laying off 13 percent of their staff to focus on sustainability.
With the swarm of capital pouring into startups beginning to die down, I think this change in focus from rapid growth to profitability will fuel their success in 2017 with a sharper focus than ever.
Eventbase is a world-leader in event technology and apps. From Sundance to the Olympics, Eventbase technology and staff powers many of the world’s biggest events. In 2016, they announced they were hiring 100 new employees in Vancouver. They raised an $8 million Series B at the end of 2015, led by Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Ventures.
Already in 2017, one of the biggest technology focused events in the world, CES, has used Eventbase to help their attendees make the most of their conference experience.
From Whitby, Ontario, 360insights is the originator of the channel success platform, the first truly integrated software-as-a-service platform to enable brands to optimize their partner marketing and consumer incentive spend.
They recently announced a $30 million funding round led by US venture capital firm Sageview to accelerate its growth operations. Its dedication to creating great culture at a growing company outside of the typical Canadian tech hubs, and its ability to harness analytics to improve the incentive and rebate industry will make 360insights worth talking about throughout 2017.
Askuity is a retail analytics platform from Toronto. They raised a $2 million Series A round led by dunnhumby Ventures in early 2016. As the blend of offline and online retail converges, and analytics continues to play an incredibly big role in shopping, Askuity is bound to meet huge growth and opportunities in 2017.
Drop founder Derrick Fung, who is most well known for his venture Tunezy, launched a Canadian FinTech company in Toronto to focus on customer loyalty. He raised nearly $1 million to date and has already formed partnerships with companies such as Wealthsimple, Foodora, Chefs Plate, Urbery, Thirstie, Carnivore Club, and FanXchange. Given Fung’s recent success at starting, growing, and exiting a startup, I imagine Drop is going to waste no time in asserting itself in the Canadian startup landscape.
Bench Accounting helps small to medium-sized businesses with all of their accounting operations. Bench raised a $20 million series B led by Bain Capital Ventures and more than doubled its team to over 230 in Vancouver in 2016.
Bench recently announced an integration with Canadian ecommerce company Shopify to help merchants with online bookkeeping. This exemplifies the two things I like seeing most from Canadian startups: punching above their weight on an international scale, and teaming up with fellow Canadian startups.
Over 18 million trips have been booked with Hopper and the company plans using its recent funding to increase its employee count from 40 to 120 in Montreal and Cambridge. As Hopper continues to grow in 2017 by helping people save money on their airfare, their investments from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Brightspark Ventures, Accomplice, OMERS, Investment Québec, and BDC Capital will serve as a great example of the impact being made by Canadian institutions (government and pensions) in fueling Canadian tech.
The article was originally written by Kevin Sandhu. His information is below. We have shared this article because we thought it was relevant to our audience.
Creating hybrid cloud deployments with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud just got more compelling for customers interested in connecting to AWS’s new Canada (Central) Region. Cologix, a network neutral interconnection and data centre company, announced today the immediate availability of AWS Direct Connect cloud service in its Montreal data centres. As an AWS Direct Connect Partner, Cologix can offer customers secure and private connections to the AWS Cloud to improve performance and reduce costs compared to onramps via the public Internet.
This deployment with Cologix represents one of the first AWS Direct Connect locations in Montreal and will reside at Cologix’s flagship interconnection hub data centre at 1250 Rene Levesque, where more than 90 network service providers are available in the Meet-Me-Room. In addition to customers at 1250 Rene Leveque, customers across Cologix’s six other Montreal data centres will have access to the Direct Connect service via Cologix’s Metro Connect solution. Cologix also offers its New Jersey and Dallas data center customers network connectivity to AWS Direct Connect locations in the US East (Virginia) Region.
“The AWS Direct Connect node in Montreal represents a huge win for Canadian cloud customers interested in data sovereignty,,” notes Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO, Cologix. “We look forward to delivering in-market, low latency, highly secure connections to AWS that are easy to deploy.”
In an environment where choice offers the ability to evolve with dynamic market forces, Cologix’s Cloud Connect Platform provides more on-ramp solutions to public clouds, more physical connections to best-in-breed cloud service providers and access to more independent Internet exchanges than any other provider across its footprint.
One of the key problems in human-computer interactions is the ability of the computer to understand what a person wants, and to find the pieces of information that are relevant to their intent. For example, in a news-browsing app, you might say “Get news about virtual reality companies,” in which case there is the intention to FindNews, and “virtual reality companies” is the topic. LUIS is designed to enable you to very quickly deploy an http endpoint that will take the sentences you send it, and interpret them in terms of the intention they convey, and the key entities like “virtual reality companies” that are present. LUIS lets you custom design the set of intentions and entities that are relevant to the application, and then guides you through the process of building a language understanding system. According to Microsoft documentation for their Bot Framework,
“Microsoft’s Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) offers a fast and effective way of adding language understanding to applications. With LUIS, you can use pre-existing, world-class, pre-built models from Bing and Cortana whenever they suit your purposes – and when you need specialized models, LUIS guides you through the process of quickly building them.
Bot Builder lets you use LUIS to add natural language understanding to your bot via the LuisDialog class. You can add an instance of a LuisDialog that references your published language model and then add intent handlers to take actions in response to users utterances. To see LUIS in action watch the 10 minute tutorial.”
The Bot Builder SDK Chat Reference Library is here.
The Bot Framework FAQ is here.
Cognitive Services APIs are here.
A bulletin released by US-CERT explains an issue where IoT (also known as Internet of Things) devices have recently been used to create large scale botnet attacks.
“On September 20, 2016, Brian Krebs’ security blog (krebsonsecurity.com) was targeted by a massive DDoS attack, one of the largest on record, exceeding 620 gigabits per second (Gbps). An IoT botnet powered by Mirai malware created the DDoS attack. The Mirai malware continuously scans the Internet for vulnerable IoT devices, which are then infected and used in botnet attacks. The Mirai bot uses a short list of 62 common default usernames and passwords to scan for vulnerable devices. Because many IoT devices are unsecured or weakly secured, this short dictionary allows the bot to access hundreds of thousands of devices. The purported Mirai author claimed that over 380,000 IoT devices were enslaved by the Mirai malware in the attack on Krebs’ website.”
In order to prevent malware on IoT devices, US-CERT recommends that users, “ensure all default passwords are changed to strong passwords. Default usernames and passwords for most devices can easily be found on the Internet, making devices with default passwords extremely vulnerable.”
Now that the Mirai source code has been released on the Internet you can expect the number of attacks to increase. According to US-CERT, “such botnet attacks could severely disrupt an organization’s communications or cause significant financial harm.” Cyber-security professionals should harden networks against the possibility of a DDoS attack.
Microsoft has announced the general availability of System Center 2016. Of note the new platform provides more focus on the cloud, “greater heterogeneity and cloud management with broader support for LAMP stack and VMware, including monitoring resources and services in Azure and Amazon Web Services.” Here’s more from the announcement,
“For a full listing of the new capabilities in this latest release of our core management platform, you can visit the System Center 2016 site and read the What’s New in System Center 2016whitepaper. You can also download the System Center 2016 evaluation and see it in action for yourself. Check out the updates to System Center Configuration Manager (version 1606) also released today.”
Microsoft also announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 with a focus on hybrid cloud management.
“This release is just one of many reflecting our deep commitment to hybrid cloud. In our long-held view, hybrid cloud is the reality for all enterprise customers, even those with the most ambitious cloud plans. Some applications should and will move quickly to public cloud, while others face technological and regulatory obstacles. Regardless of where these applications run today or will run in the future, Windows Server 2016 provides a rich and secure platform.”
Microsoft has enabled portability to Azure Cloud Services with this latest release of Server 2016. “Windows Server 2016 also offers seamless portability across data center, private and public cloud environments via virtual machine and new container formats that can be reliably deployed wherever the business requires.”
Check to see if your applications are compatible with Windows Server 2016.
Watch Microsoft Ignite video sessions.
Microsoft AppSource is the place to get your new business up and running quickly. It’s also the place to get your existing business focused on cloud based technology. Microsoft AppSource launched in July 2016 and as Ron Huddleston explains that,
“as the responsibility for technology investments moves away from IT and into business units, [Microsoft is] seeing an explosion in the market for SaaS apps. Quick, powerful and cost-effective, SaaS apps allow companies to dial in exactly the functionality they need, without heavy investments in infrastructure or lengthy implementation cycles.”
AppSource is a great place for businesses of all sizes to download and trial new technologies enabling them to compete in the new global economy. It sounds like IT applications management could become less relevant in the coming years with Microsoft’s recent focus. My question is when these independent business units begin to encounter difficulties with these SaaS apps, who are they going to call? Ghostbusters? Nope – you guessed it – IT.
The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has released a bulletin with warnings for Network Infrastructure teams related to Cisco ASA devices. These network devices provide firewall and Virtual Private Network (VPN) functionality and are often deployed at the edge of a network to protect a site’s network infrastructure, and to give remote users access to protected local resources.
In June 2016, NCCIC received several reports of compromised Cisco ASA devices that were modified in an unauthorized way. The ASA devices directed users to a location where malicious actors tried to socially engineer the users into divulging their credentials.
It is suspected that malicious actors leveraged CVE-2014-3393 to inject malicious code into the affected devices. The malicious actor would then be able to modify the contents of the Random Access Memory Filing System (RAMFS) cache file system and inject the malicious code into the appliance’s configuration. Refer to the Cisco Security Advisory Multiple Vulnerabilities in Cisco ASA Software (link is external)for more information and for remediation details.
US-CERT goes on to explain that Cisco released an update to address an SNMP vulnerability (CVE-2016-6366).
You can read the full bulletin here.
There’s plans in the works to create a tech corridor between Seattle and Vancouver. A report from the New York Times found ideas being thrown around for a dedicated lane for self-driving vehicles.
“A group of Seattle techies proposed … a dedicated lane for autonomous vehicles on Interstate 5, the highway connecting Seattle to the Canadian border. The plan — which relies on autonomous vehicles that still need a lot of work — would not shave much time off the commute between the cities, but could make the ride less tedious by letting travelers work or watch a movie, said Tom Alberg, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle venture capital firm, and an author of the proposal.”
Other ideas may include a high speed rail line. It was stated in the report that the housing costs in Vancouver are higher than San Francisco while the average tech Salary in Vancouver at $49,000 is about half the salary paid in San Francisco.
From the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s there was meaningful and frequent innovation in wireless. Motorola saw the creation of the first flip phone, the Moto RAZR, the first QWERTY smartphone, the first app ecosystem, and of course, the first touchscreen phone.
But, since then, innovation has stagnated and is often incremental at best. Small changes in display size or megapixels make headlines, yet marginally impact overall experience to the point that new smartphones have become predictable.
Moto Z: The world’s thinnest premium smartphone
Made from military aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel, the stunning new Moto Z is durable-yet-razor thin – just 5.2mm – and ultra-light with a 5.5” Quad HD AMOLED display. It’s also incredibly powerful packing a Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 820 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage inside. You can get more space for pictures, videos and apps by adding a microSD card up to 2 TB.
Moto Z has a high-resolution 13MP camera with optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, which help you take beautiful, true-to-life pictures in any light. The front-facing 5MP camera includes a wide-angle lens, which is great for fitting friends in the picture. And, with an extra flash on the front, everybody in the group looks their best—even in low light.
A water-repellant coating means rain, splashes or spills won’t get in your way. Tired of fumbling your phone to switch on and sign in? With the fingerprint reader, a touch is all you need to instantly wake up your phone. And with up to 30 hours of battery you can go all day and well into the night without needing to stop and recharge. You’ll get up to 8 hours of power in just 15 minutes with TurboPower™.
Moto Mods: In a snap everything changes
With Moto Mods, you now have the ability to transform your Moto Z into exactly what you need it to be. Like an instant party maker with the JBL® SoundBoost. Or, grab some popcorn and turn your phone into a 70-inch movie projector with the Moto Insta-Share Projector. The Power Pack instantly adds up to 22 hours of life to your phone2 — and it comes in fashionable designs from partners like kate spade new york, TUMI and Incipio. You can also match your phone to your own personal style as often as you want with Style Shells. Choose from premium materials like real wood and leather, or pick out a patterned fabric. You can swap them whenever you like.
High-powered magnets connect Moto Mods to your phone so you can easily snap them together as your needs change. And since function never goes out of style, rest assured that the Moto Mods developed today are designed to work with future generations of Moto Z phones.
— Moto Global (@Moto) June 9, 2016
Bring your ideas to life
Have a great idea for a Moto Mod? Not only are we working on more Moto Mods to add to the ecosystem, we’re also providing open architecture and the tools you need to bring your own idea to life. Through the new Moto Mods Developer Program, small developers to established enterprises will have the unprecedented opportunity to help build a complete ecosystem that maximizes innovation and redefines the future of mobile.
Need a little help with your Moto Mods idea? The Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group (LCIG) will be setting aside seed equity funding to spur innovation on the Moto Mods platform. In addition, the LCIG has set aside $1,000,000 equity funding for the individual or company that creates the best Moto Mods prototype by March 31, 2017.
For more info about the Moto Mods Development Kit, the certification process and funding from the LCIG, visit developer.motorola.com.
Moto Z will be broadly available in Canada at various retailers this fall.
Android devices are no match for their iOS counterparts when it comes to device performance, according to the Q1 2016 State of Mobile Device Performance and Health report released today by Blancco Technology Group. Based on diagnostics tests run on millions of iOS and Android devices via the SmartChk platform, the report reveals a glaring disparity in failure rates for Android devices (44 percent) and iOS devices (25 percent) during the first quarter of 2016. What’s more – out of the 44 percent of Android devices that failed, the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Lenovo K3 Note models had the highest failure rates.
These findings come off the heels of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest smartphone market share report, which shows that Android commanded the lion’s share of the mobile operating system (OS) market share for the three-month period ending February 29, 2016. In particular, Android saw considerable sales growth in various parts of the world, including the United States, Europe, China, Japan and Australia – leaving iOS, Windows and other operating systems in its dust.
“Android devices seem to be a contradiction in terms,” said Pat Clawson, CEO, Blancco Technology Group. “On the one hand, Android is the number one operating system in terms of global market share. But despite this advantage, Android device performance still lags behind iOS and tends to be plagued by high rates of crashing apps and app cache. With the launch of new smartphone models this year – such as Samsung S7, LG G5 and the rumored iPhone 7 – it will be interesting to see how Android device performance stacks up against iOS in the coming months.”
Key highlights from the Q1 2016 trend report include:
- Out of the 25 percent of iOS devices that failed, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s models had the highest failure rates – at 25 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
- While dual SIM emerged as a common source of performance issues in Europe and Asia, it was not prevalent in North America.
- Crashing apps were detected on 74 percent of Android devices, while open/cached apps were found on 44 percent of Android devices.
- A significant portion of the top 10 Android crashing apps in Q1 2016 were security-related, including Lookout, 360 Security, CM Security and AVG AntiVirus.
- Device failure rates were significantly higher in Asia (55 percent) than in North America (27 percent) andEurope (35 percent).
- ‘No Trouble Found’ returns were highest in North America (73 percent), whereas they were far lower inAsia (45 percent) and Europe (65 percent).
Clawson concluded, “Our data’s value goes far beyond providing a glimpse into device performance issues and trends. By using our analytics dashboard and business intelligence, mobile network operators and OEMs can actually see real improvements to their business, such as a more efficient post-sales customer experience, increased foot traffic, upsell opportunities, fewer NTF returns and reduced customer churn. For enterprise businesses, our data can help get C-level buy in to implement diagnostics tools as a way to cut down on unnecessary IT/support desk workloads, manpower and costs.”