Election Day

Today is finally the day of the 43rd Canadian Federal General Election. I am sure we are all exhausted from the campaign to date. This post is not about “who to vote for” nor an exhortation to go out and do your civic duty. Rather it is a short summary of some topics specifically related to telecom and technology in general in Canada that are really important to our future prosperity that I don’t think were discussed much in the platforms and debates.

Innovation
Canada’s future prosperity depends on innovation. The Council of Canadian Innovators say Canada’s “productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk”. Entrepreneurs that create start-ups and grow scale-ups need an environment that encourages them to grow and scale here in Canada and allow them to compete globally. They need skilled talent (engineers, and also designers, marketers, sales professionals and executives), growth capital and access to markets and customers.

Canada produces a lot of world class talent in our universities and colleges and we need better incentives to keep them here as opposed to going to the USA for higher wages and more attractive opportunities. We need a mindset shift towards the entrepreneurs that are shouldering great risk to build innovative companies in Canada with tax measures supporting innovation, venture funding, employee stock options etc. Plus we need a Federal government that can attract attention to our innovative companies here, even to the extent of procuring products and services from them .

5G and Huawei
The next generation network is being built right now, globally and here in Canada. 5G is transformative, not just a faster network, but also providing lower latency and opening up a host of new use cases especially to power the Internet of Things (IoT). Autonomous connected cars are just one example. We are going to see all sorts of devices connected to our networks, direct machine to machine communications, that will demand security levels beyond what we currently have.

There is an ongoing debate worldwide, prompted by our Five Eyes national security partners Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand over whether equipment from Huawei, a technology vendor from Communist China, should be allowed access to our networks. The Huawei debate is also part of a larger debate about Canada’s relationship with China, a country that does not have the same norms and values as Canada. This was not addressed at all during the election campaign, yet it is vital to our future.

Connectivity (Rural , Remote and Financial)
Access to the Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity in the modern economy. We need to ensure that all citizens have reliable access to high speed broadband Internet. There is an urban/rural divide for sure, but this issue extends well beyond that. We need connectivity for rural areas; as an example, much of modern agriculture relies on internet technology now. We need connectivity in our remote areas such as the Arctic as well as Northern Ontario , Northern Quebec, Labrador. Of course so that people living there can participate in the modern economy but also as an extension of our sovereignty. With the changes in sea ice happening in the Northwest Passage we should also be looking into laying undersea fiber cables through the passage to provide another route connecting Europe to Asia. Finally, connectivity also means affordability . There are people in urban areas who are not online because they cant afford it. This digital gap also needs to be further addressed, especially for school age children who need the Internet for their school work.

I will be staying up late tonight watching the election returns as I am a political junky. Even though these issues were not front and centre in the run-up to todays election, I hope they will be addressed in our next Parliament as our future really does depend upon it.

Oktoberfest

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Oktoberfest Gemuetlichkeit VIP Night at the Concordia Club in Kitchener.

It was sponsored, as usual, by BMO, Deloitte and Miller Thompson. It was an evening that included networking, food stations, keg tapping and door prizes. And beer !

Dignitaries from our sponsors about to Tap the Keg !

There were lots of local dignitaries; Mayors, Councillors the Regional Chair and representation from the Waterloo EDC. I was able to connect with some friends in the data industry as well as make some new friends and connections.

The Concordia Club is one of the five German Clubs in Kitchener area and is the largest ethnic German Club in Canada. Based on the original German Oktoberfest, it is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival, and is the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world.

The Black Forest Band getting ready to start the polka party

If you ever get a chance, come down to Waterloo Region around the Thanksgiving weekend and join in the fun, the Gemuetlichkeit , which is German for congeniality, or warm friendliness.

Prosit !

SecTor 2019 Conference

Today I attended the Expo portion of the SecTor 2019 Conference.
It was a bit of a stretch for me, and it got me out of my comfort zone as it was not part of the usual telecom or ISP service provider type of show that I normally attend.

SecTor is Canada’s premier IT Security Conference. You may have heard of events like DefCon and Black Hat in the USA. SecTor brings the latest in information technology security to Canada, to showcase Canadian talent and perspective in InfoSec.

There were some Waterloo region companies present like eSentire and Blackberry. There were some companies that I do direct business with like Datex, showing their award winning DataStealth technology. And there were tons of other companies showcasing their wares and expertise at the Expo.

Timo with Mariann Utrosa, Business Development at Datex and DataStealth

Although I wasn’t able to attend the sessions, there were some fascinating ones in the guide including a live car hacking simulation . Apparently it is quite sobering to see how quickly and easily an automobile can be hacked !

If this sounds interesting to you, make plans to attend the SecTor 2020 conference. You can find more details here

VISA; An Overview and History

Amitel provides merchant service and payment processing through its partnership with Zomaron.
This is highlighted here and I have written blog posts about it here and here.

But have you ever wondered how credit cards ever came to be ? This weekend I stumbled across two fascinating posts in a blog called Mine Safety Disclosures of all places. The first post goes into the history of how credit cards started to help merchants reduce their back office costs to extending credit like they did with installment payments; the second post describes how the VISA system actually works and illustrates how the sausage is made.

Visa is one of the biggest companies in the world. Cards bearing the Visa logo are used more than 340 million times every day. And the Visa brand is one of the most-recognized on the planet. Yet unlike other companies of similar size and ubiquity, few people know what Visa does, how they make money, or why they even exist.

To understand, it helps to look at the company’s history.

http://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/2019/5/29/part-l-a-history-of-visa

Visa sits at the center of more than half of the world’s credit card transactions, connecting cardholders (and their banks) on one side, with merchants (and their banks) on the other. Because there are thousands of banks, millions of merchants, and billions of consumers, it would be far too complex for every entity to have a direct relationship with every other entity. So Visa acts as a centralized operator, developing technology, maintaining infrastructure, and setting operating standards for all parties.

http://minesafetydisclosures.com/blog/2019/7/23/part-ll-an-overview-of-visa

Global Internet Phenomena

Sandvine produces the Global Internet Phenomena Report

It seems that each year that I went to the Canadian Telecom Summit, one of the highlights was Dave Caputo, the former CEO of Sandvine, giving a presentation with pearls of wisdom from their Global Internet Phenomena Report. That annual report was also then quoted in many other presentations as the authoritative source for what was happening on broadband networks around the world.

For example, back in 2012, Sandvine focussed on Social Networking and reported that Facebook was one of the top 4 applications on the Web and that over 50% of mobile devices communicated with Facebook each hour !

The 2019 Global Internet Phenomena Report was just released by Sandvine on Sept 10. Sandvine, a Waterloo company (forgive me some local cheerleading) has unparalleled visibility into the Internet industry with an installed base of over 2.5 billion subscribers worldwide across over 160 Tier 1 and Tier 2 fixed, mobile, WiFi and satellite operators. (note that China and India are not included in this data set)

So what is changing in how the world uses the Internet ? A lot !

Video is obviously king, but in ways that keep changing and evolving. Netflix led the way with streaming but now we are seeing more and more competitive streaming services; Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube and new ones coming from Disney, Apple, CBS and others. The big traditional cable and telco companies have been fighting back, trying to stop cord cutting with their own streaming offerings and video on demand.

How many different services will a consumer buy to replace their cable ? What do they do if the content they want is not on the services they are buying ? Well, the answer may be in this report as Sandvine is seeing a resurgence in BitTorrent traffic. The release of the final season of Game of Thrones on HBO , or the blockbuster movie Avengers:Endgame could be seen in the increase in BitTorrent traffic.

The big players in Web 2.0, the ones whose shares currently dominate the global stock markets are the FAANG ; Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Would it really be a surprise to find out that they also dominate the traffic on the Internet ?

Some other highlights from this edition of the report include:

  • Video is over 60% of the total downstream volume of traffic on the internet.
  • Netflix is 12.60% of the total downstream volume of traffic across the entire internet
  • Google is 12% of overall internet traffic, driven by YouTube, search, and the Android ecosystem.
  • Gaming traffic and gaming-related bandwidth consumption is increasing as gaming downloads, Twitch streaming, and eSports go mainstream.
  • BitTorrent is over 27% of total upstream volume of traffic
  • Facebook applications make up over 15% of the total internet traffic in APAC.

The report includes spotlights on the traffic share leaders for video, social networking, messaging, audio streaming, and gaming.

If you are interested, you can get a download of the report here

Pumpkin Spice Telecom

Are you ready ? It’s here ! Pumpkin Spice Telecom

Nothing says home like the delicious aroma of pumpkin spice. So we have introduced Pumpkin Spice telecom !

Call your family; call your mom; call your friends from school. Surprise them all with pumpkin spice over the phone !

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