Panel 2: Connectivity Beyond the Smart City

Moderated by Alfonso Licata

The evolution of next generation connectivity technology and infrastructure is enabling progress toward a futuristic Smart City vision which will revolutionize urban life. But how will outlying communities and rural areas benefit from this new technology? According to Trading Economics, close to 1 in 5 Canadians live in rural areas. These rural and northern areas often suffer from low performing networks, high-latency connectivity, and prohibitively expensive access, despite being the drivers of economic prosperity in multi-billion dollar industries like agriculture, mining, and forestry.  For residents of these areas, internet access is a matter of equality and opportunity for all. In an economy-wide digital transformation, residents and businesses located outside city centres can benefit greatly from high-speed connectivity. This panel will examine the challenges and solutions of extending ultra-speed network connectivity from urban city centres to the rural and northern areas of Canada.

Alfonso Licata

Alfonso Licata

President and CEO, ORION

Alfonso has a strong track record in the design and launch of new and disruptive enterprises in the technology space and across multiple market segments. At ORION, Alfonso helps drive the organization’s strategy forward in a highly collaborative and strategic manner.

He brings his unique blend of experience in user-first service, teamwork, and strategic alliance-building to bear on solving the complex problems faced by Ontario’s research, education and innovation community.

Alfonso sits on the board of ORION’s Toronto partner, GTAnet, as well as on OCAD University’s Digital Futures Advisory Board, serving as an Adjunct Professor in this graduate program. He serves as a Volunteer Mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence, supporting teams and companies at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), Communitech and MaRS. He previously held a similar role at Deloitte, after co-founding several technology-based companies over the last 20 years.

Jacques Latour

Jacques Latour

CTO, CIRA

As an expert in developing innovative, leading-edge IT solutions, Jacques has established CIRA as a global leader among ccTLD registries. He has 25+ years of experience in the private and not-for-profit sectors and as CIRA’s CTO,is currently leading CIRA Labs, CIRA’s innovation hub and providing leadership and direction for the management and security of the .CA registry and its underlying DNS.

A visionary in the Internet community, Jacques led the development of CIRA’s Internet Performance Test, is an outspoken advocate for the adoption of IPv6 and represents the .CA registry internationally as a member of a variety of working groups and advisory groups, including being a member of ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC), TLDOPS standing committees and TechDay and DNSSEC Planning Program Committee.

Jacques is committed to the development of a new Canadian Internet architecture. He has served as the catalyst for the creation of a national Canadian IXP association, CA-IX, and is a member of the Manitoba Internet Exchange’s (MBIX) and the DNS-OARC Board of Directors.


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Avedis Menechian

Avedis Menechian

CEO, Storm Internet
Howard Slawner

Howard Slawner

VP, Regulatory Telecom, Rogers
Shawn Sparling

Shawn Sparling

VP, Enterprise and Public Sector, Nokia