Tech firms team up on Ottawa 2017 promotional vehicle

David Sali
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The new Ottawa 2017 travelling information kiosk is more than just a promotional tool for next year’s momentous Canada 150 events, local entrepreneurs say – it’s also a great vehicle to show off what tech startups can do for the city’s economy.

A travelling kiosk that promotes Ottawa 2017 activities is housed in a PODS shipping container that was outfitted by a group of local startups.

Jason Daley, whose firm AXIA Strategists oversaw the project, says the portable theatre featuring a 270-degree video show housed in a storage pod on wheels is an example of the kind of innovative thinking that thrives in Ottawa’s tech sector.

“Our local startups have some phenomenal technology and need opportunities to showcase their technology,” he says. “(Ottawa 2017) is going to allow Ottawa’s technology startup community to shine and bring some of their technology to a public audience. My vision for this is to use this as a starting point and that with our burgeoning relationship with Ottawa 2017, we could be tasked with other opportunities, or collaborations could be spearheaded by the startups themselves and then invited to partner with Ottawa 2017.”

A number of local companies worked together to produce the kiosk, which was unveiled in November and will spend the next two years travelling the region in an eight- by 16-foot PODS shipping container to promote Canada 150 events.

Among its most recent stops was at the Canadian Tire Centre, where it was stationed outside Gate 1 before the Ottawa Senators hosted the Boston Bruins on Jan. 9.

Gatineau-based NovoMedia provided the high-tech video screens, which require five separate video projectors to display their images, while Ottawa’s Stratdgi provided the software to make the touch screens interactive.

Local marketing agency Mediaplus developed the video content. A couple of other Ottawa firms, ChannelK Media and Linkmundo, pitched in with additional support.

Their group effort beat out five other contenders to win the five-figure contract. While the deal won’t make anybody rich, Mr. Daley says the project wasn’t about profit as much as perception.

Now that the Ottawa 2017 Bureau has a better idea of what the city’s homegrown tech innovators can produce, he hopes that paves the way for future, and perhaps more lucrative, endeavours.

“This is the catalyst to do more,” says Mr. Daley, who is also the entrepreneur-in-residence at Carleton University’s 1125@Carleton innovation lab. “It was about putting the flag in the sand to start a collaboration. Ottawa 2017 was looking for innovation, and we brought a product to bear together. Let’s see where we can go next.”

Ottawa 2017 Bureau’s executive director Guy Laflamme, who got the idea for the travelling kiosk after seeing the storage pods at Ottawa Race Weekend festivities, says one of the agency’s goals for the Canada 150 celebration is to “showcase the best of Ottawa’s technology sector.”

The kiosk is a great start, he adds.

“We want to show the degree of innovation and creativity that exists in our city,” he explains. “Part of the tactic to achieve that will be to engage and showcase as many local technology companies as possible through the program. The main objective of Ottawa 2017 is about growing our economy through tourism, but also by showing that Ottawa is a vibrant community for companies to establish and for companies to grow and to show the calibre of talent that we have to offer.”

Organizations: Canada 150, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins Mediaplus ChannelK Media Carleton University

Geographic location: Ottawa

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