Untether.talks is a two-day summit to be held on June 26-27 in Toronto to dispel myths and confusion surrounding the mobile industry, and to talk about its importance for the future.
“If you’re on the fence about what this industry means to your business, you can’t be anymore,” said Mr. Woodbridge. “How do you as a business move into this space? Because you’re going to have to be there. This is not something you can ignore.”
The summit will be the first in a bi-annual series of talks and networking events bringing together mobile developers, retailers, media companies, governments at all levels and entrepreneurs trying to determine how to leverage mobile to increase revenues and expand audiences. Investors should also attend to decide where to put their money, Mr. Woodbridge said.
Why Toronto? It’s difficult to get people to come to Ottawa, Mr. Woodbridge said, with speakers flying in from California, New York, western Canada and even Latin America.
“We want to do something in Ottawa, but for the first one we needed a much broader audience,” he said.
Although the ratio of mobile startups to people is similar in Toronto and Ottawa, Toronto’s much larger population made it a better venue for the first event, Mr. Woodbridge said.
A new summit will be hosted every six months, with results compiled into research papers by Mr. Woodbridge’s company Untether.tv, a series of podcasts featuring talks with experts from the mobile industry.
“If we could do it monthly, we would,” Mr. Woodbridge said of the conference. “Industry moves that quickly … All these things change overnight it seems. We have to stay on top of it.”
The conference will include 200 to 250 attendees and feature guest speakers on various topics. One such speaker, named William Hurley (“known as “whurley”) is flying up from Austin, Texas to demonstrate how to create power using your brain and a mobile device. He has developed a helmet that taps into brainwaves, which is connected to a Microsoft tablet, which is connected to a longboard that will turn on because of the harnessed brain activity.
“We’re talking about replacing cash and e-wallets, branding, retail, education, but we’re also talking about how we will be powering things through mobile with our brain,” said Mr. Woodbridge.
He said he hopes the conference will help bridge the gap between Ottawa and Toronto’s mobile communities, adding that having a Mobile Monday event in both cities helps to make connections. Mr. Woodbridge and Macadamian CEO Fred Boulanger launched Mobile Monday in Ottawa for mobile developers to meet monthly and discuss news in the industry. The brand of Mobile Mondays exists in various cities across the world.
Still, there is more to be done to connect the two major Canadian cities, Mr. Woodbridge said.
“It’s a big divide,” he said. “Anything we can do to elevate the level of sharing and exchange we can do between them is good.”
Untether.talks will feature keynote presentations, Q&A sessions as well as networking opportunities, and will be held at the Glenn Gould Studio.
The mobile summit is co-founded by Toronto-based Douglas Soltys, who also co-founded Untether.tv and was former blog manager for Research in Motion.
“Our plan was to place the smartest people we could find in one room and tell them to point to the horizon, then hold their feet to the fire until they explain how to get there,” Mr. Soltys said in a statement.