Techopia Live’s producer Craig Lord (who is definitely not also writing this post) took the hotseat this week to talk about the biggest Ottawa tech stories from the first half of 2017, and what to keep an eye on in the year ahead.
Shopify deserves an almost-obligatory shout-out at this point: The Ottawa e-commerce giant started the year with a blockbuster Amazon partnership, and has already launched its first hardware device, offered its virtual assistant free to merchants, and most recently had Sir Richard Branson at its Elgin Street office to launch a new program to promote female entrepreneurship. The company is yet to make an acquisition this year, but with three in 2016 alone, it’s never a bad idea to watch for forthcoming announcements in the rest of 2017.
The other company making major waves has been BlackBerry QNX. The Waterloo-based firm ended last year by announcing major investments in its Ottawa automotive arm, and the hype has yet to die down. Ford announced a few months ago that it would be doubling down its investments in the city, declaring its stake in the QNX brand.
The federal government unveiled the details of its $950-million “superclusters” program in the QNX garage, a program that could significantly accelerate Ottawa’s work in autonomous vehicles, 5G networks or other digital technologies. But there are no promises that the road towards Ottawa becoming an AV hub will be a smooth ride. Companies such as BlackBerry QNX have recently lost a bit of market share to Linux-based competitors, for example.
Another company to watch is DragonWave. While the Kanata firm saw some good news earlier this month in the form of contract to deliver in-flight Wi-Fi, the company has been beset with financial troubles and the threat of delisting from the NASDAQ exchange. DragonWave has most recently been given an extension to meet the shareholders’ equity requirements by October, but whether the company can turn itself around is one of the biggest Ottawa tech stories to follow in 2017.
To hear Techopia’s take on Ottawa’s gaming sector, recent investment activity in the city and the developments we’re excited to follow, watch the video above.