Part 3 THINK 2015 Workshop Notes: Bringing Research to the Crowd

Research is bridging the gap between scientists, industry and the public to enable ever-faster solutions through scientific advancements. How do cloud-based resources support Ontario’s research, education and innovation communities’ collaborations one another?

Moderator: Mark Zimmerman

Speakers: John Helliker, Glenn Smith, Carolyn McGregor

Embrace the Cloud.

John Helliker spoke from his experience in the film industry and the need for a cloud-based network to share files and collaborate on projects. Many people do not understand why a private cloud network is needed and assume that it already exists via free online tools. However, the size of files being used in industry is increasing exponentially, and a more robust cloud is needed to support the work being done by these institutions. Carolyn McGregor demonstrated that cloud-based platforms are available 100 per cent of the time with 0.1 per cent data loss.

Why Made-in-Canada?

With cloud systems made and managed in Canada, data is securely kept within our borders. It also creates a slew of in-demand jobs that simply did not previously exist, such as digital infrastructure support—as an example, 50 to 60 per cent of Sheridan College’s staff are computer science graduates. Made-in-Canada also means increased partnership between Canadian organizations, thereby strengthening the overall information communication technology backbone in Ontario, all the while developing essential components of a company’s infrastructure.

Data Literacy.

As we collect data, we need to become better analysts of the information at hand. Looking at the medical industry, can we go beyond utilizing data to summarize information to providing custom and intensive care to patients? In healthcare, some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, do not allow data from hospitals to leave the province—therefore, there is a unique opportunity to lead innovative medical research within our provincial boundaries. If we do not innovate for the future, who will?


What happens when cloud-based infrastructure becomes part of the operating budget? Having the cloud as part of the operating budget can help encourage collaboration rather than competition when new technological solutions are introduced in hospitals – it’s easier to switch to the latest technology as you’re not tied to legacy in-house systems purchased years ago. It’s important to involve all stakeholders in the cloud because it helps streamline privacy and networking teams. When the networking team understands that the data is secure, it will not cripple the network.

Plus, view the images below for ideas and solutions brought up in the brainstorming session.

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