As a not-for-profit organization committed to actively supporting innovation in Ontario, ORION connects big ideas, big thinkers and big data through an ultra high-speed fibre optic network dedicated to enabling research, education and innovation (RE&I) in Ontario.
ORION provides high-speed connectivity to its connected institutions, linking them to each other and to a global grid of research, education and innovation networks, which enables ongoing learning and collaboration.
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- Bio of Jim Garner, Chair, ORION Board of Directors
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Recent ORION Speaking Engagements
ORION is committed to providing thought leadership and expertise for the benefit of a more innovative Ontario. We lead transparent, focused conversations to unify our voices for shared digital infrastructure. Below you’ll find a sample of our speaking engagements. We hope to provide value to your event on these or other topics relating to our areas of expertise.
Equitable Access to Connectivity
- Arctic Broadband Summit 2016 – Discussed the challenges of connectivity in the North, the government’s role in, and commitment to, broadband development, and private investment opportunities. Read the blog about Summit takeaways.
- CONNECT 2016 – Spoke to the importance of intelligent connected communities in Ontario in “ORION & The Provincial Digital Community: Serving communities within communities”.
- TNC19: Estonia – Our CEO spoke at the largest European research and education networks conference about how we can increase and enhance connectivity in remote geographic regions
- Arctic Broadband Forum – Spoke at an international conference in Alaska where he focused on the commitment to increase the access of broadband for Indigenous peoples.
- AMCTO – Presented “Cybersecurity: A Team Sport” to the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario in 2021, describing a shared approach to cybersecurity
- OCCCIO – Presented “A Tour of Ontario’s Higher Education Cybersecurity Landscape” to the Ontario College Council of Chief Information Officers in 2021, describing the national higher education cybersecurity landscape and Ontario’s unique part within that.
- CANHEIT – At Canada’s higher education IT conference in 2021, we presented as part of several panels and presentations
- NREN Summit: Strengthening Connections In Times of Change – ORION hosted Cybersecurity Day at this three-day summit Canada’s National Research and Education Network Summit, discussing the evolution and role of cybersecurity during COVID-19. Read the blog.
- BringITTogether – ORION contributed a session on the value of optimizing cloud-based technology, specifically for institutions from the research, education and innovation sectors.
- DataCentre Dynamics – Panel discussed, On Ramps to the Cloud, about connectivity infrastructure to best leverage the cloud.
- Technology-enabled Seminar + Showcase – eCampus Ontario event session, “Capacity development for technology-enabled education in Ontario’s rural and indigenous communities.”
- Lambton Mobile Summit 2018 – CEO keynote, “Connecting Northern, rural, remote and Indigenous communities.”
- Kawartha Teaching and Technology Conference (Feb 23, 2018) – Alfonso spoke to educators, students, IT professionals and administrative staff at Trent University on how educators can adopt the latest techniques in teaching and learning while mitigating the risk of cybersecurity issues.
Digital Infrastructure for Libraries
- Ontario Libraries Super Conference 2015 – ORION co-presented digital infrastructure strategies for Ontario, data management and security, as well as collaboration opportunities.
- Ontario Library Services – North — ORION’s CEO spoke about the need to help libraries improve their connectivity to secure access to a broader range of services during their annual conference.
- York Region Broadband Summit 2017 – Our CEO moderated a panel on the importance of innovation in sustaining and accelerating economic growth and the environmental factors that enable innovation.
- Intelligent Community Forum, Toronto – Our CEO spoke as a panelist on the subject of building high-impact metropolitan innovation ecosystems.
- Compute Ontario Research Day – Our CEO presented during the provincial, high-performance computing event where research experts share and learn about emerging advanced computing work
- EdAppHack – CEO spoke about disruptive edtech and collaboration among Toronto District School Board (TDSB) students in the first-of-its-kind high school hackathon.
- EdAppHack 2.0 – CEO spoke to secondary school students from TDSB about the value of experiential, inquiry-based learning while students presented pitches for their strategic business app designs.
- HackerNest – ORION spoke about the importance of collaboration at this meet-up of young coders
Research and Education Networks
- BCNET 2016 – CEO participated on the panel, Shaping Canada’s 21st Century National Research and Education Network as part of BC’s research and education network annual conference
- NREN Summit: Strengthening Connections In Times of Change – ORION co-hosted this three-day summit Canada’s National Research and Education Network Summit, discussing how innovative Canadians leveraged the country’s digital infrastructure ecosystem to support mission-critical activities during COVID-19. Read the blog.
Areas of Expertise
Potential topics that ORION can address to provide value for your attendees:
- Cybersecurity: With the increase in cybersecurity attacks, ORION published a report, “Cybersecurity and Higher Education in Ontario” which outlines the trends and recommendations to achieve equity in cybersecurity capabilities for all institutions. We can discuss how shared cybersecurity (including ORION’s innovative ON-CHEC program) and cybersecurity awareness protect institutions, their brands, as well as student and research data.
- Digital divide: As the pandemic heightened Canada’s national connectivity gap, Ontario felt the effects specifically in rural and remote regions. This inequity played out in remote learning, research and healthcare, invigorating ORION’s commitment to improving access to connectivity within these sectors and working with communities to meet their needs. We’ll discuss how research, education and innovation play into the province’s economic development goals.
CEO and President, 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.