CDMN’s Canada 3.0 Conference Goes Beyond Borders This Year

The Canadian Digital Media Network’s Canada 3.0 conference begins on Tuesday May 14 and managing director Kevin Tuer said the organization is emphasizing an international feel.

Now in its fifth consecutive year the annual two-day conference is coming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the first time. The previous four years it was in Stratford, Ontario.

The move to a new city also represents CDMN’s desire to fuel an increased international presence for the conference. Last year it hosted a Brazilian delegation that returned home to create the Brazil-Canada 3.0 event last December in João Pessoa. Collaboration between the two countries was undertaken as part of joint initiatives under the bilateral Science, Technology and Innovation Agreement adopted in 2011.

“I think we all know that digital media doesn’t stop at borders, but it’s truly international,” said Tuer. “It’s very important for Canada to establish relationships with those emerging markets.”

International markets will represent a large part of this year’s conference, along with Canadian achievements in the commercialization of information and communications technology (ICT) sector and the mobile sector. For Tuer the conference will push Canadian companies, academia, government and researchers to be world leaders in digital media.

Canada 3.0 began in 2009 as a forum to discuss the state of digital media in Canada and what opportunities exist. Since then it has grown to bring together 2,000 leaders in media, academia, government and other areas to stimulate discussion in advancing Canada’s digital media landscape.

The conference will feature world-class speakers talking about issues from entrepreneurship to talent to attracting investment to gamification. It’s the culmination of CDMN’s commercialization activities like international soft landings, sharing of best practices, online collaboration, and access to expertise and research

“Its an opportunity for us to showcase Canadian capability and talent to understand that we do have all the tools necessary to be a world leader in digital media,” said Tuer. “It’s a time to sit back and celebrate for a bit and realize that we have something really good here but it’s also time to take it up a notch.

This year they’ve brought on speakers like Netflix’s Reed Hastings, WIRED’s former editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, and the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi and Terry O’Reilly. Meanwhile, bestselling social media author and speaker Amber Mac will be emceeing the event.

Other attractions will be a big data workshop featuring Tom Jenkins of OpenText, digital media hotspot tours to four different locations in Toronto including the MaRS Discovery District and 65 roundtable mentoring discussions. There will also be a rights management session sponsored by Chorus Entertainment and a film screening of Keanu Reeve’s Side by Side with a Q&A with producer Justin Szlasa. Needless to say there will be something for everyone.

The push for a global feel doesn’t end at this year’s conference though. For several years now CDMN has successfully implemented and ran the Soft Landing program, which provides startups or small and medium-sized businesses the chances to take a three-month residence in partnering facility around the world.

Specifically the “Outbound” program connects startups to a business accelerator centre in a targeted market and potentially up to $4,000 CAD in reimbursable travel expenses. So far CDMN has “landed” 26 companies, whether it be in international locations or other areas in Canada.

According to Tuer, part of the ideology behind the program is to push these young companies to think global, reflecting the organization’s larger vision. “If we tell our companies that they need to go globally effectively, then we as an organization better be doing the same thing,” he said. “I think it doesn’t stop at the Canadian border, it goes well beyond that because that’s what we need to do as a Canadian organization, that’s what we need to do as companies and that’s what we need to do as a nation.”