Microsoft Canada continues to help foster Vancouver’s vibrant developer community with news today that it is working with local government experts and graduate students at the Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus to make government data more accessible and useful for citizens.
Leveraging Vancouver City’s Open Data Catalogue and help from the VanMaps team, and with guidance from open government activist David Eaves, grad students at Great Northern Way Campus created TaxiCity, a entertaining game where players can navigate the city in a yellow cab. Awareness of the application, which showcases the power of Silverlight and the Bing Maps API, has moved beyond Vancouver to the rest of Canada. Last week in Montreal, TaxiCity took home second prize at the FTW! Coding competition during Make Web, Not War 2010.
“Applications like TaxiCity are great examples of the power of open data on the Microsoft-based platform, enabled by open source to make information available for all citizens. By helping Canadian cities transform how they deliver services, Microsoft’s continued focus is on interoperability and helping build a vibrant open data application ecosystem,” stated Nik Garkusha, Open Source Strategy Manager, Microsoft Canada Inc.
TaxiCity is just one example of how Microsoft continues to help fuel a vibrant application ecosystem around Open Data Catalogues across Canada.
“In Vancouver we’re big supporters of Open Government initiatives. It’s a great way to foster economic growth and an opportunity to rethink how government operates,” said Vancouver City Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Canadian IT companies and cities can and should be empowering citizens to use data to improve our decision making and everyday lives. It’s exciting to see students from Great Northern Way Campus using the city’s data in new and creative ways.”
Dashan Yue, Grad Student at Great Northern Way Campus and Co-Creator of TaxiCity added that “when the City of Vancouver released a new version of its Open Data Catalogue it was a natural next step for us to use the street center-lines, block outlines, building traces and park geometry available for TaxiCity. Our program combines different Open Data sets with Silverlight and Bing which helped to drastically lower development time while giving us the mapping data we needed to build a visually appealing, dynamic gaming environment.”
Impact of Microsoft’s Cross Country Gov 2.0 and Open Source Initiatives:
* Since the launch of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue, local programmers have been working on applications to make the data useful for the citizens of Vancouver. The release of the Open Data Application Framework open source project and the development of such applications as VanGuide Vancouver Parking, MapWay and FreeFinders are the result of a Microsoft sponsored competition to encourage the development of open government apps.
* Edmonton was the first North American city to use the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) cloud-based solution from Microsoft for its Open Data Catalogue. The catalogue was implemented at minimal cost to the City using open source components and Microsoft’s newest cloud operating system, Windows Azure™. Using open standards and application interfaces (API), local developers and municipal IT staff can easily retrieve data for use in innovative online applications that can help improve citizen services, enhance collaboration between public and private organizations and increase City transparency.
* Microsoft’s Gov 2.0 efforts also include sponsorship of GovCamp Canada, a gathering of local citizens, public sector employees, service delivery leaders and policy people with an interest in having a conversation on engaging citizens, empowering business and increasing internal efficiencies through transformational government activities.
* Microsoft continues to contribute and drive innovation through its Open Source initiatives such as Microsoft’s CodePlex.com, Port25 and Open Source Technology Center (OTC). A deep engagement with local Open Source and application communities is also maintained through a series of events including WordCamp, DemoCamp and most recently ConFoo conference. Microsoft’s open source efforts also include Web Application Gallery, PHP on Windows and the FTW! Coding Competition at Make Web, Not War.
David Eaves, Public Policy Entrepreneur and Open Government Activist is very pleased to see Microsoft “actively fostering application development using Open Data catalogues on a variety of application platforms. By doing this work they help demonstrate that open data not only helps governments meet their transparency goals but that it can help promote citizen engagement and economic development.”
The BCTIA invites you to join them on June 17th at the Vancouver Renaissance Hotel for an over-lunch session about Vancouver’s technology community. Listen to guest speakers Morgan Sturdy, James Topham and Steve Podborski as they discuss Vancouver’s technology community and the benefits of building a community while we build companies. The programme starts at 11:30a.m., with tickets priced at $49.50 for BCTIA Members, $75.00 for non-members, and $36.00 for Student Members.
Congratulations to ParetoLogic (#23), Frima Studios (#14), Solutions 2 Go Inc. (#25), Elastic Path Software (#26), YardStick Software (#30) and all of the other Canadian technology enterprises for being named to the Canadian Business Profit 100 Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Additionally, iBWave (#16) has been chosen as the in-building solutions partner of choice for WIND Mobile to help design and plan wireless coverage of Toronto PATH, the world’s largest underground shopping complex, used by over 100,000 people daily. Toronto PATH spans 27 kilometres below ground and links 1,200 stores and restaurants, 50 office towers and five subway stations downtown.
I’d also like to say Happy 1st Anniversary to the ladies over at The Social Agency, hostesses of the popular Appy Hour networking social. Congratulations on this important milestone, and here’s to many, many more successful events for you three.
I’ve discovered that the easiest way to get the CaveChild to grin like a Cheshire Cat is to tell him that there’s something new coming from the Relic Entertainment studio. According to their latest news, Company of Heroes Online will be venturing east across the Pacific for a North American launch. While no firm date has been announced, it will be nice to see Company of Heroes Online, which has already hit the internet in Korea and China, playable for title’s many North American fans. He’s been impatiently waiting for the arrival of Relic’s Space Marine console game. In the meantime, he continues to develop a strategy for sneaking the life-size statue of The Emperor out of Relic’s lobby – something he’s been plotting for about four years.
EA Canada’s Burnaby campus is a very busy place. Hot on the heels of the NHL Slapshot announcement comes EA’s bulletin about changes to their long running NBA videogame franchise, which will now be known as NBA Elite.
NBA Elite 11 will revolutionize the way basketball simulation games are played, with an all-new technology base, a new control scheme and a real-time physics system. Currently in development for the PlayStation®3 and the XBox™ 360, NBA Elite 11 will be available in retail stores this October, with a suggested selling price of $59.99.
We plan to profoundly evolve the interactive basketball experience in a way that the category has not seen for a decade,” says Peter Moore, President, EA Sports. “In NBA Elite 11, we’ll introduce a gameplay experience that gives fans the control on the court that they have been begging for in a basketball game for years.”
Using the design principles from some of EA Sports top rated franchises, NBA Elite 11 introduces several significant gameplay changes that center around user control. The new ‘Hands-On Control’ scheme allows for one-to-one responsiveness of a player’s movement and actions on the court, as opposed to traditional predetermined animations that require users to wait while a scenario played out before making the next move. Hands-on Control applies to everything within a player’s offensive and defensive arsenal, including: dribble moves, dunks, drives to the basket, fadeaways, mid-air adjustments, blocks, steals and more.
The new real-time physics system in NBA Elite 11 allows each player on the court to move independently of one another, removing the two-man interactions that have long taken the user control out of basketball simulation videogames. In addition, a new skill-based shooting system requires accurate user input, based on a player’s position on the court, versus the randomly generated dice rolls that have driven shooting in basketball videogames in the past.
“NBA Elite 11 will give gamers the same skill set that a pro basketball player has at his disposal,” said David Littman, Creative Director, NBA Elite 11. “This is the first basketball simulation videogame where you are controlling every movement, dribble move, shot, dunk, lay-up, steal and block in real time with one-to-one control. You’re no longer going to push a button and watch the computer generate a long animation sequence. It is like being on a basketball court with an amazing set of skills. This is going to change what people have come to expect from a basketball simulation videogame.”
“From the first day of development on this product, it was clear that we intended to pioneer a groundbreaking change in the basketball videogame segment,” said Jordan Edelstein, VP Marketing, EA Sports. “It’s a whole new game that warranted a brand new name to fully capture the transformation we intend to deliver in NBA Elite.”
A new study conducted by Dr. John Porcari from the University of Wisconsin concludes that using EA Sports Active™ and EA Sports Active™ More Workouts from Electronic Arts Inc. passed fitness guidelines for an effective workout put forth by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The results indicated that EA Sports Active can improve aerobic capacity and favorably affect body composition when used on a regular basis as part of a healthy, active lifestyle. ACSM is the largest international sports medicine organization and leading authority on exercise science.
“ACSM sets key guidelines on what constitutes a healthy, active lifestyle, recommending that individuals perform 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise three days per week, as determined by specific heart rate and oxygen consumption criteria,” said Dr. John Porcari, Ph.D, the Executive Director of the La Crosse Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin who led the study. “In terms of the intensity criteria, both workouts tested from EA Sports Active were sufficiently intense to be within ACSM guidelines.”
EA Sports Active is an innovative line of digital fitness products that offer personalized, customizable workouts developed in collaboration with fitness experts. Based on the principle that working out can be just as engaging as it is effective, EA commissioned the study to determine the efficacy of its product line.
“We believe that exercise should be a part of every individual’s daily life, and our digital fitness programs are designed to help people make that belief a reality,” said Tarrnie Williams, Executive Producer, EA Sports Active. “We wanted to put EA Sports Active to the test to show people that as fun as the programs can be, they’re going to give you a real, challenging workout.”
The study tested 16 physically active adults between the ages of 25 and 45 to determine the relative exercise intensity and caloric expenditure of two pre-set EA Sports Active workouts: Afterburner and Legs & Lungs. Results of both workouts met ACSM guidelines for effective physical fitness, which recommend that individuals exercise at an intensity between 64 per cent and 94 per cent of their maximum heart rate or 40 per cent to 85 per cent of their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), as well as burn a minimum of 200-300 calories per session, five days per week, in order to maintain proper health and to aid in weight control.
“Our mission is to promote and integrate scientific research, education and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science,” said Jim Whitehead, President and CEO, ACSM. “We develop guidelines to promote healthy living and are glad to see that EA Sports Active meets those guidelines for an effective workout.”
The EA Sports Active franchise includes EA Sports Active and EA Sports Active More Workouts, and will be expanding its digital fitness product line with EA Sports Active™ 2 available this fall on PlayStation®3, Wii™, iPhone® and iPod touch®. The EA Sports Active 2 fitness program with feature an innovative Total Body Tracking wireless control system, powered by new leg and arm straps with motion sensors and a heart rate monitor to capture intensity that will deliver true fitness results. Users will also be able to track and share workout data on the new EA Sports Active 2 online hub (Internet connection and EA account required). EA Sports Active 2 will make working out simple, effective and will go with you wherever you are.
NGRAIN has announced the latest version of its award-winning 3D simulation production software, NGRAIN® Producer 4.1. Designed for non-programmers with no 3D graphics experience, Producer is used worldwide to develop training programs and maintenance support materials that provide personnel with the ability to examine equipment and the inter-relationship of parts while learning key maintenance procedures. With Producer 4.1, users can take advantage of enhanced rotation, cross sectioning and constraints capabilities, including new animation and security features, to design compelling and interactive 3D simulations.
“With Producer, organizations can cost effectively produce and update 3D simulations that accelerate learning and improve comprehension of complex technical information,” said Paul Lindahl, Chief Executive Officer, NGRAIN. “3D simulations created with Producer are proven to improve personnel performance in the field and help to ensure procedures are performed correctly and safely, the first time.”
Also announced today are the new NGRAIN® Virtual Task Refresher™ and NGRAIN® Virtual Index™ products. Designed to save time and increase knowledge on the job, the applications are ideally suited to organizations requiring an easy and cost effective way to quickly access information in any environment from headquarters to the field. The Virtual Task Refresher provides maintainers already deployed with a 3D equipment simulation that can be quickly referenced for procedural information. The Virtual Index provides easy access to any documentation and resources associated with equipment via hyperlinks on a 3D model of the system.
“Extending training and support beyond the classroom is critical to the ongoing support of maintenance programs and learning,” said Arnold van den Hoeven, Director of Canadian Defence, NGRAIN. “NGRAIN is proud to provide military organizations with visual tools that help those in the field easily find and access documentation related to equipment, or revisit an infrequently performed task – ultimately improving performance and saving time.”
The Virtual Task Refresher, based on NGRAIN’s award-winning 3D equipment simulations, delivers program and procedural updates and support for modified equipment or tasks that are infrequently performed. Requiring no installation, the Virtual Task Refresher can be deployed to personnel no matter where they are located and on virtually any Microsoft® based computing platform. To support deployed personnel, Virtual Task Refreshers can be provided to students upon completing a course, delivered alongside a Technical Manual for new equipment, or used to update personnel on key or changing procedures.
To rapidly navigate the vast amounts of documentation and information that accompanies a piece of complex equipment, NGRAIN developed the Virtual Index to help its customers visually locate reference materials related to key systems and parts. Leveraging hyperlinks on 3D models parts, the Virtual Index provides a visual method of examining equipment from a multitude of angles, exploring subsystems within the equipment, and launching technical documentation, multimedia files, or Web pages.
“The Virtual Index provides an intuitive way to access the information required to carry out operations, maintenance, logistic and engineering support functions,” said Major Dave Gerrard, Canadian Advanced Synthetic Environment, Canadian Air Force.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) kicks off the season of animation events in style with a strong presence at two prestigious festivals in Annecy and Zagreb. Three highly anticipated films will have their world premieres at Animafest, which runs from June 1 to 6 in Zagreb, Croatia: Theodore Ushev’s Lipsett Diaries, Claude Cloutier’s The Trenches and Marie-Hélène Turcotte’s The Formation of Clouds. Web users will be able to follow events at these festivals on the NFB blog.
Founded in 1972, Animafest Zagreb is one of the largest animation events in the world. Six NFB films are in competition this year. In the short film category, joining Lipsett Diaries and The Trenches are Chris Landreth’s The Spine and Georges Schwizgebel’s Retouches (co-produced with Swiss Studio GDS). Land of the Heads by Claude Barras and Cédric Louis, an NFB/Helium Films (Switzerland) co-production, and Jean-François Lévesque’s The Necktie are in the Children Competition. In the Grand Panorama Competition, The Formation of Clouds will be joined by Karl Lemieux’s Mamori, Theodore Ushev’s Drux Flux and Bruce Alcock’s Vive la Rose (co-produced with Canadian company Global Mechanic). Animafest will also pay tribute to Jacques Drouin in its Masters of Animation program.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival takes place from June 7 to 12. The oldest event of its kind, dubbed the Cannes of Animation by those in the know, Annecy 2010 will present Lipsett Diaries in official competition in the short film category; The Trenches and Au pays des têtes (Land of the Heads) screening out of competition; and Le printemps de Mélie (Molly in Springtime), directed by Pierre-Luc Granjon and co-produced with French company Folimage, in competition in the TV specials category. No fewer than 18 other NFB films will also screen in various programs in honour of the festival’s anniversary. Among these are Jacques Drouin en relief (Jacques Drouin in Relief), Guillaume Fortin’s documentary homage to the Canadian pinscreen master, and Inés Sedan’s The Man Who Slept, co-produced with the Montreal-based Unité Centrale and French company Sacrebleu Productions, which recently took the SBS Special Prize at the 8th Unifrance Short Film Award in Cannes.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada today announced that Mobile Advertising Revenues in Canada exceeded budgeted expectations of $5.2 million, and grew by 347% over 2007 numbers, to just over $11.9 million for 2008. For 2009, Canadian Mobile Advertising Revenue is forecast to increase by more than 50% again, rising to an estimated $18.0 million.
The top 10 Mobile Advertising earners in IAB Canada’s annual Survey accounted for 79% of Total Net Mobile Advertising revenues in 2008. This is consistent with levels recorded during the two previous years, ranging from 79-81% in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Mobile Content and Mobile Advertising (Display/Sponsorship) were the principal drivers behind the 347% increase in overall Canadian Mobile ad revenues in 2008.
Both Mobile Content and Mobile Advertising (Display/Sponsorship) experienced growth rates exceeding 2000% in 2008, propelling them into first and second place, with actual revenue of $5.1 million and $3.3 million respectively for each vehicle.
Mobile Messaging (SMS), the dominant Mobile advertising vehicle in 2006-07 is now in third place, even though revenues for this vehicle grew by 54% to $3.2 million for 2008.
Almost all (98%) of Canadian Mobile Advertising Revenues during 2008 were generated by these three vehicles. All forms of Mobile advertising are growing rapidly year-over-year, with the exception of Mobile Search, which was still virtually non-existent in 2008.
Among the nine product/service categories examined in 2008, Telecommunications campaigns accounted for more than one-half (52%) of all reported Mobile Advertising revenues in Canada. The next two largest ad categories were Packaged Goods (15%) and Automotive (11%), representing over one-quarter of the total 2008 Mobile advertising revenues. The Media/Entertainment, Retail and Technology categories were all in the 5-6% range, with Financial and Leisure both sitting at 2% of total Mobile ad revenue.
Because it is at such a nascent stage, Mobile advertising’s annual revenue growth rate is many times that of the mature major media, and over 10 times faster than even Online’s current growth rate of 29%.
“Although the number of responses that we needed to complete the 2008 Survey took longer than expected to bring in compared to our previous Mobile Revenue Survey, it was certainly worth the wait to see these new numbers.” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “It’s exciting to be able to watch this channel catch fire as consumer time with Mobile devices increases on a daily basis.”
“IAB Canada and our Member-based Mobile Revenue Survey Comte. is committed to releasing revenue results ONLY when we feel confident that the sample’s completeness truly represents the Canadian market. So, now that we have the 2008 Actuals/2009 Estimated Mobile Revenue Report (PDF) on the books, we’ll be back in field right away, in order to determine 2009 Actuals, and get an estimate of Canadian Mobile Advertising Revenue for 2010 as well.”
Small Business BC (SBBC), in association with title sponsor, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), are pleased to present the Successful You Awards Ceremony & Networking Event on Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Birks’ Flagship Store, 698 Hastings Street, Vancouver.
The event will announce the winners of the Successful You Awards and provide a unique opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and the media to network with over 350 local business professionals and successful small businesses. Keynote speakers, Larry Finnson and Chris Emery, founders of Clodhoppers Candy, will share their success story of making their Grandma’s candy recipe into a recognizable worldwide brand.
SBBC’s Consulting CEO, George Hunter, says, “SBBC’s Successful You Awards Ceremony is quickly becoming one of the most important events in the small business year. It provides a unique opportunity for the small business community to celebrate entrepreneurial excellence while networking, promoting their businesses and taking that next step towards making their business dreams become a reality. This year promises to be another stellar event!”
“B.C.’s entrepreneurs help drive our economy in a major way, with small business making up 98 per cent of all business in the province,” said Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development. “This awards ceremony is a great way to bring together new and successful entrepreneurs, to recognize and share their stories, and help strengthen B.C.’s small business network.”
The Successful You Business Awards recognizes and celebrates the important contributions B.C.’s entrepreneurs make to their local communities and global economy. This year more than 200 entrepreneurs submitted applications in areas as diverse as retail trade, non-profit, manufacturing, technology services, arts, entertainment and recreation.
Small Business BC believes a strong small business sector supports vital economic and social growth, with tangible benefits to all members of a community. Founded in 2003, the Successful You Business Awards is free and open to all new and existing small businesses.
CGA of BC “Business Concept Award”: Presented to the top recipient who is in the beginning stages of starting a business, submitted a viable business plan and succeeded in presenting a quick and concise business pitch to the judging panel.
TELUS “Business Growth Award”: Presented to the top recipient who is currently operating a business, submitted a viable business plan that is ready to explore opportunities for expansion and succeeded in presenting a quick and concise business pitch to the judging panel.
TD Canada Trust “Small Business Champion Award”: Presented to the top nominee who best demonstrates a commitment to promoting small business in their community and/or B.C., including volunteering time and services to small business interests and groups, advocating the cause of small business in the legislative process.
WorkSafeBC “Company of the Year Award”: Presented to the top nominee who best demonstrates outstanding leadership in the workplace and in the community; understands the value of their customer and their employees, while making a positive impact on the well-being of their employees and their community.
If you are a business owner, or are contemplating starting your own business, don’t miss the chance to meet entrepreneurs from a wide range of business sectors including retail, transportation, wholesale and service. Attendees will enjoy refreshments, hors d’œuvres and door prizes. While quantities last, attendees also receive a free one-year ZipCar Business Membership (valued at $75) with each ticket purchased online. Early-bird online tickets are available for as low as $36 each for a limited time only. Regular tickets valued at $60 online or $70 cash at the door.