the Sidewalk Labs has announced the beginning of may the abandonment of the project of city's ultra-connected. But the IT industry remains one of the economic engines of the capital of the province of Ontario.
Officially, it is the crisis of the Covid-19 that was a result of this project beyond the standards. In early may, the CEO of Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced "with great sadness and a personal disappointment" that the initiative of the city's ultra-connected would not live to see the day in Toronto. The creation of this "Google city", which had made a sensation at its presentation, in 2017, is therefore abandoned due to "unprecedented economic uncertainty (which) is installed in the world and on the real estate market in Toronto," said Daniel Doctoroff in a text published on the web.
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Except that this district is innovative and "intelligent" - which had to be built on the site of a former industrial wasteland - was already on the hot seat well before the pandemic. Despite a launch with great fanfare (and in the presence of Justin Trudeau), the initiative was soon faced with sharp criticism. Because, to realize its facilities futurists (management system for real-time traffic, sidewalks and bike paths are heated in winter, robots underground responsible for ensuring the management of waste or the delivery of the parcel, etc) the american company had planned to equip the pilot site, called Quayside, a series of sensors (noise, air quality, the flow of pedestrians, etc) and cameras. A sensitive topic for privacy advocates,...Your support is essential. Subscribe for $ 1 support Us
"A smart city monitoring"
In October 2018, Ann Cavoukian, former commissioner for the protection of the private life of Ontario, and a consultant to the project, had slammed the door to send a "strong signal" on the topic of data mining. "I had imagined that we were going to create a smart city that is respectful of privacy, not a smart city surveillance", she had stated in her letter of resignation. The expert, who had been assured, first, that the data collected would not be identifiable, had explained that they had learned in a meeting that third parties could ultimately have access to information that is not anonymous on the inhabitants of the district.
in Parallel to the controversial issue of data, Sidewalk Labs was also put to the back of the public authority, Waterfront Toronto, who was chosen to revitalize this area located on the shores of lake Ontario. In its presentation document, made public in June 2019, the u.s. company was granted, in effect, control over 77 hectares of wasteland, instead of the 5 initially planned...
in the Face of the uplifted shields of citizens and institutions, Sidewalks had revised its copy on both of these points of friction, but the project had not yet received an official go-ahead. In the end, it is the situation that allows the subsidiary of Alphabet to opt out of this project... started off badly.
"The first hub of canadian innovation"
But this "reverse tech" must not make us forget the potential of Toronto's - and Ontario's - in the field of new technologies. Because the province, which has 23 000 companies in the sector and employs more than 300,000 people, is one of the technology ecosystems of the most dynamic in the world. The Queen City is the second cluster in information technology in North America (after California), and "the first hub of canadian innovation," said mid-June Tudor Alexis, Consul general of France in Toronto, on the occasion of the creation of a community of French Tech in his city.
Because the French are more and more numerous to settle in the capital of ontario and to engage in the entrepreneurial adventure. To support the growth and recognition of the community tech habs and strengthen partnerships between france and Canada, of French contractors local are federated around the label French Tech. And this community can already rely on the "three boxes of awesome that will change the gives (...) : Commut in the carpool, WhatRocks Foundation at the crossroads of the blockchain and the TechForGood, and TransPod that revolutionizes transportation with hyperloop", pointed out in a press release Estelle Chen and Roman The Hake, the two co-chairs of the French Tech Toronto.
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one of The first achievements of this new actor in the ecosystem to toronto ? A portal for talent, "designed to provide a solution to rapid rebound to employees of the members of the France-Canada Chamber of Commerce Ontario (FCCCO) who have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19". This platform allows companies to post free job ads and have access to a directory of professionals. They may also explore jobs by category and professional development by accessing online learning programs for free. "Every Frenchman has in him the talent, and a legacy of the country, and it exports to abroad, such as here in Toronto, think Estelle Chen and Roman Hake. This is to be the French Tech !"