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Tech industry news and issues related to Victoria


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#81 spanky123

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 09:53 AM

If I recall correctly, SIPP gets about $800K a year in funding from local munis with about $200K of that coming from Victoria. With new mayors and councils across the region and budget discussions starting, it is very good timing to have a positive announcement.

 

I wonder how the progressives rationalize this. If the announcement is true and there will be hundreds of high paying tech jobs coming to downtown Victoria then won't that cause housing prices to shoot up? How will the average UVIC associate prof afford anything?



#82 AllseeingEye

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 02:11 PM

The article indicates that they are planning to do AI development here based on the program at UVic. You guys are all so negative rather than seeing this as a new opportunity for the city that will create competition for developers and raise their salaries and also hopefully encourage more people to move here. 

How is wishing them "good luck" being negative? If they penetrate the market and proffer a bucket-load of well paying jobs while successfully operationalizing whatever their business plan is, then good on them and good for local tech resources looking for work.

 

Regardless this is Victoria - it is not Hong Kong, Beijing, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Toronto or London: the fact is all the companies I referenced use the BCG as their bread and butter locally, and that pie can only be divvied up in so many pieces.

 

There is a reason CGI, Sierra and Fujitsu haven't expanded their local workforce's much if at all over the last decade, and why ISM has contracted, namely because net new BCG contracts are few and far between - and with an NDP regime not predisposed to outsourcing (more) IT work to private firms that is unlikely to change short to medium term.



#83 Laszlow

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 02:18 PM

Are there (tech) companies here that are not living off governmentgrants? ie we have products and/or services that we sell and we are running at a profit?

My experience has been that the strategy is ... get an idea, get a grant see if someone will buy you. If not ... fold tents find new idea get new grants and see if someone will buy you. Repeat until ... well seemingly this cycle repeats ferever... no?

Now grants for research - sure. I personally like the 50/50 split with corporations chipping in. And yep is then takes the wind out of Blue Sky Research...But at least our tax dollars are somewhat stretched.

(I say this cause I oversaw 8.9++ million in rsearch grants ver 3 years at my last gig)



#84 PraiseKek

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 02:48 PM

I'd say most receive nothing in grants.



#85 spanky123

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 03:01 PM

I'd say most receive nothing in grants.

 

Agreed although many get tax credits for research and development.



#86 AllseeingEye

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 03:26 PM

There are generally three categories of tech firms here:

 

1) home grown and typically smaller (under 25 employees), with varying degrees of $ $ucce$$, as well as home grown, but larger and higher profile and successful in terms of real revenues (Charter Telecom, Paretologic, Reliable Controls, SendtoNews, Latitiude Geographics etc);

 

2) those that have a significant presence in Victoria but are merely subsidiaries of larger multi-national firms (Schneider, AbeBooks, Unit 4, Bambora); and

 

3) the consulting firms, already named above, and which play in the most lucrative $ pond in this market, i.e. government contracts. Most are of the very large national (CGI) and multinational variety (Fujitsu, MAXIMUS), although there are sufficient public dollars floating around that successful regional BC-based players like Sierra (Vancouver) and MYRA (Victoria) also make a very good living as well.....


Edited by AllseeingEye, 02 November 2018 - 03:27 PM.

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#87 spanky123

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 03:59 PM

^ I would add 1 extra group, firms that are headquarted elsewhere but who have set up dev shops in Victoria to capitalize on cheap labour. Change.org, Benevity, Juul, etc.


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#88 AllseeingEye

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 04:27 PM

The CEO is parroting the same things that Microsoft, Gamehouse, Zynga, etc all said when they promised to expand businesses here and hire lots of people. If they had done their research instead of listening to the lobbyists they would have learned that in the big picture our 3 universities and colleges don't graduate that many computer science grads and that most of them leave the region. There are not pools of talented folks sitting around looking for work. If their model is to do discounted software development then they certainly are not going to be paying wages superior to the people already doing that work locally.

"This". Not only is this 100% correct there is precedent in Victoria not so many years ago with West Corp; they were lobbied intensively by the BC Call Center Assn and the City of Victoria.

 

Based largely on those efforts - and reassurances that this region was a good fit for their business model (it most certainly wasn't) - they decided on Victoria over Saskatchewan. Much to their later regret, as I well recall from a particularly nasty conference call from the Omaha HQ less than 6 months after the doors opened. It featured a plethora of f-bombs from a senior VP primarily aimed at the city and how it had outright mislead and "lied" to company reps during the early days meetings when the CoV was actively wooing them. And we all know what happened ultimately with West.....


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#89 Laszlow

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 05:25 PM

Agreed although many get tax credits for research and development.

 

 

Interesting!!!

Although a meeting I had a couple of years ago with the local IRAP guy said different???

As did convos with VIATEC folks

 

But it's all good!  I think folks - if they can - should do whatever their lilhearts desire,
 

Everyone gets DRED ... hell I don't do anything and Iget SRED!!

LOL



#90 spanky123

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 09:34 AM

"This". Not only is this 100% correct there is precedent in Victoria not so many years ago with West Corp; they were lobbied intensively by the BC Call Center Assn and the City of Victoria.

 

Based largely on those efforts - and reassurances that this region was a good fit for their business model (it most certainly wasn't) - they decided on Victoria over Saskatchewan. Much to their later regret, as I well recall from a particularly nasty conference call from the Omaha HQ less than 6 months after the doors opened. It featured a plethora of f-bombs from a senior VP primarily aimed at the city and how it had outright mislead and "lied" to company reps during the early days meetings when the CoV was actively wooing them. And we all know what happened ultimately with West.....

 

Yep they drank the cool aid. They have come to Victoria to take advantage of the pool of local talent and to attract people from other parts of Canada! Wonder if anyone told them that the YYJ-SFO flight ends in January?!

 

https://www.timescol...oria-1.23485943



#91 dasmo

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 10:04 AM

West was a call centre hoping to capitalize on a $.60 dollar with American sounding support staff. The found out not a lot of people were into call centre jobs a 2 hour bus ride from town for minimum wage. Then the dollar rapidly became the same value as the US dollar....

#92 Mike K.

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 10:18 AM

I love the mainstream’s coverage of technology companies and news, lol.

It’s hopelesslsy kitsch.

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#93 spanky123

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 10:23 AM

I love the mainstream’s coverage of technology companies and news, lol.

It’s hopelesslsy kitsch.

 

They get a well crafted press release and some professional photos and it is an easy story that doesn't require much staff effort. 



#94 AllseeingEye

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 11:01 AM

West was a call centre hoping to capitalize on a $.60 dollar with American sounding support staff. The found out not a lot of people were into call centre jobs a 2 hour bus ride from town for minimum wage. Then the dollar rapidly became the same value as the US dollar....

When the margins were squeezed by the rising CDN $ that was pretty much the beginning of the end; the actual line for customers re: "American sounding" staff - if they were asked by callers where they were - was "north of Seattle". I made it quite plain to the CC director I was not happy with that strategy, I also expressed that view to the senior VP in Omaha on one of our early weekly con calls. 

 

That stance, plus my very obvious reluctance to play along with some of the silly games initiated by the director - including listening in and recording some of the calls between him and Omaha - meant my tenure as Ops manager was short lived, about 15 months (I was hire # 2 after the director) - which was fine by me, heh.



#95 Mike K.

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 11:02 AM

Being on the receiving end of so many press releases I’m shocked by just how much news is based on corporate releases and government releases. Virtually all crime reporting is based on press releases as are the majority of widely read news pieces on everything from the economy to social issues to industry.

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#96 On the Level

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 11:08 AM

I'd say most receive nothing in grants.

 

I'm not aware of any mechanism for allocating public funds for BC based businesses anymore.  However, procurement rules are changing to better support the local players.

 

There are generally three categories of tech firms here:

 

3) the consulting firms, already named above, and which play in the most lucrative $ pond in this market, i.e. government contracts. Most are of the very large national (CGI) and multinational variety (Fujitsu, MAXIMUS), although there are sufficient public dollars floating around that successful regional BC-based players like Sierra (Vancouver) and MYRA (Victoria) also make a very good living as well.....

 

I'd go further and break out the firms into two categories; body shops and delivery.  Body shops tend to be smaller and operate at a price point for that market. 

 

Delivery is not as easy as one might think.  While smaller change is fairy common, a Ministry or private organization might complete a major systems and/or process change once in ones career. For some of the local consulting firms, this is all they do over and over again.  As such, they get very good at it but it still involves considerable risk.  

 

I don't think the public understands how progressive the BC Government has been over the last 20 years.  There are a number of examples of BC born solutions that are becoming adopted across North America, especially in Identity, Justice and Finance.  Victoria firms have done a lot of non-BC work over the years.


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#97 Mike K.

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 11:11 AM

Compared to system overhauls at the federal level out local government contractors are indeed pretty good.

The absolute disaster that is Phoenix is not alone, with federal medical systems and health record systems facing massive cost overruns and technical issues as well.

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#98 AllseeingEye

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 11:30 AM

I'm not aware of any mechanism for allocating public funds for BC based businesses anymore.  However, procurement rules are changing to better support the local players.

 

 

I'd go further and break out the firms into two categories; body shops and delivery.  Body shops tend to be smaller and operate at a price point for that market. 

 

Delivery is not as easy as one might think.  While smaller change is fairy common, a Ministry or private organization might complete a major systems and/or process change once in ones career. For some of the local consulting firms, this is all they do over and over again.  As such, they get very good at it but it still involves considerable risk.  

 

I don't think the public understands how progressive the BC Government has been over the last 20 years.  There are a number of examples of BC born solutions that are becoming adopted across North America, especially in Identity, Justice and Finance.  Victoria firms have done a lot of non-BC work over the years.

In some respects I might agree re: specific technology solutions and innovation (Justice in particular), but certainly not in others: their continual dicking around with BC Systems, I mean WTS, I mean Citizen Services, I mean WTS (again), I mean God knows what its called now......was a continual source of aggravation when I was the director of technology services at the LTSA. Multiple projects were discussed, initiated, kick started and often killed due to lack of funding, the implementation of VoIP beyond the regional Victoria MAN (metropolitan area network) being one memorable one for me.....

 

They managed to top it off by blowing up and completely decommissioning (at the time, circa 2010-ish) the entire Customer/Client service team whose sole responsibility it was to liaise outwardly with clients like the LTSA and other core and non-core (Crown Corp and Broader Public Sector) government entities.

 

As LTSA was in the very early planning stages of a 5-year, $20 million dollar desktop, database, back end, storage and web portal refresh the timing of that moronic decision was, at the very least, unfortunate. Fortunately after a hell of a lot of *****ing by yours truly and dozens of other director and executive-director level clients the government of the day realized the monumental stupidity of that decision and ultimately reversed it.



#99 On the Level

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 08:12 PM

Compared to system overhauls at the federal level out local government contractors are indeed pretty good.

The absolute disaster that is Phoenix is not alone, with federal medical systems and health record systems facing massive cost overruns and technical issues as well.

 

I find Phoenix a curiosity but there have been others.  I don't know the details of Phoenix, but I do see a huge disconnect in the idea of "off the shelf" that widens as the systems become bigger especially when it comes to government.  The private sector is not in a position to reinvent the wheel for how they report finances etc.  Government however can draft whatever legislation they want, but you can only cover it via configuration to a certain point, then you're back into custom dev.  Custom dev inside off the shelf products can be disastrous.   Replacing existing systems that have business logic inside of them that the organization has forgotten is equally disastrous.  

 

For BC, I think it's more obvious.  We have such a tiny population/budget that there isn't a business case for vendors to invest in modifications and many in procurement know this.  Vendors are not going to maintain a separate product for BC that they can't sell elsewhere.  The Feds may forget they wield about the same weight as California, and don't compare that against all of the other countries/provinces/states and what that means.

 

In some respects I might agree re: specific technology solutions and innovation (Justice in particular), but certainly not in others: their continual dicking around with BC Systems, I mean WTS, I mean Citizen Services, I mean WTS (again), I mean God knows what its called now......was a continual source of aggravation when I was the director of technology services at the LTSA. Multiple projects were discussed, initiated, kick started and often killed due to lack of funding, the implementation of VoIP beyond the regional Victoria MAN (metropolitan area network) being one memorable one for me.....

 

They managed to top it off by blowing up and completely decommissioning (at the time, circa 2010-ish) the entire Customer/Client service team whose sole responsibility it was to liaise outwardly with clients like the LTSA and other core and non-core (Crown Corp and Broader Public Sector) government entities.

 

As LTSA was in the very early planning stages of a 5-year, $20 million dollar desktop, database, back end, storage and web portal refresh the timing of that moronic decision was, at the very least, unfortunate. Fortunately after a hell of a lot of *****ing by yours truly and dozens of other director and executive-director level clients the government of the day realized the monumental stupidity of that decision and ultimately reversed it.

 

Regarding BCSC / ITSD / WTS / CITZ or whatever, that's not limited to BC.  The pendulum swings back and forth.  I can see how aggravating that would be and I've certainly seen the changes along the way.  The private sector has equal challenges with mergers and acquisitions, internal projects, conflicts etc, but I would imagine it's easier to ignore since for many everything is outward focused.  



#100 Citified.ca

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:46 AM

This is the first time a figure of $5 billion has been floated as the local tech industry's annual economic output. That far outpaces the financial impact of tourism on southern Vancouver Island.
 
Good-news-for-the-Capital's-tech-industry-as-a-market-report-identifies-Victoria-as-one-of-Canada's-leading-hubs.jpg
An aerial of downtown Victoria and surrounding neighbourhoods. The Capital Region of B.C. ranks as one of Canada's hot spots for emerging technologies.
 
Victoria ranks high among Canada's leading tech towns: industry report
https://victoria.cit...ndustry-report/
 
Victoria’s emergence on a high-profile tech industry ranking identifying Canada’s leading technology clusters underpins the Capital’s role as a centre for innovation and a welcoming environment for start-ups.
 
A report issued by commercial real-estate brokerage CBRE has identified the south Island as a rising star among Canada’s 20 key tech clusters, otherwise known as urban centres with an established tech industry, that are critical to ensuring start-ups have access to investor capital, unique supports and opportunities to secure sufficient human resources.
 
“Victoria’s debut on CBRE’s list is at a very respectable number-ten spot,” says Ross Marshall, Vice-President of CBRE’s Victoria office.
 
“This is the first time the list has been expanded to include more than ten technology clusters and Victoria placing in the top-ten confirms what so many of us have suspected, that the region plays an integral role on a national scale.” [Full article]


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