...Three More Tales of Ingenuity
In last month’s issue of ITAC Online, we profiled three of the six winners awarded at the inaugural Ingenious Awards gala on June 14 in Toronto.
In this month’s issue, we focus on the other – albeit, equally brilliant – three. You’ll read about the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) Data Analytics Retrieval Technology (or, DART), which allows the corporation to access and use practically inconceivable amounts of information instantaneously. You’ll learn how the Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York is improving the lives of children with disabilities in its area, and their families, much easier to manage. And finally, you’ll read about TinyEYE Online Speech Therapy Services, a company that won not only the Ingenious Award for their category, but also the Judges’ Prize for overall excellence, for their online speech therapy services – which are now being exported all around the world.
We will also be publishing an Ingenious Awards magazine in September, which will be circulated across the country as an insert in the Globe and Mail. Stay tuned to ingeniousawards.ca for that. And remember that the Call for Entries for the Second Annual 2012 Ingenious Awards will be upon us before we know it. It’s never too early to start preparing your entry…
If you’d like to learn more about all six 2011 Ingenious Award winners, you can watch a one-minute video summarizing each project here: ingeniousawards.ca/winners.
You can also see a selection of photos from the June 14 gala here: ingeniousawards.ca/photos.Tell us your thoughts on this story
TinyEYE Therapy Services - Small to Medium Size Private Business
The acquisition of language skills is a vital part of a child's development. For some children, mastering the art of speech is more challenging than for others. Wherever possible, they turn to speech pathologists—professionals dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of functional and organic speech defects—for help. But there is a critical shortage of speech pathologists in North America and around the world. The shortage is particularly acute in rural and remote areas. An estimated 300,000 children have no direct access to speech therapy due to geography or social and economic conditions.
This shortage of therapists is exacerbated by the intense travel burden placed upon the Speech-Language Pathologists (or, SLPs) that do practice. Traveling from school to school, from patient to patient, they spend a great deal of time in transit and can spend less than 50 percent of their time caring for patients. Administrative tasks and record keeping further reduce face-time with children requiring therapy.
This shortage of SLPs suggested a business opportunity for Saskatoon-based TinyEYE Therapy Services. Recognizing that therapeutic services could be effectively delivered over the internet, the company developed a web-based therapy platform that is accessible by any school with a computer and a high- speed internet connection. Requiring only a standard computer, web camera, headset and a high-speed connection, TinyEYE's program automates reporting functions and completely eliminates travel time. The result? The 35 SLPs employed by TinyEYE spend 90 percent of their time directly with the children, an increase of 40 percent.
“What excited us about this project was the fact that it was completely internal, that all obstacles were met and exceeded by a very determined team, and that they were able to take this project and turn it into an exportable product for Canada and develop a small business from this particular application,” said Ronan McGrath, Ingenious Awards judge and Past Chair of ITAC. “Given the very rigourous restrictions that they had to deal with, TinyEYE succeeded through determination, experimentation, imagination and creativity.”
TinyEYE not only won the Ingenious award for their category; they also won the “Judges’ Prize” – celebrating the one Ingenious winner that unanimously impressed both judging panels. Ronan said much of what made the company deserving of both prizes is that they made their online service into an exportable product, unlimited by geography.
“This is a very powerful story of a small to mid-sized business from Saskatchewan using online technologies to create not only a viable business model, but a product that can be exported all over the world to help enhance people's lives anywhere,” said Bernard Courtois, President and CEO of ITAC. "We are very proud to celebrate TinyEYE's success by presenting them with an Ingenious Award."
For the CEO of TinyEYE, Greg Sutton, what makes the company’s work special is that it makes children’s lives better.
“We are lucky in our business, in that a job well done means thousands of children will receive access to treatments that enable them to fully engage in their lives and have a greater opportunity for success,” he said. “That makes all the hard work worth it.”
More than 350 schoolchildren in Saskatchewan now receive speech therapy that they would not otherwise receive, thanks to TinyEYE. And the company hasn't stopped there. More than 50 percent of its sales now come from outside of Canada. In total, the company has completed more than 45,000 online therapy sessions with more than 3,000 children, spanning 12 countries and four languages.
By reducing the time SLPs spend on non-therapeutic tasks, and increasing the amount of time they spend providing direct therapy to children, TinyEYE has clearly demonstrated the power of using ICT to build a dynamic, exporting business while improving the lives of its young clients.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York - Not-for-profit Organization
Any parent can attest to the fact that caring for a child is a full-time job. But caring for a child with multiple special needs is vastly more complex, requiring a huge team of doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors and other professionals. The more this group can unite to function as a team, the better the outcomes for the child. That's precisely the idea behind the Children's Treatment Network of Simcoe York (CTN). This organization provides a new model of service delivery that links health, education, recreation, social and community resources to improve the lives of disabled children and their families in Simcoe County and York Region in Ontario.
Information and communications technology is at the heart of this new model, starting with a shared electronic record for children and youth with multiple special needs. The goals of the system were to reduce the burden on parents of coordinating services, setting appointments and sharing healthcare information essential to the health of a child with several community service providers. The shared electronic record allows healthcare, education, recreation, and social and community service organizations to document their assessment and intervention information in a secure place for all team members to review.
Referrals to services now occur more quickly, and even though children are still waiting for services, they are now waiting for the appropriate services. Most importantly, the quality of care provided for the children and their families is increased through improved coordination. To date, more than 4,000 children have a shared electronic record. Five hundred of these have been transitioned to the new model and have experienced development of an integrated plan – a “single plan of care.” The number of processed referrals has multiplied 65 times since project launch, and the number of completed child/family interviews has increased by 60 percent. Meanwhile, 900 care professionals have been trained on the “single plan of care” approach.
Louise Paul is CEO of Children’s Treatment Network. A former Director of a policy branch with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, she said it was primarily the opportunity to work with this type of service delivery model that intrigued her into returning to work in the community.
“The ‘single plan of care’ model really seemed to walk the talk,” she said. “It was intriguing to see how technology could support this model of integrated goal setting and planning. I didn’t appreciate the extent of the opportunities until I was in the middle of it. Sometimes the complexity of the challenges we face can be frustrating, but all you need to hear is a family telling you it’s made a difference in their lives, and that’s more than enough to keep going.”
Louise said the families themselves are always at the core of the network. At all times, a minimum of four of CTN’s 12 Board members must be parents of children receiving treatment from the network. She said this helps ensure the programs and services are headed in the right direction.
Of CTN’s 52 partner agencies, the network has funding agreements with 21, including four hospitals, and a number of school boards, Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) and community organizations, to provide rehabilitation services on behalf of the Children’s Treatment Network
“It’s a simple premise but when you’re looking at children with this range of needs, the system can’t be simple. Developing this kind of network takes time – it sure doesn’t happen overnight,” she said. “But if there’s one thing I will certainly say about this type of public-private partnership: it works.”
Children's Treatment Network of Simcoe York has been a trailblazer and a model for other organizations looking to improve or set up partnerships and new approaches to care. The ability to share information in a secure way toward improving care to children and families is supported by the shared electronic record and the commitment by all partners to reduce duplication, collaborate and build on each other’s strengths – a winning formula for any team.Tell us your thoughts on this story
DART - Data Analytics and Retrieval Technology - Large Public Organization
For more than 32 years, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has been creating excitement and fueling the dreams of Ontarians through its lotteries, casinos, slots and bingos throughout the province. Trust is central to their operations. Every player needs to know the games are fair.
In 2009, OLG commissioned an audit of the integrity and security of its lotteries. The results recommended that the OLG use data analytics to find, combat and—most importantly—prevent insiders and others from engaging in fraudulent activity.
After months of development with a number of industry partners, the OLG launched the DART (Data Analytics and Retrieval Technology) system on July 6, 2010. With the click of a button, the system immediately provides its users with access to billions of lottery transactions dating back to 1999.
Searches that previously took days or months now take mere minutes, even seconds. What's more, DART is the first and only system of its kind in the world. With annual transactions of 1.2 billion, the lottery data analytic environment in Ontario is twice as large as the annual VISA transactions processed in the province, and five times larger than the TSX's annual transactions. If you printed off all the data in the OLG database on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, it would circle the globe 13 times. The OLG users now know literally everything there is to know about any lottery sale, validation, redemption, complaint or other incident that OLG customers or retailers have made within the last 13 years. The project is an indispensable tool for ensuring confidence in all the products OLG offers.
“Trust is an essential part of the brand, which means that rightful winners receive their prizes and fraud is detected with quickly and dealt with,” said Ronan McGrath, Principal at Ronan McGrath and Associates and former Chair of ITAC. Ronan headed the second tier of judges who were responsible for selecting this year’s Ingenious Award winners.
“This particular project combined both industry IP and unique internal development within the OLG and is in fact a leading application in the world.”
Tom Marinelli is Chief Transition Officer and Chief Information Officer for OLG. He explained that in the past, the OLG had to segregate their data to preserve the security of the information. But fast forward a few years, and he said the organization realized they were sitting on a gold-mine of information that they weren’t using.
“We realized we could use this information to help fight fraudulent behaviour and monitor our retailers,” Tom said. “The business simply does not run without technology, and in this case, the fact that we’re developing technology to help people is fantastic. We could not afford to invest in DART and create a lemon. The expectations were very high. Our goal was essentially to create a system so that no one on the outside would ever know more about our business than we do – and of course, all this on time and on budget. DART provides us with confidence in our products and services, and it happens right away. In other words, we’re sure we deliver the right prize to the right person, and we’re sure of it all in a timely manner.”
Fariba Anderson is Vice-President, Lottery IT, for OLG. She joined the OLG team in November of 2008 and in many ways became a champion for change – and DART – within OLG.
She explained that with DART, the challenge wasn’t developing the technology, it was ensuring that the technology was secure. She said that the heart of the innovation behind DART was the creation of a “ticket profile,” which essentially allowed OLG to avoid the use of personal information because it tracked the ticket instead of the buyer.
“I became a privacy expert,” Fariba said. “We don’t know who you are, but in terms of your buying habits, we know what you do. We already had all the data – it just took too long to access it,” she said. “In terms of innovation and increasing productivity, nothing I’ve ever done in my life matches what I do here.”
Since its inception almost one year ago, DART has exceeded expectations. It has contributed to improved results from the OLG's public trust surveys, and has been celebrated by a number of prominent news organizations including CNN, Computer World Magazine, the Toronto Star and the Financial Post. And in one special case, DART's innovative capabilities enabled the OLG to find the rightful owner of a December 26, 2003, ticket worth $14.85 million— seven years after the draw—a late Christmas gift conveyed through the power of information and communications technology.Tell us your thoughts on this story
September 20 - 21, 2011
September 27, 2011
October 19 - 20, 2011
For a full event listing, and to register for ITAC events, go to: itac.ca/event_cal
CSLS Study, Commissioned by ITAC, Shows Increased ICT Investment in Canada in 2010
The Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) has released its report, commissioned by ITAC, “Overview of Developments in ICT Investment in Canada, 2010: Rebounding from the Recession.” The study shows that following a decline in ICT investment in 2009 due to the recession, ICT investment in Canada rebounded back in both nominal and real terms for all three components: computer equipment, communication equipment, and software investment.
ITAC Continues to Collaborate with PWGSC on Software Licensing Supply Arrangement
After several months of close collaboration with the federal government on a new vehicle for purchasing software, the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) released a Software Licensing Supply Arrangement on February 1, 2011.
While the initial “pilot” phase for this SLSA is well underway, ITAC continues to work with PWGSC to make the SLSA as mutually beneficial to both industry and government as possible.
If you are a member of the software industry and have feedback on this SLSA, or the process surrounding it, we encourage you to get in touch with us. Please contact Linda Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harper Government Announces Second Call for Canadian Innovations
Public Works and Government Services Canada has announced that the Government of Canada is once again accepting applications from local businesses to help kickstart their innovative ideas by moving their products and services from the lab to the marketplace.
Launched in 2010, the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program/Kickstart initiative (CICP) is a $40-million pilot program created to help Canadian businesses by testing their innovative products and services within the Government of Canada before taking them to the marketplace. Federal departments will test innovations that fall within four key areas: environment; health; safety and security; and technology.
The second call for proposals is now available on MERX, the Government of Canada’s electronic tendering service. For more information, please visit buyandsell.gc.ca/innovation or look for this opportunity on www.merx.ca.
Subscribe to the WCIT 2012 in Montreal Newsletter
In October of 2012, the 18th World Congress on Information Technology will take place in Montreal, Canada. The theme of the congress is “The New Digital Society,” an event that will explore fulfilling the promise of the Digital Age.
The industry’s foremost thought leaders, senior government officials, academic and international institutions and global media will converge in Montreal to discuss how the world can continue to benefit from the information technology and communications technologies.
The WCIT 2012 Organizing Committee invites WITSA members' to subscribe to the WCIT 2012 Monthly Newsletter.
You are requested to subscribe to this newsletter and encourage your members to also subscribe.
Other News and Events
Call for Proposals for the New Brunswick Innovation Forum 2011 is now open!
The National Research Council of Canada Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT) will host the fourth annual New Brunswick Innovation Forum at the Fredericton Convention Centre, Fredericton, New Brunswick on November 2-3, 2011.
In addition, due to the overwhelming response to this event, the “call for innovative technologies, products and services” has again been extended to all Atlantic Canadian ICT companies, researchers and scientists.
The Call for Proposals for the fourth annual New Brunswick Innovation Forum 2011: Atlantic Canada’s Fast Track to IT Opportunities is open right now!
All ICT related innovations and opportunities will be eligible for submission through the Call for Proposals. A selection committee will review the submissions and choose eight panelists in each of the following streams:
- Transfer opportunities (company)
- University and Federal Lab Technologies for Transfer
- International Opportunities – this category is reserved for International researchers and companies that are offering business opportunities to Canadian companies
We invite you to submit a proposal to be part of this exciting event. If you are interested in being a panelist, visit the New Brunswick Innovation Forum 2011 website for more information!
Deadline for submissions: Wednesday, August 10, 2011.
ITAC Members Receive Discounted Registration Rate at GTEC 2011
The 2011 GTEC conference, “Connected Government – Working Together to Better Serve Canadians,” will take place October 17-20, 2011, in Ottawa – and ITAC members will receive a discounted early-bird rate of $795.00! (Simply enter the promo code: ITAC01.)
GTEC brings together leading public and private sector experts to collaborate on serving citizens better through innovation and technology. Our conference, exhibition and Distinction Awards program celebrate the best of breed technology, and best practice leadership in Canadian and international government.
Given the need to work horizontally across departments and jurisdictions to improve service delivery and diminishing budgets, the pressure on governments to leverage efficient, secure, and reliable technologies has never been higher. In 2011, GTEC will help you prepare for the tsunami of change ahead by gathering delegates from across Canada to collaborate and participate in a variety of policy discussions.
Fore more information, visit: www.gtec.ca
The Catalyst Canada Honours - October 18, 2011, in Toronto
The Catalyst Canada Honours celebrates individual champions of women in business. Recognizing that what’s good for women is good for business, these exceptional leaders are personally and visibly committed to the advancement of women and serve as powerful role models for Canadian corporate leaders.
Please join us on October 18, 2011, to recognize The Catalyst Canada Honours 2011 champions. Contact Jessica Dolmer at email@example.com to reserve your table now.
Bill Downe, President and CEO, BMO Financial Group
6:00 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner and Ceremony
9:00 p.m. Evening Concludes
The Fairmont Royal York, 100 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Access the Funding Portal
Every year, Canada's three levels of government invest about $12 billion in grants and contributions, but many companies report that they have little understanding of how to access these resources.
On July 11, 2011, an online bilingual service called THE FUNDING PORTAL launched across Canada to help businesses secure public funding through four easy steps: Find It, Apply for It, Score It and Advance It.
THE FUNDING PORTAL website features TFP Search™, a high-powered search engine that allows users to instantly search all Canadian public funding programs.
Users complete their applications in secure online workrooms and can have their drafts evaluated by the Portal's Expert Review Panel to gain valuable feedback through a TFP Scorecard™.
THE FUNDING PORTAL boasts Canada's top funding experts, including: Marielle Piché, the former Executive Director of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP); Dr. Kevin Goheen, a respected expert on tax credits (SREDs); and Dr. Sherif Barakat, a recently retired Vice President, National Research Council of Canada (NRC).