The latest on local tech from Taproot Edmonton
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020 · By Mack Male

Each week we bring together the latest tech headlines and upcoming events to help you stay up-to-date on what's happening in Edmonton's tech community. Get it delivered to your inbox! Interested in sponsoring the Tech Roundup? Learn more about how you can support our efforts to chronicle technology in Edmonton.

Hackathon encourages apps to help survive the COVID-19 pandemic

The organizers behind the Dev Edmonton Society have launched CODEVID-19, a hackathon that aims to "build useful apps that people can use to manage and survive during the COVID-19 pandemic." Though plans are still very much in flux, the intent is for participating teams to submit entries for both weekly prizes and a final competition.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, many people are looking at a lot of free time stuck indoors. Avoid cabin fever and use that time to make a difference in your community and the fight against COVID-19 by joining CODEVID-19, the world’s first pandemic hackathon!"

A Slack community has been setup to discuss CODEVID-19. If you'd like to participate, sponsor, judge, or otherwise support the hackathon, sign up here. For more information, check out the planning document.


Here's what some local tech and innovation organizations are doing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Alberta Innovation Corridor is conducting a COVID-19 company impact assessment to determine how to best "advocate on supports needed over the coming weeks."
  • Alberta Innovates said in a letter from CEO Laura Kilcrease that it will "continue to develop and implement preparedness plans to mitigate both short- and long-term impacts to the Albertans we serve."
  • Cybera has increased capacity for member institutions and is "making the Rapid Access Cloud available to members and Alberta small-to-medium sized enterprises to assist with their move to digital environments."
  • CommAlert and Punchcard Systems teamed up to launch COVID Continuity, a collection of resources to "support business leaders to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with running your business operations during the COVID-19 outbreak."
  • Showbie initially offered all schools unlimited Showbie Pro and Socrative Pro for free until the end of July but later had to rescind that due to overwhelming load.
  • SAM has launched new features "to help our users track COVID-19 impact."
  • We Know Training said its online platforms "will see no interruption of service" and that it is exploring "further opportunities to better support our customers and learners during this challenging time."

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  • Jobber has been named to Fast Company's list of the World's Most Innovative Companies in the enterprise software category. "Proud doesn’t even begin to adequately explain the way I feel about this company and the work that we’re doing to help the people in small business be successful," wrote Jobber CEO Sam Pillar on LinkedIn. The company was also named the #1 Field Service Management Software product by Capterra, "a free online service owned by Gartner that helps organizations find the right software."
  • Computing scientists at the University of Alberta using machine learning to predict natural and man-made disasters have received $540,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to launch the second phase of the Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) project.
  • Cybera has launched a new logo. "As Cybera’s services have grown in recent years, and the number of people we impact, we needed a logo that reflected our collaborative role in Alberta."
  • In a keynote address at the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Growth Summit 2020 last week, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) CEO Cam Linke said the organization's courses have helped train over 2,300 machine learning students in the last six months. He challenged companies to commit to investing in their own artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities but also in growing the AI community.
  • PCL Construction is partnering with Eddy Solutions, a supplier of internet of things (IoT) water leak mitigation services, to "use game-changing technology to protect project sites from the increasing threat of water damage."
  • A new episode of the YEG.Me podcast features Chris LaBossiere, founder and CEO of Altitude Investments, who recently sold Yardstick to ProctorU.
  • Episode 56 of the Rainforest Alberta podcast features Anthony Nagendraraj, founder and CEO of Spontivly. "We believe that in order to build strong, effective communities, you need to be able to make informed decisions to be able to do that."
  • The Edmonton Police Foundation is gathering input on its next paid challenge which will be an app for first responders "that supports employees physically and mentally throughout their careers (and perhaps into retirement)."
  • "It’s a super-engaged, multidisciplinary group of 33 young women," said Destani Engel, program coordinator of AlbertaWomen.AI, about the first cohort. "When I say super-engaged, I mean it — they want to dive into the content."

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Upcoming Events

In light of COVID-19, a number of events have been cancelled or postponed. CBC Edmonton has an up-to-date list of all of the closures, cancellations, and other notices.

The listings below reflect the best of our knowledge at press time.

Heads up:

You'll have to travel for:

This roundup was sponsored by Innovate Edmonton.
Innovate Edmonton collaborates to create the best possible environment for tech-enabled startup and scaleup company growth and believes that when tech companies succeed, our economy excels and every Edmontonian benefits.
The Tech Roundup is published by:
Taproot Edmonton
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