Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The FP set out explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. Over the next three months, we’ll talk to some of the innovators, visionaries and scientists on the cutting edge of the new cutthroat economy about a blueprint for Canadian success. You can find all of our coverage here.Back in March, amid threats of tariffs, the Trump administration put Canada on its 2018 “Priority Watch List” of trading partners with “the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices” around intellectual property rights. Among U.S. grievances were allegations of ineffective policing of online piracy and inaction against digital pirates. But this blustery rhetoric misses the point: Canada’s IP policies and practices are not the problem.The real problem is the technology itself. The Internet renders stronger laws and government enforcement insufficient and ultimately futile. The first era of the Internet — the Internet of information — effectively broke the IP property regime because it made copying digital assets easy. Consider music: Once real assets delivered on a physical medium like a compact disc or vinyl record, songs have been run through the Internet’s copier until their marginal value neared zero. Labels lost money, artists lost their livelihoods.Yes, the Internet is a powerful tool that has transformed how we share and access information and how we communicate. But it’s also the ultimate bootleg press, peep hole on all things private and costume closet for identity thieves. The upshot is that now the only artists consistently making money are the con artists.Fortunately, rather than yet another regulation or tougher prosecution — which become barriers to entry for individual artists, inventors and start-ups — there is now a better deterrent to counterfeiting, fraud and IP theft: it is the blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.A blockchain is a peer-to-peer transactional network for anything of value, whether stocks, money, music, diamonds, carbon credits, or even intellectual property. Rather than a single intermediary like a bank or government keeping records in a proprietary ledger, a distributed network of computers works to verify transactions, with the results recorded in a shared ledger that anyone in the network can access and no single entity can hack.Bitcoin was the first breakthrough. It demonstrated the creation and preservation of digital scarcity through cryptography and clever code, transforming a highly fickle Internet of information into a secure and permanent Internet of value.Read our full Innovation Nation seriesFP Innovation 150: Firms on the cutting edge of the ideas economyInnovation declaration: Nine things Canada needs to win in the global ideas economyBut cryptocurrencies were just the beginning. Not only can we record and verify clear ownership of IP rights, we can use smart contracts — software that mimics the logic of a business agreement, incentivizes performance, and executes deal terms — to activate these rights and maximize their value, all the while complying with regulations and enforcing trade agreements.There are implications for core Canadian industries, such as manufacturing, technology and medicine that rely on patents and industrial designs; mining and agriculture benefiting from geographical indicators; and music and film depending on copyright.Patents and product designConsider how the company Moog leverages its industrial designs on a blockchain. Based in New York, Moog is an aircraft precision part manufacturer operating in a highly regulated industry. It counts the U.S. Department of Defense, Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin among its customers. Any counterfeits in its products, inefficiencies in its supply chain, or violations of IP rights can delay missions, compromise critical systems and endanger lives. So Moog has worked with a Canadian technology platform, the Aion Foundation, to create a blockchain that reduces complexity and increases the integrity of its supply chain by tracking and recording every action of its partners. Moog has also placed such intangible assets as design files and licences in smart contracts: for each download of a design file, the IP rights holder instantly receives a royalty. These transactions are timestamped on the shared ledger, making IP audits easier. Similar systems would benefit Canada’s industrial and manufacturing sectors as well as its digital companies.Provenance and geographical indicatorsThe Kimberley Process has reduced the trade of blood diamonds by requiring diamond-mining countries to certify that their exports are conflict-free. However, the largely paper-based certification process is rife with corruption, forgeries and inefficiencies, so that compromised diamonds continue to enter the supply chain. To close the gap, a London-based company called Everledger is using blockchain and other emerging technologies to create a global digital ledger for diamonds. Producers, consumers, insurers and regulators can use this shared ledger to track the flow of individual diamonds through the supply chain, from the mines to jewellers. Incorporating blockchain into the diamond supply chain also minimizes insurance fraud. The value of verifying authenticity, provenance and custody through blockchain obviously holds for a wide range of items — from Canadian rye whiskey to paintings.CopyrightAnyone who follows the music industry knows of the tussles between artists and those who rely on their creative output. The traditional food chain is a long one. Between those who create the music and those who pay for it are online retailers (Apple), streaming audio (Spotify), video services (YouTube), concert venues, merchandisers, tour promoters (Live Nation), performance rights organizations (PRS, PPL, ASCAP, BMI), the labels (Sony, Universal, Warner), music producers, recording studios and talent agencies, each with its own contract and accounting system. Each takes a cut of the revenues and passes along the rest, the leftovers reaching the artists themselves six to 18 months later per the terms of their contracts. Before the Internet, a songwriter might earn US$45,000 in royalties for a song that sold a million copies. Now that songwriter might earn only US$35 for a million streams.Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin in Toronto. Some of the worldâs most successful blockchain projects â Ethereum, Aion, and Cosmos, to name a few â were started in Canada. J.P. Moczulski for National Post Imagine instead a world where artists decide how they’d like their music to be shared or experienced — simply by uploading a verified, searchable piece of music and all its related content online. Through the triggering of smart contracts, a song could become its own business, collecting royalties and allocating them to the digital wallets of rights owners such as songwriters and studio musicians. Artists and other creators would get paid first and fairly, rather than last and least.Soon it will be possible to manage, store and exchange any digital asset using this technology — from patents to carbon credits to our personal health data.Even better, blockchain is a made-in-Canada story. Some of the world’s most successful blockchain projects — Ethereum, Aion, and Cosmos, to name a few — were started here. Canada’s culture of innovation, openness and entrepreneurship allowed them to flourish. Now we can harness this technology to strengthen other industries and ensure that Canada’s intellectual capital is not only protected but allowed to thrive.Alex Tapscott is the co-founder of the Blockchain research Institute and co-author of Blockchain Revolution, now translated into 15 languages. He is also an active investor in blockchain companies and projects.
Identifying the Hidden Challenges Facing IT Infrastructure Elizabeth (Beth) English January 02, 2019 Complexity and rapid technological advancement are making data center environments difficult to navigate. If they don’t match, it’s far better to iron out the differences before you sign a contract — while you still have the leverage and the ability to change your decision, if needed. Include your RFP and the vendor’s response in the final contract AND be sure that those documents have precedence if the terms of the contract conflict with what the vendor promised in its proposal. Enterprise IT Infrastructure Spending on the Rise Michelle Burbick January 10, 2019 Cloud and software continue to impact enterprise IT spending on collaboration infrastructure. “SCTC Perspectives” is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.Tags:News & ViewsRFPSOWproject managementOrganization & ManagementBest PracticesConsultant PerspectivesNews & ViewsSCTC Articles You Might Like sctcperspective_Small.png If you’re in the situation where you don’t discover a disconnect, you can go back to the proposal and show the vendor where it agreed to your requirements. Including the documents, with precedence, in the contract legally obligates the vendor to meeting your requirements. In response to a question about a typical installation plan, one of the proposals referred me to an attachment. I couldn’t find it, so I contacted the vendor and asked for it. While it’s normal to review the SOW during contract negotiations, in this case seeing it during the proposal evaluation phase was extremely valuable. See All in Organization & Management » If you don’t see the SOW until you’re negotiating the contract, give it your full attention. The RFP spells out expectations from a buyer’s point of view. The SOW shows what the seller plans to provide. The price more than doubled. Ouch! So what lessons did I learn? The vendor’s SOW made it clear that there was a huge disconnect between what the client and vendor were expecting. It’s always better to understand this (and get it corrected, if that’s what you want) before giving “final” numbers to upper management. “Houston, we have a problem!” After many projects, I still learn new things with every one. And here’s an old lesson that was reinforced yet again: Eyeing Diversity & Inclusion at EC19 Michelle Burbick March 07, 2019 What sort of diversity and inclusion policies make sense for your enterprise? Cisco & Social Responsibility: Going Beyond the Norm Zeus Kerravala October 04, 2019 Company’s mission includes ending poverty, through partnership with international advocacy group Global Citizen. In this case, I talked it over with the client and it wanted to give the vendor a chance to make corrections. So I dug into the document, noted all of the issues that I found, then sent it back to the vendor asking for adjustments in configuration and pricing to match the RFP’s requirements. One of the best things about working in our industry is that there’s always something new to learn. It’s never boring! Instead of a “typical” plan, the vendor provided a full-blown scope of work (SOW). Normally, I don’t see a SOW until the final solution has been determined and we’re in contract negotiations. So it was unusual to see it at this point in the process. It started while evaluating proposals submitted in response to a request for proposal (RFP) that I’d created for my client. The RFP included sections on system capabilities and necessary features, as well as one that outlined installation and support requirements. Log in or register to post comments In reading the document, it became apparent in the first couple of pages that the SOW didn’t match the RFP specifications. Key requirements, such as call recording, hadn’t been included in the SOW. Other types of work, such as placing the phones, were a customer responsibility (even though the RFP made it clear the vendor was supposed to do this). In another situation, ignoring the client’s requirements stated in the RFP could easily result in the elimination of the proposal from further consideration. On a recent project, I ran into a new situation. I think this lesson learned is worth sharing. Getting a Handle on Your Communications Expenses Barbara A Grothe December 14, 2018 10 questions to ask your Telecom Expense Management (TEM) provider. project-planning.jpg I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to ask for twice the money after having received approval for the project budget.