York hosts Broadband and Innovation Summit

About 200 professionals from public and private sectors gathered to learn more about the broadband economy at the 2018 York Region Broadband and Innovation Summit.

The theme of this year’s summit, held November 8, was York Region as a Knowledge Workforce Hub. A “Knowledge Workforce,” as defined by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), is a labour force that creates economic value through its knowledge, skills and ability to use information effectively.

The rise of the intelligent economy is a response to one of the greatest economic transformations in history, explains the ICF, a global movement with a think tank at its heart. It’s often referred to as ‘globalization’ and is reshaping the economic lives of people around the world the term doesn’t explain why the transformation is taking place.

The ICF prefers to call it the ‘broadband community’ – the product of the build-out of low-cost, high-speed communications and information technology on both the global and local levels. It began in the 1970s when carriers began linking the world’s economic centres with fibre-optic networks.

These made possible collaboration and cooperation across time zones and cultures that opened markets, boosted productivity, created employment and improved living standards. Essentially, a broadband economy is “an economy in which for all intents and purposes the hard-working people of Bangalore and Beijing live right next door to the hard-working people of Boston, Brussels and Buenos Aires,” the ICF says.

Success in the broadband economy requires the ability to create a workforce qualified to perform knowledge work from the factory floor to the research lab and from the construction site to the call centre, York Region explains in a statement about the summit, now in its fourth year. You can follow the conversation at #KnowledgeYR.

Main photo: York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson addresses the 2018 York Region Broadband and Innovation Summit, held at the Toronto Marriott Markham. Inset photo is Laura Bradley, General Manager of York Telecom Network. Photos courtesy of York Region.

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