Glen Grunwald's Board Blog

Archive of the blog of the former President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wireless Has Nothing To Do With Wireless

You know things are changing fast when the head of one of the biggest wireless technology companies in the country says that 'wireless' really doesn't have a lot to do with being wireless anymore.

It was one of the ways that Nadir Mohamed, president of the Communication Group at Rogers Communications, opened my eyes this morning, along with the eyes of a roomful of people at our first Technology Innovators Breakfast. It's a new series we're doing to showcase and support Toronto's ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector.

Anyway, Nadir made the point that wireless used to be all about the lack of wires - about mobility, in other words. Now, wireless technology is just another part of the bagful of tools that customers are using to interact with the world. A lot of the time, mobility doesn't enter into it.

The examples he gave were of the people using their cell phones at home, when their landlines are within reach, and people using their Blackberry's at their desks, instead of their computers. These people are using their technology of choice, for its features, familiarity, flexibility, etc. Nothing to do with wires or wireless.

That's where he sees the future for his company and everyone else in the wireless world -- moving from having separate divisions or technologies based on 'wireless' to being about communication in general, and how they can provide connections, services and content to people.

I also liked what Nadir had to say about his incredible record of financial success with Rogers. He was proud of all those fiscal quarters in a row of double-digit growth, he said, but the best metric in the world is word of mouth. If people don't like what you're company is doing, you're just not going to succeed in the long term. And that, he said, comes down to day-to-day execution.

The other highlight of the event for me was Greg Betty, founder of a mid-sized software company called Intelliware Development Inc., who really nailed down the keys to success for his firm and for Toronto. The most important thing, he said, was people -- the well-educated workforce, the incredible diversity of this city that brings great minds from around the world, and the sophisticated customers here that push suppliers like him to remain innovative.

As he said, people may think Toronto is far away from the world centre of ICT - Silicon Valley - but we're just as capable of being world leaders.

All in all, a great start for this series, and thanks to our ICT Advisory Committee and its Chair, David Dobbin of Toronto Hydro Telecom Inc., who also served as moderator. Special thanks to Accenture, our newest lead sponsor, for supporting all of our C-level events, including this series, and to their managing director for Toronto, Tony Gaffney, for taking part.

It's just hard to believe that, in a city that boasts the third largest ICT sector in North America, that we haven't had this kind of forum for the leaders and innovators to get together, celebrate their successes, learn from each other, and start to collaborate more. Well, we started fixing that today.

Anyway, we've got Patrick Sullivan, the President of Workopolis, coming up for the next breakfast on October 31st. If you're in the ICT sector, or interested in the future of technology, I hope to see you there!

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