The first ever Activate Digital event took place in Guelph, Ont., in front of more than 400 attendees at the Delta Hotel & Conference centre.

The event, highlighted by keynote addresses by new Microsoft Canada President Kevin Peesker and Cisco Canada leader Rola Dagher, heightened awareness for Canadian IT leaders to embrace the new digital reality.

Rola Dagher, the President of Cisco Systems Canada

Activate Digital was put on by top solution provider Long View Systems. Dave Frederickson, the Executive Vice President of Sales & Strategic Business Solutions at Long View, said Activate Digital is meant to be an educational forum for the community.

“Companies become digital not by a matter of choice but because we are living in an always connected society,” Frederickson said.

Dave Frederickson of Long View Systems

But this new digital society is being surrounded by cyber security threats and so Long View, a leader in both areas, believed the time was right to engage customers and employers on the digital transformation journey.

“Canadians should be disrupters and not be those who are getting disrupted,” he added.

Activate Digital also featured three centre of excellence rooms where strategic vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, HPE, Pure Storage, Veeam, Commvault, VMware, NetApp and Blackberry showcased new innovative solutions.

Another area of focus for Activate Digital for Frederickson is that no one company can do it all on their own. This is why for the first Activate Digital conference Long View invited many top leaders in the industry to speak.

Cam Guthrie, the Mayor of the City of Guelph

The roster of keynote speakers included:

  • the Mayor of Guelph: His honour Cam Guthrie;
  • LongView’s CTO Robin Bell;
  • the new leader for HPE Canada John Dathan;
  • Carol Vorster, CIO of Corix;
  • Avvey Peters of Communitech;
  • industry analyst James Alexander of InfoTech Group who gave a presentation on BlockChain;
  • Derrick Thomson, the chief administrative officer for the City of Guelph;
  • Jon A. Mellon from NetApp;
  • security expert Gary Hawkins from Long View;
  • BlackBerry Senior VP Margaret Stuart;
  • Cisco Canada President Rola Dagher;
  • Steve Goodyear of Long View and Alex Richmond of the Bank of Canada; and
  • President of Microsoft Canada Kevin Peesker.
Microsoft Canada President Kevin Peesker

Activate Digital also introduced to the IT community in Canada the new CEO of Long View Brent Allison, formerly of Telus and a member of the prestigious 40 under 40 club.

Frederickson added with a line-up of industry leaders, all in one place, shows that Canada can be a leader on the world stage for digital transformation.

And, the reason for holding this first-time event in the city of Guelph, meant that anything is possible in this new age of digital transformation, Frederickson said.

Then, as a special treat, attendees had a meet and greet with hockey legend Darryl Sittler, one of the Top 100 players in NHL history. Sittler addressed the audience by telling them about his boyhood idol Jean Beliveau and being a boyhood idol to other inspirational people like Terry Fox.

All the main stage presenters with NHL Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler presenting a cheque to the Guelph charity of Craigwood Children, Youth Family Services