Local Innovation Driving Economic Recovery

In April, I directed staff to use the Innovation Pilot Program to issue a challenge to the local technology community to bring forward innovations and solutions that would support our city’s COVID-19 economic recovery, and I am proud to share that the City of Ottawa has selected five innovative pilot projects to drive our city’s recovery efforts, including Kanata North’s InitLive:

Workforce Analytics for the City of Ottawa: Ottawa-based startup Agile Work Evolutions Inc. will work with the city’s Innovative Client Services Department to pilot their Workforce Analytics software cloud solution, which engages employees to better understand how they work, how they prefer to work, and how their employer enables them to work. Workforce Analytics will benefit the city’s COVID-19 recovery efforts by supporting workforce reintegration during and after COVID-19, allowing management to review scenarios for re-entry to the workplace.

Streamlining community volunteer management processes through integrated software tools: Local software company InitLive will work with the Manor Park Community Council to pilot software that will help them cope with increased demand for non-profit services that depend on volunteers. InitLive’s tools will help the council streamline management of volunteers to better meet the needs of vulnerable members of the community, notably through deliveries on behalf of local food banks including Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Center, Partage Vanier Food Bank, and Kanata Food Cupboard.

Safe return to business in a COVID-19 environment: client intake and queue management solution: Gatineau-based Macadamian will work with Chiromax of Manotick to pilot technology to help ensure patient safety when accessing healthcare services. Macadamian’s InQ virtual waiting room will enable Chiromax to ensure their patients practice physical distancing. Using a smartphone and health clinic tablet applications, InQ will match available services with patients and manage walk-ins and InQ users equitably. Chiromax patients will be registered in the virtual waiting room on arrival, and they can then wait in their vehicles or outdoors until notified by the mobile app.

QReserve space and density management solutions: Hamilton-based QReserve will work with Ottawa Markets to pilot a density management solution that uses low-power sensors to track occupancy and usage patterns in the ByWard Market Building. The sensors will anonymously detect motion and heat-based signatures to provide in-depth insights on high-traffic locations within the building. The goal of the pilot is to finalize a scalable solution that facilitates physical distancing measures.

The Social Distancer™ – managing physical distancing in the workplace: Social Distancer Technologies, from Châteauguay, Québec, will partner with the city and other organizations to pilot technology that will help reopen the cultural sector and public markets. Social Distancer Technologies, in collaboration with Visible Assets Inc., has developed a wireless, wearable device that provides visual, audible and haptic warnings when two devices are less than two metres apart. The device will make physical distancing guidelines easy to practice, and it will be piloted at locations including Ottawa Markets, the Billings Estate National Historic Site, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, and the Diefenbunker Museum.

We are incredibly fortunate to have hundreds of technology companies and thousands of high-tech workers in Ottawa, including Canada’s largest technology park in Kanata North as we work towards recovery.

The evaluation committee, which included city staff and economic development partners, received and considered 47 applications. The chosen projects support a broad range of sectors, including government, health, non-profit, retail, agriculture, and culture. The City of Ottawa and some local businesses will pilot these technologies until February 2021.

I look forward to supporting this work moving forward and seeing the successful results of these projects, and I hope that this challenge based approach becomes the new norm for our city.