In the context of recent news about the convergence of national broadcaster CTV and mobility provider Bell, the timing of Mobile Innovation Week in Toronto couldn't be more a propos.
"This event showcases our mobile prowess to global mobile industry leaders," describes Michael J. O'Farrell, founder and co-producer of the event, which kicks off today, "while also giving Canadian organizations the tools and information they need to take advantage of the emerging mobile universe."
Among the organizations taking advantage of wireless initiatives for content distribution and audience connection are several Canadian TV and specialty channel operators.
O'Farrell first cites several stats that explain his energy and enthusiasm for the mobile industry in Canada as a whole - more than 23 million Canadians (at last count in June) are wireless phone subscribers.
And, he notes, Canada's wireless carriers invest more than $1 billion in an expanding wireless communications infrastructure each year, so coverage is now available to 99 % of the population.
Wireless revenues in Canada exceeded $16 billion last year, he notes, and mobile ad revenues in Canada exceeded budgeted expectations of $5.2 million, growing by 347% over 2007 numbers, to just over $11.9 million for 2008.
The mobile sector offers high value employment, he adds, with an average salary level of $59,000, compared with a Canadian average salary of $42,640
But O'Farrell sees another of the keys to innovation as the critical mass of technologists, developers, system integrators and digital media content creators that live and work here, and the proximity to many traditional media companies and broadcast entities based here.
Toronto's mobile app developer Five Mobile, for example, together with the sports TV channel The Score, has developed one of the most popular smartphone sports apps worldwide - Score Mobile is competing with the big boys, like ESPN, in a crowded and lucrative global market.
Spreed is another local firm with global ambitions; its news reading app is driving consumption of major international daily and weekly publications. Polar Mobile has just released a multi-platform app for various smartphone devices on behalf of Canwest's Food Network, and the list of mobile developments on behalf of major broadcasters goes on.
Companies participating in the week's activities: Adenyo, Bell Mobility, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), comScore, Deloitte, Ericsson, Google, IDC Canada, KPMG, Microsoft, MyThum Interactive, OCAD University, RBC Financial, RIM, Rogers Communications, Samsung, Sybase, Sympatico Mobile, The Globe and Mail, Visa, Yellow Pages Group and more.
More than 150 speakers and some 100 interactive presentations are planned at various venues as part of Mobile Innovation Week, along with many other co-branded workshops and moderated sessions.
O'Farrell is one of the events co-chairs, along with Shawn Pucknell from FITC; Gary Schwartz of the Mobile Entertainment Forum Americas and president & CEO of Impact Mobile; and Ian Kelso, president & CEO, of Interactive Ontario, the province's interactive media association.
Support from mobile and digital media companies and national and global organizations for the event includes the Government of Canada, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the Information and Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), the Canadian Interactive Alliance, the Cross Innovation Academy, the Digital Arts and Technology Association (DATA), Flash in TO, Ad Lounge, Mobile Dev & Design, the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), Mobile Monday (MoMo), the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), RGD Ontario, Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP), and Wavefront AC.
This year, Mobile Innovation Week is co-produced by The Mobile Institute, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), FITC, Interactive Ontario and the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC).
It is produced in cooperation with the City of Toronto.
Among the Mediacaster Magazine reports related to this topic, please see:
TheScore Seeks to Monetize Multiple Mobile Platforms
Read News on the Go with New Mobile App from Canadian Developer
Food Network Feasts On Mobile App Features
BlackBerry Joins the Broadcast Business with Content Delivery Service
Urban Music App Provide Access to Videos and Music Across PC, Mobile Platforms
EYE Weekly Goes Mobile with MyThum
QuickPlay Powers India's Unlimited Music Download Service