Canadian Treasurer

November 27 , 2012

New Big Data Congress in Saint John features speakers, delegates from around North America

SAINT JOHN--As the first step in raising the awareness across North America of the emerging "Data Science Centre of Excellence" in Atlantic Canada, T4G Leading Thinkers and the New Brunswick Information Technology Council (NBITC) announce the 2013 Big Data Congress.

This new national event on January 24 will bring together world leading thinkers and doers who are creating value from big data today. The gathering will demonstrate the technology depth of New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada and the opportunity to create a nexus of data science professionals in the region.

"We're in the very early, pioneering days of big data," says T4G President Geoff Flood. "But the implications for every sector of the economy are limitless. This event will highlight solutions and ideas from Leading Thinkers and Doers at home and around the world."

Leading the roster of Leading Thinkers at the Big Data Congress is Andrew McAfee, best-selling author of Race Against the Machine and Principal Research Scientist at MIT's Center for Digital Business in the Sloan School of Management. At the event, the emphasis will be on "applied" big data - practical real-world solutions that will solve the "wicked problems" of today and provide opportunity for the future.

Mr. McAfee argues big data is a big deal, not simply the latest technology 'flavor of the month', and the War for Talent will heighten bit by byte. "This thirst for talent is not going to be temporary," he says. "This is because data volumes keep exploding, and businesses will need folk who can work with ever-greater amounts of data."

Gartner, the international IT advisory, predicts that by 2015 some 4.4 million jobs worldwide will have been created simply to support big data. New Brunswick is well positioned to supply many of these jobs.

A Data Science Centre of Excellence will effectively bring together the public, private and academic sectors in the region to share ideas and spur growth. Expansion of the data science talent pool will attract more domain experts to the region.

"Twenty-five years ago some people scoffed at New Brunswick for building the most connected province and launching a customer contact centre industry," Mr. Flood adds, "but today there are 18,000 jobs and $1.5 billion pumped into the provincial economy each year. The current provincial government is investing in a reprise of that accomplishment by working with leaders in industry and academia and by prioritizing investments in ITC and Innovation including data science."

The location of the Big Data Congress at the port terminal is symbolic: it was only a decade ago that bad weather forced a cruise ship into Saint John's port and this sparked a whole new industry for the region.

In 2012, 74 cruise ships with 190,000 tourists stopped by Saint John while pumping $15 million into the economy. The new industry has been such a success that the government is studying whether it should invest further and turn Saint John into a "home port" where cruise lines can begin and end luxury trips at sea.

"Time and again New Brunswickers have turned big ideas into big opportunities and we know Data Science is another example of this," says Larry Sampson, CEO of the New Brunswick Information Technology Council. "Finding competitive advantage in emerging technologies is crucial to the well-being of every sector of the New Brunswick economy. Big data is something we need to understand, and then aggressively mine for opportunities."

David Baxter, Chairman of PropelICT, a non-profit organization focused on helping early stage technology start-ups, adds: "The vast majority of digital startup ventures today have seized on the value of the data generated through customer interactions and are creating world-beating companies as a result."

The growth in data science capability in the region is outpacing every other sector. "This is happening because we have a high level of commitment from all sectors and the agility that a tightly-knit professional community confers," Mr. Flood says. "With this critical mass, big companies will come, invest and share ideas and research. We've already seen powerhouses like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Google, Siemens and others invest in New Brunswick. We know they will continue to invest as a world-class Data Science Centre of Excellence becomes a reality."

For more information about the congress:


The New Brunswick Information Technology Council works to help the province become the case study of how to leverage Information and Communication Technologies to re-invigorate an economy by improving the competitiveness of traditional sectors, preparing youth for the 21st century workforce, developing and nurturing an innovation eco-system and making New Brunswick one of the best places in the world to start and grow a technology company. For more information:

About T4G

T4G is a national, project-based, full-service professional services company founded in 1996 with operations from coast-to-coast. We believe in building high-performing teams and breaking conventional wisdom. We believe in our people and true participation in each and every project we undertake.



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