Vol 1, #2, March 24, 2009
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March 24, 2009


Microsoft offering free software trials for Canadian firms
Facebook's popularity soars on cell phones
Taking email security to the next level
Telus to invest $500 million in B.C. data centre
GenieKnows 2.0 offers new options for businesses, consumers
Indigo launces ebook platform
A Fresh Approach to customizing online ticket sales
Email, texting hinders learning, study says
Online road safety resource from TD Insurance
Province invests in emerging technologies
Metro to go

Microsoft offering free software trials for Canadian firms
Canadian businesses can test out online versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications for free until April 13. Microsoft hopes by offering these enterprise server applications via a hosted model, it can get moresmaller businesses to use the software.

The services are packaged together in the Business Productivity Online Suite. It's another transitional point for Microsoft's much publicized "software plus services" approach to cloud computing that also includes the next version of Office and the new Azure operating system.

For more information visit www.microsoft.ca/online
Top of Page

Facebook's popularity soars on cell phones
An ongoing national research study conducted by ZINC Research and its partner Dufferin Research, shows over one-third (36%) of Canadians on social networking sites have the Facebook application on their cell phones.

With almost half of Canadians (47%) with cell phones can access the Internet from their mobile unit, this trend has brought social networking sites to the palm of your hand, with Facebook being the pre-eminent social networking application for cell phones.

"Beyond the traditional internet, Facebook is dominating all other social networking sites in the mobile market too," says Brian F. Singh, Managing Director of ZINC Research. "With their slick, easy to use applications for the iPhone and Blackberry, Facebook has made it attractive for subscribers to use the technology anywhere at anytime. As smart phones become more ubiquitous, Facebook is well positioned for the future."

Tracking indicates that among online Canadians who subscribe to social networking sites, Facebook consistently accounts for over 80% of all memberships.

For complete poll results, visit http://www.zincresearch.com/pressroom.htm. Top of Page

Taking email security to the next level
Today's economic conditions are causing more end-users to fall prey to financial fraud and with the increased sophistication of malware attacks the risk for data loss and compromised security is at record levels. As a result, email has become more costly to manage, particularly for complex, information-driven organizations.

In answer to this growing concern, Vircom Inc. has released one of the most powerful and scalable email security appliances in today's market. The mBlade™ is specially designed to support high traffic and complex network environments, making it an excellent fit for the enterprise and service provider markets across all verticals.

"When we introduced the mBlade™, it was to solve specific issues caused by email-borne threats,” says Jean-Marc Robillard, Director of Product Management. “It seems that there were some needs not being met in the large enterprise and service provider space. The mBlade™ not only addresses the growing concern of securing data and ensuring business continuity, but our content management technology is extremely flexible, and can be customized based on business policy and legislative directives."

mBlade™ appliance maintains Vircom's reputation for having the industry's leading catch-rate and lowest false positive incidents, and provides categorized quarantine reports to organize potential threats so that you are guaranteed to never lose any email. The platform is optimized for message processing speeds almost double those of the competitors, all the while securing a leading ROHS rating for energy efficiency.

"This just proves that you can provide performance and still be recognized for green IT standards and practices," says Robillard. Top of Page

Telus to invest $500 million in B.C. internet data centre
Telus Corp. says it will spend $500 million from its 2009 capital budget to advance wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure in British Columbia.

Vancouver-based Telus said Monday the new network will be launched in early 2010 using "leading edge" mobile broadband technology. It said the investment will expand its high-speed Internet reach and digital television service in B.C. and Alberta.

"The extension of new broadband services creates significant benefits and opportunities in the areas of health care, education, economic development and entertainment," Telus stated.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the Internet data centre will be the largest in Canada, at a size of about 200,000 square feet, and have one of the lowest carbon footprints in North America. Hall also said the centre will create up to 200 new jobs once it's built out over the next few years. The location of the data centre has not yet been determined.

The investment is part of the company's 2009 capital expenditures budget of $2.05 billion. Telus said last month that much of that spending will go towards building a faster network." Top of Page

GenieKnows 2.0 offers new options for consumers and businesses
Recognizing the importance of providing a solution that connects Internet users with brick-and-mortar businesses so that searchers can easily find the real-world products and services they look for online, GenieKnows recently announced the latest release of its local search engine, GenieKnows 2.0. This newest release gives users the ability to sign up and add their own personal reviews on restaurants and other businesses across Canada and the USA.

"This is an important part of our local community strategy. The addition of review tools as a feature will allow users to make educated choices about their local marketplace", said Barbara Manning CEO of IT Interactive Services Inc, owners of GenieKnows.com

Business owners can also leverage GenieKnows.com by adding or updating their own business data through a simple business submission form.

GenieKnows provides business owners with the opportunity to connect directly to consumers and generate leads and have a visible presence on the Internet as GenieKnows business listings feature prominently in sites such as Google, Yahoo and MSN amongst others.. Top of Page

Indigo launches ebook platform
Bookselling giant Indigo launched Shortcovers an online service that allows books to be downloaded and read on smartphones, such as Blackberries and iPhones, as well as laptops.

Shortcovers will allow users of these devices to read the first chapter of a book free, and then give them the option to download additional chapters or the whole book for anywhere from $10 to $20. The application can also offer content from newspapers or magazines.

“We think the ability to use your existing device is definitely going to be a convenient aspect to the service, especially for a consumer that isn’t an avid reader,” said Michael Serbinis, the executive vice president of Shortcovers to the Wall Street Journal's technology blog, Digits.

With the launch of Shortcovers, Indigo puts itself in competition with online book retailer Amazon, which released the second-generation of its Kindle reader earlier in the month. The Kindle has been touted by Amazon as the book industry's equivalent to the iPod.

Early reviews of the platform have been cautiously positive. Top of Page

A Fresh Approach to customizing online ticket sales
Rather than opt to go the traditional route, Calgary company A Fresh Approach has developed a custom web application to sell tickets for is June 15 leadership event “A Fresh Approach to Finding and Keeping Great Employees” at Calgary’s TELUS Convention Centre.

“Given the current consumer backlash and negative buying experiences with traditional online ticketing companies, we opted to develop our own ticketing system,” says A Fresh Approach CEO Roger Jewett. “We have employed the latest usability best practices that allow purchasers to buy tickets securely and quickly, and with no hidden user fees. They can reserve tables and individual seats in advance with four simple clicks on their computer. This system is in alignment with our goal of offering an exceptional experience for our guests, before, during and after the event.”. Top of Page

Email, texting hinders learning study says
According the The Canadian Press, a study by Symantec, makers of the Norton antivirus software, has found that most Canadian parents believe that kids are hindered by the Internet in learning to write well.

Children often e-mail, text and post on social networking sites in their own particular lingo, and many parents think this interferes with language learning. More than three-quarters of Canadians parents who were surveyed said they also believe their children were spending too much time online.

The study considered the impact of the Internet on various aspects of people's lives in 12 countries. It found that children globally said the most important technology in their lives was the television, followed by the Internet and the cell phone. Top of Page

Online road safety resource from TD Insurance
TD Insurance has launched a new online resource dedicated to road safety at RoadSafetyFirst.com. The site is devoted to encouraging safer driving habits and features road-ready tools for new and experienced drivers to help prevent accidents and provide protection for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

"There's a tendency for drivers to assume that once they earn their license, they know all there is to know about driving," said Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. "Yet for most things in life, we continually try to improve our skills and driving shouldn't be any different. The best defence is a good offense and the tools and resources available on RoadSafetyFirst.com can help Canadians protect themselves and others on the road."

Some of the features of RoadSafetyFirst.com include:

  • Articles on a variety of topics related to road safety
  • An RSS feed with the latest news on road conditions and local weather
  • Traffic rules and tips for safe driving
  • Trivia, polls and quizzes to test your road safety IQ
  • Calendar of car-related events
  • Advice on auto insurance, including free online quotes

"Our new national resource on road safety is frequently updated to address seasonal road conditions and provide timely tips to drivers," added Blumenthal. "Many Canadians think that with the start of spring, road conditions will improve. There might not be snow on the road, but heavy rainfall and melting ice can create risky conditions and with spring upon us, this is a good time for both new and seasoned drivers to brush up on their skills." Top of Page

Province invests in emerging technologies
Ontario is creating a new fund to drive start-up investment in green technology companies and other high-tech businesses. The fund is targeted at companies working in digital media, clean technology, life sciences and information communication technology.

The move is a response to the challenges emerging technology companies are experiencing in raising venture capital due to tightening credit markets. The long-term goal of the fund is to create a dynamic, vibrant venture capital community that will help Ontario companies grow and compete globally.

“The Emerging Technologies Fund supports the kind of investment that drives innovation, secures jobs today, and creates jobs tomorrow,” says Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson. “We’re committed to supporting clean tech and other emerging technology companies in Ontario. Ontarians are looking to us to support investment in new technology, especially in this challenging global credit environment.”

Starting in July, the Emerging Technologies Fund would invest $250 million dollars over five years together with qualified venture capital funds and private sector investors. The fund would match small to medium private sector investments and receive an interest in companies it supports. Top of Page

Metro to go
Metro Canada is now offering on-the-go news to Canadian cell phone users through a new content portal.

In an effort to boost online readership, the free daily recently revamped its MetroNews.ca and JournalMetro.com websites, which receive approximately 225,000 unique visitors and 1.5 million page views a month according to comScore.

The new site feature real-time Metro news updates through a text-based mobile site at mobile.metronews.ca, an image enhanced site for 3G devices at iphone.metronews.ca, or the Viigo application for Blackberry at viigo.metronews.ca.

“There are so many different devices...as devices evolve it becomes important to reach everybody on any platform that they choose,” said Jodi Brown, interactive director for Metro Canada.

Users can choose from seven cities with a Metro presence including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax and then bookmark it for future use.

Advertisers can purchase monthly sponsorship packages on Metro Mobile, which include a banner ad that will appear across all three mobile platforms and on every page. Metro is supporting the mobile launch with ads in all seven print editions, radio ads in select markets, and through Gateway Newstands in Toronto, for the next four weeks. Top of Page

Upcoming Events

March 29, April 1

March 30, April 1

"Who's Zooming Who?
April 1, 2009
Toronto, Ontario

Conference & Expo
April 8,
Toronto, Ontario

Online Video in Canada
April 21, 2009
Toronto, Ontario