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B.C.’s Tech Leaders Are Bringing Valuable Tools to Businesses

New tech products and tools are helping to shape B.C.’s corporate landscape

For a variety of reasons—whether it’s looking for a more cost-effective and reliable solution for data storage or the need for a faster response time to meet the growing demands of clients—more and more organizations are looking for ways to improve their processes and operations. This growing need is putting B.C.’s tech leaders front and centre, and they certainly aren’t shying away from the spotlight. From managed hosting options to hybrid alternatives to IoT (Internet of Things) solutions, there is no shortage of options for businesses looking for innovative tools and services to help them compete with other world-class businesses both locally and abroad.   
A Good Host
Twenty years of experience has given a wealth of knowledge, and according to Jack Ong, chief operating office at Gossamer Threads, the company bases its services and products on one central goal: providing companies with speed and stability. “Companies don’t want to deal with purchasing gear and dealing with failed hardware,” adds Alex Krohn, founder and CEO of Gossamer Threads. “They just want a stable platform to deploy and manage their own applications and internal IT.” 
It is for this reason that decided not to depend on third party hosting companies. If something goes wrong, any and all problems can be investigated internally—a plus for its clients. With this in mind, developed two internal management controls to strengthen their customer experience: GTMetrix and GossamerEye.
GTMetrix, which is now the largest performance-testing site on the net, analyzes about 125,000 pages per day and gives developers powerful insights on the inner workings of their websites. “Anyone who has a website can use GTMetrix. You just type in the URL of your website and it gives you a list of action items you can do to speed up your site,” says Krohn. 
GossamerEye, on the other hand, was developed in order to manage and monitor all’s infrastructure from one place, while continuously improving the customer experience through the collection of key performance metrics. 
Choosing Wisely
Data locality is becoming a hot topic for Canadian companies today and rightfully so. Whether companies need to comply with regulatory concerns, abide by provincial or federal privacy laws or basically want the ability to host their data in Canada for philosophical reasons, options surrounding geo-specific cloud solutions give organizations that much more flexibility.  
If it’s all about location—and for many organizations, it is—the ability to host data through a local provider that takes a very personal approach to managed hosting can save a company time and money. “More companies want an all-Canadian solution because they just don’t want their data stored in the States,” says Krohn. 
As technology choices multiply, many companies are questioning where their future lies. Most are storing their major IT infrastructure on-site and are now facing a myriad of competing ideas of where to move it. The question regarding what should be sitting on premise or moved to the cloud is what hybrid IT companies like Long View specialize in. “Is it Long View’s own cloud, is it Microsoft Azure or is it Amazon web services, for example? There are a multitude of offerings and Long View has the depth to help evaluate the alternatives with customers and then build a road map for them,” says Shawn Ambrose, director of sales at Long View.
Nature’s Path is an independent, family-run, organic food company located in Richmond, B.C. that has been through this evaluation process. In their journey to continue growing with the right IT service, they worked with Long View to understand what type of infrastructure would make sense for their particular business needs.
 While they could have chosen a number of options, Long View helped them shift towards a consumption-based model in the cloud that allows Nature’s Path to only pay for the storage and bandwidth they actively use. “We work as their strategic IT partner and allow them to focus on their business, which is making delicious, organic food in a sustainable way,” says Ambrose.
The Inside Track
In December of last year, TELUS launched Canada’s first Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace with the goal of providing turnkey IoT solutions for businesses. And while that may seem quite complex, it is an important step that is already starting to bring a competitive advantage to multiple industries in B.C.  
“IoT is part solution, part data and partly the interaction of people. When you combine all of those things together, you can generate a successful outcome for businesses and their customers,” says Shawn Sanderson, TELUS’ vice president of Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things space, in its simplest form, uses connected devices to help businesses gain valuable information that can be used to decrease costs, increase revenue and better understand employee and consumer behaviour. Moreover, IoT allows businesses to monitor resources and simplify many processes that are currently manual. 
For retail, using IoT can really help companies understand everything from where customers are spending the most of amount of time in their stores to how they are engaging with their products to what might be the cause of increased or decreased sales. One of TELUS’ IoT partners had exactly this experience: a major retailer could not understand why it was getting a 20 per cent increase in sales of one of their particular products on specific days. 
After implementing an IoT solution, it discovered that it was because of changes in weather patterns. If it was raining or humid outside, sales would shift, and if it suddenly got colder, it would see increases in customer traffic. The ability to use technology to help with sales forecasting can truly be instrumental to the growth in ones business and it is for this reason, that organizations like TELUS have decided to bring turnkey IoT solutions into the Canadian marketplace. 
“We’re looking at understanding what the challenges are [that companies face] and building towards an improved outcome. We want to take the focus away from the complexities of technology, making it a more real and understandable experience for the customer,” says Sanderson.