Last week, the Research Innovation and Commercialization (RIC) Centre partnered with Arrow Electronics to host the Driving Dreams Conference at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) with ICUBE, the on-campus accelerator.

Driving Dreams highlighted the importance of collaboration amongst academia, industry and government to work on solutions to change the world.

Driving Dreams also showcased pivotal technology on the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data. The conference featured keynote speakers such as Scott Kennedy, principal lead for IoT at Rogers, and panelists including Greg Dashwood, product lead IoT & advanced analytics at Microsoft, and Marcellino Gemelli, director of global business development at Bosch.

In the first keynote, Kennedy discussed IoT and its relevance in business today. He mentioned how Fortune 500 companies fail because they aren’t jumping at the chance to implement IoT solutions in their business. Scott encouraged companies to enhance the IoT conversation and get a better understanding of the problems their customers are facing.

“Technology is the enablement. You need to emotionally connect with your clients and understand their end-to-end supply chain, to understand what their problem is. Only then will you be able to successfully implement personalized IoT solutions that your clients will adopt,” said Kennedy.

Driving Dreams was also a platform to launch the hackABILITY hackathon, hosted by RIC, Arrow Electronics and ICUBE and inspired by Sam Schmidt, a former Indy race car driver and quadriplegic. Thanks to IoT advancements, Schmidt partnered with Arrow Electronics to build the SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) that’s allowed him to get on the track once more, just by tilting his head. The SAM car was on display in the CCT courtyard, to give attendees a better look at what technology solutions were used.

“hackABILITY takes the ‘dis’ out of disability. When you deal with people who have disabilities and you help them to be independent, it changes their situation forever—it empowers them,” said Schmidt. If you haven’t heard Schmidt’s emotional story of going from a race car driver to a paraplegic and back to the track, thanks to technology, take sixty seconds and check out this video.
Anne Servidad graduated in 2017 with a bachelor of commerce degree, specializing in marketing.