According to the CBRE 2020 Tech Talent Analyser report, Canada’s capital has the highest tech talent concentration in North America. Ottawa outperforms even San Francisco, with tech talent representing 11.3% of total employment.
In the country’s capital, two technology sectors that stand out and have attracted major conferences include connected cars and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology and software as a service (SaaS).
The city has powerful technology clusters and Blackberry QNX is one leader in the CAV field. It is collaborating with organisations including Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association, as well as academics at Algonquin College, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.
Ottawa leads the development of safety software and sensors and its L5 Test Facility became the first integrated CAV test environment of its kind in North America. In October 2020, Invest Ottawa announced nearly $17m in new investments to expand the facility. The innovation hub was rebranded to Area X.O. which now includes a 5G mobile command centre with drones that can deploy a standalone 5G network without external connectivity. Private-sector partners such as Accenture, BlackBerry QNX, Ericsson, Microsoft and Nokia, as well as the City of Ottawa, will contribute up to $10m in equipment and services.
Each year, the CAV Canada conference is held in Ottawa and has been capitalising on the CAV global market opportunity for the country. The event presented a digital event series in 2020, while backing up the conference talk are substantial investments made into the mobility sector both in Ottawa and provincially.
Ottawa is also home to the SaaS North conference at the Shaw Centre. In 2020, the conference was held virtually in September gathering more than 2,000 attendees, 900 companies and 100 speakers.
The Shaw Centre is also one of a key trio of Ottawa’s pillar economic development organisations, including Ottawa Tourism and Invest Ottawa, that are supporting local industry leaders in their international conference bids through the Think Ottawa ambassador programme.