2016: The Year BC Tech Goes Mainstream

Author: Bill Tam

It’s official. 2016 belongs to tech. In early January, CES returned to Vegas and with it a seemingly endless showcase of the latest in consumer tech – delivering the next wave of tech madness and ‘must have’ items. Next week, the local tech community will converge in Vancouver for the #BCTECH Summit, the largest gathering of its kind in British Columbia. The New Year’s confetti has barely been swept away, and already tech is all that anyone can talk about.

But beyond the usual parade of uber-geeks and tech savants, we’re witnessing a decided shift in the perceptions of tech and its increasingly mainstream role.

Don’t get me wrong. Canadians have always welcomed technology. In fact, Canadians spend more time online than the rest of the world, and are among the world’s most engaged and savvy online users. But, there has always traditionally been a gap in how Canadians perceive technology as consumers and how they perceive technology in the business context of jobs and the economy.

We were interested to know if this gap was closing, so we worked with Vision Critical to launch a public opinion poll in December. The results of the survey showed surprisingly strong support for the tech sector as an economic driver for British Columbia and Canada, along with some other interesting findings:

1. Tech is perceived more positively than other industries.

Tech - Sentiment

2. Tech is viewed as a core engine of growth for the economy.

Tech - Growth

3. Tech is expected to create a sizable proportion of new jobs.

Tech - Sizable Proportion

4. Tech is expected to be a major contributor to the Canadian economy.

Economic Impact

As an increasing number of Canadians recognize that technology is not an island, they’re approaching it as an integrated capability that contributes to the success of virtually every industry. As Mark Andreeson once opined, “Software is eating the world… and Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming.”

In a province traditionally known for its natural resources, it’s amazing to see the coming of age (and rising public sentiment) for the tech industry. It’s likely we’ll look back on 2016 as the year that ushered in the next wave of opportunity for British Columbia and Canada, with technology leading the way.

Bill Tam
President & CEO, BCTIA


In the News:

Technology Outlook 2016: Artificial intelligence, workforce diversity, major growth in store this year for tech sector – http://www.bctia.org/Resources/News/BCTIA-News/2016/1/5/Technology-Outlook-2016

Vancouver’s Emerging FinTech Scene Poised to Push Back Against Canada’s Financial Centre – http://www.bctia.org/Resources/News/BCTIA-News/2016/1/5/Vancouvers-Emerging-FinTech-Scene-Poised-Push-Back

The Year Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities – http://www.bctia.org/Resources/News/BCTIA-News/2016/1/1/The-Year-Ahead

Will $100M B.C. Tech Fund be Enough for Vancouver Startup Scene? – http://www.bctia.org/Resources/News/BCTIA-News/2015/12/15/Will-100m-BC-Tech-Fund-be-Enough-for-Van-Startup-Scene