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Sudbury tech symposium draws global interest

Annual Tech Day attracts big names like Google Cloud, crime and terrorism expert
Northern Ontario Technology Day on May 24 at Laurentian University will include big names like KPMG, Google Cloud and crime and espionage expert Chris Mathers.

When global companies like Google Cloud are vying for space at an event and the guest speaker is a law enforcement legend, it's usually a sign of its importance.

Even organizers are surprised by the interest from major corporations.

The annual Northern Ontario Technology Day is being held May 24 at Laurentian University in Sudbury.

While the event usually focuses on the latest and greatest in technology and its applications, this year's installment is also taking a look at cybersecurity.

There are returning exhibitors and session hosts like Eastlink and Sony, but this year Google Cloud, Cisco and Delta will also be in attendance.

“We are also surprised, even though most of the companies are returning,” said Luc Roy, event co-chair.

He added the event always had good participation from companies like Aviva and others, but now it is attracting some big names.

One individual major name is the keynote speaker, Chris Mathers, a specialist in organized crime, terrorism and cybersecurity, who has spent most of his life working with the RCMP, U.S. Customs and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He has also consulted on several movies,TV shows, and is a media commentator.

He will be opening the event with a talk on why criminals are turning more to cybersecurity.

“It will be from a criminal's perspective, on things like malware and other cybercrime, with the reason being 'I don't have to carry a gun,'” Roy said.

While the general focus is on security, Roy said the real focus is on wireless, learning technology, how it's changing education and many aspects of collaboration.

Events for the day will include breakout sessions to look at many topics, including offering WiFi in senior care facilities, content sharing, connecting, securing and automating a campus, disaster recovery and backup centres and the Google Cloud platform and higher education.

The reason Laurentian has been hosting the event, known simply as Tech Day, is to make it easier and more affordable for people to check out a technology symposium rather than go to larger events in Las Vegas or New York City.

Part of the reason so many big names are coming to the event is they are hosting two at the same time.

Laurentian is also hosting the Ontario Higher Education Technology Conference. Tech day is on the last day.

“For the vendors, they can reach two types of customers in one event,” Roy said.

Registration is open and free.