Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

Missed last week’s Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

DMZ awards over C$35,000 to Black-led startups in Canada

Source: CNW

Yesterday, the DMZ, a startup incubator based at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), hosted its third Black Innovation Summit to celebrate Black-led innovation and highlight how Black tech leaders can achieve success amid economic uncertainty.

“Designed to honour Black excellence across Canada, the DMZ’s Black Innovation Summit is an opportunity to put founders at the forefront of our efforts and spark conversations with the larger community on how we can better empower Black entrepreneurs and their ventures,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ and chief executive officer (CEO) of DMZ Ventures.

As part of the summit, seven Black-founded startups pitched their companies for the chance to secure funding; over C$35,000 was distributed to winners determined by a panel of judges.

The top ranking companies were:

Emmanuel Akindele, Founder and CEO of Blue Guardian
Edo Odozor, Founder and CEO of Gia Health (provides IT services to health care organizations)
3rd place: Jonathon Bloomfield, Founder of Scooli (Automation platform for teachers and administrative work)

Winner of the pitch competition Blue Guardian leverages AI to monitor for early signs of mental health issues in youth. Akindele said that the funding will help the company advance its mission of making youth mental health resources available to all of the world.

Bell announces new broadband expansion program in Manitoba

Source: Bell

Earlier this month, Bell announced that it will expand its broadband network to six more rural communities and connect more than 7,500 locations in Manitoba starting this summer.

This broadband expansion program seeks to provide 100 per cent fibre connections with internet download speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps and access to Bell’s services such as Fibe TV to communities including Churchill, Flin Flon, Altona, Morris, Morden, Emerson, Plum Coulee, and 30 more throughout the province.

“As we continue to make major investments in improving and expanding our broadband infrastructure in Manitoba and across the country, we look forward to working collaboratively with public policy makers to ensure fewer Canadians are left behind as we build more inclusive, connected communities for all of us,” said CEO of Bell, Mirko Bibic.

Bell says it has invested approximately C$400 million to bring high speed internet to Winnipeg, with over 50 per cent of homes and businesses connected to date.

Searchie announces generative AI feature 

Source: Searchie/WisdomAI

Toronto-based course and membership platform Searchie has announced WisdomAI, a conversational assistant powered by GPT-4.

Wisdom AI extracts information from media sources, such as a podcasts or videos on YouTube, Facebook, Zoom and more, that users have uploaded to Searchie and then distills it into one conversational response.

“Unlike other language models like OpenAI (ChatGPT), which are trained on a large amount of data, WisdomAI can be customized and tailored by your content,” Searchie said in a release.

The company’s CEO, Andrew Ferraccioli, said, “Since 2019, Searchie has been an industry leader in search technology for audio and video content. But now, the game has changed with generative text and AI. As a result, we were able to leverage our proprietary search technology and AI to transform and catalog data, and then present the results through a conversational-like search experience.”

BlackBerry launches new solution to assure bi-directional communication during cyber incidents

Source: BlackBerry

BlackBerry has announced a new integration combining the Managed Detection and Response (MDR) protection of CylanceGUARD with Critical Event Management (CEM) powered by BlackBerry AtHoc.

Organizations that select a CylanceGUARD subscription with AtHoc features will benefit from a multi-channel emergency communication capability during cyber incidents, especially when the usual communications infrastructure of an organization is down.

“Organizations need to consider how they would communicate when their network is compromised,” said John Giametteo, president of BlackBerry Cybersecurity. “If email and chat services are down or can’t be trusted, how would they mobilize the right people to act, and provide guidance across the company as the situation unfolds? Too often, secure and reliable communication is a critical missing element of cyber incident response that creates costly uncertainty and delays.”

BlackBerry says that 75 per cent of U.S. federal government employees use the BlackBerry AtHoc CEM system for crisis communications and incident response.

The new integration will be available to new and existing CylanceGUARD customers starting May 2023.

Fongo Mobile offers pay per use and pay per month options for U.S. calling

Source: Fongo Mobile

Fongo, a Canadian telecommunications company, now provides customers with the option to make calls to the U.S. for just 1-2 cents per minute or, for frequent U.S. callers, C$9.99 per month for unlimited calling.

This, Fongo said in a release, is in “stark contrast” to telecom giant Rogers, which recently increased its U.S. calling prices, nearly doubling the rate from 55 cents to $1 per minute.

“We understand that Canadians are looking for affordable telecom options,” said Joe Preiditsch, chief technology officer of Fongo. “We’re proud to offer a cost-effective solution for U.S. calling that’s significantly cheaper than the competition.”

Fongo’s mobile app has been downloaded a million times, and its services are used by customers across the country, the company said, adding that customers are not bound by contracts or commitments.

Fongo Mobile is available in all app marketplaces to download for free.

More to explore

Samsung and FSC Canada partner to help protect and preserve Canadian forests

To celebrate Earth Month, Samsung Canada has teamed up with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada to launch a new fundraising campaign in support of FSC Canada’s mission to protect healthy forests in Canada.

E-commerce solution helping SMBs consolidate channels into one system

StoreConnect, an e-commerce solution, is helping small to medium businesses consolidate all their marketing, sales and support channels into one system.

Google accused of burying articles and ‘astroturfing’ in latest Heritage Committee session

Yesterday, Google returned for another two-hour long round of questioning from the Canadian Heritage committee regarding its response to Bill C-18.

IT departments can help organizations achieve sustainability goals, report finds

Sustainability goals cannot be achieved without significantly reducing the energy usage of  technology infrastructure, a study from Pure Storage reveals.

Former ISED minister Navdeep Bains joins Rogers executive team

Last Friday, Rogers announced three new appointments to its executive team, including former industry minister Navdeep Bains as chief corporate affairs officer.

Chief Data Officers are becoming important leaders in the C-suite in Canada

Chief Data Officers (CDOs) are becoming increasingly important leaders in the C-suite, a new IBM study reveals. The study includes responses from more than 3,000 global CDO’s, senior executives responsible for the utilization and governance of data across the organization.

CDN’s Top 100 Benchmark Report to be released this week

There will be a special bonus for anyone participating in CDN’s annual Channel Innovation Awards on Wednesday, Apr.26th.

Channel Bytes April 21, 2023 – CDN Channel Innovation Awards and Top 100 celebration; Microsoft Office 2013 hits end of support; Lookout launches EDR offering for MSSPs; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending
Hashtag Trending Apr.25th- Snapchat’s AI tool gets disastrous ratings; Microsoft says we should buy fewer PCs; WSJ reveals ‘secret list of websites’ used to train AI

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, April 24, 2023 podcast

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Tendances

If you live in Québec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

The post Coffee Briefing Apr. 25 – Bell continues broadband expansion in Manitoba; DMZ awards $35,000 to Black-led startups; BlackBerry’s new solution to ensure multi-channel communication during cyber incidents first appeared on IT World Canada.

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