By Dan Mathieson, Mayor, City of Stratford
Stratford, Ontario, is a city which has continued to grow and be successful even after multiple changes in industry have occurred. Although we are a city renowned for our Shakespeare Festival, we are also becoming a leader in digital media and infrastructure, as witnessed by the hosting of Canada 3.0 for the fourth time this year.
Canada 3.0 is an annual event which gathers representatives from private industry, government and academia, as well as startups, to discuss and exchange ideas around digital innovation in Canada, and more specifically, how to elevate Canada’s position in the global digital economy.
We have the ability to host a nationally significant event such as Canada 3.0 as a result of our strategy to invest in digital infrastructure and making it a major priority. Over the past five years, through Rhyzome Networks, a 50 km transmission grid of buried optical fibre has been installed – as well as a city-wide Wi-Fi network – which has made Stratford a leader in digital infrastructure. This has lead to Stratford becoming recognized over the past two years by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities in the world.
After hosting Canada 3.0 for three years, some issues with Internet connectivity had become apparent and were threatening the success of the program. With 2,000 tech savvy attendants for the conference, all with at least two devices looking to connect wirelessly, we knew we needed a solution. As a result, Cisco was brought in as the official technology sponsor for Canada 3.0.
Cisco installed new networking infrastructure, wireless and wired, which allowed 40 hard wire connections to vendors on the floor, with 60 more wired outlets throughout the facilities. What was most important though, was the ability for conference attendees to connect via Wi-Fi to this network without any problems.
City of Stratford staff worked hand in hand with Cisco tirelessly throughout the two day event to ensure it was successful. And by the end of the Canada 3.0, we were thrilled with the results – attendees had tweeted Canada 3.0 to the top trending topic for all of Canada, thanks in part to the new network.
Without the assistance of Cisco, the previously dated and low capacity network in Stratford would not have been able to sustain the heavy amount of web traffic from Canada 3.0. By working together, Stratford was able to host an extremely successful event, and at the same time, show the world our capabilities as a leader in digital media and technology, now, and into the future.