Victoria-based boat security company Barnacle Systems set for Consumer Electronics Show see more
Source: Sooke News Mirror
Author: Keri Coles
VIATEC’s 2018 “Startup of the Year” heads to Vegas for global spotlight
Victoria-based boat security company Barnacle Systems set for Consumer Electronics Show
VIATEC’s 2018 “Startup of the Year” is getting an opportunity to step into the global spotlight as it heads to Vegas to represent Canada at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Victoria-based boat security and monitoring company Barnacle Systems will be exhibiting their product BRNKL (pronounced barnacle) at CES 2019 alongside other Canadian companies at the Canadian Pavilion in Las Vegas.
“Representing Canada and the boating industry at CES 2019 is a dream come true,” said Brandon Wright, founder of Barnacle Systems. “Our team has worked extremely hard to get to where we are today.”
BRNKL is a “home security system” for boats so owners can check in on their vessel remotely from their smartphone, tablet, or computer. The BRNKL app allows users to see inside of their vessel, receive GPS alerts, know the status of batteries, shore power connection and if water is entering their boat.
Based in Victoria, BC, and founded in July of 2017, the Barnacle Systems’ founding team consists of Vancouver Island locals Brandon Wright, Sean Battistoni and Nick Van Doorn.
Wright grew up in Comox and completed Electrical Engineering at the University of Victoria.
Battistoni, having also graduated from the University of Victoria, grew up in Victoria and managed Marina Operations for the Oak Bay Marine Group.
Van Doorn, the team’s software lead, grew up in Victoria and lives by the mantra “talk is cheap, show me the code.”
The Consumer Electronics Show showcases more than 4,500 exhibiting companies to 180K attendees from 150 countries. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50+ years.
CES will be held in Las Vegas Nevada from Jan. 8-11.
Among the semi-finalists are Victoria's own Barnacle Systems (BRNKL) and Locelle Digital Inc see more
Barnacle Systems and Locelle make it to Small Business BC's Top 10 Best Concept List
The Small Business BC Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of BC's entrepreneurs. These awards are a celebration of the contributions small business owners make to their local communities and to the global economy. It's free to enter and open to all new and existing small businesses in BC.
The votes have been tallied and the Top 10 Semi-Finalists for the 2019 Small Business BC Awards have been announced. Among the semi-finalists are Victoria's own Barnacle Systems (BRNKL) and Locelle Digital Inc, both of which are in the Top 10 for Best Concept. See the Top 10s for each category right here.
- As a Top 10 finalist, they'll be given one month to provide the expert panel of judges a more detailed application outlining why they deserve to win the award. These applications will be assessed to narrow down competition to the Top 5 finalists.
- Come February 4th, the Top 5 in each category will be required to make a ten minute pitch explaining why their business trumps the other finalists in their category. If they can convince the judges that their business really is the best, then they’ll be selected as the winner.
- February 21st: Awards Gala! Each winner will be recognized with a cash prize in the amount of $1,500, a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education resources and experts, business mentorship from the award sponsor and the opportunity for extensive media exposure.
About Barnacle Systems:
Barnacle Systems Inc. is a boat security and monitoring company based in Victoria. Founded in 2017, the team at Barnacle has developed an innovative new surveillance product for the marine industry called BRNKL.
BRNKL is for boat owners who need to be able to check in on their vessel remotely from their smartphone, tablet, or computer. BRNKL is also for yacht monitoring and charter companies who need a simple dashboard outlining the health and status of all their boats.
Like a ‘home security system for your boat’ users can see inside of their vessel(s) using an onboard camera while also monitoring critical alerts such as anchor drag, low batteries, loss of shore power and high-water. Unlike standard marine electronics that provide monitoring while you’re on board, BRNKL has a built-in global cellular service. So, whether you’re at the dock, at home, or halfway around the world your boat is at your fingertips.
About Locelle Digtial:
Locelle is a next-generation women-only networking platform providing a safer and easier way to meet up with like-minded women (friends, mentors, business connections). Unlike Facebook, Bumble, Meetups, Slack and other platforms, we create real connections by finding nearby matches based on interests, location, activities and time using our proprietary technology. Our business model is B2B2C with users from SAP, Microsoft, IBM on the platform.
Companies have challenges attracting and retaining women employees, especially in the current social environment, where movements like #metoo and #timesup bring about diversity and inclusion initiatives. Highly topical for the above challenge is social isolation, which affects millions of women around the world and have chronic long-term condition in terms of impact they have on health & well being. Since launching a month ago, Locelle has already made many meaningful connections for women in Victoria and Vancouver.
Discover Tectoria panel says tackling unconscious bias, education part of building inclusive workplacesThanks to people like the panelists, and the rebellious youth, there's an extremely bright future... see more
Author: Wyatt Fossett
Discover Tectoria panel says tackling unconscious bias, education part of building inclusive workplaces
The ever-quiet sibling of the mainland metropolis that is Victoria, British Columbia continues to surprise and grow. With help from groups like the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council, the veil is lifted—if ever so slightly—a few times a year, and it truly exposes the veins of an astounding technological sector which just so happens to be the leading employment industry within British Columbia’s capital city.
The secret to Victoria’s innovation
There’s no shame here. Everyone is more than happy with their growth, and their success from the shadows of Vancouver. Maybe it’s key to their evolution. Perhaps it’s this climate, sans spotlight, that makes people in Victoria willing to try things a little more on the unconventional side.
Discover Tectoria is an annual event held by VIATEC in Victoria, filled with panels and a show floor that puts over 75 of the most innovative companies on Vancouver Island on display. Integral to the growth of their industry, the Discover Tectoria event works to promote the often unknown, or forgotten $4 billion tech sector. It’s a full day of expo floor that includes demos and plenty of local companies looking to hire — the free-to-attend event is big for those seeking work.
Want to keep tabs on your boat using smart-home-like technology? BRNKL has you covered. Maybe, for some reason, you’re looking to replace all of the lights in your abode with fixtures that react to noise, or dance while you sing? Limbic Media has just the thing for you. Perhaps you’re looking to engage children in the field of engineering? Well, there’s a group doing just that.
Victoria is even home to some of Canada’s most successful independent video game companies (see: KANO apps, Codename Entertainment, and Double Jump). With over 20,000 video game projects launched in Canada alone last year, it’s a sector of the tech industry that will not be going away anytime soon.
The VIATEC showcase
VIATEC does an outstanding job gathering some of the most interesting and prospering companies that call Victoria home and puts them on display to continue working towards promoting their tech sector.
Some of the standouts on this year’s Discover Tectoria show floor were:
A lot of people go about their creating alone. But whether it’s in robotics or gaming, collaboration is essential to the growth of our technological industry. The Victoria Makerspace is a member-operated space where imaginative technology developers can share time, tools, and work with their peers. It’s absolutely key that spaces like these exist, and it’s often difficult to get the word out; Victoria’s Makerspace is the best place to grow and collaborate with like-minded people.
What inspires young minds the most? Is it reward? Is it play? One of the most influential things to dreamers are heroes. FIRST Robotics BC promotes robotic sciences to children from kindergarten and throughout high school, creating heroes for young scientists in the form of their competitions and mentorship.
A flagship in the Victoria technology industry, Codename Entertainment cut their teeth on the gaming world with Facebook titles like EggBreaker and BushWhacker back in the day.
Recently, they’ve exploded with their clicker-based fantasy game Crusaders of the Lost Idols that came out on nearly every platform you can think of. On the shoulders of that big success, they were granted the enviable task of adapting a beloved role-playing intellectual property Dungeons and Dragons into something like Crusaders.
In a world where breaking news happens on Twitter, and our social media feeds are a far more viable source for what’s going on than most news outlets, a lot is lost in a sea of voices. Echosec wants to change the idea of smart news and uses billions of social media posts to collect data and report on the happenings of the world based on geofencing technology. The company is gathering interest from government and security firms, social coordinators, and news sites (ironically).
Targeted to women in technology, Loc’elle is a women-only social networking platform that enables like-minded women to easily connect in person or digitally. This is not just LinkedIn for women. Whether you’re looking for new friends, a mentor or running buddy, Loc’elle’s mission is to provide a safe platform for women to connect. The goal is to provide groups that are underserved and underrepresented with more ability to connect and support one another.
In addition to the trade show, a special stage and seating area on the upper level of the Crystal Room in the Victoria Conference Centre held panels all day. The talks—a collection of four or five experts and a moderator—ranged from cryptocurrency security, creative storytelling, local gaming takeover, all the way to “how do I land that gig.”
It was a vibrant theatre throughout the day, with a ton to take away with you for those that managed to catch a talk or two.
When discussing the future of the technology industry — a world with a high-demand for more talent — there’s a lot of weight on the industry to adapt in order to be more inclusive. Wrapping up the day of panels was, by far, the best of the bunch: Industry Enhanced by Inclusion. Unfortunately, it was also the one talk with the least amount of people in the audience.
Young people are key to breaking barriers in tech
It is essential in our changing social landscape to be on the inclusion end of a movement currently breaking down long-standing barriers faced by underrepresented groups in tech. True, major strides have been made. But it’s not enough.
Inclusion isn’t a concept solely related to mainstream, front page topics such as women in tech and how they’re treated, though that is very much a part of it. Rather, it’s a generalized term referring to all kinds of inclusion. Gender identity, disability, race, and other intersecting identities are at the forefront of the conversation. But what is the industry and the people within it to do in order to encourage inclusivity?
The final panel of the Discover Tectoria event included moderator Rebecca Kerstein (Rethink Thinking), and speakers Jeff Hopkins (Pacific School of Innovation & Inquiry), Bobbi Leach (RevenueWire), Nigel Livingston (UVic), and Dawn McCooey (Women’s Enterprise Centre). Two women who are developing the world of women entrepreneurs and the support systems in place for them, one disability researcher, and the founder of a revolutionary education system.
The panel kicked off with a simple introduction, followed by an intriguing question: “How is the diversity perspective changing, and what does it look like today?“ asked Kerstein.
It’s fundamental that we assess and speak to what the current climate is. If we’re not aware of where we are, it’s difficult (or impossible) to map out how we get to where we need to be.
“Social media has done a great service in giving those with disabilities—namely an inability to speak—a voice. Or anyone a voice, for that matter. Young people are the most sure-of-themselves generation yet,” Livingston says.
“There’s a new awareness and support for women in the tech industry, and it’s extremely positive. Though the pace is not enough.” adds McCooey. “At our current rate, some estimate it would take 400+ years to reach a state of equality.”
The conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic.
While there is a lot of conversation happening around supporting women in tech, Leach cautions against falling for hype. “We hear and see all of these stats and headlines like a recent one that read ‘women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies grew by 50 percent last year’ but it’s disingenuous. It did grow 50 percent, but that 50 percent increase only put the number up to  out of 500. Outlets are using catchy titles to breed complacency,” said Leach.
This is a major problem. Like Livingston points out, social media has done a fantastic job in allowing anyone a voice (see: Florida students fighting against NRA and Trump). Unfortunately, it’s also an easy tool to manipulate the public consciousness, and has spurred the growth of inaccurate representation of facts.
When you take the current social media tools into account, the conversation needs to shift to the dissolving of the systems already in place, because they’re problematic. “It’s a systemic unconscious bias,” says WEC founder McCooey (echoed by the rest of the panel) on the inherently non-inclusive, grandfathered structure of many industries. “The way we speak to one another, and the predetermined roles within offices, who succeeds and who fails, are pre-formatted. So much so that we ‘expect it’, due to the pattern in the industry’s history.”
Our best bet? Well, that comes down to how much power we give our youth. Millennials are a strong force and possess the drive and determination to shake up any structure already in place. They (as a collective) are the most progressive age of humans and have done valuable work to force the world onto an inclusive path.
“How do we ensure that our future is brighter, and we’re more inclusive?” asked Kerstein.
We’re always told that you can’t change the rules from the outside, and it was reflected here as the panel discusses ways we can adopt an change for the future. The key for older generations is to learn the ways of the new world. For those on the cusp, it’s important to nurture that world. For the youth of the world, it’s to continue understanding yourself, being free within that self, and remain inclusive of all types.
“Working with teenagers in an abnormal education environment like I do, it’s evident. People — and I don’t know if it’s exposure to social media or places like Reddit — are more comfortable with their own identity,” said Hopkins, as he’s on the front lines of a shift in the inclusive educational structure.
“Yes!” exclaimed moderator Kerstien. “It’s also important to jump in and educate when finding yourself face-to-face with an opportunity to dissolve others’ ignorance.”
“It’s very much about language, and our awareness of such a thing, that is the key to being inclusive,” added Leach.
The language in question is an overall term used here to describe a shift in the way we speak to one another, or speak for ourselves. “When it comes to identifiers, I always open with my own, and ask for their pronouns afterwards. It opens up a safe conversation, and as a member of an older generation, displays my desire to be inclusive right out of the gate,” said Hopkins, in response to an audience question of how he uses language to ask someone about pronouns.”
There are many other ways to ensure that the language we use is inclusive. “Women need to adapt away from passivity, in a sense, but it has always supported a more comfortable environment, so it’s still very much a work in progress,” said McCooey on how we should present our at-work selves. The common use of aggressive language to achieve goals, or put into action one’s climb up the “ladder,” is something that has to die. Inherently, this language brews a lack of inclusion.
“We can be more thoughtful. We can ask more questions. We can try to help each other, or ensure that others are more comfortable in any environment,” said Leach.
It is only a revolution, on the brink of toppling an entirely predetermined path, that is going to be the foundation of a tech industry (or any industry) that will progress through the inclusion of all people.
The problem is a poison that many don’t even know they are perpetuating. This systemic bias is something that caters to an already privileged group. A lot of the world is missing out on some of the most qualified personnel out there, all because of an archaic structure or uninviting workplace. There is turmoil now, but thanks to people like the panelists here — and the rebellious youth — there’s an extremely bright future.