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Canada ragging the puck on cleantech

By Francis Moran

While the rest of the world is moving like legendary ice-hockey great Wayne Gretzky by reading the play and positioning itself to be “where the puck is headed,” Canada is in danger of being called for delay of game, according to Ottawa-born clean technology guru Nicholas Parker, who was the keynote speaker earlier today at the Ottawa Venture and Technology Summit.

In a speech that emphasised that the shift has undeniably been made from the “save the world” social passion of environmental technology to the multi-trillion-dollar business opportunity of clean technology, Parker told the assembled entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that Canada is ragging the puck in this exciting, fast-moving and potentially immensely profitable game.

In particular, Parker, who co-founded and chairs the Cleantech Group, LLC, faulted Canada for its delay in implementing an effective carbon-trading regime. “At the Cleantech Group, we don’t really care about carbon trading,” he said, referring to a stock market-like system where companies can trade in tonnes of the carbon emissions that are the main cause of global warming and climate change. “What’s important about (carbon) trading is that it sets a price.”

That price, and the expectation that it will rapidly rise, is beginning to unlock the trillions of dollars in global investments in the development of clean technology, with Parker and his peers estimating that 2,500 jobs are created for every $100-million in new investment.

“Are those jobs going to be (created) in Shanghai or Stockholm or Silicon Valley or closer to home,” Parker asked. His answer was painful to hear. “Canada is still trying to decide if we’re going to do this,” he said, referring to the stalled efforts to launch a carbon-trading system in Canada. “Canada is lagging,” he said, and the dollars being directed into clean technology in this country “are drying up.”

The bottom line, according to Parker? “If we don’t develop the technology, we become a branch-plant economy.”

Congratulations ciboodle

By Danny Sullivan

More from Call Centre Expo. I just have to say a big well done to Graham Technology for winning the show’s Best Product award for its customer interaction platform, ciboodle.

I have had the fortune of working with Graham Technology since ciboodle’s launch last year, and the marketing team made achieving this award as a goal ever since. Mission accomplished – great job guys!

Dialling in to Call Centre Expo

By Danny Sullivan

I spent yesterday in bitterly cold Birmingham, attending Call Centre Expo, the U.K.’s major contact centre tradeshow.

Despite the cold, the show was doing its best to warm things up inside. Contrasting sharply with the straight-faced, serious demeanour of last week’s ECOC event, Call Centre Expo was bustling with activity. Exhibitors were engaged in all kinds of activities to raise their profile above that of the competition. Jugglers, magicians, cocktail-spinning bartenders, Nintendos, musicians and actors were just some of the tactics employed by the hundreds of companies vying for attention.

With all the marketing dollars on display, the contact centre technology market is clearly one that is in a robust state of health. Competition is fierce, and, unlike the telecoms sector, there are obviously many different options available to those responsible for building contact centres… Do you go with a hosted or premise-based solution? Do you choose IP over traditional telephony? Do you buy each component product as you need it or deploy a complete solution that can handle everything you might ever want to do?

Lots of good questions and lots of companies putting forward good cases for each side. Glad I’m not making those desicions!

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