Author Archive: Kevin Browne

Founder of Software Hamilton.

DeltaHacks IV showcases student tech talent


The fourth annual DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) took place on Sunday January 28th at McMaster University.

The hackathon is unique amongst regional hackathons for emphasizing hacks for change, in other words, hacks with social good. This year’s event attracted over 300 students, not just from McMaster University, but from post-secondary institutions around Ontario (e.g. Waterloo, UofT, Guelph, etc.).

Check out all the finalist presentations from DeltaHacks IV below!


DoctorDM – a text message based app that allows users to request a diagnosis via SMS messaging


Safety First – an image recognition tool that identifies and provides information about safety issues given an image


Findr – an app to help users identify find out how many other people are checked in to different rooms (e.g. so students could find free space on campus)


Kobot – provides text recaps of previous novel chapters (inspired by Netflix episode recaps)


ReadRelax – an app to help users relax and read quicker


Aloud – an app to read aloud physical written text materials


Kobot won 3rd place, Findr won 2nd place, and the 1st place winner was Aloud, who mentioned they didn’t even know each other before the hackathon! Many awards were also given away for individual, special categories, from “best use of blockchain” to “IoT”.

It’s always so wonderful to see this event happen year after year and grow in scope and quality – congratulations to the organizers for yet another great hackathon!



Interview about DeltaHacks IV with Natalie Chin


Check out the interview below with Natalie Chin of the DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) hackathon team on what’s in store for this year’s hackathon and opportunities to get involved as judges/mentors! DeltaHacks IV will take place on January 27th – 28th on McMaster University campus.


Can you tell our readers about the history of DeltaHacks?

DeltaHacks was founded back in 2014 due to lack of hackathons in the area focusing on social change and social impact. It was a common instance, that projects were started during hackathons, and not continued and sustained afterwards. As a result, students from the McMaster Community banded together and created their own hackathon for change. DeltaHacks stands out from other hackathons by inviting industry professionals who know their field, to pitch ideas to our attendees. This allows our attendees to get a real world view of what’s missing in the field, and see what they can do to help.


What kinds of exciting creations have come out of past DeltaHacks events?

Generally, we’ve seen a really wide variation of hacks at DeltaHacks. We have a lot of social change and social impact projects. We’ve also had a variety of hardware and software projects at our event.

Last year, there was a really cool hardware hack called Lifeline that tracked tilts and changes in the head direction while driving, to prevent drowsy driving and prevent it. If the driver was getting continuously more and more drowsy as time went on, it would send audio feedback to try to keep the driver alert. Throughout the process, if the driver is still drowsy, the response would continue to escalate through texting and/or calling emergency contacts. The hack ended up winning the “Best Hardware Hack” and “Second Prize” Category. Seeing the implementation fully functional was really cool. It had an effect on the real world.

At a past DeltaHacks event, we saw Project Julius, which was created to prevent photosensitive epileptic seizures due to quick flashes in video content. The hack would essentially analyze the screen with historical analyses, looking for pixels which have changed very quickly to prevent seizures. Once the pixels change dramatically, the hack shows a window overlay covering all other windows on the screen, and show the warning. A hack like this is pivotal to social change.



What’s your role with the hackathon?

I am the Director of Supportive Relations. I always try to think of a descriptive name for my team – I’m not sure Supportive Relations does it justice. But ultimately, we handle the UX of the event, which consists of contacting mentors, judges, challenger (idea-generation) mentors for our event, which adds to the attendee experience. We make sure that participants have enough mentors so they can get their questions answered timely. We also reach out to not-for-profits in the community, government organizations, startups, and and student chapters, inviting them to an idea generation session. We essentially give challengers 3-5 minutes to talk about their project, and provide time for participants to discuss with mentors afterwards.


What’s new and exciting for DeltaHacks IV?

In our past iterations of DeltaHacks have mainly focused on health-care related hacks, and the idea-generations typically came from doctors, physicians and pharmacists. We’ve expanded that this year, to include a variety of other fields, and reached out to not for profit organizations, student chapters at McMaster, and leveraging our professors and hacks that they may benefit from. Our list is currently located here:, so our participants know what the challenges are before coming to the event. The list is going to be continuously updated until the event, as we finalize the mentors.

Another exciting thing that we’ve got in store is a focus on blockchain development. It’s been a pretty hot topic recently, and has been brought up quite a number of times in the HamOnt Conference Series for Internet of Things. DeltaHacks is super happy to welcome a few local and international organizations that focus on crypto, namely STACK, Parity, and Oraclize. This is the first time that we’ve put aside funds for a specific cryptocurrency prize category, and is the first time that we’re inviting small and large companies for mentorship. I can’t wait to see the hacks that are created once the hackathon is done.



How many participants are you expecting? Where do the participants come from?

We’re expecting 400 attendees. Participants are coming from all over Ontario. Most of our participants are coming from Waterloo or the Toronto Area.


What do you hope students get out of participating in DeltaHacks?

I don’t expect our participants to fly themselves in a spaceship to Mars (though that would be really cool) after DeltaHacks. All I want is for our participants to leave, feeling like they have learnt something. There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling after you’ve created something that you never thought you’d finish, be it understanding classes, or full implementation of a feature.

This year, 52% of our attendees are beginner hackers – who have been to 0-1 hackathons in the past. As an application rate, this is nearly unheard of. I hope that the beginners feel welcomed at DeltaHacks, and feel comfortable to ask for help when they need it. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this opportunity, to ask for help from mentors and help with implementing your ideas.


What’s your own personal favourite hackathon creation?

My personal favourite hackathon creation would probably be one created at ETHWaterloo, a hackathon based on Ethereum Development, called the Decentralized Autonomous Charity (or DAC for short). It was a transparent way for people to donate funds to charities, and see the flow of funds, to see how it was broken down, and what it was used for. This was my favourite hackathon project because it had such a large social impact and use-case. Blockchain in itself was a new concept, not to mention being able to apply it in the real world in such an important way.


Though it’s getting better, there’s always been a bit of a disconnect between Hamilton and McMaster (e.g. the “pop the bubble” initiative at McMaster a few years back). What do you think we can do to better bridge the gap, pop the bubble, etc, between the awesome students and innovations happening at McMaster and the civic renaissance happening in Hamilton?

Stepping in and out of the bubble with an interchange of ideas, is most useful. I think the HamOnt Conference Series does it well, in providing discounted student tickets to events, and of course, free food. I find that it gets quite a few Mohawk and Mac students out to the events in the Hamilton area. I think information flow in our bubble, and continuous propagation between the campus borders will continue to better bridge the gap.

I, myself, have pushed the Machine Learning HamOnt Conference to a course that I TA’d, and was met with great enthusiasm, as many of my students had wanted to learn about Machine Learning. Continuous flow of information in and out of the bubble, convinces students to leave campus and explore the community outside it; while events like DeltaHacks help pull the Hamilton Community into our bubble.

With these events – like the Hamilton Conference Series and DeltaHacks, students at McMaster get to network and talk to industry-leaders in the Hamilton Area. They get to find mentorship, advice, tips, guidance, and are introduced to a really unique atmosphere. With the Hamilton Conference Series, we have students leaving the “bubble,” to learn about Internet of Things, or Machine Learning; and we have industry-leaders in the Hamilton Area coming to mentor for DeltaHacks. Having events like these, make many people willing to “pop” and/or willing to leave the bubble.



How can the Hamilton technology community help and engage with DeltaHacks?

We have a lot of different roles available.

Hacking is 1pm on Saturday to 1pm Sunday, so if you are comfortable with showing and teaching technologies, mentoring would likely be a good fit for you. The role of a technical mentor is to help with development environments, helping debug code, and more generally, help with problems participants may have while implementing something. We don’t specify a time that you have to be available, nor do we have requirements on what you’re mentoring. A question that we get a lot from people who want to mentor, is what technology they should choose. My answer – whatever you’re comfortable with. There are no boundaries for what you can mentor in, and we have never said no to mentorship before. In the past, our mentorship was mainly based on web development, android development, and IOS development – but we’re more than happy to open up the doors to anything this year. If you are interested, you can sign up at

You can also help out by judging at our hackathon, from 1pm to 4:15 pm on Sunday. Essentially, at the end of the hackathon, we hold a science-fair style expo, to show off everyone’s projects that they made during the course of the hackathon. As a judge, you get to look at the creativity and innovation of our students, and get to see their final projects. You can sign up at


Coding Bootcamp opens doors

Mohawk College and IEC Hamilton partnered on a new Coding Bootcamp program this Fall. The program involved about 30 adult learners at the Hamilton Public Library downtown and The Eva Rothwell Centre learning HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

The program was inspired by coding bootcamp innovations taking place in the private education sector that teach coding skills in short timeframes, for example HackerYou. These programs tend to be very hands-on, immersive and industry-focused. They’ve been gaining media attention and industry respect for turning students into web developers in as little as a few months.

The innovative approach to learning is excellent, but these programs also tend to be high-tuition and inaccessible for a lot of learners. The Coding Bootcamp program was free, and though not the same pace as private sector bootcamps with different objectives, the program borrowed the concept of hands-on immersion in coding.

The Coding Bootcamp program took place across 12 weeks, and by the end had students that had never written a line of code before creating web apps by the end of the program (e.g. Robert Ling’s Hamilton Quiz).

Congratulations to the first ever Coding Bootcamp participants!


HamOnt ML builds machine learning community


Hamilton’s first ever machine learning conference took place this weekend. The event was excellent for a bunch of reasons.

Strong mix of industry, government and academia talks. We had leaders from industry, government, academia represented in the talk and panel line-up, and it manifested itself in some great connections, between industry and academia in particular!

It sold out, completely. We’ve been doing conferences on topics that we knew there was a local market for, in the case of topics like JavaScript and User Experience. But for a topic that’s a little more “emerging” in terms of prevalence in local industry, we were blown away by the response for this one.

40% of the attendees were McMaster students. McMaster students can be a very tough audience to pull out to off-campus, Hamilton-branded events. Students call it the “McMaster bubble” (there’s even a Pop the Bubble initiative). But they showed up in large numbers, I guess if you built it right they will come. I was talking to a bunch students afterwards that were very happy to see this type of a topic and talk line-up in Hamilton.

The mayor showed up! Yes, that’s him in the photo! Fred Eisenberger (@fredeisenberger) came by and said a few words at the start in support of the community, and recognizing the willingness of Hamiltonians to collaborate as a community strength. It was great to see support from the mayor for something in the community at the grassroots level.

Andrew Holden at Weever Apps and myself started up this conference series last year, with different leaders in the community organizing each topic (@dpetican, @megthesmith, @eimaj, @kensills). It’ll be continuing next year, details on event dates posted early next year.



Jason Hofing talks success during chaos at HamOnt UX

Jason Hofing (@RelayCoffee) (Owner, Relay Coffee) was added to the line-up at this Saturday’s HamOnt UX conference!


Jason Hofing (@RelayCoffee)

Owner, Relay Coffee

Talk: UX Always: Succeeding in Chaotic Times

For most of 2014, the entire street in front of RELAY’s Concession St. coffee bar was ripped up limiting access to its front door. In this talk, Jason will share his team’s story of abandoning panic and instead see it as an opportunity to engage their audience and customers with creativity, positivity, and hospitality.

Bio: Jason Hofing is the owner of RELAY Coffee Roasters, a craft coffee roaster of with two coffee bars and roasting for the best restaurants in Hamilton. Jason is the recipient of the First Ontario and Hamilton Spectator 1AWARD in 2012, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Small Business Award in 2013 and a 40 Under 40 Award in 2014. Jason believes in a human-centric approach to taking your business to where your customers are and serving their needs.


HamOnt UX


When: Saturday October 28th 2017 from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion On King – 115 King Street East (3rd floor), Hamilton, ON



The HamOnt conference series continues with HamOnt UX on Saturday October 28th!

HamOnt UX is filling in for Embrace UX this year… low cost and kick ass, featuring experts from within and abroad for a full day of talks… we would love for you to join us!

Check out the schedule of talks on the event ticket page! HamOnt UX attendees can also expect morning coffee & snacks, lunch, afternoon drinks & snacks, and an after party!

Tickets are just $20 regular, and $10 for students.


Opportunity to help new Coding Bootcamp program


This Fall IEC Hamilton and Mohawk College have been running a new pilot Coding Bootcamp program for 30 adults. Over 12-weeks the participants learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript, the goal is to create opportunities for individuals that may not typically have access to knowledge economy jobs. These types of Coding Bootcamp programs have been popular with private sector for-profit educational organizations, but this is the first of its kind to my knowledge that is non-profit run and targeting this demographic.

Preliminary results have been fantastic, adults who didn’t know about text editors 5 weeks ago are now creating fairly complicated web front-ends! Each Wednesday participants hear “community talks” representing different career and educational pathways (e.g college vs. university, UX, social media manager, etc.). For example, here’s Suzanne Zandbergen at The Generator with some of the students in the program!

IEC Hamilton is applying for another Future Fund grant (due tomorrow) from the City of Hamilton to continue the program. If you would be willing to sign-up here today to say “yes, I’m interested in giving a talk at next year’s Coding Bootcamp”, we would be very grateful! It’d be an excellent show of interest/support, next year we’d reach out to make sure it works out for everyone scheduling-wise!

Thank you so much! Previous “calls to action” I’ve blasted out like this have resulted in *major* support, and we have reason to believe that support from the Hamilton tech community has made a critical difference in obtaining these grants. We really appreciate it, and will be organizing an event I’ll be sending details about in the near future to explain how companies can get involved in these exciting and growing “learn to code” programs!


KiCad EDA night at electronics meetup tomorrow


When: Wednesday September 27th 2017 at 7:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Electronics Meetup



Have you ever wanted to design an electronic PCB but not known how? Join us for another Hardware night.

For this meetup I thought it’d be interesting to run an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) night. Basically we get together and learn how to design a simple PCB from scratch. We’re going to be using KiCad (as its free and open source) but the basic principles are transferrable to pretty much any EDA software you might use. The circuit we’ll design isn’t overly complicated but is a great start for those who want to learn how to design PCB’s. If you already know how to use EDA software come along and help me explain how! 🙂

I’ll be walking through KiCad on the projector (I’m no expert but I have designed many PCB’s in KiCad). You’re more than welcome to download the latest version of KiCad on your laptop and bring it with you to follow along.

Looking forward to what should be a great night as we return to Co-Motion for our 5th, yes 5th meetup. That’s gone quick!


Justin left a major positive mark

I’m very sorry to write that Justin Policarpio passed away last night, having lived graciously and courageously with cancer.

Justin was a key community builder, entrepreneur and leader in the Hamilton startup community.

I first met Justin when he was running Women Entrepreneurship, an event series focused on celebrating female entrepreneurship, and working on his Campus Helper education company. He next co-founded and led edtech robotics startup Roboteurs as CEO.

His work with Women Entrepreneurship and his startups was already impressive enough, but where I feel he left a major positive mark on our community was his work with Spectrum / The Forge.

It wasn’t very long ago at all that people talked about a divide between the McMaster community and the Hamilton startup community. There was a “gap” in the pipeline between innovative McMaster students and the business community in Hamilton. There was also a “gap” in terms of support for student entrepreneurs on campus… there was no Velocity or Ryerson DMZ equivalent, and the existing efforts were more informal, sporadic, grassroots.

Justin was the manager of the new Spectrum program that started in 2014, intended to foster and encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to act as a pipe into a formal incubator program (“The Forge”). This was a very important job, at a critical time. If the Spectrum program flopped, which was a real possibility given the state of things at the time, I don’t think we’d have the energy and number of startups that you see further up the pipeline today. Justin was the perfect person for this role, and he hit it out of the park. A slew of great events and regular programming, much of it done in partnership with others, made his work a complete success in terms of fostering entrepreneurship on campus and building a bridge from McMaster to the broader Hamilton community.

He was a great community builder in that way. He had an infectious positive energy, was wise beyond his years, kind and always eager to help other people, was a great listener, and knew how to make great things happen fast. I met with him before he took on the Spectrum role, and you could tell he really “got it” in terms of the bigger picture. He was really keen on partnering and working together with everyone. Beyond the programming he developed that supported startups, he would always find time to support various other initiatives happening around the city, whether it was a Startup Weekend or a new healthtech meetup group.

People from other communities have noted a collaborative spirit in Hamilton, they’ll say things like, “in Hamilton, you guys really work together compared to X”. Justin played a major role in creating that spirit and culture. His good work and good spirit will live on.

This is the second time I’ve written an article like this in the last year. I’m upset because Justin was so young. It’s really not fair at all. We should use the time we’ve got to make a positive impact the way Justin was able to do so.


And speaking of the time we’ve got, I was reading over some of Justin’s old posts, and I came across this video of life tips he gave to graduating McMaster students. I’ve posted the text of his life advice below, it feels like advice that’s relevant for everyone.


I’d like to take this time to talk about just that, time. It’s something we all have a limited amount of, we never get any more of, so in reality it’s our most valuable asset. That said, why would we ever want to waste it?

A lot of you are going to be graduating from McMaster or have graduated, and you’re starting to think, “you know, what do I spend my time on? Do my masters, my PhD? Do I get a job or travel the world?”.

And in reality you got to do whatever you want to do because it’s something that you want to do, and not something that you feel like you ought to do. And you’re going to get a lot of pressures from your friends, your family, your parents and society as a whole.

I look at the time I spend on my stuff, on my startup company, on this new initiative at McMaster that I’m spearheading called Spectrum for McMaster entrepreneurs and startups. I look at the countless hours I put into this stuff, and you know what? I love it.

It’s time that I feel is well spent because it literally makes me happy, and I see all the value I get out of it. So when I think about the time I spent I think of three main things, and I guess these can be my two minute tips for you.

One is have no regrets. Have no regrets on the time that you’re spending on the things that you want to do.

Two, you know, in a nutshell: be fearless. You’re going to come across a lot of obstacles, not just in your school, and not just in work, but also in life. And they’re going to hit you, but you’re going to have to get through them. So be fearless, be strong.

And three, you really just have to start. You have to start doing what you want to do, and that said you also have to finish it and get it done.


Local tech and startup inclusivity initiatives


The issue of inclusivity in the tech sector has been a focus in the news lately, as well as a focus of discussions locally. It’s too bad the reasons it’s coming up are sad, but the reasons aren’t surprising (which makes it even more sad…).   I wanted to write this article going over existing initiatives around inclusivity that are already happening in the city around tech and startups, including ways to get involved and help them. I want to write some more articles on this topic, including one highlighting some cool things that women in the local tech sector are doing that maybe some people don’t know about but would find interesting to learn about.


Hamilton tech and startup inclusivity initiatives


Hamilton Code Clubs (@hamontcodeclub) is a program by IEC Hamilton, led by Beth Gibson (@bethkgibson), to teach elementary school students how to code through lunch-hour and after-school clubs run by community mentors.  The program is focused on priority neighbourhoods and female students, especially in grades 6-8 which are particularly critical years for encouraging career paths, and has reached over 1,600 students in the Hamilton-area at roughly 40 schools.  The program has recently expanded into some weekend workshop and summer activities.  Right now you can help out by volunteering to mentor, helping to promote workshops, and in the future I’ll be posting more opportunities for involvement such as sponsorship.


It’s also worth noting that Hamilton Code Clubs is organizing a small working group to provide advice on ensuring the program is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.  As the group evolves over the next year, the intention is that it can also look at sharing best practices to help local firms with inclusivity.  For example, several firms partnered with the program have noticed specific changes they can make to their job postings to appeal to more women applicants; these types of best practices can be packaged together and shared with the community.  When that happens, I’ll be sure to post the results.


Ladies Learning Code (@LLCHamOnt) is a non-profit regularly occurring series of workshops where women (and men) learn technologies like HTML/CSS, WordPress, JavaScript, and Python.  They also run occasional workshops for children.  The organization has chapters all over Canada, and the Hamilton chapter is led by Meg Smith (@megthesmith), Abena Asomaning (@wyldbloom), and Erin O’Neil (@erinlauraoneil).  You can help out by volunteering to help facilitate or lead workshops, by sponsoring, and by helping to promote the upcoming Hamilton Chapter events.


Black Boys Code (@blackboyscode) is a program founded by Bryan Johnson that introduces boys of colour between the ages of 8 to 17 to computer science through one and two-day; workshops, after-school events and mentoring programs.  The program has recently started running workshops in Hamilton on McMaster University campus.  You can help out by volunteering to mentor and helping to promote their upcoming workshops.


Women in Computing Society (WiCS) McMaster is a McMaster University group that runs events for women in the various computing programs on McMaster campus, founded by Alyssia Jovellanos (@alyssiacodes) [who is a rockstar leader in general too].


Coding Bootcamp is a new joint project by Mohawk College and IEC Hamilton.  A 12-week free Coding Bootcamp will introduce basic web programming to adults 19+ who are not currently enrolled in post-secondary.  The program will operate out of Hamilton Public Library, and a female only version of the same program will operate out of the Eva Rothwell Centre.  Over the summer some introductory workshops are running as a “try and see if you like it before you commit to 12 weeks”.  You can help out by spreading the word about these upcoming workshops!


McMaster Computing and Software Outreach (@maccasoutreach) is a program led by Christopher Anand, focused on computer science outreach, through creating educational software, delivering workshops and other activities such as summer programming.  The program is particularly innovative in its curriculum development, covering computer science and computational thinking rather than the imperative style computer programming covered by most outreach activities.  For example with concepts such as functional programming with the Elm Language.  The program has also had a focus on women and other underrepresented groups in its curriculum development and program delivery.


Women Entrepreneurship (@women_ent) is a local event series founded by Justin Policarpio (@Justin_Polic) covering the success of women entrepreneurs (not just tech/startup), and supporting those small businesses in the region.


Hamilton Fempreneurs (@hamfempreneurs) is a monthly meetup group for women entrepreneurs and leaders (not just tech/startup), with a talk or discussion at each meeting, founded by Suzanne Zandbergen (@thegeneratorca) [also, if I’m missing other founders, please let me know].


Internet of Things conference on Saturday June 24th


When: Saturday June 24th

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario

Cost: $20 regular, $10 for students



9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Arrival and registration!  We’ll have coffee and snacks available!

10:00 a.m — 12:00 p.m.

Colin Gagich (@colingagich)

Owner, NVC Software Solutions

Talk: HitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot (@HitchBOT)

Bio: Colin Gagich operates NVC Software Solutions, a software company which performs contract design and development work based in Hamilton, Ontario. Through NVC, Colin has worked with clients in the Aircraft Deicing Industry, HVAC Industry and Restaurant Point of Sales Industry. Colin specializes in embedded system design, mobile application development and web application development. Colin has been operating NVC Software Solutions since 2013.

Ian Pilon

Ambient Intelligence Specialist

Talk: Ambient Intelligence: Human-Computer Interaction Design & Smart Environments

Bio: Ian Pilon is an IoT product designer from Kitchener Waterloo Ontario. He studies the relationships between humans and computers and how to interact with physical objects that are evolving into the digital domain. Ian is the Founder and Managing Director of IoT Waterloo Region and IoT GTA, a peer to peer network group of over 2,000+ members who meet-up quarterly for professional networking and learning from industry speakers. He’s also the founder of the “Ambient Intelligence Conference” held annually in the Waterloo Region.

Nick Tomkin

Director of Orbital Studios

Lightning Talk: Creating Carina

Carina is a lightweight, portable structure that takes photos of guests at various public or private events and locations, and uploads them directly to Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, complete with captions, photo frames, as well as the event hashtag and branding.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Adrian Duyzer of Parallel on Taking Advantage Of The IoT Opportunity

12:00 p.m. — 1:00 p.m.

Fantastic lunch! Gluten free and vegetarian option will be available.

1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.

James Arlen (@myrcurial)

Director of Risk and Advisory Services at Leviathan Security Group

Talk: Avoiding common security issues in novel IoT products

Bio: James Arlen is Leviathan’s Director of Risk and Advisory Services. Over the past twenty plus years, James has been delivering information security solutions to Fortune 500, TSE 100, and major public-sector organizations. James is involved in information security policy, process, and procedure improvements for internationally known manufacturing and financial organizations and has held key contributor roles as CISO of a publicly traded financial institution and as Information Security Coordinator at a large scale power utility.

Best described as: “Infosec geek, hacker, social activist, author, speaker, and parent”, James’ areas of interest include organizational change, social engineering, blinky lights and shiny things. James founded Hamilton’s first makerspace think|haus before the Internet had Things. He is also a contributing analyst with Securosis and has a recurring column on Liquidmatrix Security Digest. James is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and is a prolific contributor to standards bodies and media.

Sam Reid (ioTcan)

Director of Business Development for ioTcan

Talk: Launching a nationwide loRaWAN M2M (machine-to-machine) IoT network

Bio: IoTCAN is a next generation wide area network designed specifically for IoT solutions. Sam’s talk will cover ioTcan’s work to deliver a robust, carrier grade network to enable the reliable bi-directional communication of connected devices and machines. Initially launching in the GTA IoTCAN will quickly expand their network to offer service in other major cities nationally and then full nationwide coverage. This network is being built on a recognized global standard for low power wide area coverage established by the LoRa Alliance. LoRaWAN™ is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things. For more information on LoRa please refer to the following sites: and Semtech.

Meg Smith (@megthesmith)

Ladies Learning Code Hamilton Chapter Co-Lead

Talk: Opportunities and Challenges for Women in Technology

Bio: Meg Smith is a Senior Designer at Parallel, the Ladies Learning Code Hamilton Chapter Co-Lead, and loves all things DIY. Her work with LLC was featured in Hamilton Business article.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Terry George and team on their “FITWIZ” ECE capstone project (McMaster University)

3:00 p.m. — 3:15 p.m. (ish)

Break time with drinks and snacks!

3:15 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.

John Gerryts

IT telecom analyst by day, uber blockchain hacker by night

Talk: Project Oaken – The intersection of blockchain and IoT

Bio: John Gerryts is a Technologist that has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. Beginning as an active miner, John is the organizer for the Niagara Bitcoin Meetup Group, and has led a few projects surrounding IoT + Blockchain technology (mostly related to as early as PoC3). For the last 23 years, John has been involved at different levels of technology, with roles such as Network Administrator, Telecommunications Specialist, and Senior Network & Electronics Integrator. His Project Airlock placed 3rd at the “In Crypto We Trust” Hackathon which has since been mentioned in the Canadian Senate and on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast by Andreas Antonopolous.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Lightning talk: Blake Laufer, award-winning investor and entrepreneur on his new IoT parking counter project
  • More speakers to be announced soon!

Q&A Panel: Succeeding as an IoT entpreneur

Ask whatever you like – this is your opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs and investors in person!

Panel participants:

  • Blake Laufer: Invester, entrepreneur, and board member of Angel One Investor Network
  • Colin Gagich: McMaster graduate, entrepreneur, hardware and software developer, and creative genius
  • Alex Ross: Lawyer and partner at Gowling WLG in Hamilton specializing in intellectual propert law

5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

Beer and pizza! Make connections, ask more questions of the presenters, and start great conversations about IoT!