In promoting Canada’s tech sector, governments spend a great deal of innovation money and effort boosting the suppliers of new technologies, with a big focus on commercializing new knowledge and supporting tech start-ups.
Equally important, though, is the need to boost the adoption and use of these new technologies by businesses across the economy. But here, adoption of advanced technology has not had the same priority as in Germany, the U.S., China and a number of other countries. So Canadian companies lag in adopting the most advanced technologies and are less competitive than they could be. That’s a big cost to jobs and the economy. Technology diffusion has to become as important as technology creation.
Jay Myers, who is president of the new supercluster for advanced manufacturing, and before that, president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, has published a detailed study, Technology Adoption in Canadian Manufacturing, which warns that “manufacturers in Canada lag behind those in other countries in adopting advanced technologies.” He suggests that “at least 30 per cent of Canadian manufacturers risk going out of business because of their failure to adopt advanced technologies.”
How to capitalize on potential
So what can be done to get Canadian companies, not just in manufacturing but in resources, agriculture and services, to adopt advanced technologies in a world where industries in other countries are moving faster? Why is it that too many Canadian companies are technology laggards? These are urgent questions because industry worldwide is moving into what’s known as Industry 4.0
This fourth industrial revolution offers great potential for increased prosperity – and a great potential market for tech-based suppliers in cloud computing, big data and analytics, sensors and the Internet of Things, robotics and machine-machine communications, and additive manufacturing, for example. Read more