Cisco Canada Blog

#CiscoSmartTO continues…at Meeting of the Minds 2013

September 17, 2013

This week we welcomed 100s of industry leaders to Toronto as they engaged in a lively discussion on matters of urban innovation at the 2013 Meeting of the Minds, which took place at Evergreen Brick Works.

As part of the program, more than thirty participants and members of the media visited the Cisco Smart + Connected Communities Innovation Centre at Cisco’s Canadian headquarters for an exclusive tour and discussion. The Cisco Innovation Centre opened a little over a year ago as a celebration of the collaborative relationships Cisco is building with government and the private sector, to jointly transform the nature of our built environment where real estate development, property management and information technology all intersect.


One year is a long time in the technology world, yet not so long in the world of bricks and mortar. It is the coming together of these disparate worlds that is providing plenty of healthy discourse as we seek to innovate and advance place making and city building.

During this year’s Meeting of the Minds 2013, we celebrate the one year anniversary of the Innovation Center and the rapid changes we are seeing in the real estate infrastructure market in Toronto and Canada. Almost all of the new building projects are adopting networking and convergence approaches as they seek to reduce capital cost and operating expenses while providing future-ready infrastructures in support of future-ready tenants and building users.

The Innovation Center demonstrates the energy that is being created in the marketplace as new partnerships are being formed and new IP-centric building systems enter the market. The network is becoming more strategic in our built environment as more and more devices ‘come online’ and leverage the Internet and IP protocols as means of communications and interactions.

The Internet of Everything is having a growing, profound impact on the building industry, and Cisco is proud to be a participant and catalyst of this necessary change.

The tour of the Innovation Centre and the demonstration of leading edge and ‘off-the-shelf’ technologies and capabilities that can help make our buildings more productive and increase their performance was followed by a panel discussion. Featuring Andy Schonberger from Earth Rangers Centre, Lachlan MacQuarrie from Oxford Properties, and Julian Brandon from DTZ/UGL, all three shared their respective perspectives on the rapidly changing market place.


From left: Andy Schonberger (Earth Rangers), Lachlan MacQuarrie (Oxford), Julian Brandon (DTZ)

Andy lives and breathes ‘intelligent buildings’ as he has turned Earth Rangers into a living lab and advances an impressive sustainability agenda through tight partnership with industry partners like Schneider Electric, Holcim, and us. Lachlan MacQuarrie shared the need for commercial developers and landlords to prepare for a changing future landscape, and confirmed his firm’s investments in building and adopting to Smart Building standards. Julian helps corporations find the right real estate solutions for their corporate needs. Increasingly so, the technology capabilities of the desired spaces are becoming deciding factors for site and space selection. All three panelists agreed that the change in the real estate industry is accelerating and provides both challenges and great opportunities.

The journey of making Canada’s infrastructure (and building) landscape more intelligent and productive continues. New partnerships and business models are formed to help accelerate the import work that leads the infrastructure and real estate industry well into the 21st Century and have it leap forward through collaboration and innovation.

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