October 22nd, 2020

Emerging Tech event to focus on area agriculture


By Jensen, Randy on July 13, 2020.

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

The first event held by Emerging Tech Solutions for Business, a social enterprise partnership between Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL) and InBridge Inc., will be held on Thursday.

Focusing on the southern Alberta agriculture sector, this virtual event will be presented in partnership with Lethbridge College AgENT program and is meant to provide a medium for innovators, farmers, producers and service providers to come together and discuss the fundamentals of emerging technologies and the role they play now and into the future regarding agriculture in the region. The event which will be held virtually through Zoom, will be conducted by Jefferson Gardner, CEO, InBridge Inc., and followed by a discussion and interactive brainstorming session facilitated by Tyler Wall from the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation at Lethbridge College.

“The global marketplace is changing at such a rapid pace, technologies that were once thought to be the latest and greatest are being surpassed by new and evolving emerging technologies,” says Gardner in a news release. “Blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, machine learning, drones, automation, robotics all are technologies that are being used worldwide right now when you’re talking about agriculture. Our region, if it does want to compete on a global level, will need to learn, understand and optimize using some or as many emerging technologies as possible and this event will give us a good understanding of knowledge and comfort levels of some of our producers.”

The goal of the event, which will be held from 9 a.m. until noon on Thursday, is to ultimately develop and engage with local agriculture leaders and out-of-the-box thinkers to create an Agriculture Emerging Tech Innovator Cohort.

“Finding people, ideas and systems that can contribute to efficiencies and improvements is what we’re looking to accomplish,” said Renae Barlow, vice-president Entrepreneurship & Innovation for EDL. “No idea is off the table, and because agriculture casts such a wide net, I’m really looking forward to some of the groupthink from attendees. It might lead to a new way to reduce environmental impacts or a new system that will revolutionize supply chain management for some of our farmers and producers. The outcomes are potentially endless and that’s what makes this event exciting.”

Megan Shapka, manager, Integrated Agriculture Technology Centre and Manager, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Lethbridge College, said events like these are helpful in many ways and can be used as a great way to make connections in the ag sector.

“We can gain so much from participating in collaborative learning experiences. This event will not only introduce attendees to the possibilities of emerging tech in agriculture, but also the power of our region’s highly integrated and supportive innovation ecosystem.”

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