March 24, 2014
Vancouver has an incredible, thriving tech scene. Not only is it called “Hollywood North” for its substantial contributions to the world of television and film (in addition to being the sister city of Los Angeles, CA), but it’s also one of the largest industrial forces in the world of wearable technology.
What Makes Vancouver So Appealing To Tech Startups?
I reached out to Kenny MacKenzie, Co-Founder and COO of Vandrico, Inc., for his thoughts on what makes Vancouver such an appealing city for the emerging wearables market.
He said, “As TED stated last year, it chose to host their next conference here in Vancouver because of the city’s livability, walkability, sustainability, innovation and stunning natural beauty.”
He also made mention of several other advantages that Vancouver offers a growing technology sector, including:
- Good universities that support the tech-start-up ecosystem
- Incubators and accelerators like GrowLab and Wavefront that are some of the best in the world
- Smart Money coming from super-angels such as Haig Farris, Boris Wertz and Mike Edwards
- Appealing government programs like SH&ED and IRAP
Vancouver’s Wearable Scene
We asked MacKenzie to describe some of the businesses that have been making waves in the wearable market out of Vancouver. It turns out that list is quite extensive.
“One of the most promising wearables start-ups located in Vancouver is Recon Instruments. Their upcoming product theRecon Jet is one of the highest scored in our database in terms of functionality and components.”
Recon Instruments has a strong focus on heads-up-displays for athletes. Performance metrics for bicyclists, skiers and more would be available to athletes without distracting them from the task at hand.
Other notable companies mentioned by MacKenzie include Mio and Fatigue Science, both of which track activity using a wristband. Mio’s product is unique as it tracks heart-rate using an optical sensor (no need for a chest strap).
Fatigue Science’s Readiband is used specifically to track sleep and fatigue across an organization. The Vancouver Canucks use the Readiband to assist in planning their travel schedule.
Emerging Startups Based in Vancouver
Vancouver is also home to a healthy set of emerging startups that are poised to make headlines as their products and services begin hitting the market.
MacKenzie noted, “CommandWear is doing some really interesting things with wearables for incident command. Giving incident command leaders better ability to see, communicate and locate assets on the field.”
He added, “LifeBooster is developing an incredible solution for analyzing and predicting workplace risks using biometric data. Their product is a shirt that can track things such as heat stress, vital signs, posture, activity and location.”
And of course there is Vandrico, who is working to integrate existing wearable technology into the industrial workplace.
To do this, the folks at Vandrico are developing a platform that integrates existing information management systems into wearable devices to funnel timely critical alerts.
Additionally, it tracks the entire wearable tech market in detail.
“We do this so we can stay ahead of the market and always know which devices are best suited to integrate with our platform. In the spirit of openness we have published a portion of our research on our website,” he said.
Vancouver is known for many things, but as the world of wearable technology becomes progressively vital to a booming technology sector, it’s clear that its groundbreaking wearable scene is certainly going to become one of its most significant contributions to the world.