GROW Conference Whistler: How Our Town Might Become the Most Connected Resort in the World
Next week the GROW Conference Whistler will bring some of the world’s brightest technology entrepreneurs and investors to our mountain resort town.
Around 800 people are attending the event, which has been held for four years in Vancouver. However, this year the event is travelling up the Sea to Sky to Whistler and giving local businesses a chance to mingle with the tech heads from companies like Yahoo, Misfit Wearables, Under Armour, Google Glass and SmartThings.
The idea is that local leaders will meet with them to discuss how to make Whistler the most connected resort community in the world – sweet, hang on, what?
GROW Conference Whistler organizer Debbie Landa explains that we need to break into the Internet of Things, and not let techies sit in their bubble because it’s slowing development and the adoption of new technology.
To become connected we need to think digitally about our homes, cars, appliances and possessions, and all the shops, restaurants, workplaces and schools we go to. An existing example would be wearable technology like Fitbit and home security monitoring systems like Piper.
“Technology is enabling business owners to stay relevant and stay ahead. Eventually, it’s going to be their big differentiator,” says Landa.
The Vision of GROW Conference Whistler
Working with the municipality, chamber of commerce, tourist board and local businesses, Landa is challenging them to work with top GROW delegates to use mobile data to create the world’s best customer experience.
Imagine visitors arriving in Whistler and being electronically directed to the closest parking space to their hotel. Imagine checking into a room with a wave of a phone. Scan tonight’s restaurant menus for the best specials, then access all the data on snow conditions, or which bike trails are open. She’s set a timeline too – five years, and at the end of the conference she wants them to have a plan and a committee in place to make it all come together.
Five local businesses that span the travel, hospitality, staff management and entertainment industries will be seeing just what new tech can be applied to their businesses and the community they live in to make life more connected. Gibbons, Guestfolio, Ridebooker, Payroll Hero and Mobio Technologies, will all be in the discussions in the coming week and will likely be part of the committee Landa forms to take the whole resort to the next level.
“I’m extremely excited that the GROW Conference is investing in Whistler so that we can become a leader in smart technology,” says Ridebooker owner Jack Crompton. Just one of the things he’d like to see is an integrated lost and found system, and this conference is the perfect place to see how technology can develop that.
“The sharpest minds from the Silicon Valley are coming to Whistler and it’s our chance to introduce these super-smart people to our awesome resort. They won’t be able to help themselves once they get here and see the potential that getting their technology into our community would bring. The world comes to visit us, and that way we can showcase what they do for us which is a great opportunity for everyone. This is our chance to become part of the future, to be the place that brings it all together,” says Joey Gibbons, CEO of Gibbons.