High TechKnowledge has become the well from which economic and social prosperity is drawn.
The solid base of Alberta's information and communications technology (ICT) industry includes almost 4,500 companies and 50,000 employees generating $11.4 billion in annual revenues. Areas of Alberta expertise are bioinformatics, digital content, e-learning, global positioning systems, health management systems, nanotechnology, software development, systems integration, telecommunications, and wireless communications.10
From 2007 to 2011, Canada's ICT sector revenues increased from $134 to $155 billion, a 16% increase, contributing $67 billion to Canada's annual GDP.10 The ICT sector employs 3% of Canada's labour force, or 520,000 people.
Growth of the ICT sector has outpaced growth of the broader economy by 80% since 2007. Nationally, the sector continues to transition to emphasis on domestically-oriented software and services vs. export-oriented manufacturing. The ICT sector is the largest performer of R&D (30.6% of all private sector R&D expenditures in Canada). ICT sector employment is highly educated (45.1% of workforce with university degree in 2011).
A Role for the Foothills Region
Broadband and wireless have broken traditional economic constraints that have restricted opportunity in more rural environments. The Foothills Region will establish itself as a Work-From-Anywhere location by targeting activity that uses readily available broadband infrastructure to establish computer and network-based consulting, tele-commuting, software and applications development, and e-commerce. A high quality of life this cluster is traditionally attracted to and is present locally, and the Calgary Region's highly skilled labour force and concentration of engineers, are enablers for accelerated growth of this activity in the Foothills Region.
10 Government of Alberta (www.albertacanada.com), and Industry Canada (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ict-tic.nsf/eng/h_it07229.html)