IBI Group pivots to become “technology-driven design firm”
May 15, 2018
By Doug Picklyk
The firm is also launching the Smart City Sandbox, a technology incubator focused on bringing innovative new products and systems to urban environments.
Toronto-based IBI Group, a global design architectural/engineering firm with locations North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, revealed the firm’s new Strategic Plan following the company’s annual general meeting held in Toronto last week.
CEO Scott Stewart identified four key streams the company is focusing on as it pivots to become a technology-driven design firm.
Internally, the company is enhancing the efficiency of its core business through productivity tools and processes developed by the firm’s own technology group.
Outward facing, IBI will also release a suite of new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products through 2018, creating new revenue streams throughout the lifecyle of the assets it designs. The first product launched in March — IBI Group’s Smart City Platform.
The firm is also forming expert teams in technologies such as AI, blockchain, and virtual and augmented reality to be at the forefront of the next generation of products and services as they relate to the built environment.
And finally IBI announced the Smart City Sandbox, a smart city-themed accelerator or incubator, focused on bringing innovative new products and systems to urban environments. The technology hub will support small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups, operating out of IBI Group’s Toronto headquarters.
Partners joining IBI in the Smart City Sandbox initiative include EllisDon, Ontario Power Generation, The Weather Network, and Slate Asset Management, as well as technology provider Microsoft.
“Technology is disrupting the entire ecosystem of cities. As a firm that has technology embedded in its DNA, (having designed some of the first intelligent transportation systems in the world) and as designers of the built form (buildings and infrastructure), we see both a need and an opportunity to create new ways to enhance the operations and the experiences of cities,” said IBI Group CEO, Scott Stewart.
“We have great talent in our core business, but we also know having an open network of collaborators, with partners representing all aspects of the urban environment, is where the best solutions and ideas will come from.
“Armed with our unique domain knowledge around how cities operate, we are well-positioned to lead this exciting initiative.”
The Smart City Sandbox will officially open its doors with its first smart city-themed cohort in September 2018. The space will invite applications from SMEs and start-ups to participate in specific cohorts related to mobility, living, energy, healthcare, and other urban themes, with the goal of creating solutions focused on the needs of the community.
Each cohort will run for a term of 3-12 months to incubate their ideas, concluding with a demo day for investors.
Providing access to venture advice and connections, the Sandbox will also offer events and programming, including product workshops, hackathons and meet-ups, to bring the community together and foster collaboration.