Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!
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What’s new this week
Heyday by Hootsuite announces integrations with Instagram DMs and Messenger for Shopify merchants worldwide Hootsuite’s conversational AI platform, Heyday, has launched integrations for Instagram Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger within its Shopify chatbot app to create new opportunities for merchants to connect with customers.
This integration seeks to capitalize on the use of social media for ecommerce and facilitate conversations between merchants and customers by ensuring that chats to sell products and answer inquiries are operating 24/7 year round.
The chat app, originally launched in November 2020, also integrates with web chat and email to centralize all communications on a single platform.
Heyday is currently available to download from the Shopify app store and is priced at US$49 per month after a free 14 day trial.
Google Services provided C$37 billion worth of economic activity to Canadian organizations: Google Canada’s 2021 Economic Impact Report
The new Google Canada 2021 Economic Impact Report, published by Public First has shown that, last year, Google services provided C$37 billion of economic activity for Canadian businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers. This is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of Canada’s GDP. More than 7500 Canadian consumers and 2000 senior decision makers were surveyed.
Key findings from the report include:
- Google helped drive over 235 million direct connections monthly, including phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings, and reviews for Canadian businesses.
- Google Search and Ads are supporting C$1.7 billion in exports for the Canadian economy.
- Google for Startups Accelerator has supported 60 Canadian businesses that are innovating through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Almost half of the startups expect to see more than a 50 per cent increase in revenue in 2022.
- More than 40 per cent of startups have raised over C$2 million since graduating from Google for Startups Accelerator programs
The report also highlighted the growing adoption of cloud services by businesses and the benefits of the Android App economy that, according to the study, generated over C$1 billion in revenue for Canadian developers and helped support over 240,000 jobs in Canada.
The full report can be accessed here.
Digital, contactless and mobile payment methods continue to accelerate: Canadian Payment Methods and Trends 2022 report Payments Canada has released its annual Canadian Payment Methods and Trends 2022 report in which 19.7 billion payment transactions made in 2021, totalling C$10.8 trillion, were analyzed.
Key insights from the report include:
- total Canadian payment market grew by four per cent in volume and 15 per cent in value from 2020, representing a rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
- 50 per cent of Canadians use e-commerce platforms more often than before the pandemic.
- Value of contactless payment, mobile payments, cash and cheque transactions all increased at 18 per cent, 13 per cent, 14 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively.
- 22 per cent of Canadians are comfortable making payments using QR Code (Quick Response Code), while 37 per cent are comfortable using fingerprint, facial, or voice recognition to authenticate financial transactions
- Credit card use rebounded by six per cent.
- Online transfer transactions value exceeded debit cards for the first time ever in 2021
- Eight per cent of Canadian merchants are accepting BNPL (buy now, pay later) while 48 per cent are considering it
The full study can be accessed here.
AI firm Sidetrade announces plans to invest C$24 million and add 110 jobs in Calgary
Sidetrade provides a SaaS platform, along with the company’s AI, nicknamed Aimie, to manage cash flow, predict customer behavior and risks, recommend cash collection strategies and automate the Order-to-Cash process.
Sidetrade will open in the Ampersand building in downtown Calgary.
The company will hire for multiple roles including sales and marketing, professional services, IT support, and Research and Development, and offer the Sidetrade Academy – a training program aimed at facilitating onboarding experience and career development.
“Our new Calgary location is a business accelerator for the North American continent and will provide solid support to our customers worldwide. What’s more, Sidetrade is a truly multicultural organization, and we’re pleased to embark on the next stage of our journey with more Canadian teammates. We look forward to the years ahead with confidence,” said Olivier Novasque, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sidetrade.
Visa Canada’s She’s Next Grant Program returns to support women entrepreneurs facing business challenges Visa has partnered with US-based fundraising organization, iFund Women to bring back the She’s Next Grant Program to provide 10 Canadian women entrepreneurs with the opportunity to win a grant of C$10,000 each and receive one year of business coaching to grow their business.
Visa says the partnership is in response to the pressures of today’s economic climate, notably inflation, as uncovered in a study conducted by Visa.
The study showed that nearly all small business owners are concerned about inflation (87 per cent), uncertainty (82 per cent), taxes and rising interest rates (74 per cent), and market volatility (72 per cent). Additionally, 8 in 10 women small business owners anticipate needing financial help in the next year, and nearly half state they do not have full funding for their business in the next six months.
“Small businesses continue to demonstrate immense grit as they navigate the current economic landscape and changing consumer preferences,” said Stacey Madge, president and country manager of Visa Canada. “Through the She’s Next Grant Program, we continue to support women entrepreneurs – who face distinct challenges and are proud to help them in their journey of growth, innovation, and resilience in today’s business climate.”
Interested applicants can submit a short video with details about their business and digital presence here.
More to explore
Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of C$7.5 million in three Kitchener-Waterloo-based tech companies: Shinydocs Corp., Encircle Inc. and Proto Research Inc.
OpenText chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technology officer (CTO) Mark Barrenechea yesterday laid out his vision for the future, one that will force many organizations to do some quick maneuvering in a number of areas.
Adoption of SaaS (Software as a service) rose dramatically after the Covid-19 outbreak, as businesses explored new tools to help them stay afloat in a rapidly changing environment.
Elon Musk has offered to purchase Twitter at the originally offered share price of US$54.20 if Twitter drops court actions, according to a filing by Musk to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 3
A new report studying workers’ views on productivity, remote work, and collaboration tools revealed there is an emerging ‘cost of working’ crisis in Canada and around the world.
A new Microsoft Work Trend report revealed that shifts to hybrid work and increased workload are leading to productivity paranoia.
Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 has its charms. It’s a compact, lightweight machine adequate for most basic tasks, including document creation, web surfing, and playing videos. However, it’s not for everyone (few machines are); we took a look to see where it would suit.
Ingram Micro announced Wednesday that its new platform, Xvantage, is now rolling out in Canada and Latin America.
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