Canadian Digital River fascinates student attending WCIT 2012

I attended the World Congress of Information Technology (WCIT 2012) as one of the winners of the CareerMash Youth Tech Jam essay contest and it was an amazing experience.

On the first day, I visited the Showcase Room, where tech companies displayed some of their newest innovations. The first thing that caught my attention was the Canadian Digital River which looked like a real stream on the ground in the centre of the room.

This projected river shepherded delegates through the showcase, highlighting Canada’s natural beauty through images of things like the St Lawrence River. And, using smart phones, you were also able to bring up information on companies that participated in the Congress. The amazing thing is when someone walked on that digital river, the water displayed ripples as the person walked across it. It also had fish swimming in it and insects flying about. 

Other companies displayed their digital devices and new ideas as they related to global issues. One that caught my attention was shipping giant icebergs to desert cities to provide them with water. I thought about the pros and cons, like how it could help the desert cities. But shipping the icebergs across half the globe would cause a lot of air pollution as the transportation most likely would need petroleum to move the icebergs so far. If this concept were to work, renewable energy sources would have to be used.

The Congress also included many panel discussions and keynote presentations on some important issues and questions regarding the digital revolution. One use of technology presented was to help poor countries by distributing cheap communication devices such as cellphones. Distributing cheap cell phones could increase access to services like doctors, even if patients couldn’t travel to a doctor’s office.

Another discussion focused on too many cars and not enough parking lot spaces. Most people now need to park their car near home and work places. But there are new special programs people can use that allow car sharing. With a swipe of a card, a person using car sharing can access a shared car. Instead of needing six parking spaces and six cars, two shared cars can deliver as many people to work as six cars. Not only does this save money for the car owners, but it also allows more variety of when and how people sharing the cars can get to work - a person can swipe the card and access any shared car.

In addition to new innovations at WCIT, the future of education, job opportunities, and medical advancements were also discussed. Presenters said jobs that require people to be skilled in using and making software will continue to be in high demand. There are many places experiencing a shortage of these types of skills.

In conclusion, I learned a lot from the WCIT sessions and I listened carefully to what each had to say. I enjoyed going to Montreal to gain a broader perspective of this world and I had amazing experiences. I can say that I had a great time at the Congress. Thanks CareerMash for letting me have this opportunity!

Editor’s Note: Naheer Patel also won an all-expenses-paid trip to WCIT 2012 as a winner of the CareerMash Tech Jam Essay Contest. Read her blog - WCIT 2012: Technology and the World Citizens of Tomorrow.

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