A photograph of the Microsoft AI event team

This post about the Microsoft AI TechTO Spotlight event is written by Gladstone Grant, National Director of Solution Sales, Microsoft Canada.

By now, you’ve probably heard of artificial intelligence technology (AI) in some way shape, or form. If you haven’t, today is your luck day. AI is gaining traction and revolutionizing the way more companies do business in Canada. And, while a lot of businesses have heard of AI, many don’t fully understand its potential. They don’t yet see what this transformative technology can do for them.

For example, McKinsey & Co. recently published a study on Canada’s readiness for AI-driven disruption, and the results may startle you. McKinsey found that while 89 percent of Canadian business leaders believe AI will create major positive change in three to five years. But only 34 percent have adjusted their long-term strategies to take advantage of AI’s potential benefits.

Microsoft AI: Empowering innovation for all - Tech TO summit

At Microsoft, we are excited about the opportunities that AI brings, and we believe everyone should have access to the benefits of AI.  To help businesses get going, we recently joined forces with TechTO to host an event at MaRs Discovery District called Microsoft AI: Empowering Innovation for All. The purpose of the event was to celebrate some of the amazing innovation cultivated in the true North!

A photograph of the Microsoft AI mixer in the MaRs lobby

Microsoft AI event

This live event brought some of Canada’s best and brightest (human) minds in the artificial intelligence field together in one place to talk shop. We highlighted AI success stories and explained how Microsoft provides an empowering platform for these companies to flourish.

A photograph of the big audience attending the Microsoft AI event

The event was a hit! With standing room only in the MaRS auditorium, hundreds of entrepreneurs, technical professionals, influencers, and job-seekers participated. They created a fun, exciting, and electric networking atmosphere—the signature of TechTO events. Clearly, great things happen when you bring talented people together!

I kicked off the event by demonstrating how Microsoft’s AI bots can improve experiences for people and groups. I touched on natural language processing, cognitive service, and machine learning experiments and technologies. Then a series of fascinating presentations from great AI minds followed.


Ranveer Chandra, Principal Researcher at Microsoft AI, introduced the audience to FarmBeats, which is using AI and Internet of Things (IoT) and some unlikely, but cost-effective technology to improve yields and enable more sustainable, data-driven agriculture. FarmBeats could help us feed our fast-growing population! Click the video link to learn more about FarmBeats.


Joshua Liu, CEO of SeamlessMD, spoke about how they’re working with Microsoft and using AI to improve the healthcare experience for patients recovering from surgery. Their platform enables hospitals to optimize patient health before they operate, accelerate patient recovery, and monitor at-risk patients after they go home. All while lowering costs! Click the video link for more about SeamlessMD.

Kognitiv Spark

Ryan Groom, CTO of Kognitiv Spark, spoke about how AI helps power Remote Spark, their holographic worker support platform. An alternative to slow and costly onsite technical support, Remote Spark uses holographic augmented reality visualization through the Microsoft HoloLens to connect workers in the field or jobsite with experts located anywhere. Workers can troubleshoot, inspect, and repair objects themselves!


Anita Chauhan, Head of Marketing at Zoom.ai, spoke about their AI-powered platform, an automated assistant. This platform steals back time out of your day by handling tasks such as meeting scheduling, meeting preparedness, introductions to people you want to meet, travel coordination, and more. Click the video for a quick intro!

Power panel

The panel conversation featuring a number of great Canadian AI innovators followed next. Brian Kobus, Partner at OMERS Ventures, Steve Kludt, Co-Founder & Chief Data Science at Canvass Analytics, Ian Collins, CEO and Founder of Wysdom.ai, Dr. Joseph Geraci, Chief AI Officer and President at Netramark, and Ozge Yeloglu, Chief Data Scientist at Microsoft Canada, exchanged their views and shared some advice.

Photo of the Microsoft AI panel

Thank you

A big thank you from Microsoft to TechTO, MaRS, and especially the great Canadian entrepreneurs who shared their stories. We share your enthusiasm and commitment to using AI to solve business and social problems. What did you think of the event? Do you have ideas to leverage AI in your business? Please feel free to contact me on my LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gladstonegrant/