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Living Lab Corner Connective Touch—Current Pilot a Huge Success

This biometrics company, led by Devi Sohanta, the Founder and CEO, has completed its first year of field testing in Summerside partnering with Community Connections, Summerside Police Services and Municipal Services. Their product is a proprietary door handle that uses thumb or fingerprints to allow access. Keys, access cards, fobs, or any other physical inventory are no longer needed. With the appropriate software, prints are collected at a PC terminal and an administrator then inputs which prints can open which doors and at which times of day. The system is also capable of logging who entered which room and when. These features are quite useful for high-security or controlled environments.
Currently, Connective Touch has over 12 units deployed in Summerside in varying environments and feedback on the ease of use and system integration has been overwhelmingly positive. Connective Touch is now in the final stages of finalizing their growth strategies for North America in Summerside. 
Connective Touch’s origin is with servicing the physically and mentally disabled. People with these ailments can have trouble remembering their keys as well as using them; using prints makes a lot more sense.  In addition to its great utility for those with disabilities, the product is a good fit for nearly anyone. Places like utilities, hospitals, government buildings, or even personal properties can benefit from one of these door handles. Access is controlled in a simple and clear way and nobody can ever forget their “key”.
Connective Touch UK – A Living Lab Testimonial
“Without the consistent, well-structured and enabling support of the Team at the Summerside Economic Development department and the Living Lab initiative providing me with a solid platform to bring my products and technology to Summerside, it would have been impossible for me to expand and grow my business into North America.”—Devi Sohanta (CEO/Founder)


Hello Lamp Post—Pilot Numbers Exceeded Expectations  
This IT company, whose product is a social engagement platform, has officially wrapped up its Pilot in Summerside. Hello Lamp Post brings cities to life by allowing citizens and visitors to interact with certain objects around the city—these are called “Hero Objects”.  By working with project partners, Hello Lamp Post identifies these Heroes and affixes them with signage. The signage invites people to have a text conversation using their mobile phones.
Participants were encouraged to explore the local environment in a new and experiential way and invited to share their thoughts, opinions and stories about what Summerside means to them. By taking part, people contributed to the decision-making processes of government, cultural institutions and local businesses.
We received conversations and insights for both our public and private sector partners. Over the 124-day Pilot, we achieved:
  • — Over 20,000 interactions
  • — Over 7,000 individual conversations
  • — Over 2,500 individual players
  • — Average 8.1 interactions per player
  • — An average of 623 users per month participating
Hello Lamp Post—A Living Lab Testimonial
"Our work so far with Summerside represents the start of an exciting partnership for us. We have huge ambitions to replicate our successes in Summerside across, not only the rest of PEI but cities and towns across North America.
The City of Summerside's forward-thinking attitude towards innovation is extremely refreshing and inspiring. It's because of this that they are very well positioned to act as a soft landing to companies like us, as well as form an ongoing relationship to help us grow. This bold thinking means the city can benefit from being bold “first-movers” and become a leader in city innovation. We're hugely excited to keep building our partnership with The City of Summerside as they continue to help us expand."—Tiernan Mines (CEO/Co-Founder)


BluWave-ai and Summerside Electric
BluWave-ai and Summerside Electric have moved into the full live Pilot stage after two years of research and analytical testing, furthering innovation in the grid and renewable energy. Like many utilities in Canada, Summerside was looking for opportunities to reduce its energy costs and maximize the use of local renewable energy sources. Adding renewable energy sources like wind and solar is a logical choice for communities like Summerside, but there remain some challenges to managing fluctuations in load with the peaks and troughs of renewable energy supply and grid power real-time pricing.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used to optimize energy dispatch in our utility. Summerside is already well-established as a leader in renewable energy use, with 46% of its energy coming from wind power, the highest percentage on the continent. We are working with BluWave-ai’s machine learning platform and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services to optimize the renewable energy mix in our grid and to reduce both costs and emissions. BluWave-ai’s predictive technology has yielded up to a 50% improvement in energy scheduling accuracy over the utility system baseline. Live testing will continue over the course of next year to refine energy-optimizing decision making.

INPUT Program Hungary
In mid-November, a group of four Hungarian companies visited Summerside to take a closer look at our investment climate. These are all companies in the growth or investment stage looking at ways to expand into North America. As part of their fact-finding visit to Canada, the group spent most of their day with us learning how to register their company, business planning, taxation and much more.
In partnership with Innovation PEI and INPUT Program Hungary, which is a small business mentor ecosystem organization, these four companies came with an eagerness to learn and were prepared with an onslaught of questions. The relationship with INPUT has been courted through some long-term relationship building with our Economic Development Office and the future potential for inward investment through this relationship is very promising for Summerside.
The visiting companies, which were split between the energy sector and the food sector, were most interested in our upcoming Eco-Park (113,000 additional sq ft of industrial space) and our Living Lab Program. Having seen some of our other partnerships first-hand, many were surprised to learn that a large number of our existing or past partners are from different provinces or countries. Naturally, their wheels are already turning with how they may take advantage of the program with projects of their own.
After some lengthy technical discussions, the group ended the day with a reception at City Hall where they were able to meet Mayor Stewart, City Councillors and some of our senior staff members.


Office of Immigration to Open in Summerside
PEI’s Office of Immigration has recently announced the expansion of their immigration office to Summerside in the heart of downtown. This office, to be located at 268 Water Street, will employ five people and will bring critical services to our local market that our clients require to further their investment ambitions. This bold step forward fortifies our already strong collaboration in growing our region’s economy through immigration and having a partner delivering services in the heart of our city is critically important to our long-term success. This office downtown sends a strong message to our community that our partners are serious about making a change and improving the level of service available to newcomers as they look to establish, settle and help our economy grow. 
Our downtown is seeing significant investment and growth and we are very pleased that this office has chosen downtown Summerside to be part of the positive momentum in investment and activity.  Prince Edward Island has seen a 2.2% growth in population (from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019), as compared to 1.4% for Canada, largely driven by immigration, which is the highest in the country. 
Immigration is becoming an important driver of our economy. Considering the clients that the office is currently working with, the opportunity to diversify, attract labour and grow all sectors of our economy is promising. A recent analysis of the potential client demand in industrial and commercial space alone represents over 66,000 sq ft of office, 200,000 sq ft in retail and 100,000 sq ft in industrial space. These figures do not even include demands for residential space in Summerside. From an economic development perspective, these are qualified, vetted and real opportunities.  We are seeing everyone working hard to help these clients get established and reap the benefits of new businesses in Summerside.
Immigration is certainly leading the way but there is more to the story than just immigration as general investment inquiries are also on the rise in all sectors of our economy. Overall, we are seeing interest from a diverse group of investors in addition to the strong immigrant interest and the economics of Summerside are starting to have people take notice. We must remember immigrants and investors have a choice of where they want to invest, do business and see a return on their capital. Our job is to make Summerside a place that is investor-ready, open and seamless.

Summerside Indicators

If interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or opportunities for growth, please call our Economic Development Professionals.
We would love to chat.

Alternatively, you can email us at
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the most profitable email you have ever sent.

Michael Thususka
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E:

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