Tech and auto: Betting on Windsor at large Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas

'We don't bang on our chest loud enough,' said business attraction specialist Ryan Donally

Posted: January 17, 2020

Ryan Donally is the business attraction specialist at the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Colliding technology with automotive and telling the world Windsor can be at the forefront is one purpose of the Rose City being present at a massive technology show in Las Vegas.

Two people from the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) spent 10 days on the West Coast strictly selling Windsor. From Vegas to San Francisco to Sacramento, business attraction specialist Ryan Donally said our region needs to do more of this.

"I think the one thing that Windsor hasn't done well, and I think that we're going to change, is that we don't bang on our chest loud enough," said Donally.


Pacifica 'prominent' at Vegas show

The Windsor-made Chrysler Pacifica "seemed to be the most prominent vehicle" showcased at the conference in Vegas.

"All of these tech companies that are using the Pacifica as the platform for whatever tech they're trying to put forward in the automotive space," said Donally.

This is a virtual reality cave in Windsor. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Part of the purpose of the trip is also about "building brand ambassadors." Donally says connecting with business leaders from Israel or China is important because when they need to expand, Windsor could already be on their mind.

"Windsor is a great spot for that company to land," said Donally — something he hopes organizations will believe after the trip.

'Flying car'

He recalls going to the Hyundai booth and seeing a "flying car" — a non-traditional more technologically-advanced vehicle — then going to the Sony booth where a standard car was displayed, which Dollay says speaks to the integration of tech companies and automakers.


Building an ecosystem that allows for innovation to happen is something Donally is trying build on in Windsor.

In part, because of these efforts, a Silicon Valley based tech company has chosen Windsor as a base for its Canadian operation.

Company flocks to Windsor

Industrial automation company i-50 looked at a number of locations across Ontario and settled on Windsor.

They replace industrial engineers, who measure the efficiency of assembly lines, with technology to do the same work.

The goal is to improve manufacturing.


"These had certain limitations," said Khizer Hayat, co-founder of i-50. "Humans are either going to perform really fast or really slow when someone's standing there watching them."

The company said it selected Windsor because it's the hub of the auto industry, close to the U.S. and there's available talent coming out of post-secondary institutions.

A provincial government subsidy has also been offered.

With files from Chris Ensing