#CiscoSmartTO continues…at Meeting of the Minds 2013

This week we welcomed 100s of industry leaders to Toronto as they engaged in a lively discussion on matters of urban innovation at the 2013 Meeting of the Minds, which took place at Evergreen Brick Works.

As part of the program, more than thirty participants and members of the media visited the Cisco Smart + Connected Communities Innovation Centre at Cisco’s Canadian headquarters for an exclusive tour and discussion. The Cisco Innovation Centre opened a little over a year ago as a celebration of the collaborative relationships Cisco is building with government and the private sector, to jointly transform the nature of our built environment where real estate development, property management and information technology all intersect.


One year is a long time in the technology world, yet not so long in the world of bricks and mortar. It is the coming together of these disparate worlds that is providing plenty of healthy discourse as we seek to innovate and advance place making and city building.

During this year’s Meeting of the Minds 2013, we celebrate the one year anniversary of the Innovation Center and the rapid changes we are seeing in the real estate infrastructure market in Toronto and Canada. Almost all of the new building projects are adopting networking and convergence approaches as they seek to reduce capital cost and operating expenses while providing future-ready infrastructures in support of future-ready tenants and building users.

The Innovation Center demonstrates the energy that is being created in the marketplace as new partnerships are being formed and new IP-centric building systems enter the market. The network is becoming more strategic in our built environment as more and more devices ‘come online’ and leverage the Internet and IP protocols as means of communications and interactions.

The Internet of Everything is having a growing, profound impact on the building industry, and Cisco is proud to be a participant and catalyst of this necessary change.

The tour of the Innovation Centre and the demonstration of leading edge and ‘off-the-shelf’ technologies and capabilities that can help make our buildings more productive and increase their performance was followed by a panel discussion. Featuring Andy Schonberger from Earth Rangers Centre, Lachlan MacQuarrie from Oxford Properties, and Julian Brandon from DTZ/UGL, all three shared their respective perspectives on the rapidly changing market place.


From left: Andy Schonberger (Earth Rangers), Lachlan MacQuarrie (Oxford), Julian Brandon (DTZ)

Andy lives and breathes ‘intelligent buildings’ as he has turned Earth Rangers into a living lab and advances an impressive sustainability agenda through tight partnership with industry partners like Schneider Electric, Holcim, and us. Lachlan MacQuarrie shared the need for commercial developers and landlords to prepare for a changing future landscape, and confirmed his firm’s investments in building and adopting to Smart Building standards. Julian helps corporations find the right real estate solutions for their corporate needs. Increasingly so, the technology capabilities of the desired spaces are becoming deciding factors for site and space selection. All three panelists agreed that the change in the real estate industry is accelerating and provides both challenges and great opportunities.

The journey of making Canada’s infrastructure (and building) landscape more intelligent and productive continues. New partnerships and business models are formed to help accelerate the import work that leads the infrastructure and real estate industry well into the 21st Century and have it leap forward through collaboration and innovation.

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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