It’s no secret The Waterloo region is known for its technological talents. Recently this talent has been recognized with some statues which are also given to great Hollywood actors.
Kitchener resident Chris Dinn recently received a surprising phone call.
“They called me up and told me the Emmy told us we won an award,” he said. “I was really skeptical when I first heard it.”
He must have looked up to see that he had actually won an Emmy, specifically an Emm Technology and Engineeringy.
“The specific technology that we defined was to get an Emmy,” Dinn said. “Google heard the news because mDialog was acquired by Google and in fact the award is for the work we did in Toronto. It’s not for Google.”
MDialog was the name of a start-up that Dinn worked on nearly ten years ago when he was the team leader developing software that assembles live video streams on the Internet with advertisements.
“We started to work with Canadian companies,” he said. “We were a Canadian start-up, so we worked with CTV and TSN for their inclusion in the first versions of the iPad application. Come to think of it, they’re almost unbelievably primitive compared to what we can do on iPad today.
Google acquired mDialog in 2014 and says the technology is now being used for a new product called Dynamic ad insertion.
Once acquired by Google, Dinn and his then mDialog teammates moved to New York for a while to continue developing the software before returning to southern Ontario.
“Two of the engineers who worked on this team that won the Emmy are still Google based here in Kitchener and one is based in Toronto and still works for Google,” he said.
Dinn has since left Google and started a new journey by opening her own tech startup.
He says he didn’t really believe the phone call until the statue arrived in the mail last week and had proof of it in his hands.
However, this is not the only set of statues that the Television Academy has sent to the Region of Waterloo.
Lois Norris is CFO and COO of SSIMWAVE, who also won an Engineering Emmy which she keeps in her Waterloo office.
“We combined engineering and neuroscience to create virtual eyes in software,” she said.
SSIMWAVE is located in Waterloo and is heavily involved with the University of Waterloo.
“Basically we’ve created technology that allows us to measure video and give it a quality score and it tells our customers how happy their viewers will be with that quality,” Norris said.
She adds that this is now the second Emmy for one of the founders of SSIMWAVE and that college is where they recruit most of their new hires.
“There’s no better place to start and grow a tech company than in Kitchener-Waterloo,” said Norris.
“These technologies are becoming the norm,” said Dinn. “We started here, but now it’s happening everywhere.”
Dinn’s Emmy will now be on display in her Kitchener living room. He’s joking, it’s a great topic of conversation.
“It’s such an unusual thing for a software developer,” Dinn said.
Imagine Communications, a tech company headquartered in Texas but with a field office in Waterloo, also recently received an Emmy in Technology and Engineering.