How digital technology is opening doors for Tyson Smith and other Kootenay residents

Cranbrook, a picturesque city in southeastern B.C. with a population of about 20,000 people, is not a place you’d instantly associate with technology. However, a Digital Technology Supercluster project aims to change that and help rural communities like Cranbrook employ skilled digital talent and play an important role in the digital transformation of companies – large and small. 

The Internet of things, machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing the way resource companies operate remote facilities, with real-time sensors and systems monitoring equipment to increase productivity and ensure employee safety. 

In response, the Autonomous Systems Technician program offered by the College of the Rockies in partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Teck Resources Ltd. is equipping Tyson and other students in smaller communities with the digital skills to install and maintain remote telecommunications systems, while also preparing them to work with other innovative technologies. 

Tyson Smith is one of several residents in the Kootenay region learning new skills in this pilot program in Cranbrook that will enable him to pursue an exciting tech career close to home and nature. 

“Cranbrook is a beautiful community with all a city has to offer but with a small-town friendliness,” says Tyson, a lifelong Cranbrook resident. “I want to live somewhere I can enjoy the environment. Having the option to go walk through the forest trails with my dog or on a bike and to get the alone time is something an introvert like me greatly appreciates. It’s my hope that this program will give me the skills and knowledge I can use to find a great job without having to move to a big city.” 

“The Autonomous Systems Technician program is taking a hobby I’ve had most of my life and making a profession of it. I believe that programs and progress in automation will be our route to a sustainable environment,” he notes. 

Tyson adds: “I enrolled in this program because I see the potential of technology giving us long-term solutions to many of the problems the world is facing. I’m excited to learn about all the internal workings of devices we use every day.” 

Learn more about Autonomous Systems Technician here