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PACE planning for third annual Beyond Digital conference

Sudbury event takes place February 5 & 6, 2020

Two years of success is good but the third time is a charm. That might be the case for the PACE organization, now in the process of planning its third annual Beyond Digital Transformation conference coming early in 2020 in Sudbury.

Neha Singh of Sudbury, the CEO of Pace, said the third conference will be a back-to-basics affair to see what might be learned from all the innovations that were showcased in the first two conferences.

“In the mining industry I think we’ve all heard the news that a lot of the mining companies are cutting their innovation budgets and cutting their big innovation teams,” said Singh.

“When we started the conference two years ago they were just setting up those teams and those big innovation budgets.”

She said there was a lot of excitement generated at the first two events. She said while people are beginning to see there was a lot of talk about great futuristic ideas, not a lot of the ideas were being implemented.

“If things are not implemented by now somewhere then what’s the point of talking about it?” Singh asked

“Our theme this time is Data to Decisions. So it’s back to basics. Our speakers are not going to be high level executives looking into the future necessarily; we may have some of those.

“But we’re actually going to get the mine managers, the people on the ground, the people in the trenches who actually have implemented technology, they have either seen the benefit or not seen the benefit from it,” she said.

“So we’re going to be getting operations level folks presenting their case studies about mining in the present and the future of mining,” she added.

Singh said she hopes the front line people can explain what they are getting from the current state of mining along with what they wish they had.

So does this mean the mining industry has been dragging its feet on innovation and change? Not necessarily said Singh.

“Dragging their feet is a matter of perception. If you’re in the mining processing world for example, you couldn’t necessarily just go out and change your operation to something brand spanking new. You have existing infrastructure in place.”

She said in her experience she has seen some cases where old habits die hard with respect to change.

“Back in the day you didn’t always have access to information. And if you did you never really used it well. Nowadays you have the ability to use information really, really well,” said Singh.

“You can actually analyze it. You can see how it is affecting your present operations and potentially predict how it might affect you in the future” she explained.

Singh said with so much information readily available, the trick is knowing how to use it.

“How can you mine that information – pardon the pun – how can you mine that information and give it to the right people, the right level decision makers whether it is the supervisor on the front line, or even that person, the operator underground?

“How do you get the data into the hands of the right people so they can make real time, or near real time decisions that will improve safety, improve productivity and improve operations?”

“This is the point of the conference this year. We want people to be able to make tangible change with the information they get out of the conference and that they take it back to their workplace and apply the change. That’s basically what we’re hoping.”

She said the conference would also feature the Tech Alley exhibit in partnership with NORCAT to showcase some of the latest mining technology.

Another change for the upcoming event is that PACE will soon launch a survey on their website to see what speakers their audience would prefer. She said it could be leaders from other industries who might influence change in mining, or it could be innovative leaders in the mining community.

The 2020 Beyond Digital Transformation event takes place on February 5 and 6 at the United Steelworkers Hall on Brady Street. More information is available at

An expanded report on this coming event will be presented in December issue of the Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal.

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