2021 Ember Awards

The Ember Awards were created nearly 15 years ago to celebrate the digital excellence of individuals and organizations across Alberta. This year, we wanted to continue celebrating these initiatives, as well as shine a light on the wider accomplishments of our community, as well as our diverse leaders.

The Ember Awards committee would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who submitted an application for the 2020/21 awards. In total, 125 applications were made to this event celebrating the best and brightest in Alberta’s Interactive and Digital Media landscape, which is a fantastic result!

Winner - Motiv

Business Link engaged the Motiv team to develop a 12-month paid marketing and lead acquisition strategy for the Digital Economy Program (DEP) initiative, funded by the Government of Alberta. The program aims to empower Alberta small business owners (1-49 employees) with free digital transformation support. While designing the microsite, they strived to ignite the feelings of optimism for the future and confidence in the digital practices provided by the Digital Economy Program. The lively colour palette, an interactive UI, and engaging content all contributed to a unique user experience that's easily distinguishable and recognizable amongst local non-profit initiatives.

Winner: ePlay Digital

Klocked is the first immersive fitness experience users can experience outdoors that allows them to run in the real world and power their avatar across hundreds of 3D/AR courses. Developed by the ePlay Digital team, the app uses Unity, augmented reality, game engines, leaderboards, gamification, integrates directly into Apple and Android Health apps, and other leading 3rd party providers. Live viewing, replays, spectator viewing, highlight reels, and other key 3D and AR features are available. The app also features detailed sports science, augmented reality audio, and uses the company's P4 AI system that analyzes performance in real-time to offer coaching tips to increase pace, placement, and set new personal bests.

Winner: Stephen Huang

Leaving a comfortable job at Microsoft behind, Stephen Huang returned to Calgary to pursue his passion and founded the indie game development studio Isto Inc. They have since developed two games.Their latest game, “Atrio: The Dark Wild”, was nominated for "Best Indie Game" at DevGam 2021. A video series documenting their development journey has garnered over 1.7M views on YouTube. With the launch of Atrio: The Dark Wild on Steam their studio continues to grow as they build their fanbase of players during early access.

Winner: Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY)

The Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth has been an influential not-for profit organization in Calgary since 2001. USAY strives to provide essential programming and services to Calgary’s Indigenous youth between the ages of twelve and twenty-nine.

From July to September 2021, Indigenous youth came together to listen to an Indigenous Elder in their community and discuss social justice issues they would like to showcase through a 3D sculpture. Working together they decided on the theme, ‘Remembering Our Children’, commemorating Survivors of Indian Residential Schools and honouring the children who were recovered. The youth hired an experienced artist, Ina Old Shoes, to create the main animation, but also acted as artists that created works of art. Together the artist and five youth were able to create seven art installations. Their final art installation is hosted on the IndigiTRAILS App which is free for download and the GPS location of the installation is located at Prince’s Island Park. IndigiTRAILS launched on the first annual Truth and Reconciliation Day September 30, 2021 with more than 3,100 downloads of the app on that day.

Winner: Mike Lohaus

As president of the Calgary Game Developers Association for the last 3 years, Mike Lohaus has been a pillar of the Calgary games scene, putting hundreds of hours into developing the ecosystem. This work includes hosting the Calgary location for Global Game Jam, co-organizing the Calgary Indie Games Bundle with XSolla, and spearheading the upcoming public arcade project with Calgary Arts Development which will help showcase local talent.



Fidelity Factory

Runwithit Synthetics

Red Iron Labs

PatiML, a new venture started out of the University of Calgary, uses products and services to support Alberta’s primary industries and develop effective innovation networks. Using machine learning against patent databases, Alberta innovators can quickly shape a view of how other global innovators and innovation can be connected to work on Alberta’s most challenging problems. Notably, in 2021, they completed the launch of your MVP product and were able secure your first sale in the energy industry.

Fidelity Factory is providing customers access to low-code knowledge, skill sets and tools to lower the time and cost to solving business problems. Their steady growth and ability to create meaningful jobs for Albertans in 2021, as well as their collaboration with Alberta midstream companies by assisting them with their digital transformation. Their reputation for collaboration and value-focused solutions have allowed them to export their services to other markets across Canada and help put Alberta's digital service providers on the map.

Runwithit Synthetics combines advanced simulation, modelling and AI to bring the futures of cities and regions to life and help them experience and prepare for the future. These live, synthetic environments are at work in cities around the world informing diverse groups of decision-makers about the short term and long term interconnected impacts and outcomes of their choices. RUNWITHIT is a women-led, Certified Aboriginal Business, with a growing diverse and representative team, who are all GBA+ certified. In the last 2 years, RUNWITHIT celebrated multiple international awards including winning the United Nation’s Industry Development Organization Global Call for “Decarbonizing Growing Urban Environments,” and was certified EU SET100 as a top 100 company in energy transition and mobility. At home, they received the 2021 “Most Edmonton” Startup from YEG Tech Awards.

Red Iron Labs is a proven immersive experience solutions provider that has helped transform our traditional sectors. Originally created as a video game company for virtual reality, they rapidly expanded the company through innovation, to offer AR/VR/game development services to all key industries. With over 200 projects under your belt, Red Iron has developed safety training simulations in VR for ExxonMobil, animated storytelling in AR for a pediatric dentist to reduce patient anxiety, highlighted language revival efforts for the Blackfoot Tribe with syllabic translations on mobile app, and much more!

Ember Sponsors


We would like to offer our particular thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. The interest and dedication these companies have shown to Alberta’s digital community is incredible, and they are helping us showcase the incredible talent this province has. If you get the chance, please show your love and support for these companies, as they are all trying to create a more robust interactive digital media community in the province.