Timing in life is everything. This holds true when I reflect on the growth of the Kanata North technology park – its transformation, impact, and potential for the future.
We live in a rapidly evolving world, one that is changing every day. This process of transformation is powered by technology. The technology that will take us forward can unlock enormous potential for innovation. Empowering innovation impacts us today and shapes the future.
Home-grown tech giants, including NRC, CRC, Mitel, Nortel Networks, BNR, and others, laid the foundation for many innovations and paved the way for many of the rising tech stars we are seeing today. The City of Ottawa recognizing the diverse growth potential of the tech park has designated the area as a “Special Economic Zone”. Kanata North has been and will be a great place to live, work, play, learn, and innovate.
Since opening the first Mitel office here in Kanata in 1972, I have seen much-needed diversification from telecommunications to companies specializing in software development, security, leading-edge chip design, and hardware design – powering innovations that have been adopted worldwide and created successful global tech companies with headquarters in Canada. The natural rise and fall of companies have also provided for a thriving spinoff and startup ecosystem. All in collaboration and proximity to academic institutions who provide the fuel for growth – talent as well as leading-edge research.
Kanata North companies can tap into a diverse talent pool of students, qualified graduates, faculty, and researchers to drive cutting-edge R&D activities and contribute to innovation in various fields including cybersecurity, MedTech, Clean technology, and AI.
Many of the tech trends are generally accelerating the primary characteristics that have defined the digital era: granularity, speed, and scale. But it is the magnitude of these changes—in computing power, bandwidth, and analytical sophistication—that is opening the door to new innovations, businesses, and business models.
The continued development of cloud and 5G, for example, exponentially increases the user base, the compute power and network speeds that can enable even greater technological and commercial innovation. Advances in AI, machine learning, and software 2.0 (machine-written code) bring a range of new services and products, from autonomous vehicles to next-generation networks to MedTech, well within reach. These are exciting times!
TECHNOLOGIES SHAPING THE FUTURE
I would like to bring attention to some examples of innovations shaping our future that are happening right here, right now in Kanata North. Companies such as Blackberry QNX, Nokia, Solace, Ciena, Solink, Edge Signal, and Celestra Health, just to name a few, are helping us to take huge strides to improve connectivity, business productivity, operations, and safety and user experiences across a wide range of applications and industries.
The integration of next-generation technologies such as edge computing with the deployment of AI and machine learning algorithms enables intelligent decision-making and automated actions without relying on cloud or centralized infrastructure. This enables real-time or near-real-time decision-making, making applications that require immediate responses, such as facial recognition, object detection, autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, natural language processing, and healthcare monitoring happen.
Many other examples come to mind, and I look forward to seeing more innovations fostered in the Kanata North technology park in the years to come.
The Kanata North Business Association and Hub350 play an important role in driving innovation in our local tech park and beyond by facilitating networking opportunities and collaboration among students, businesses, startups, research institutions, and government organizations. Another important player in our tech park is L-SPARK, who provide support and mentorship to help startups grow and attract investment via their SaaS-focused business accelerator as well as a variety of corporate acceleration programs in areas such as MedTech, IoT, and connected cars – including the Living Lab Accelerator in partnership with Hub350. It is this type of collaboration that makes the Kanata North tech ecosystem truly unique.
As we look ahead, think about what the future holds. I am certain that the time is right to be in Kanata North! We have many of the right ingredients in place for business success. Raising the profile of this incredible tech hub is critically important and we all play a role as ambassadors to tell the story.
As the park further adapts and evolves, attracting companies and talent from around the world, the tech ecosystem will fuel many more innovations to shape our future – here in Kanata North, Ottawa, throughout Canada, and on a global scale.
Written by Terry Matthews, chairman, Wesley Clover International