Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless testbed is up and running, creating the backbone of Canada’s digital economy and drawing interest from small- and medium-sized companies (SME) to develop and test new products and services. Yesterday Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Minister of Economy and Innovation, received a progress update on the Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation known as ENCQOR 5G.
ENCQOR 5G includes the first pre-commercial fifth-generation wireless network for open innovation in Canada housed at five hub locations in Ontario (Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo) and Quebec (Montreal and Quebec City). The update hails the start of business collaboration in key areas such as transportation including connected and autonomous vehicles, remote healthcare, virtual/augmented reality, smart cities, fintech, industry 4.0, energy, cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Technology is changing the way we live, work and do business — building our digital infrastructure is key to supporting an innovation economy and the next generation of jobs for Ontarians,” said Minister Fedeli. “Through this partnership, we are leveraging Ontario’s strengths in information and communications technologies and paving the way for future innovation and growth across sectors. 5G access shows Ontario is open for business.”
“Thanks to ENCQOR, to date, nearly 150 Quebec companies and organizations are carrying out or planning tests at the Montréal and Québec innovation sites to prepare for receiving 5G technology and to measure its benefits for their products and services,” said Germain Lamonde, Chairman of the Board of Innovation ENCQOR. “These facilities offer high connectivity, high capacity, low latency and all the promises of the 5G revolution. Many entrepreneurs, employees and managers of SMEs are now aware of these new capacities and can lean on them to innovate and become leaders of this revolution. And we are very proud of it.”
ENCQOR 5G brings together SMEs, industry, government, researchers and academia in both Quebec and Ontario to collaborate on the commercialization of disruptive products, processes, and services, providing a first-to-market advantage and to improve the ability of SMEs to scale.
“I am excited at the progress we are seeing through this innovative collaboration positioning Canada as a leader in development of 5G technologies.” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “From enabling doctors to perform surgeries-at-a-distance and unclogging our congested streets through AI-enhanced city planning, 5G technology will change the way we live, work and engage with one another. To prepare for the future, we must be bold, visionary and decisive.”
Applications are now being accepted in both provinces for entrepreneurs to submit their project proposals to help accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies.
ENCQOR 5G includes five digital technology leaders (Ericsson, Ciena Canada Inc., Thales Canada Inc., IBM Canada, and CGI) as well as provincial coordinators INNOVATION ENCQOR, Prompt and CEFRIO in Quebec and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) in Ontario. The five-year ENCQOR 5G project is made possible in part by funding from the Canadian government and the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario and is expected to create 4,000 jobs including 1,800 specialized 5G jobs.
“Ericsson is a global leader with 22 publicly announced 5G contracts around the world. 5G mobile networks will provide new critical capabilities such as ultra-high capacity, super-high reliability and low latency, which will allow businesses to develop creative new solutions to unlock use cases that are simply not possible with 4G networks today,” said Graham Osborne, Head of Ericsson Canada. “Ericsson has provided the 5G mobile infrastructure in both Ontario and Quebec for the ENCQOR network. The ENCQOR program will enable early access by enterprises to a pre-commercial 5G infrastructure to develop and demonstrate a new wave of solutions for the economy of the future. Ericsson believes this initiative will enable Ontario and Quebec to develop a leadership position in the 5G market that will drive jobs and economic growth.”
“ENCQOR paves the way for organizations to get a realistic view of how 5G will improve the way we communicate and interact,” said Scott McFeely, Senior Vice President, Ciena. “ENCQOR’s 5G wireless testbed platform, equipped with Ciena’s packet-optical technology, gives open access to small- and medium-sized enterprises to develop and test new 5G applications and use cases, which will push us even closer to experiencing the next generation of mobile digital communication.”
Thales Canada Inc.
“ENCQOR reflects Thales’ commitment to ensuring Canada is a leader in the global 5G digital transformation,” said Mark Halinaty, President & CEO, Thales Canada Inc. “Thales builds and develops its digital expertise around four major digital technologies which play a key role in critical decision-making chains: connectivity and mobility, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. We are proud that our expertise and technology powers key Canadian R&D activities and supports the engagement of SMEs across Ontario and Quebec, enabling rapid access to global business opportunities. Today’s announcement further demonstrates the importance of ENCQOR to the development and commercialization of Canadian 5G technologies which will support all aspects of our society, from safer commutes and smarter cities, to access to new economies.”
“Our development initiatives in silicon photonics interconnections have been an integral part of IBM’s innovation efforts to respond to our clients’ growing needs in AI and high performance computing, including quantum and big data management,” said Louis Labelle, the Director in Chief of the IBM Canada Bromont plant. “The support we have received thus far through the ENCQOR consortium has been essential in accelerating our efforts to transform industries through the assembly and testing of key components in high bandwidth networks. We look forward to continued success and collaboration with our partners.”
“ENCQOR hubs in Quebec and Ontario will fuel innovation and collaboration between CGI, academia and small/medium business,” explained Mark Boyajian, President of CGI’s Canada operations. “CGI’s expertise in Smart Grid solutions will support ENCQOR participants as we build a new generation of services and solutions for utilities, municipalities and other industries that exploit the clear benefits of 5G.”
Ontario Centres of Excellence
“Access to cutting edge technology like the ENCQOR pre-commercial 5G wireless testbed is key to the success of SMEs as they test and develop new products in Ontario,” said Claudia Krywiak, Interim President and CEO, OCE. “The ENCQOR 5G platform gives companies in many sectors of the economy a first-to-market advantage that can translate into jobs, national and global growth and an increased ability to scale.”
BluWave-ai (ENCQOR Program Participant)
“5G technologies are key for many of the emerging applications in the digital economy where machines are connected through these high-speed connections. At BluWave-ai, we are leveraging IoT sensors from renewable energy-oriented equipment like solar panels and batteries in electricity utility networks to aggressively displace fossil fuels with real time controls. To do this we need to have distributed AI prediction, optimization and subsequent management of utility networks leveraging high speed communications between the cloud and those IoT sensors,” said Devashish Paul, CEO, BluWave-ai. “Programs such as ENCQOR provide us with real world venues to test these technologies before deploying in complex utility networks and we’re proud to be a partner with OCE on this”.
Mnubo (ENCQOR Program Participant)
“The ENQCOR project is an exceptional opportunity for our SMEs. The Montréal and Québec Innovation Sites provide companies with resources and infrastructure to enable them to experiment with 5G products and services. And soon, practical workshops will aim to help those who do not yet have projects in development or who want to better understand 5G,” said Frédéric Bastien, President and CEO, Mnubo. “ENQCOR will offer them access to software and prototype equipment in order to carry out integration activities that will ultimately improve the competitiveness of Quebec businesses here and abroad.”
SOURCE Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.