October 29, 2021
Insights from Terry Matthews
As we witness the opening of the impressive new Hub350 business and technology center here in Kanata North, I can’t help but think back to all the developments I have seen in the past that have led us to this point, and look forward with anticipation for all the new ones that are sure to come.
From start-ups through SMEs to multinational players, Hub350 is designed to provide local technology businesses and community members with an integrated new environment and services for collaboration, innovation, partnering, funding, growth. The truth is the timing could not be better!
When Mike Cowpland and I started technology company Mitel here in Kanata in 1972, there was not a lot of infrastructure and other corporate activity going on. However the area was ripe with talent and opportunity, and the Mitel team built a world leader in the voice communications and semiconductor industry. The business community began to grow around us as well. In 1986 I went on to create what would become a giant in the data networking industry – Newbridge Networks – and the momentum in the local technology environment continued to increase.
An ecosystem of spin-offs and start-ups and new entrants of all sizes to the area each found Kanata North to be the right place in the Canadian technology landscape to center their operations. It was a location with access to top-notch Universities and talent, business and solution experience, international suppliers, channel and other partners and more. And those characteristics continue to apply to this day, in an accelerated manner.
Mitel continues to be an active member of the community (as evidenced by their support for Hub350). Newbridge has morphed into the largest network development center for international leader Nokia. Ciena, Ericsson, Dell, Apple, Cisco, many other multinationals are here, along with literally dozens of SMEs, most focused on technology solutions for global markets. At last count there were more than 500 companies operating in Kanata North, employing more than 23,000 workers. Importantly, the technology specialization within those firms has diversified tremendously. The focus today spans existing and emerging software, devices and platforms for use in enterprise, medical, educational, communications, defense, transportation, manufacturing and many more applications.
Companies that supply enabling services and components to these innovators are here. Our local academic institutions are now physically present, committed to satisfying the unending thirst of such an economic engine for new graduates. Our roads are busier, there is a housing and construction boom. And it is not going to stop.
Why do I say that?
One major reason can be summed up in a single digit and a single letter – “5G”. The next generation of wireless networking technology that is revolutionizing communications around the globe. Not just human communications, but critically, machine-to-machine communications. 5G is the technology that will truly enable IoT – the Internet of Things. It will provide the backbone on which innovative and powerful new applications will operate. Applications such as even more advanced medical technologies, more efficient robotics and manufacturing processes, more intelligent agriculture, safer Smart City applications, smarter buildings and other infrastructure for cleaner, greener environments, more advanced VR/AR for commercial and personal uses, and of course, the continued evolution of connected and autonomous vehicles.
That list is long, some solutions are near and some are further away, but so many of the Kanata North companies noted above are committed to making those solutions a reality, at the enabling networking level and the advanced application level that rides on top. And that commitment is well founded. Estimates suggest 5G could create as many as 250,000 jobs and contribute as much as $150 billion to the Canadian economy over the next 20 years.
Kanata North has the heritage and the future potential to seize much of those rewards. No other area in Canada has the combination of experience, talent and commitment to 5G, in complementary fields of networking, software, data, computing, applications and other technologies, that the Kanata North Technology Park has. That is why Telus decided to become a founding member of Hub350, and committed together with the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) and CENGN (the Canadian Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks) to deploy advanced new infrastructure and supporting programs to leverage the faster, more powerful, more reliable features of 5G wireless networking technology.
I am very pleased TELUS has chosen to bring their new “5G Innovation Zone” to Kanata North and Hub350, to accelerate the growth of this industry for our area and for Canada as a whole. Yet Telus is just one of the founding partners of Hub350. RBC, Salesforce, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and more than a dozen more are now here, or soon to be announced, as partners in Hub350 as well. I suspect they all share the vision of how much more Hub350 and the Kanata North technology community can and will become. And I look forward to continuing to do my part in helping the Kanata North, Ottawa – in fact the Canadian – technology industry build on its solid heritage and play an even more relevant role in the international stage. The timing is perfect!
Visit the Hub350 website to learn more.
Wesley Clover invests in a range of technology companies, and they bring impressive innovation to markets and clients around the globe. I/O is our way of sharing some of the best insights. I trust you will enjoy them.
Terry Matthews, Chairman