This week the Province of Ontario and Cisco made a very significant announcement, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and a job funding agreement that will see significant investment in Ontario by Cisco and by the Province to help foster technology Research and Development (R&D), innovation and economic development. All told Cisco will invest $455 million over the next five years with the Province contributing $25 million making facilities in Ontario one of the top five global hubs for innovation at Cisco.
This move builds on Cisco’s history of R&D in Ontario that first started in 1997 when it acquired Canadian SONET technology provider, Skystone Systems and became a basis for what has become the Cisco Ottawa Development Centre in Kanata. The centre became one of the predominant hubs for developing the core routing technology which lies at the heart of the Internet and Service Provider’s IP Next-Generation-Networks. The technology and innovations developed have helped bring products like the GSR 12000, the CRS-1, the ASR and most recently the CRS-3 core routing platforms. Cisco has expanded on the initial teams through hiring top talent from Canadian universities along with acquisitions of Canadian companies or companies with Canadian R&D operations like StratumOne, Scientific Atlanta, PixStream and most recently ExtendMedia. We have seen R&D in Ontario branch out into other areas, notably much of the technology behind Cisco’s VideoScape architecture that is helping transform how service providers will deliver video and Internet content to home devices and mobile devices alike. Additionally, Canadian Service Providers are tremendous partners with Cisco, often early adopters providing valuable collaboration as Cisco builds products to take to the world.
With this announcement, the role of the Ontario R&D facilities will greatly increase. Additional critical projects will be based in Ottawa and Toronto that can enhance how the network can improve peoples lives will be coming here. Initiatives include advancing Telemedicine, Energy, Smart+Connected Communities, and Education.
Initiatives like how to advance video and collaboration technologies within the HealthPresence solution to improve access and services not only to rural Canadians and First Nations communities but underserved communities and citizens around the world are now a part of the increased mandate. As a Cisco customer, Ontario has been a world leader in Telemedicine with the advanced Ontario Telemedicine Network.
By bringing these kinds of developments at Cisco to Ontario there is a tremendous ripple effect of opportunities for both technologypartners and delivery partners. In areas like Smart+Connected Communities and Energy for instance Cisco will develop many key pieces of technology but the solutions will come from an ecosystem of partners. Similar to what Cisco Canada has done with the Canadian Service Providers over the past decade, we can expect there will be Canadian organizations that are early adopters of these solutions creating exciting opportunities for our channel partners and other small Canadian technology partners.
This announcement is truly exciting as it can have significant impact in ripple effects helping further establish Ontario as a Global IT Innovation Industry hub. As Canadians we should be proud of the deep engineering talent and excellent quality post-secondary education we have. This announcement demonstrates we can compete with any region in the world including the US, Europe and Asia when it comes to quality talent and innovation.