Source: Connections+ Magazine

The Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, otherwise known as CENGN, is an industry-initiative not government-initiative and as a result, will function differently, says Rich Dusome, its president and CEO.

“There is a big difference,” he told Connections+ in a recent interview. “The federal government has kick-started CENGN financially, but industry leads it.”

The seed money he refers to is the $11.7 million over five years announced in November by Ottawa that helped to establish an organization formed by a consortium of corporate, academic and research organizations.

Founding members include Altacel-Lucent, Allstream, BTI Systems, Cisco, EWA Canada, EXFO, JDSU, Juniper Networks, Rogers and Telus.

“Next-generation networks are a $5 trillion market, and presents megatrend opportunities for countries and companies that can move quickly,” Dusome said earlier this year. “We need people who want to plant Canadian tech on the global map in a big way.”

He made the comment at the start of a national roadshow this winter with stops in Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

At each venue, Dusome and others presented the “CENGN value proposition” to prospective Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and researchers that have products and services in technologies such as Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

Both address the growing demand for exploding Internet content on multiple platforms, and also underpin cloud-based applications, security and the Internet of Things (IoT), the association said in a release.

As well as “promising SME and institutional technologies that could be commercialized in a three to 15-month period, CENGN is on the hunt for top-gun research talent” to staff its Ottawa multi-vendor test and verification lab

“We are always on the lookout for the best talent,” said Dusome, who was the catalyst behind the hiring of more than 2,000 engineers in his last position as director of product management for Cisco Systems Canada in Ottawa. His 28-year career also included stops at Bell Canada and TD Bank.

“We need people who want to plant Canadian tech on the global map in a big way,” he added. “I’ve spent most of my career working in Canada but was mostly focused on global mandates. It’s exciting to think about CENGN’s pure-play focus on accelerating technology that could create the next made-in-Canada telecom superstar.”

Each project selected from prospective SME submissions receives commercialization acceleration support equivalent to $50,000 – $100,000.

“The whole idea was to let them know about CENGN and how they can participate by entering one of their projects if they had an idea,” he said.

Plans are underway for a repeat performance in 2016, but with a break in the travel. A likely plan will be to split it up and have a Western Canada swing and follow that up with a roadshow in Eastern Canada.

Wherever the venue, the goal is a simple one as far as Dusome is concerned: Revive the ICT ecosystem.

According to CENGN, the key to next generation networks (NGNs) is interoperability between software, hardware and a multitude of products from many different vendors. “CENGN’s Physical and Virtualized Multi-vendor Platform, for both OpenStack and Enterprise, lowers the barrier to entry for companies and researchers. This platform provides an environment to collaborate, test, commercialize and create standards for the new technologies needed to run NGNs.”

No Shortage Of Support

A list of CENGN benefits for SMEs with promising technologies includes:

  • Dedicated engineering team and experts in communications including SDN and NFV
  • Physical and virtual multi-vendor commercialization, test, certification, and validation platform (open stack and enterprise stack)
  • Dedicated high-speed fiber networks
  • Additional services for validating advanced products, applications, and services including: performance, certification, verification and conformance testing
  • Business, legal, marketing and mentorship support.