Source: Connections+ Magazine

CENGN, the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, today began a five-city national roadshow it says is designed to “discover and unlock the potential of Canadian SME firms.”

Launched in November with $11.7 million over five years in funding from the federal government’s Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program, CENGN is an industry-consortium of corporate, academic and research organizations.

Members include Alcatel-Lucent, Allstream, BTI Systems, Cisco, EWA Canada, EXFO, Invest Ottawa, JDSU, Juniper Networks, Mistral Ventures, Rogers and Telus.

“Next generation networks are a $5 trillion market, and presents megatrend opportunities for countries and companies that can move quickly,” said Ritch Dusome, its president and CEO. “Recognizing Canada’s telecom strengths (is)why Multinational Enterprise (MNE) leaders from around the world have come together to back CENGN commercialization projects with the combined power of 199,000 people, $11 billion of R&D and $84 billion of revenue.”

With stops in Edmonton today, Vancouver Jan. 29, Montreal Feb. 5, Toronto Feb. 6 and Ottawa Feb. 10, the roadshow presents 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, with target completion times of 3-15 months. 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

The format of the CENGN city stops features an overview of the project selection process followed by a panel session with CENGN MNE member companies to discuss their technology areas of interest.

Further information is available at www.cengn.ca