Driving Innovation: CENGN’s Annual General Meeting

Last Thursday, CENGN hosted its 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM serves as a retrospective on CENGN’s accomplishments from the fiscal year (FY) 2019, as well as a look forward to what the next year has in store and how are trajectory matches up with our important mission and vision.  The AGM is also a great opportunity for all of CENGN’s members and partners to come together and network with one another. With the majority of our members and partners present, CENGN was able to look at what the future may hold in the next fiscal year and beyond.

Prior to the main presentations, CENGN hosted a networking lunch. Members, partners, CENGN staff and key players within the ICT community had the chance to gather in one place to discuss their role in Canada’s ICT sector and link up with other members of the CENGN ecosystem. The lunch also featured four demonstrations from CENGN staff, each showcasing CENGN’s new service offerings and initiatives to improve Canada’s networking industry.


The first of these demonstrations was led by Dave Urschatz, Senior Tech Lead, who demonstrated how CENGN now has the capability test and validate artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. The increasing capacity of networks has empowered innovative Canadian businesses to create new AI enabled products, revolutionizing industries like communications, transportation and even healthcare. However, in order to train their AI models to make accurate predictions, these companies must own or rent very costly hardware. At CENGN, we now provide these growing Canadian businesses with the infrastructure resources, including top class GPU testing, and the technical expertise they need to successfully validate AI products, so they can start commercializing their solutions and continue to drive the ICT sector forward.

Another way CENGN is driving innovation is by enriching the talent pool within the ICT sector with knowledge of the latest and greatest technologies. This is done through CENGN’s training platform, CENGN Academy, which was showcased by Peter Heath, Senior Manager, Training Programs. CENGN Academy provides advanced hands-on workshops on the latest technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes, as well as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Over the past few years, CENGN courses could only be taken through in-person workshops, but CENGN Academy has just launched its online portal where courses can be self-learned and certifications can be gained online. With new technologies entering the ICT sector, CENGN Academy seeks to develop Canada’s talent pool to ensure we retain a workforce that is second to none.

Interested in enrolling in a CENGN Academy course? Click here to check out our portal and start learning today!

Our Network & Security Team Lead, Ochuko Benemoh, demonstrated CENGN’s multi-site expansion. The expansion was a large project over the course of the FY 2019, which resulted in CENGN expanding our infrastructure from a single data centre to four across south-western Ontario. With centres now located at Invest OttawaMaRS in Toronto and Communitech in Waterloo, CENGN is now more equipped than ever to provide growing Canadian businesses the resources they need to help commercialize their solutions. Not only is CENGN more accessible to these new regions in Ontario, it also will enable multi-site testing, a crucial form of testing for any business that wants to validate its product can function when sending data across location and clouds.

 Driving Innovation: CENGN’s Annual General Meeting

The CENGN expansion is one of the key increases in capabilities that is coming from the next generation network program (NGNP). CENGN is carrying out this program in partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to foster collaboration and support innovation in the ICT sector for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within Ontario.

On behalf of NGNP, CENGN has also begun work on several program streams, including Smart Mining and Rural and Northern Broadband. Showcasing these two streams was Kirby Koster, Senior Manager, Broadband Programs. Kirby invited guests to learn more about CENGN’s new Smart Mining Testbed, located at NORCAT in Sudbury, where Canadian businesses can validate their solutions in real mining environments. When considering mining, one does not always think of next generation technology. However, new networking solutions can improve the safety, environmental friendliness and efficiency of mines without sacrificing revenue. CENGN is now empowering Canadian businesses with smart mining solutions to revolutionize the mining industry.

Kirby also demonstrated the progress of CENGN’s Rural and Northern Ontario Residential Broadband Program. As network technology continues to advance, the gap between connectivity between rural and urban areas of Canada is becoming more profound. The Rural and Northern Ontario Residential Broadband program allows innovative companies to work with large and established vendors to bring broadband access to underserved remote communities, in a way that is affordable and reliable. Once connected, these communities will be enabled with the ability to leverage connectivity for their businesses, as well as social wellness in areas like eHealth and education.

Following the lunch, Chairman Tom Astle lead the meeting, speaking on the company’s bylaws and current Board of Directors. This portion of the meeting served to vote in and welcome Frank Sullivan of Juniper Networks as well as Michelle Simms of Genesis as new board members.

CENGN President & CEO JC Fahmy then took the floor to give a presentation on CENGN’s FY 2019 and what to expect in FY 2020. Looking forward, CENGN is expected to complete more CENGN projects this year than any previous year, thanks to the new expanded infrastructure. Additionally, we here at CENGN look forward to expanding our ecosystem of members and partners. CENGN will also continue to improve the ICT sector’s talent pool through the student program and a growing list of training offerings through CENGN Academy.

That enriched talent pool will help CENGN achieve its goal of raising Canada’s ICT profile, relative to other countries in the world. JC specifically highlighted the importance of building both talent and business in the ICT network by showing that Canada reaching the worldwide percent average of ICT jobs would result in

Driving Innovation: CENGN’s Annual General Meeting

250,000 new jobs for the country.

Following JC’s presentation, the meeting was adjourned. However, there was plenty of time for everyone present to speak to each other about the bright future of CENGN and the ICT sector.

FY19 was filled with highlights for CENGN that could not all be covered in this blog. However, we have put together an annual report that details all of CENGN’s accomplishments in FY19. Check it out below!

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About the Author

CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks, drives technology innovation and industry growth through our testbed, technical expertise, talent development, and partner ecosystem. Through our projects, CENGN enables small and medium Canadian Enterprises to test and validate promising technologies, removing barriers to product commercialization and accelerating market growth.

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