An Ottawa-based not-for-profit that is out to ensure Canada maintains its position as a world leader in next generation network technologies has landed $11.7 million over five years in federal government funding.

The funds come from the latest round of competition in the government’s Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder made the announcement at a news conference in August in Vancouver.

CENGN is a consortium of industry, academic and research leaders dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of next generation communications solutions. CENGN will help bridge the gap between research and commercialization – a key component to building successful startup companies. CENGN members are collaborating to lower the barrier to entry for small and medium companies and researchers. These companies are working together for the first time to ensure the growth and sustainability of the communications industry in Canada.

CENGN will address the growing demand for content on multiple platforms; make effective use of cloud-based applications; and prepare for the ‘Internet of Things,’ which promises to connect a vast number of ‘smart’ devices, and revolutionize the way people go about their business. The centre will develop a unique physical and virtualized multi-vendor platform to accelerate and foster innovation.

It will also promote the development of cloud-based applications in areas such as healthcare, energy, education, financial services and the environment.

CENGN CEO and President Ritch Dusome brings 27 years of experience to his new post at the centre. Before joining CENGN, Dusome was Director Product Management and R&D leader in Ottawa for CISCO Systems.

“Ottawa has long been known for its excellence in telecommunications,” said Dusome. “CENGN has already established partnerships with multinational corporations and scores of small- and medium-sized enterprises. This consortium will build on Canada’s outstanding innovation infrastructure to ensure this country continues to be a leader in next generation network technology.”

Invest Ottawa is a CENGN partner and a key stakeholder in Eastern Ontario.

“CENGN will play a critical role in helping Canadian companies become market winners in the $5 trillion global information technology market,” said Invest Ottawa president and CEO Bruce Lazenby.

“The network will bring together partners representing every link in the supply chain—equipment manufacturers, service providers, SMEs and start-ups, and research organizations. Ottawa is home to much of Canada’s IT infrastructure, so it makes perfect sense to have CENGN headquartered here.”

At the news conference in Vancouver, Minister of State Holder said, since its creation in 2007, the CECR program has been investing $30 million a year in Canadian innovation.

“Our Government is investing in the research-business partnerships that move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace,” said Minister of State Holder. “As a new Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), CENGN will support and match Canadian entrepreneurs with new, promising, globally competitive information and communication technologies that will create high-quality jobs and economic growth in Ottawa and Canada.”

“Information and communications technologies are traditional areas of research and business strength for Canada,” added Janet Walden, Chief Operation Officer of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. “CENGN has set an ambitious goal of gaining back some of the territory Canada has lost in the telecommunications industry. The centre has the right elements for success and the drive to make this idea work.”

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For more information contact:

Kelly Daize
Vice President, Business Development and Marketing
CENGN
(613) 878-3126
kdaize@cengn.ca

Ryan Gibson
Manager, Communications
Invest Ottawa
(613) 828-6274 ext. 276
rgibson@investottawa.ca

Member Quotes:

“CENGN will provide a much needed cluster of commercialization expertise to SME’s and researchers. This initiative is critical to ensuring that Canada is once again recognized as a leader in next generation intelligent networks. The opportunity to be a member of CENGN will provide Alcatel-Lucent Canada an opportunity to expand our innovation capabilities.”
Sam Bucci, Vice-President & General Manager of the Terrestrial Optics Product Unit, Alcatel-Lucent Canada Inc.

“For the first time the world leaders in Network equipment are coming together to establish a multi-vendor virtualization platform to accelerate and foster new innovation. The platform will provide SMEs and researchers the ability to validate and test products and advanced applications such as healthcare and facilitate opportunities for growth for Cisco in Canada.”
Kim Devooght, VP Public Sector Cisco Canada

“This initiative will create a national focal point for research collaboration, development and testing of next generation networking solutions that are essential elements of a dynamic and vibrant Canadian ICT industry. CENGN will fill a critical gap in advanced networking research and increase collaboration between the academic and private sectors.”
Jim Ghadbane, President and CEO Canarie

“There is a burgeoning opportunity for the industry is Software Defined Networking (SDN), a major trend towards development of sophisticated software that links applications to underlying network infrastructure…building capacity in this area will benefit Canadian industry with global market potential.”
Ibrahim J. Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer TELUS

“CENGN will create a space where ideas can grow from focused research that will launch into new business and/ or products and in turn will stimulate economic growth and prosperity.”
Kimberly Matheson, Vice-President (Research and International) Carleton University

“CENGN will demonstrate Canadian leadership in communications technologies and help build relationships and partners with SMEs that will in turn help us continue to create high value jobs in Canada.”
Germain Lamonde, Founder Chairman CEO, Exfo

“Bridging the gap between innovation, research and commercialization is important to ensure that Canada is competitive and an international recognized centre in next generation networks. I personally believe that this type of commercialization initiative is a key to ensuring that companies like JDSU can retain and grow our Canadian presence and attract new opportunities to their sites.”
Michael McCallen, Director/ GM Ethernet Assurance, Viavi Canada

“CENGN will create the opportunity to build relationships with partners, customers and developers in an environment that supports the commercialization of Software Defined Networking (SDN) applications/ platforms and interoperability between vendors bringing considerable benefits to the Canadian ICT industry through the commercialization of new technologies and application platforms.”
Chris Bachalo, CTO Juniper Networks Canada

“Canada is an epicenter for networking research and innovation. Another demonstrable proof point of that, the CENGN represents a critical milestone in the evolution of Software Defined Networking (SDN). BTI Systems, in collaboration with other coalition companies, is committed to furthering SDN development, testing and interoperability, so that organizations from both the public and private sectors can benefit from the advance of next-generation architecture technologies that are revolutionizing the design of cloud and data center connectivity.”
Dr. Robert Keys, CTO, BTI Systems

“CENGEN is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to evaluate and validate their solutions on real world network hardware in partnership with Tier 1 equipment vendors and network operators- relationships that can be priceless for a start-up trying to get market acceptance. CENGEN will result in significant competitive advantage for Canadian companies in the communications sector by facilitating quick & strong channels to market. CENGEN will improve the quality of opportunities for investors such as Mistral.”
Code Cubitt, Managing Partner Mistral Ventures

“CENGN will facilitate new opportunities for our institution to build new relationships with major corporations and start-ups-relationships that will lead to increased technology transfer and accelerated levels of commercialization.”
Sylvain Charbonneau , Associate Vice-President, Research, University of Ottawa

“CENGN will complement the activities at Wavefront and ensure that all potential telecommunication companies and researchers have the tools and services to develop, validate and commercialize next generation networks technologies. The proposed activities of the CENGN will be an important step to re-establishing Canada’s position as a global leader in telecommunications and networking technologies.”
James Maynard President & CEO, Wavefront