Press Releases

ORION now connects twelve Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), including four in Northern Ontario

TORONTO, August 17, 2020 — Twelve Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) have joined Ontario’s Next Generation Network Program (NGNP), including four in Northern Ontario, connecting to the CENGN Testbed through ORION’s network. Connecting Ontario’s RICs to the NGNP will spur economic development in Ontario’s North and offer the economy a needed boost as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome the Regional Innovation Centres to ORION’s digital community as we continue driving Ontario’s digital economy forward.

ORION-connected RICs can now provide their region of innovative small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) direct access to CENGN’s commercial-grade, multi-site testbed infrastructure to test and validate their products and solutions. ORION links the testbed’s four data centres in hubs throughout the province. As constituents of ORION’s community, RICs and their clients will also gain access to our shared IT services and cybersecurity training.

How ORION connects the next generation network testbed. Click to download this image.

Canada’s fastest growing industry is IT. Strengthening the relationship between Canada’s technology innovators and industry leaders will help drive economic development. Through this program, local SMEs can conduct the research they need to commercialize their products with the support of a robust broadband network.

Our partnerships with CENGN and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) make this initiative possible. By connecting Ontario’s Research Innovation Centres to the CENGN testbed, Canadian small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain access to valuable tools to accelerate their businesses. These new partnerships enable collaboration between industry, government, researchers, and academia.

Regional Innovation Centres connected through ORION’s network:
Haltech Innovation Centre in Burlington
Innovation Factory in Hamilton
Innovation Guelph in Guelph
Innovate Niagara in St. Catharines
Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) in Sault St. Marie
ventureLAB in Markham
Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) in North Bay
RIC Centre in Brampton
TechAlliance in London
Productivity & Innovation in Timmins
Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NIOC) in Thunder Bay
Spark Centre in Oshawa

Alfonso Licata, CEO and President, ORION: “ORION is dedicated to supporting Ontario’s researchers, educators and innovators and driving Ontario’s digital economy forward. Fostering collaboration is an essential part of what we do at ORION, so we’re working to connect remote and rural areas in Northern Ontario that need our support. We’re excited to welcome Ontario’s regional innovation centres to the ORION network and share our advanced digital infrastructure with Ontario’s innovators.”

Robert Deline, Executive Director, Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION): “Joining the Next Generation Network Program will allow us to connect our clients with key players in the technology sector. With this opportunity, we will accelerate growth by assisting more clients in achieving their goals of bringing their ideas through to commercialization and scale. Innovation is an on-going process. We’re always looking for new ways to accelerate technology adoption for our clients which will allow them to grow their companies and increase economic value.”

Jeff Coull, Director of ICT, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC): “Regional Innovation Centres (RIC) are a hub for innovative, high-potential start-ups and accelerating companies, and the NOIC is proud to be Northwestern Ontario’s RIC. By joining Ontario’s NGNP via the ORION network, businesses in our region have access to ORION’s gigabit speeds, and direct connections to CENGN’s state-of-the-art testing facilities and data centres. This provides our region with cost-effective, world-class infrastructure to continue developing and future-proof products, services and applications ready to compete in a highly connected, global marketplace. We couldn’t be more excited to support this game-changing opportunity in NWO.”

Dr. Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO, OCE: “The Next Generation Network Program provides critical digital infrastructure across the innovation ecosystem and expands support for Ontario SMEs. When SMEs developing Made-In-Ontario solutions have access to emerging technologies, we can drive commercialization, support entrepreneurs to grow their companies, help local products find global markets and accelerate economic development opportunities across the province.”

Jean-Charles Fahmy, President and CEO, CENGN: “The Next Generation Network Program fosters collaboration to grow our innovation economy. Through our partnership with ORION, more of Ontario’s most promising start-ups and scaleups will have access to CENGN’s commercial grade, multi-site testbed to develop, test and commercialize their products. Enabling Canadian business to overcome barriers to market is key to driving the growth of our tech industry and creating high-quality jobs for our innovation-driven economy. Our partnership with ORION allows us to amplify our impact, enabling more Ontario businesses to compete on a global scale.”

About ORION:

ORION is a not-for-profit organization supporting Ontario’s progress with essential digital infrastructure. Since 2001, we’ve facilitated new discoveries by connecting research and education institutions, regions, and people across the province, enabling collaboration, learning, forging partnerships, and providing our community with the digital tools and expertise they need to make the world a better place. 

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