Cisco has begun working with the Canadian Province of Ontario to help create a smarter, more connected and sustainable economy for the region. Ontario...

Cisco has begun working with the Canadian Province of Ontario to help create a smarter, more connected and sustainable economy for the region.

Ontario and Cisco Canada aim to develop a framework that will drive innovation and sustainable economic development in areas like health and wellness, energy, smart cities, education and economic cluster development. The collaboration is part of the province’s ongoing effort to partner with private industry to promote commercialization, increase research and development and make better use of the region’s broadband capacity.

The partnership aims to:

  • Advance the state of telemedicine and help improve access to health and wellness services for remote, rural and First Nations communities;
  • Improve collaboration and education for clinicians, hospitals and administrators;
  • Enhance the quality and operational excellence of health and wellness services;
  • Advance the innovative cluster of Ontario companies focused on increasing energy savings through security, building automation and IT services;
  • Explore innovative solutions in energy management;
  • Drive environmental sustainability through greater use of information and communications technology (ICT);
  • Promote the development of environmentally sustainable, smart+connected communities that generate economic growth and better opportunities for citizens who work and live in those intelligent communities;
  • Develop innovative ways to deliver cost-effective and sustainable government services;
  • Enhance opportunities for collaboration among Ontario companies through an intelligent community infrastructure;
  • Identify opportunities to enhance network infrastructure to enable remote work and the virtual workforce;
  • Use a “living lab” concept to showcase and pilot Cisco’s “smart+connected community” solutions and to encourage cities and communities in Ontario to launch similar initiatives;
  • Increase the reach of higher education and enhance industry collaboration with universities;
  • Increase high-skilled job market opportunities for recent post-secondary graduates;
  • Use Cisco’s Networking Academy programs to bring new skills to First Nations communities;
  • Identify strategic partnership opportunities with economic development agencies;
  • Enable industry collaboration on regional economic development strategies, particularly in northern communities; and
  • Identify opportunities to increase commercialization of early-stage ventures, and enhance funding opportunities for private enterprises.

As part of the Ontario IT Innovation Initiative, Cisco has set an investment target of up to $455 million over the next five years to support research and development focused on key strategic areas such as core routing and switching, collaboration, data center virtualization, cloud computing and video. Ontario has committed $25 million to the project.

The memorandum of understanding between the province and Cisco is only the third of its kind in Ontario’s history, according to Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada.