Cisco opened its Toronto Innovation Centre this week, representing a major investment by the company in Canada’s technology infrastructure, with an emphasis on smart technology and the Internet of Things.
One of nine Cisco innovation centres worldwide, the space brings under one roof a number of outside start-ups, application developers, academics, as well as representatives from accelerators and government to collaborate on urban and smart city technology, healthcare and financial services innovation.
The space’s launch on Tuesday drew a number of dignitaries, including Toronto mayor John Tory, federal Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger, Minister of Innnovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi, and OMERS Ventures CEO John Ruffolo.
“Cisco’s commitment to bring this unique facility to our city shows we are on the path to establishing Toronto and Canada as innovation leaders,” said Toronto mayor John Tory. “This Centre offers our brightest and most talented an opportunity to take their game changing ideas from a concept to reality. By providing access to test labs for experimentation, investment for commercialization and networks to access the global market, Cisco’s Innovation Centre will help build Toronto’s economy of the future.”
The Cisco Innovation Centre is located on the 29th floor of its new Toronto headquarters, a 15,000 square foot high-rise at 88 Queens Quay West just south of Union Station and the Gardner Expressway, which boasts smart features such as real-time monitoring of outdoor daylight levels and temperature, as well as occupancy inside the building, and represents the first large scale commercial high-rise with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) LED lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) in the Americas.
“The mantra of the Toronto Innovation Centre is Inspire, Innovate and Invest,” said Cisco Canada president Bernadette Wightman. “Inspire the next great minds of tomorrow. Foster innovation and big ideas today. And invest in the potential game-changing companies of tomorrow.”
Aside from the Toronto Innovation Centre, Cisco has created the Cisco Canada Innovation Fund, which has invested up to $150 million in Canadian companies and venture capital funds, and also established 12 University Research Chairs across Canada, established an R&D job creation initiative with the province of Ontario, launched the Pan Am/Parapan technology legacy program, and opened several research and development centres across Canada.
In the near future, Cisco plans announcements regarding the launch of the Cisco Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle, and the Cisco Canada Innovation Prize, a competition that will award $100,000 in cash prizes, equipment, services and space to Canadian start-ups.