Networking giant, Cisco Systems has recently opened an Innovation Center in downtown Toronto. The center is one of nine units around the globe, is designed to foster innovation throughout several sectors that include the developing of smart cities, real estate, oil and gas, education, financial services, and healthcare.
The opening of the Innovation Center has generated quite a bit of excitement, as it facilitates networking of diverse groups, and accelerates building creative solutions that may be overlooked. These solutions can often be life-changers that provide much greater efficiency in the way that we live and work. Partnerships will include further collaboration among startups, researchers, developers, customers, universities government institutions, and accelerators, who can all make use of Cisco’s technical capabilities.
Rick Huijbregts, General Manager for Smart + Connected cities, and vice president Industry and Business Transformation at Cisco, sees the initiative with a great amount of potential to transform technological development in the country. John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, describes the center as being a facilitator of leadership in innovation, and adds that it bodes well for the city by providing community for investment, labs for experimentation, and networks for global communication. He further states that the innovation center is a place where smart and talented can bring concepts to reality.
Bernadette Wightman, president of Cisco Canada says that the Toronto Innovation Center, where the mantra of Inspire, Innovate and Invest has been adopted, continues to emphasize the company’s commitment to driving innovation. and will help to inspire the great minds to foster innovation and investment into life changing operations. The center environment is designed to promote collaboration and features enchanting classroom settings with direct access to the latest technology from Cisco.
One of the centerpieces of the building is the Solutions lab where startups and industry partners can build and test prototypes, and to-date there are more than 25 companies that are in the embryonic state.
What may be even more impressive, is the communication capabilities of the Innovation Center, as it features Cisco’s state of the art TelePresence™ teleconferencing systems. It can be described as the next best thing to being there. Teleconferencing is done with 70 inch 4K monitors that deliver audio and video with amazing clarity. and there are also several rooms for less formal gathering, but designed as an occasion for brainstorming.
The TD Bank was one of the first customers to take advantage of the Innovation Center. is the TD Bank. Paul Milkman, SVP and CIO explains that the bank has signed a collaborative agreement with Cisco on implementing technology solutions that relate to the Internet of Things, employee mobility, energy conservation and contact issues. TD customers can expect a brighter future as many of the solutions developed by a dedicated Cisco and TD team may initially be exclusive to the Toronto-Dominion Bank, but may eventually become adopted by the rest of the Canadian financial services
Cisco has concurrently announced a Canadian Innovation Prize competition, with a grand prize of $100,000 cash, services, space and equipment to be awarded to innovative Canadian startups. Details of the competition details will be found at http://www.cisco.com/ca/prize
Cisco’s SVP, USA, Canada, and Latin America, Alison Gleeson, Senior Vice President of Cisco Americas says that she believes that Canada is in the unique position to has the opportunity to advance drive digitization in the Americas, and it is one of the reasons why Toronto was chosen as a home for the Innovation Center.