Official Opening of CRC Big Data Analytics Centre


Speaking Points

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, PC, MP
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Ottawa, Ontario
May 8, 2017

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Jean-Luc [Berube, President, CRC] for that kind introduction.

It's my first visit to the Communications Research Centre, or CRC, so I'm really looking forward to the tour afterwards.

I'm proud to be the Minister responsible for this one-of-a-kind innovation lab, which solves big issues in wireless communications.

This government lab is the first in the world to use big data to shape the future of wireless technologies.

Specifically, this lab is redefining the use of wireless spectrum.

These radio waves are responsible for everything from TV and radio broadcasting to wireless data and mobile phone service.

Wireless spectrum is a public resource that underpins all modern communications, and it continues to play an important role in the lives of Canadians.

Spectrum is a finite resource.

The future of wireless technology will not be about who has the most spectrum—it will be about who uses spectrum most efficiently.

That means we need to understand exactly how spectrum is currently being used.

Data analytics is the key to that understanding.

The new digital economy is about analyzing flows of often unstructured data, including data on how we use wireless spectrum.

We now have the power to collect and analyze large amounts of data that will help us manage this valuable resource better.

At this lab, our researchers use data to understand, in real time, where there are unused radio waves that could be put to work—and also where the supply is so tight that it creates a bottleneck.

That's why I'm delighted to be here today to officially open the Big Data Analytics Centre at CRC.

It's the first lab of its kind for the Government of Canada.

This facility will allow us to make better use of scarce wireless spectrum.

Why is managing spectrum so important?

Because by 2020, the amount of data traffic carried over wireless networks is expected to grow by a thousand times more than the volume today.

This data, when used to its full potential, can give us enormously useful insights.

As the amount of data traffic grows in Canada, so does the potential to use it to develop better products and solutions for Canadians.

Let me paint you a picture of what's possible when data analytics meets wireless communications.

Imagine a world where telecom providers can use bands of spectrum on demand, as it's needed—a modern and more efficient way of managing spectrum.

Data analytics also has applications in many other sectors beyond telecommunications.

Let me give you one example.

Last year, the City of Ottawa launched a partnership with Ericsson and Rogers.

They embarked on a program to better understand the quality of the city's water supply.

This program uses sensors embedded in the Ottawa River and all around the National Capital Region.

These sensors use a continuous feedback loop to provide city workers with real-time data on the quality of the water supply. It allows them to detect sudden changes within minutes.

That means faster response times to ensure a safe water supply and a better quality of life for Ottawa residents.

Other potential applications are just starting to emerge.

During my recent trips to Detroit, I saw demonstration models of connected and self-driving cars.

These cars of the future require next-generation data networks, such as 5G and DSRC [dedicated short range communications].

These networks can transmit data at one one-hundredth of the time it takes for you to blink.

That's incredible reaction time.

Faster than any human.

The potential insights that can be derived from all that data are transformative.

Ladies and gentlemen, this centre has the ability to visualize massive amounts of data in real time.

And this data can be used to create a real-time map of the entire wireless spectrum.

The enabling technologies behind this centre come from Cognitive Systems of Waterloo, which you will hear from shortly.

The technology provided by Cognitive Systems is a fine example of our government's Innovation and Skills Plan in action.

This plan is an $8.2-billion strategy to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation.

It will create more well-paying jobs for the middle class and ensure that all Canadians have the skills they need to thrive in the new economy.

Under this plan, the Government of Canada can play a key role by being an early adopter of emerging technologies.

For young and growing companies, having government as a first customer has much more strategic value than the size of the contract they receive.

That early validation by government can change the trajectory of a firm.

That's why Budget 2017 proposes a new procurement program called Innovative Solutions Canada.

It will create more opportunities for businesses to develop innovations that address the pressing challenges of government.

This program will provide small and medium-sized businesses with a platform to develop and test new solutions for the Government of Canada.

This program shows that our government is willing to take risks and bet on new ideas.

We're also willing to be a strong partner in the growth of Canadian companies.

In return, our government benefits from having access to the most innovative products and services.

The enabling technology provided to CRC by Cognitive Systems demonstrates our government's use of smart procurement practices to drive innovation.

In closing, I'd like to congratulate Jean-Luc and the entire CRC team on getting this centre up and running.

The Government of Canada is the only telecom regulator in the world with its own innovation lab.

It means Canada has an opportunity to lead in this area.

We can show the world entirely new ways to manage big data and wireless spectrum.

Thank you.

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