Why Cisco is investing in Ontario IT talent

The network equipment giant is working with the province to add more positions in Toronto and Ottawa, among other areas. Find out the R&D areas that will matter most

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Unlike the current National Hockey League lockout, this week Cisco Canada and the Ontario Government reiterated late last week that it’s still “game on” when it comes to tech R&D investment within the province.

In August 2011, it was announced that the provincial government would add $25 million to Cisco’s $455 million investment in Ontario research facilities over the next five years. With an R&D innovation emphasis on virtualization, cloud computing, core routing, and collaboration technologies, the partnership would ultimately look to deliver new jobs for 300 IT professionals in Ottawa and Toronto. And between playful jabs supporting their respective (and currently non-playing) hockey teams the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators, Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli and Ottawa mayor Jim Watson were on hand during the joint Ottawa-Toronto Cisco TelePresence media session to report that they were on schedule in delivering on this mandate.

Since the 2011 announcement, Cisco has hired 134 people including 96 in the nation’s capital and 38 in Toronto, said Ron McDougall, senior vice-president of business markets for Cisco Canada. Of this number, 50 per cent of these hires are new graduates, he added.

Ontario recognizes how “fiercely competitive” the global economy is, a key reason for looking at ways to improve IT development and innovation in the province, said Duguid. It’s about making Ontario a world economic leader, notes Chirarelli, adding hopefully “before the Leafs win the next Stanley Cup.”

Ribbing aside, the news is positive, particularly in light of open musings of who is Canada’s next tech darling, gloomy reports of “Canada’s vanishing tech sector” and a recent Forrester study claiming that Canada’s tech sector is at risk of losing market share to the U.S. in light of reduced IT infrastructure spending.

The province is presently home to three of Cisco’s global R&D facilities, including two in Toronto and one in Kanata. The Kanata location in particular focuses on Optical IP Integration (100GE), hardware, software and “next generation” internet capabilities with its latest Cisco Carrier Routing System (Cisco CRS-3) – a scalable integrated platform designed to handle growing bandwidth demand and network volumes of video content, mobile traffic, and cloud data.

“The CRS-3 is creating a super super-highway out of the Internet making it faster than ever and providing the ability to deliver dynamic video, data, voice and mobile device transmissions,” said McDougall.

Putting this into perspective, a CRS-3 could handle two simultaneous HD streams of an NHL hockey game to every person in Canada, which is “probably more pertinent if they come back and play,” he added.

Get more information on what’s possible with next-generation technology by downloading ‘The IP Imperative: The Time To Upgrade Your Network is Now,‘ a free whitepaper from Frost & Sullivan.


Image by Cisco Canada

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