Page 1

THE LATEST NEWS FROM CANADA’S LARGEST TECHNOLOGY PARK read about

WHERE WE WORK Page 10

WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON Page 12

WHERE WE LIVE Page 16

Networker

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

kanatanorthbia.ca info@kanatanorthbia.ca

T H E K A N ATA

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Summer 2018

FIGHTING CRIME IN THE CLOUD Magnet Forensics builds Kanata team to advance software used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases around the world

PLUS:

NEPTEC’S NEW FRONTIERS IN SPACE Page 12

THE LATEST NEWS FROM CANADA’S LARGEST TECHNOLOGY PARK read about

WHERE WE WORK Page 10

WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON Page 12

WHERE WE LIVE Page 16

Networker

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

kanatanorthbia.ca info@kanatanorthbia.ca

T H E K A N ATA

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

FIGHTING CRIME IN THE CLOUD Magnet Forensics builds Kanata team to advance software used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases around the world

PLUS:

NEPTEC’S NEW FRONTIERS IN SPACE Page 12

BUSINESS ASSOCI Summer 2018


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2 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018 MCC_11856_KanataNetworkerAd_JUNE.indd 1

2018-06-04 11:52 AM


Canadian Gaming Expo (CGX) Ottawa 2018: A Celebration of Games! June 23-24 @ 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Canadian Gaming Expo (CGX), a conference and expo focusing on tech, gaming and creative industries, is taking place June 23-34 in Ottawa. An event unlike any other Canada, CGX will feature lots of games and advances in tech with creative art workshops and masterclasses. Meet industry leaders and visit the Mentor Lounge, Connect Cafe (with hiring studios) and a gorgeous video game art gallery showing off Canadian game artists! Local tech companies are welcome to join! Check our events calendar for more details.

welcome message

GREETINGS TO KANATA NETWORKERS I

t is with an immense amount of pride and excitement that I introduce myself as the incoming president and executive director of the Kanata North Business Association. I am humbled with the opportunity to be joining a team that represents Canada’s largest technology park. As a lifelong Kanata resident, graduate of the University of Ottawa and recently recognized Forty Under 40 recipient, I have spent the last 10 years of my career in the local business community.

As a result of my experience working in startups, venture capital and tech, I am extremely passionate about building supportive ecosystems for scaling Canadian businesses and their teams to live, work and thrive. The businesses that have sustained in Kanata North over the past 35 years and those that have recently emerged are leading as globally dominant players in their respective markets. With a rich base of more than 21,000 skilled employees and 500 companies that call Kanata North home – collectively contributing more than $7.8 billion to Canada’s GDP – it’s no wonder we are poised to be Canada’s capital of innovation. Kanata North has a legacy of tech success, an existing track record of real-time achievement and future potential to lead Canada’s innovation agenda on the world stage. Underpinning our ecosystem are a variety of retail and business support services. Consequently, this rich community attracts a high percentage and diverse mix of young, highly educated and highly experienced people who choose to take advantage of the many career growth options presented in Kanata North. The future is bright for Kanata North and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to represent this diverse and innovative community! My predecessor, Jenna Sudds, as well as Deborah Lovegrove – KNBA’s marketing and events lead – have set in place an incredible foundation. I look forward to working with the team to cultivate further opportunities, strengthen existing pride, build national and international recognition and attract diverse talent to the region. Over the coming weeks and months, Deborah and I will be meeting with member companies. We are eager to visit you and your teams on #MemberMonday, in order to develop a stronger connection and understanding of your priorities! We’ve already had the pleasure of meeting many members of the Kanata North community. The feedback thus far has been resounding, with a focus on attracting and retaining top talent, and spotlighting Kanata North and Ottawa as a global leader in technology innovation! The KNBA rocketship will be taking off across Canada as we aim to dramatically grow awareness of the opportunities that exist for innovative minds locally and across the country to join our community. Jamie Petten Executive director Kanata North Business Association

SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 3


The Legacy Bootcamp: Coding 101 is back! June 23 @ 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Legacy Bootcamp: Coding 101 is a one-day crash course in HTML and CSS to inspire Canadian students to champion their dreams through one of the most valuable skills in the 21st century: coding. The event will bring together Canada’s top companies, industry experts and eager students into one room to learn, network and participate in a five-hour hackathon. Visit our events calendar for more details.

what’s inside

CONTENTS 6

WHAT’S NEW, WHAT’S NEXT: Upcoming events and key dates

10 WHERE WE WORK: Magnet Forensics finds success by combining people and passion 12 WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON: Neptec prepares to send a new generation of cameras and sensors to space 14 Breaking the data-centre monopoly 16 WHERE WE LIVE: Engineers showcase creative side with art installation 17 Jamie Petten takes the reins at the Kanata North Business Association 18 Algonquin College introduces DARE District to Kanata North 19 Discover TechNATA showcases sector’s diversity

“THIS IS A FABULOUS TIME FOR US TO BE HERE AND FOR US TO GROW HERE.” – New Martello CEO John Proctor, on the company’s trajectory in Kanata. See the full story on page 8.

THE LATEST NEWS FROM CANADA’S LARGEST TECHNOLOGY PARK read about

WHERE WE WORK Page 10

WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON Page 12

WE LIVE Page 16

Networker

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

kanatanorthbia.ca info@kanatanorthbia.ca

T H E K A N ATA

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

FIGHTING CRIME IN THE CLOUD Magnet Forensics builds Kanata team to advance software used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases around the world

PLUS:

4 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

WHERE

NEPTEC’S NEW FRONTIERS IN SPACE Page 12

BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Summer 2018

COVER IMAGE: Thusha Agampodi is the manager at Magnet Forensics in Kanata. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON


GROWTH & PROSPERITY IN OTTAWA’S TECHNOLOGY HUB FOLLOW KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION ON INSTAGRAM

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• Gym, Hot Tubs, Indoor & Outdoor Pools

• B Café Featuring Starbucks Coffee

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DISCOVER THE MARSHES OTTAWA’S LEADING PUBLIC GOLF CLUB • 18 Hole Championship Golf Course • 9 Hole Executive Course

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• Dining at Ironstone Grill

• Junior Golf Academy

• Live Music & Scenic Patio

• Blackbird Falls Putting Course

• Weddings & Events

THE MARSHES GOLF CLUB

320 Terry Fox Drive | Kanata, ON | www.marshesgolfclub.com

SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 5


NEWS BRIEF

Solace partners with CORE to strengthen IoT support for airlines Ottawa software company Solace has announced an increased partnership with Florida’s CORE Transport Technologies, a partnership that will offer implementation and management of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

This will allow air carriers to improve the monitoring, tracking and routing of shipments using CORE’s software and Solace’s enterprisegrade messaging product Solace Cloud.

According to the news release, this service is already being rolled out with one of North America’s largest airlines. Increased communication and monitoring will allow air carriers to respond more effectively to

weather and security issues that may affect air cargo deliveries. Solace CTO Shawn McAllister said air carriers need to think about investing in IoT support technologies in order to utilize the visualization and control these technologies can provide. “Our deepening partnership with CORE helps air carriers make faster, smarter decisions to ultimately deliver better customer experiences,” McAllister stated.

what’s new

WHAT’S NEXT?

WORKING MINDS #GETLOUDER June 21 @ 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Working Minds brings together Ottawa’s startup and tech communities to #GetLouder about mental health care in the workplace. Featuring a diverse group of industry leaders and future influencers, the afternoon will focus on transparent and honest discussions as we help shed further light onto this incredibly important and growing movement. All proceeds will be donated to the ROH and DIFD Foundation in support of their incredible cause. An initiative backed by SnapClarity will also be launched that same night. Check our events calendar for more details.

YOGA AT THE HUB! June 19 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Join us for FREE YOGA at the Community Hub every Tuesday, starting June 5. Enjoy a midday break with local yoga guru Inner Revolution for a yoga-filled hour from noon to 1 p.m. every Tuesday throughout the summer!

FOOD TRUCKS WEDNESDAY LUNCH PARTIES June 20 @ 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Join us every Wednesday starting in June until the end of September for our Wednesday Lunch Party! Enjoy a great afternoon break and lunch outdoors on the picnic tables at the Community Hub from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A selection of food vendors, as well as musical entertainment, will be on location.

CANADIAN GAMING EXPO (CGX) OTTAWA 2018: A CELEBRATION OF GAMES! June 23-24 @ 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Canadian Gaming Expo (CGX), a conference and expo focusing on tech, gaming and creative industries, is taking place June 23-34 in Ottawa. An event unlike any other Canada, CGX will feature lots of games and advances in tech with creative art workshops and masterclasses. Meet industry leaders and visit the Mentor Lounge, Connect Cafe (with hiring studios) and a gorgeous video game art gallery showing off Canadian game artists! Local tech companies are welcome to join! Check our events calendar for more details.

JUNIOR GOLF DEVELOPMENT CENTRE 2018 PROGRAMS INCLUDE: • Golf Summer Camp • Learn to Play Golf • Introduction to Competition • Teen Golf and more … For full details & registration visit MARSHESGOLFCLUB.COM/JUNIORS

6 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018


NEWS BRIEF

Careworx closes $17M funding round Ottawa-based Careworx closed a $17-million funding round this spring from Kayne Partners, the growth private equity group of alternative investment firm Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. Careworx provides services and

technology for mid-market and senior care, such as 24/7 desk and remote monitoring. The company has been growing steadily since its 2006 inception, with offices across Canada and around 150 employees nationally. In

2016, Careworx merged with IT firm TUC to add IT support to its technology offerings. The firm’s CEO, Mark Scott, said that its services are used in just under a third of long-term care facilities in North America. Careworx plans to

use this investment to continue its growth in the senior care market, including through acquisitions within this market. The company’s senior care division is the industry’s largest provider of managed end-user devices, support, IT services and wireless solutions.

THE LEGACY BOOTCAMP: CODING 101 IS BACK! June 23 @ 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Legacy Bootcamp: Coding 101 is a one-day crash course in HTML and CSS to inspire Canadian students to champion their dreams through one of the most valuable skills in the 21st century: coding. The event will bring together Canada’s top companies, industry experts and eager students into one room to learn, network, and participate in a five-hour hackathon. Visit our events calendar for more details.

THE RIDE FOR THE OTTAWA HOSPITAL RESEARCH Sept. 9 @ 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The RIDE, powered by Mattamy Homes, is an epic cycling experience that will not only get you physically fit, but will also have a direct impact on patient care by supporting research at The Ottawa Hospital. Participants can choose from 50-kilometre, 117-kilometre or virtual ride. See our events calendar for details.

CANADA DAY IN KANATA Friday June 29 to Sunday July 1 from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. One of the largest family events in Kanata is held at Walter Baker Park. Canada Day in Kanata is excited to celebrate Canada’s 151st anniversary this year. Local businesses in Kanata and Ottawa West are encouraged to help support this special family event with live entertainment, vendors and a kid’s zone. Find out how you can become a sponsor by visiting www.canadadayinkanata.com.

LUMIÈRE CHARITY GALA Sept. 13 @ 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. West Ottawa’s most anticipated networking and socializing event! Brookstreet, in partnership with the Wesley Clover Foundation, is pleased to present “15 Years of Lumière” – a fundraising event for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Enjoy 15 different food stations, wine and beer pairings as well as both a silent and live auction. End the evening with an unforgettable fireworks display! See our events calendar for details.

CYCLING MAPS The Transportation Action Committee Kanata North (TACK) has new cycling maps available that highlight routes and paths in the local area. A digital version of the map is available at www.tack-n.ca.

8

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East India Company EASTINDIACOMPANYRESTAURANTS

Welcome to East India Company Restaurants. For the

SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 7

SPOTLIGHT


NEWS BRIEF

Martello raises $7.5M in private placement

Ahead of its expected debut on the TSX Venture Exchange later this year, Martello Technologies says it’s raised $7.5 million in a private placement round. The Kanata-based cloud communications services firm says the oversubscribed non-

brokered placement will fuel the company’s growth strategy, including future acquisitions. In a statement, Bruce Linton – the co-chair of Martello’s board of directors – said the oversubscribed round illustrates the high degree of confidence

among investors in the Kanata company as it prepares for its public markets debut. “The overwhelming response to Martello’s private placement is a testament to the company’s opportunity and capacity to execute,” he stated.

“WAS THERE INITIAL NERVE? ABSOLUTELY. INITIAL DOUBTS AND FEARS? ABSOLUTELY.” – John Proctor, on accepting the CEO job at Martello

It’s a good thing Proctor is no stranger to big change. When he first arrived in Toronto to fill his new role with CGI in 2011, he remembers being struck by the stark difference between his work in the military and the new challenges he was about to face. “I remember getting off the train at Union Station in Toronto and walking out of Union and looking up at all these skyscrapers, thinking, ‘How on earth do I climb these?’” he says. “And I can remember just being rooted to the spot.” He didn’t stay still for long, though. Proctor says the key to adapting to business after life in the military was to ask questions, to be open to learning new ways of doing things, and – most importantly – to find people who could guide him along the way. “You’ve got to learn,” says Proctor. “It’s reaching out, it’s finding mentors, it’s finding people who can guide you.”

REVERSE TAKEOVER

John Proctor is the CEO of Martello. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

profile

John Proctor’s climb to the top Building on a military career spanning more than two decades, Proctor is now leading one of Kanata’s hottest tech firms to its TSX-V debut By Rosa Saba

J

ohn Proctor came to Martello Technologies at a time when the company was gearing up for change. From the acquisition of Montreal firm Elfiq in January to the recent announcement that Martello will be going public, the new CEO had – and still 8 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

has – a lot on his plate. Never one to step down from a challenge, the Canadian and British Forces veteran and former vice-president of global cyber security at CGI rolled up his sleeves and got to work preparing the company for what was sure to be a busy 2018.

After six years at CGI, Proctor was ready for another big change. This time, instead of going from one large organization to another, he would be stepping into the much bigger role of CEO at a much smaller company – Ottawa’s Martello, a software developer focused on enterprise communications systems and one of the capital’s fastest-growing companies. “Was there initial nerve? Absolutely. Initial doubts and fears? Absolutely,” says Proctor. But he realized the company’s stakeholders saw something in him, and the opportunity was too good to pass up. Despite his title, Proctor says he hasn’t forgotten the importance of “humble pie” as he leads Martello onto the TSX-V through the reverse takeover of Vancouver shell company Newcastle Energy Corp. He’ll be working closely with former CEO Bruce Linton, now the co-chair of Martello’s board along with Terry Matthews. Proctor is also a mentor himself, and the founder of the Ex-Military Businessmen Association’s Ottawa chapter.

CLIENT CONFIDENCE

Martello’s decision to go public isn’t one undertaken by many other companies its size. But Proctor says he sees the move as an opportunity to show the public that there is confidence in Martello’s growth from its investors and its client base – a group that the acquisition of Elfiq expanded, giving way to an upcoming line that combines both Elfiq’s and Martello’s products into one. Where previously Martello’s technology could only monitor

networks and identify problems, Elfiq’s technology adds the capability to find solutions to those problems. The new system “can not only monitor all your unified communications, but then it can use that software-defined networking ability to prioritize the traffic,” says Proctor, adding that demand for this type of technology is only going to grow. “We aren’t a fad. As you add more requirements and data, we become more in demand, which is a great place to be.” As the company moves forward and onto the public listing, Proctor says more acquisitions like this will be key to Martello’s growth and success. However, he says it’s as much about the people Martello is acquiring as it is about the products – he wants people and companies that are aligned with Martello’s values. As the company scales up, he’s focused on maintaining the positive workplace culture that has already been established, regardless of size – and he sees the Kanata North tech community as the perfect place to continue that careful growth. “If it’s the wrong people with the right product, we’re not interested,” he says. “As we grow those pieces, I think that’s a fabulous story … I just think that this is a fabulous time for us to be here and for us to grow here.”

JOHN PROCTOR’S RESUME MARTELLO

CEO 2017-present

CGI

Vice-president, global cyber security 2011-2017

IHRS

Vice-president, risk operations 2009-2011

BRITISH AND CANADIAN ARMED FORCES Officer 1987-2009


KANATA NORTH PROFESSIONALS

FOLLOW THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION LINKEDIN GROUP

SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 9


NEWS BRIEF

Kanata North businesses support Kanata Food Cupboard KRP Properties and the Kanata Food Cupboard joined forces in May for the first annual youCANhelp

event. Teams formed by several of KRP’s tenants from the Kanata Research Park and Kanata North

Technology Park – Embotics, Iceberg Networks, Investors Group, IQVIA, Technology Integration Group, Payment Source as well as Syntronic Research and Development – produced seven sculptures of non-perishable food items, which resulted in a donation of around 5,400 lbs. of food. The three-day event was held at a time of year when food bank donations are generally slower, after the holiday donation rush. KRP representative Natasha

Plotnikov said the event was also valuable for those who participated, combining team building, community building, and a good cause. Plotnikov said KRP is always interested in initiatives that not only give back to the community, but that also help strengthen community bonds within the technology park. KRP plans to make youCANhelp an annual event, aiming for an even higher donation goal in 2019.

Thusha Agampodi is the manager at Magnet Forensics in Kanata. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

where we work

Magnet Forensics’ growing Kanata team helps law enforcement fight crime in the cloud Tech firm builds unique workplace culture with the right people in the right place

A

sk any of the people who work in Magnet Forensics’ Kanata office why they are there, and they will give you one of two reasons. For Ian McGillen, it’s the work itself. McGillen, who once worked at BlackBerry, now works as a software test specialist in Kanata North – the Waterloo company’s first separate R&D office. The local office houses the team dedicated to developing and testing the 10 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

cloud component of software used daily around the world to prosecute criminals, including for such notable cases as the Boston Marathon bombing. “It’s very rewarding,” says McGillen. “What you directly work on is being used by law enforcement to capture those people … it’s pretty awesome.” For Craig Hodge, also in software testing, it’s even simpler than that: “The people.”

People and passion – these are the two words that manager Thusha Agampodi had in mind when she set to work creating the Ottawa team. A former manager at BlackBerry, Agampodi used her connections to start Magnet Forensics’ Kanata location in the heart of the technology park, building a team that has continued to grow ever since. When hiring, she says the person is just as important as their resume. She’s looking for that passion, a belief in what Magnet Forensics does, and she’s carefully crafted a team that not only embodies those values, but also functions as more than just an office of employees. “We care about each other even outside of work,” says Agampodi. “I feel valued.” As software developer Daniel VanderVeen puts it, “We’re kind of like a family here.” That comfort is clear in the way the team interacts and jokes with each other. On Thursdays they like to wear matching shirts – on the day the Networker visited, six were wearing “Sky Pirates” team shirts designed by one of their colleagues – and at 3 p.m., a group huddled near the windows to play HQ, a daily live trivia game. As with many families, food is a big part of the culture at Magnet Forensics. They have catered lunches together every Friday, and Agampodi sometimes likes to surprise her employees with breakfast before their daily morning meetings – usually waffles. “I like to bake a lot, and they’re my guinea pigs,” she laughs. What unites the Kanata Magnet team

the most, however, is the work they are doing and the people they are doing it for.

CRIME-FIGHTING TOOLS

Magnet Forensics founder Jad Saliba is a former police officer in the tech crimes unit who found himself working on a lot of cases involving Facebook messages, especially child exploitation cases, and wanted to be able to access the information left behind on devices such as laptop computers and cell phones. Saliba found the process of scrubbing hardware for data used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases to be time consuming, and wanted to speed up the process with a digital tool. In the evenings, he began developing what would eventually become Magnet’s flagship product, Internet Evidence Finder (IEF). “I was giving (the software) away for free because I was passionate about helping others who were working similar cases,” says Saliba. However, he soon realized demand for the software was much higher than he could handle, and he decided to found Magnet Forensics. Now, IEF is used by thousands of agencies worldwide. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, they have also developed a product called AXIOM, which helps investigators comb through data faster. Version 2.0 of AXIOM was released earlier this year, which Saliba called a big milestone for Magnet. The Kanata office’s mandate was to create the cloud component of the IEF software, allowing access to data stored


KRP Properties and the Kanata Food Cupboard joined forces to collect donations during the three-day event. PHOTOS SUPPLIED.

“AS A SMALL COMPANY, YOU NEED (THE) COMMUNITY, AND THE NETWORK.” – Thusha Agampodi, engineering manager, Magnet Forensics on or synced to the cloud. That product launched last September, less than a year after the team was initially formed. What VanderVeen said about family rings true for Saliba, just as he would hope – since the company’s inception in 2011, he’s been focused on instilling the right values in his company and hiring people who are aligned with those values, regardless of which office they are in. “It all feels like one big family,” he says. Saliba interviews every new hire in person, and makes sure all nonWaterloo employees visit the headquarters, while also making visits himself. Saliba’s presence is something that motivates many of the team members, who say they joined for the chance to work for a person they believe in. Software test specialist Paul Carr says Saliba was a “big reason” he chose Magnet Forensics. Shawna Crawford, a software tester who is also from BlackBerry and a member of the original team, says Saliba’s down-to-earth approach and inspiring story made it an easy move. “Inside or outside of work, he’s still the same guy,” she says. “We totally belong here.” Agampodi has also brought some of her own central values to the team. As a woman in tech who is originally from Sri Lanka, she’s vocal about bringing more diversity to the sector, whether it’s in age,

gender, ethnicity or otherwise. As a result, her team is diverse, especially in age, but united with a common front that brings them into work every day. “On Monday morning, you actually look forward to coming into work,” says Crawford. “To this day, as soon as we hear that there’s a cloud license sold, we still all scream.” As a small office, especially with so many of the team members coming from larger companies such as BlackBerry, the Kanata North tech community has been a good place for Magnet Forensics to grow. Saliba says he chose Ottawa because he saw it as a technology hub, and housing Magnet among other small tech companies seemed like the right fit. For Agampodi, it was the right place to find and build her team. “As a small company, I think you need that community, and the network,” she says. “There’s a lot of talent here.” The Kanata office continues to grow from the seven-person team it began as to 16, with another new hire about to arrive. Agampodi says they hire people who are the right fit, regardless of timing. As Saliba puts it, they’re looking for passion – for the work, and for the people. “What we do (is) impacting people’s lives in a positive way around the world,” he says. “We really want people who are passionate about that.”

Some staff members at Magnet Forensics are known to pick up a guitar at the office and break into song – performances that speak to the company’s welcoming and relaxed work environment that promotes creativity. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 11


NEWS BRIEF

March Networks becomes a designated cybersecure business Kanata-based March Networks is one of the first Canadian companies to become Cyber Essentials Canada certified.

This means the video solutions provider is now a designated cybersecure business. The designation certifies organizations able to “demonstrate good cybersecurity practices and an ability to mitigate risks from Internet-based threats,” according to a press release from March Networks. This includes expertise in areas such as firewalls, routers, email, servers, computers and cloud providers. March Networks helps companies transition to advanced surveillance technologies, and takes a “proactive, transparent” approach when it comes to identifying possible vulnerabilities,

according to the press release. They conduct background checks on employees working with product code and have participated in security audits with Fortune 500 customers. Its secure Network Operations Centre provides a hub for employees to work remotely and securely, monitoring video network health and providing information. “Achieving this Cyber Essentials certification, which is already well recognized in the U.K., provides our customers with yet another assurance of our cybersecure standards,” said president and CEO Peter Strom in a statement.

“WE WILL GET PICTURES OF THE (INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION) LIKE WE’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.” – Stéphane Desjardins, manager of projects and programs, Canadian Space Agency

Neptec’s technology is already used aboard the International Space Station and on various space missions. Its largest new contract will combine and improve upon the Kanata firm’s existing technologies to help maintain the ISS. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

what we’re geeking out on

Neptec sharpens its focus New camera and sensor technology developed by the Kanata firm will increase automation, accuracy and security aboard space missions

T

echnology developed by Neptec Design Group has long been a fixture on the International Space Station and shuttles. Now, armed with millions of dollars in new contracts from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Kanata firm is developing a new generation of cameras and sensors to help researchers push the boundaries of their work Neptec, which provides vision systems for space, industrial and military use, was recently awarded several CSA contracts that highlight the agency’s interest in increasing automation both on the space station and in future space missions. Neptec’s largest new contract began its preliminary design phase in September 12 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

2017. The $11.9-million project will combine three existing Neptec technologies to form a new vision system, called the Dextre Deployable Vision System (DDVS), for the International Space Station (ISS). According to Brad Jones, director of mission and mobility systems at Neptec, the vision system’s main task on the ISS will be to inspect the exterior of the station in far greater detail and at more regular intervals than current inspections. It will be integrated with Dextre, a Canadian robot currently used to monitor and repair the station. “We will get pictures of the ISS like we’ve never seen before,” explains Stéphane Desjardins, manager of

projects and programs at the CSA, adding astronauts will no longer perform the potentially dangerous inspections themselves. The vision system will combine three of Neptec’s existing technologies: a highresolution video camera, a thermal night vision camera, and LiDAR – a 3D laser sensor. The vision system can also be used to monitor incoming spacecraft. LiDAR can track incoming craft beyond one kilometre and detect sub-millimetre damage. It’s currently used as part of Neptec’s TriDAR system on the ISS’ Cygnus resupply craft. Without relying on reference markers, the sensor develops a 3D image of incoming craft regardless of orientation. Jones says the DDVS will also be used to evaluate how similar systems could be applied in other ways, including for deepspace missions. “The international community, led by NASA, is already looking at a gateway space station that would be much further from the earth than the ISS is now,” says Jones. The sensor suite could be used not only for maintenance, but also in the assembly of the station. According to Desjardins, the DDVS represents a necessary next step in the space sector’s move toward automation. “If you want to increase the autonomy, the first thing you need to invest (in is) the vision system,” says Desjardins.

OPTICAL NETWORKS IN SPACE

Also in the works at Neptec is another move toward automation, and Jones’ main project. Neptec once provided a space vision system used on the space station and a long-retired shuttle called the Advanced Vision Unit (AVU) processing platform. The setup is now redundant, says Jones, and recently the CSA and NASA have shown interest in reusing the hardware capabilities of the AVU in a way that would enable more autonomy for the Mobile Servicing System, the team of robots that includes Dextre. “Right now, when they use the manipulator system, it requires either someone on the station sitting at a manipulator workstation, or it can be configured to allow the manipulation of the arm through a ground operator,” says Jones. “What the agency is aspiring to do here is to basically demonstrate that the

manipulations system can be made more autonomous.” In addition to the vision system, Neptec was awarded three smaller contracts in April 2018 totalling almost $1.8 million. The first contract is to develop a miniature 3D camera to help rovers navigate with more autonomy, enabling more efficient and accurate collection of data. Rovers would be equipped with forward-facing and rear-facing cameras. The second contract is a partnership with Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, the Institute for Quantum Computing, and McMaster University to build upon Neptec’s expertise in optical subsystem design and create an optical communications system – essentially, to enable the transfer of large amounts of data between satellites and Earth, improving bandwidth, accuracy and security. Neptec’s optical technology, like LiDAR or their metrology systems, involves minute control over the pointing of a laser, and has developed to the point where Jones says it could be used to reliably transfer data much more securely than current radio wave technology allows.

NEW FRONTIERS

The third contract, at first glance, might not seem up Neptec’s alley. However, like the other projects, it aims to use the company’s existing technologies. Neptec – which is headquartered in Kanata North and has corporate roots dating back to 1990 – is aiding in the development of a cell culture system to study the impacts of micro- and zero-gravity as well as radiation on the human body. According to Perry Johnson-Green, chief scientist of life sciences and ISS utilization at the CSA, the agency currently performs studies on humans who have been to space, but wants to take that research further. “We know quite a bit about … the physical risks and the psychological risks of being in space,” says Johnson-Green. “But there’s still a tremendous amount that we don’t know.” Johnson-Green says though the symptoms are often clear – loss of bone structure, decreased muscle mass and power, among others – it’s the causes that remain less known. By studying these effects at the molecular level, the agency hopes to identify possible treatments and preventions for the negative effects space travel can have on the human body. So, why Neptec? The company’s expertise in optical systems was key to their proposal, says Johnson-Green. A cell culture system being taken into space would need a container with extremely accurate monitoring capabilities to ensure its pH and oxygen remained at the necessary levels. Johnson-Green says the technology could also benefit research on Earth in other sectors. The 2018 contracts were awarded as part of the CSA’s Space Technology Development Program, intended to support innovation in the Canadian space industry and further research for future space missions.


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NEWS BRIEF

Steve Cody, Bruce Linton, buy Better Software Co. assets Entrepreneurs Steve Cody and Bruce Linton have joined forces to buy the assets of the Better Software Co., a software firm originally founded by

Cody. Cody left BSC in 2017 to start Ruckify, an online rental marketplace, with Linton. Now, he hopes BSC and Ruckify will work hand-

in-hand. Cody says Ruckify is something that hasn’t been done before, which is why the company is taking its launch slowly, hoping to do

things right the first time around. They already have customers, with an app launching soon and a full website coming in the fall. Right now, “we’re doing it the old-fashioned way,” he laughs, connecting customers with renters themselves as they anticipate the launch of the app and website. BSC makes software used by franchise businesses across the U.S., and Cody says he had an unprecedented number of BSC clients interested in using Ruckify

to rent out equipment. Likewise, he hopes Ruckify users will grow into businesses that will then benefit from BSC. Launching the app has taken more time than expected, but Cody says the fact Ruckify isn’t backed by venture capital means they can take their time, launching when the product is ready and no sooner. “There’s no pressure other than the pressure we put on ourselves,” he says. “We know when it’s out there, we’ll be proud.”

Breaking the monopoly (again) Seven years after launching Granite Networks, James Mackenzie and Rainer Paduch are again operating an independent data centre in Kanata North By Rosa Saba

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hen Granite Networks first opened in Ottawa in 2011, it was something new on the data centre scene: a carrier-neutral data centre, competing alone against a monopoly – at the time, Primus unit Blackiron, which was bought by Rogers soon after. That’s exactly what happened to Granite. Not long after it opened, the independent data centre was sold to Rogers, restoring the monopoly. Now, Granite Networks’ James Mackenzie and Rainer Paduch have started over with Purecolo, another independent data centre. What’s different this time? Focus, focus, focus, says Mackenzie – and a little bit of luck. Before Granite, Mackenzie saw high demand for a carrier-neutral data centre, which was the impetus behind his first big startup. Six months into the project, he was joined by Paduch, someone he says he had long admired, and together they set out to offer what they felt the big names could not.

“THE DAY AFTER WE OPENED (GRANITE’S) DOORS, WE GOT OUR FIRST CALL FROM ROGERS SAYING, ‘DO YOU HAVE A PRICE IN MIND?” — James Mackenzie, chief operating officer, Purecolo “We could compete against the monopoly and we could do it bigger, better, smarter,” says Mackenzie. “The day after we opened (Granite’s) doors, we got our first call from Rogers saying, ‘Do you have a price in mind?’” Six months later, Rogers bought Granite Networks. Mackenzie maintains this was the right thing for the company, which he felt didn’t have the focus to do what it needed to do. “There’s a whole lot of responsibility in a company to not do what you want to do, but to try to do what’s right for the company,” he says. “What we had built is the good foundation blocks for a successful business.” 14 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

James Mackenzie is the chief operating officer of Purecolo. FILE PHOTO

However, he and Paduch knew that the sale of Granite Networks was just the beginning of what they had set out to do. “We still hadn’t solved the problem in the Ottawa market,” Paduch says. “We really tried to go back to our first principle. Who are our customers, and where are they going to be?”

VALUING SIMPLICITY

The pair had an 18-month non-compete period during which to plan their next venture. They incorporated Purecolo after that time, initially with the intent of opening a centre of the same scale as Granite Networks. However, they soon switched strategies, deciding upon a smaller centre after they had more luck securing smaller businesses for the proposed space. After shopping around for the best location to open Purecolo, they happened upon their current space by luck. Just as their first choice fell through, they found a space inside the Mitel building at 390 March Rd. that had been vacant for eight years. The space had previously been used to bake ceramic parts for Mitel, so it had most of the infrastructure Mackenzie and Paduch needed – namely, “megawatts and megawatts of power,” says Mackenzie – negating much of the costly renovations they would have otherwise had to do themselves. That, plus the landlords’ eagerness to fill the space, meant their new home would cost them just over a third of what the other place would have. “In the end, we were lucky that this

Above: Rainer Paduch is the CEO of Purecolo.

PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

place was here,” says Mackenzie. Purecolo secured financing in April 2017 and, after a summer of construction, the green lights began to blink for their first customer in October of that year. Low startup costs and smaller customers are just a few of the things Mackenzie and Paduch are doing differently. What they really learned from Granite Networks was that focus is key in building a new business, something Mackenzie says they struggled with the first time around. “The problem is, nobody believes that a startup can do everything,” he says, describing how they would offer to help clients with firewalls, websites and more. “We were trying to be everything to everybody, and I think that hurt us.” Having learned from Granite, both Mackenzie and Paduch say simplicity is key. “Pure … colo. It reminds us every time we say the name,” says Mackenzie. They’ve also learned their lesson when it comes to scale. “One of the things we thought we needed to do (with Granite) was make a big splash,” says Mackenzie. Granite had 28,000 square feet of space, which made them the largest independent data centre

in Eastern Ontario at the time. “For a startup, it was a nice feather in the cap, but it was an expensive feather.” Purecolo, meanwhile, is starting smaller, but staying flexible and ready for growth. In the current space, they have another 2,500 square feet available, which could conceivably be taken up by just one client, but they have another 10,000 square feet available to them. And it’s possible they may need that space. Paduch says that though Purecolo has been targeting small- to mid-range businesses, many of the potential clients who have approached them are much bigger than expected. As startups go, maybe a data centre isn’t the most exciting, says Mackenzie. But it’s something they know there is demand for, and the range of customers approaching Purecolo prove just that. “We’re very unexciting,” he says with a laugh. “The work we do is so important because it supports what all those other people are doing internationally.” Paduch agrees, more succinctly: “Boring is profitable.” “It’s really about the customer and giving them as much choice as we can,” he says. “If they prosper, then we prosper.”


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SUMMER 2018 KANATA NETWORKER 15


NEWS BRIEF

Kanata photographer recognized at exhibition

Kanata photographer Steve Cain had four photos selected for an annual exhibition of the best of Canadian photography. The 2018 National Image Salon of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPoC) was held during the PPoC’s annual conference in Richmond, B.C. It featured entries from across Canada. Inclusion in the exhibition offers merits towards designations such as

Left: Artist Margit Hideg says her approach with Wisdom of Trees was to give the busy employees of Kanata North tech companies a feeling for what it means to “get disconnected” – even if just for an hour.

where we live

Creation of Wisdom of Trees exhibition prompts participants to reflect on importance of collaboration, community By Rosa Saba

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16 KANATA NETWORKER SUMMER 2018

workshops, helping participants get used to exercising the more artistic side of their brains. Hideg, who is no stranger to the high-tech world thanks to her work in graphic design and her husband’s engineering background, says her approach was to give the busy employees of Kanata North tech companies a feeling for what it means to “get disconnected” – even if just for an hour. “Each company had a different way of approaching this subject,” Hideg says. “They really enjoyed working with their hands and having a totally different mindset.” Hideg helped the participants explore the theme of “how their roots influence their choices in life,” finishing the project off with a series of video interviews.

street in Verona, Italy won Best Editorial Image, and was on display at the Shenkman Arts Centre in summer 2017. Cain has three national accreditations through PPoC, and is one of just over 200 professional photographers in Canada to achieve the General Portraiture accreditation. He is the owner of South March Studio in the heart of Kanata North’s tech community.

Exploring trees as a representation of the community highlighted the importance of creative collaboration and of community, even in a high-tech world, she explains. “The miracle for me with this project is that it grows organically,” she says. “Once we are creative, we can connect with each other, because that’s the nature of creativity.”

ENGINEERING CREATIVITY

Kanata North tech workers make their artistic mark n the second floor of Kanata’s Beaverbrook Library hangs a chandelier-like formation of more than 150 Mylar triangles, dangling in the natural light from a nearby window. The triangles that make up the Wisdom of Trees installation feature drawings by Kanata North community members, many of them from well-known local tech companies including Ericsson, You.i TV, ThinkWrap and Martello. The project was a joint effort by the AOE Arts Council and the Kanata North Business Association as part of a series of neighbourhood arts projects meant to contribute to last year’s Canada 150 celebrations. The installation was first unveiled in June 2017. Artist Margit Hideg led hour-long

Craftsman of Photographic Arts and Master of Photographic Arts. Cain’s photographs displayed his talent for photographing people, from two studio portraits of clients, to a portrait of a young hockey player at his arena with dreams of playing professionally, which also won first place in an international competition. Provincially, Cain’s photograph Man’s Best Friend of a man on the

For Deborah Naczynski and her team at You.i TV, a video platform development company, the chance to participate in the project was a departure from their dayto-day work. However, her team wasn’t shy about jumping right into the opportunity. Techies might not be always known for their artsy inclinations, but Naczynski says her team is used to integrating a creative mindset into the work they do at You.i TV. “I knew they would jump all over it,” Naczynski says. “The engineers are highly creative … it comes through in a different way.” Naczynski, an outreach specialist at You.i TV, says she considers the firm “an art and science company,” and that the importance of creativity to innovation is often overlooked in the tech world. “To have that influence is so incredibly important,” she says. Pavel Latif, a technical project manager at Ericsson, says that exploring his own connection to Kanata during the workshop helped remind him of why he has grown to love the tech community. “When I first moved here, I was very skeptical. I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Latif says. “But now after living here for four years, when I go to Toronto, I miss Ottawa.” Though visual art isn’t something he does often or comfortably, Latif says the workshop was a breath of fresh air, as well as a chance to see another side of the people he works with every day. “You could see that people were having fun together and trying to create something together. I think that was the essence,” he says. Latif ’s triangle featured

“PEOPLE WERE HAVING FUN TOGETHER AND TRYING TO CREATE SOMETHING TOGETHER.” – Pavel Latif, technical project manager, Ericsson

a tree positioned like a “watchful eye” over his community, representing how he has come to feel about his new home in Kanata North. “I feel safe within this community, within this city.” Latif says he noticed that at work, he felt more comfortable around his colleagues after having seen their creative sides. “People are more relaxed and informal,” he says, adding that projects like this are a good way to make friends, not just within the company, but within the Kanata North tech community. Jenna Sudds, the former executive director of the Kanata North Business Association, says the intent of the project was exactly that – to bring community members together in ways beyond their day-to-day work. “This is a technology community, and we were asking them to get out of their comfort zone a little bit,” she says. “It was really fun to witness just how creative these folks are.” Naczynski says she thinks the inclusion of more arts projects can only benefit the business community, which she calls “overwhelmingly technological.” “If you don’t try to introduce the artistic community in with what you’re doing every day ... you just miss out on some really, really important skills,” she says. “It’s definitely a conversation that should be had.”


NEWS BRIEF

Kanata’s Yoppworks partners with IBM

Online programming firm Yoppworks has partnered with IBM, allowing it to expand its open source product offerings using some of IBM’s technology. The Kanata North company specializes in open-source consulting, training and solutions. In a news release, Yoppworks CEO

Jack Gulas said partnering with IT giant IBM will “create a groundswell” in the open-source industry, allowing the much smaller company to benefit from IBM’s expertise and reach. A spokesperson says the collaboration will expand its capabilities in predictive and

cognitive analytics, enabling more growth in the open-source market both locally in Kanata and to Yoppworks’ global customers. According to the statement, the partnership will also help IBM “transform” its customers through the adoption of the open source technology Yoppworks is known for.

profile

Jamie Petten scales up New KNBA executive director aims to be a ‘champion for talent’ in Canada’s largest technology park By Rosa Saba

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or virtually her entire career, Jamie Petten had a front-row seat to see the strength and ingenuity of the Kanata North tech community as its established anchor firms and startups alike expanded locally and abroad. Now, as the newly appointed executive director of the Kanata North Business Association, Petten is preparing to shepherd in a new phase of growth. “There’s a unique opportunity for Kanata North as Canada’s largest technology park to really drive our Canadian innovation forward,” says Petten. Petten began her career fresh out of university with the SPA Group of Companies, building the brand-new business’s home offices and overseas development in Jamaica from the ground up. She had stayed in her home city to study communications and psychology at the University of Ottawa, and though the responsibility of building a new company was a big step for a new graduate, she took the challenge on with confidence. The company was, and still is, successful. But after four years, Petten says she was ready for a new – and bigger – challenge. “What I learned about myself during that time is my passion for building businesses and building brands,” Petten says. “Being from Kanata, I turned to where I knew, from legacy, to an entrepreneur that had built many businesses and brands in Kanata.” That entrepreneur was Terry Matthews, who played a key role in founding the L-Spark Accelerator Program through his company, Wesley Clover, along with Invest Ottawa. Petten saw an opportunity to do the kind of work she had grown to love, but on a larger scale and focused on her home community. So, like many of the tech startups Petten champions, she scaled up, this time as a member of the founding team of L-Spark with Leo Lax and Patrick White. She helped build the business accelerator from the ground up, finding

Jamie Petten is the new executive director of the Kanata North Business Association. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

“THE CREATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BA HAS ENABLED THE COMMUNITY AND THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES WITHIN IT TO CONNECT AND LEVERAGE THEIR COLLECTIVE RESOURCES IN A WAY THAT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN DONE OTHERWISE.” – Jamie Petten, executive director, Kanata North Business Association inspiration and reward in helping small tech companies establish themselves and eventually attract venture capital. Petten says the Kanata North tech community itself was “the impetus behind forming L-Spark.” The company’s focus was on connecting experienced people from some of the successful tech firms in Kanata with emerging entrepreneurs as part of an accelerator program meant to steer startups toward the investment they would need to maintain their momentum toward success. “We worked diligently with those companies on a day-to-day basis,” Petten says. “There was nothing that we thought we couldn’t do.” With 36 companies in L-Spark’s portfolio and a growing, diversifying community of tech firms in Kanata North, Petten once again began to look to bigger projects. Many of the companies in the technology park were making their names known nationally and globally, and with the Kanata North Business Association – now five years old – she saw an opportunity to continue the work she loved on yet another level. “I started to really see the full picture of Canada’s technology community,” Petten says. “The creation of the Kanata North BA has enabled the community and the technology companies within it C

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to connect and leverage their collective resources in a way that could not have been done otherwise.” Where she once had just one company under her wing, Petten will now have several hundred. Nevertheless, she feels her experience and passion for helping businesses grow will translate well to the growth of the Kanata North community. She says she wants to continue the push to attract diverse talent into the Jiffy print ad.pdf 1 13/06/2018 3:51:15 PM

technology park, as well as to show companies the potential talent available in Kanata. “I am looking forward to being a champion for talent … both as a young leader and as a woman leading in technology,” Petten says. “I’m looking forward to working with those that are already here in the region and attract others who have unique and diverse perspectives to support our companies.”

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NEWS BRIEF

Cannabis grower Tweed opens Kanata North office One of the country’s largest cannabis producers now has a home in the Kanata North Technology Park. This spring, a large sign bearing

the stylized name of Tweed – a subsidiary of Smiths Falls based Canopy Growth – was affixed near the top of the office building at 555 Legget Dr., where the company has

Algonquin College pitches new DARE District to Kanata tech firms President Cheryl Jensen says she wouldn’t rule out eventually establishing a footprint in Kanata By Kieran Delamont

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lgonquin College’s president travelled to Kanata this spring to share her vision of an “education city” and invite members of the country’s largest technology park to collaborate with the school in creating a new cohort of skilled workers. Cheryl Jensen’s presentation at Tech Tuesday – a monthly Kanata meetup spearheaded by Terry Matthews – came just ahead of the opening of Algonquin College’s DARE District, a $44.9-million multi-use facility designed to stimulate incubation, innovation and entrepreneurship. DARE – which stands for discovery, applied research and entrepreneurship – serves as a multidisciplinary space for students, faculty, researchers and businesses, and includes a makerspace,

Algonquin College’s $45-million DARE District opened earlier this year. cybersecurity centre and multimedia production facility and more. For Jensen, the DARE District is more than just a building. She argues it’s a bricks-and-mortar manifestation of the college’s identity and mission as it looks towards the next century. “We’re not just saying something about what we think this new and exciting building will become,” Jensen

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told the standing-room only audience at the Brookstreet Hotel. “We’re making a profound statement about who we are as a college. DARE effectively encapsulates the goal and purpose of Algonquin College.” In a nutshell, the DARE District aims to bring students and researchers from different disciplines together, stimulating a cross-pollination of ideas, some of which will hopefully evolve into viable businesses.

leased a full floor on the ninth storey. A spokesperson said that approximately 60 administrative employees were expected to move in this spring and that Canopy Growth is looking to fill “hundreds” positions across the company ahead of the expected legalization of cannabis for recreational use later this year.

KANATA CONNECTION

Algonquin College, like Ottawa’s other post-secondary institutions, is an important source of skilled graduates for Kanata North companies. This was an underlying theme of Jensen’s presentation: By investing in the school’s infrastructure, Algonquin College is investing in the sustainability of Kanata’s tech sector. Some, of course, would like to see Algonquin College or another postsecondary institution establish a physical satellite campus in Kanata, especially since the school owns a parcel of westend land that it’s reserving for “future development.” However, Jensen preferred to outline a more pan-Ottawa vision of “the education city” that emphasizes collaboration between the city’s schools and economic development agencies. Working with the other postsecondary institutions, as well as with Invest Ottawa, the schools are looking at new initiatives such as pop-up learning centres that would allow them some flexibility when it comes to working directly in Kanata. When asked if there were plans to invest in the area, she didn’t rule out the idea of eventually establishing a Kanata footprint. “We’ve been asked many times, ‘Could we have a presence in Kanata?’” she said. “I wouldn’t want to say what might happen, but there’s interest.”

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NEWS BRIEF

KNBA launches first national AV directory The Kanata North Business Association has created Canada’s first Autonomous Vehicle Technology and Innovator Directory. The launch,

which coincided with National Autonomous Vehicle Day on May 31, is in partnership with Invest Ottawa and the Canadian Automated Vehicles

Centre of Excellence. Canada’s network of AV contributors – companies, universities, innovators and more – has been steadily expanding, with more than 70 companies and organizations in Ottawa alone contributing technology and expertise to the AV industry. The Kanata North Technology Park is home to global leader BlackBerry QNX, as well as companies such as

Neptec Design Group, which has developed an autonomously capable rover. Elsewhere, Ford announced plans in 2017 to invest $337.9 million for an autonomous vehicles R&D centre in Ottawa. The directory will be hosted in Google Sheets, populated by KNBA and Invest Ottawa with the eventual aim of including companies across Canada.

Discover TechNATA showcases growth and success of Kanata North T

he diversity of Kanata’s tech sector was on full display this spring at the Brookstreet Hotel as some 2,500 attendees gathered for one of Canada’s largest tech expo and career fairs. The 80 exhibitors ran the gamut from a one-person startup to a 45-year-old anchor of Kanata’s tech community. All had similar goals: Scout out the region’s top talent and highlight the creative solutions local firms are applying to compelling challenges. Neptec’s booth featured the company’s co-op students displaying the firm’s infrared cameras, which have been used on the International Space Station. BlackBerry QNX was parked in the hotel lobby, showcasing one of the firm’s autonomous vehicles. And representatives from Mitel were chatting with recent grads about how an established tech giant could adopt the mindset of a startup. Representatives from participating companies say Discover TechNATA has connected them to employees and helped forge stronger connections with other Kanata tech firms. Magnet Forensics, for one, ultimately hired an employee who they first met at the 2017 edition of Discover TechNATA.

Mike Shane, left and David van Geyn are members the BlackBerry QNX development team that brought the company’s autonomous vehicle to the Discover TechNATA career fair. PHOTO BY REBECCA ATKINSON “Aside from direct hires, I really appreciate the connections I’ve made at Discover TechNATA,” says Thusha Agampodi, a manager at Magnet Forensics in Kanata. “(The event brings together) a diverse set of individuals and leaders from other companies who I keep in touch with and continue to learn from and collaborate with.”

The demographics and background of job-seekers was as diverse as the exhibitors. Luis Dias and Brenda Brassette, a Brazilian couple who have been visiting Toronto in hopes of relocating for IT work in Canada, came to Discover TechNATA to scout out the region’s job market. Both Dias and Brassette were impressed to see the

number of IT companies present at the fair. “I never imagined Kanata would have such a concentration of tech companies,” says Brassette, who was visiting Ottawa for the first time with her husband. Even some experienced Kanata North tech workers saw how the region’s momentum was on display at Discover TechNATA. Ian Durant, people operations leader at You.i TV, commented on how neat it was to see Kanata “thriving.” While the growing number of downtown tech firms may be grabbing headlines, Durant says he speaks to plenty of young workers who love working in Kanata North and enjoy the professional community’s unique amenities, such as midday yoga sessions and weekly summer lunch parties at the Community Hub. Durant says he has seen “tremendous growth” in both the volume of available positions and number of companies hiring in the last five years he’s worked in Kanata North. Now in its third year, Discover TechNATA has seen the same dramatic growth as Kanata’s tech sector, with the number of exhibitors more than doubling since the career fair launched in 2016.

For organizers, it’s one more sign that Kanata North has achieved a critical mass of skilled workers and leading companies, and continues to thrive as Canada’s largest technology park. — By Rebecca Atkinson

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FIGHTING CRIME IN THE CLOUD Magnet Forensics builds Kanata team to advance software used to investigate child exploitation, terrorism and other cases around the world

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NEPTEC’S NEW FRONTIERS IN SPACE Page 12

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SUCCESS HAPPENS HERE Connect with Kanata’s high-growth community

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SUCCESS HAPPENS HERE Connect with Kanata’s high-growth community