Canadian gov’t opens Big Data Analytics Centre to study the wireless spectrum

The Government of Canada announced the launch of its Big Data Analytics Centre at the Communications Research Centre (CRC), an Ottawa-based innovation lab for wireless communications.

The data analytics centre will allow researchers to collect, analyze, and visualize large amounts of data on Canada’s wireless communication spectrum, which refers to the invisible radio waves that are responsible for everything, from TV and radio broadcasting to data and phone service for smartphones.

Research obtained at the centre will help the government predict areas on the wireless spectrum that have unused radio waves, which can be put to work to ensure that the wireless networks Canadians depend on are reliable and accessible. In addition to telecommunications, the research conducted at the centre will be applicable in other sectors, such as connected cars and other systems that rely on the Internet of Things.

As a report from the Montreal Economic Institute found that IoT development in Canada could be inhibited by outdated government policies, this research centre could be Canada on the right track.

“The research being conducted at the Big Data Analytics Centre has the potential to transform not only the telecommunications sector but all sectors of the economy.”
– Navdeep Bains

“To power their smartphones, tablets, TVs and radios, Canadians rely on the judicious use of wireless spectrum,” said Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science, and economic development. “We can’t make more wireless spectrum, but we can make better use of it. To do that, we need to understand exactly how it’s being used and where. We need to know, in real time, where there are unused radio waves that could be put to work. Big data…gives us the power to turn data into useful insights that allow us to predict where the surplus capacity will be at any given time. The research being conducted at the Big Data Analytics Centre has the potential to transform not only the telecommunications sector but all sectors of the economy.”

With the launch of the data centre, Waterloo-based Cognitive Systems, which develops solutions that enable wireless signals to be used and interpreted in new ways, is collaborating with the CRC to “better understand and monitor” the wireless spectrum for its effective use and growth.

“Canada is fortunate that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is focused on extending the benefits of our increasingly critical wireless infrastructure. Cognitive Systems is delighted to collaborate with the CRC, a world-class research organization, to better understand and monitor spectrum for effective use and growth,” said Hugh Hind, CEO of Cognitive Systems. “Our work with the CRC and the ability to use facilities like the Big Data Analytics Centre aid the development and testing of Cognitive’s…sensor technology.”

The Big Data Analytics Centre is available for other government departments and for collaboration with industry and academia.Last week, the Canadian government also announced $37.4 million in funding for 37 projects at colleges, institutes, and CÉGEPs across Canada.

Photo via Twitter

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.