Archived — The Government of Canada Supports Innovative Data Transmission Technologies

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For immediate release
March 2, 2012

Toronto, Ontario — The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) highlighted the importance of partnerships between the Government of Canada, industry and academia to discuss the future of free space optical (FSO) communications technologies in Canada.

"Greater collaboration between governments, academia, and industry is key to unlocking the potential of tomorrow's technological advances," said Minister Goodyear. "Thanks to this investment, people interested in the commercial application of free space optical technology will be able to come together to further develop wireless broadband communication."

Free space optics is a communication technology using light moving between points in free space, rather than a cable, to enable data, voice, and video transmission. This technology can be used to complement existing infrastructure, including fibre optic networks, or for direct communication, such as between satellites in space.

Thanks to contribution of up to $100,000 through FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative, the University of Toronto's Professor Shahrokh Valaee and Canada's Light Fantastic Technologies (LFT) development group hosted a three-day workshop and exhibition during the IEEE's (Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers) annual symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications. Participants were invited to explore collaborations that could lead to new opportunities in high-tech manufacturing, research, and training in southern Ontario and across Canada.

The University of Toronto's ultimate goal is to assemble a research and development cluster bringing Ontario universities and colleges together with local and international partners to develop innovative transportation technologies, communications systems, adaptive intelligent control systems, and robotics. This cluster will have strong ties to other centers in Canada and National Science Foundation Centers in the United States.

"The next essential focus is short-term, buildable applications of FSO that can reach prototype in two to four years," said Dr. Valaee. "That will allow us to demonstrate the practical usefulness of prior work, and create a public appetite for more. Remember, Canadians already have a rich tradition of pioneering accomplishments in communications—and their business applications."

The investment supports the Government of Canada's science, technology, and innovation agenda, which is focused on increasing the country's productivity, creating jobs, and growing the economy.

FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative encourages businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects resulting in a more productive, diversified, and competitive economy. Applications for funding are accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information, refer to Program Guidelines on the FedDev Ontario website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.

For more information about the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, visit: www.ece.utoronto.ca.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports southern Ontario's economy by building on the region's strengths to create opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative, and diversified. To learn more, please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

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For more information, contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Special Assistant – Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
613-960-7728

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
519-571-6879

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