IBM Innovation Incubator Initiative
Early in 2016, IBM partnered with the Province of Ontario to launch the Innovation Incubation Initiative together with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), SOSCIP and the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).
The mandate of the $54 million project is to help 500+ startups, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) fast-track the incubation and development of new technologies and products that can compete in the global marketplace. IBM contributed $24.75 million of in-kind cloud and IBM Watson cognitive technologies, along with associated technical expertise that will help firms accelerate their innovation cycles. To begin, the initiative will focus on priorities in the Financial Services, Healthcare and Cybersecurity fields.
This initiative has four main priorities:
- Provide SMEs with the skills and resources to conduct business more efficiently;
quickly adopt new disruptive technologies;
develop and demonstrate new products and services;
accelerate time to market; and grow in scale to better compete in the global market.
- Help further commercialize innovation to deliver positive impact to Canada’s economy.
- Enhance critical skill development in areas such as big data and analytics.
- Establish an innovation ecosystem with the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), which includes several other Ontario-based innovation hubs.
As an extension of this project, in March 2016, IBM launched a collaborative innovation initiative with Hamilton Health Sciences to help researchers, clinicians, practitioners and private industry explore, collaborate and test real healthcare solutions using new technologiessuch as cognitive computing and advanced analytics.
In September 2016,
the IBM Innovation Space– Toronto
opened, establishing another collaborative innovation hub within the Province. The innovation space is designed for collaboration and co-creation - with startups and developers working side-by-side with IBM consultants, researchers and experts to analyze business opportunities and integrate new mobile, social, analytics and cloud technologies. This network of collaborators will offer mentoring, support services, education and even legal counsel to assist startups as they tackle some of Canada’s biggest challenges in areas such as healthcare, natural resources and financial services.
IBM Cloud Garage
As part of the overall Canadian innovation ecosystem, IBM has established an Innovation Garage on the Ryerson University campus. Acting as a technology consultant with a startup DNA, the Garage helps companies, large and small, design and build engaging cloud applications using IBM Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile DevOps.
With access to IBM experts, tools and technologies, members gain a core set of skills in agile practices focused on cloud integration, systems of record, scalability and security to quickly build out new cloud applications and services on IBM’s cloud platform as-a-service. The Toronto Innovation Garage also offers enterprise clients—who increasingly turn to startups for fresh approaches to industry challenges—with greater access to the most talented entrepreneurs and developers. This accessibility helps these groups connect and build more functional applications, better apply technology across various industries and deploy their solutions into the marketplace.
IBM is the lead industry partner with the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) to develop and deploy a new data integration platform for watershed management. The platform is helping researchers, urban planners and others develop more sophisticated tools to predict floods, safeguard the drinking water supply and forecast the impact of growth and urbanization on vital ecosystems. This first-in-Canada platform assimilates 600 data points per hour, streaming from more than 120 sensors installed within 80 square kilometers of watershed that nourishes urban, agriculture and forested land along the Grand River, the largest inland river system in southern Ontario.