Rogers And Wavefront Join Hands To Foster Wireless Innovation

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 25, 2012

Over the years, we at TheTelecomBlog have duly emphasized the strong need of innovation in our wireless industry. So, what does innovation mean in the wireless world – is it the journey towards technological integration, the next generation “connected” cars or making wearable technology fashionable?

From a smartphone manufacturer perspective, does it mean making better and more powerful smartphones, preventing them from water damage or commercializing alternate charging mechanisms such as solar energy?

In that context, wireless carriers have often been blamed of commercializing technology in the name of innovation. Rogers, though, has stood out as an exception by venturing into unknown territories such as banking and home monitoring services. And yesterday, the company teamed up with Vancouver based Wavefront to launch the Rogers Wireless Innovation Centre, a new Centre that helps technology innovators develop products and bring them to market faster.

The Rogers Wireless Innovation Centre centre is scheduled to open this spring and will showcase the capabilities of Canada’s first Long Term Evolution (LTE) network along with the latest wireless innovations and technologies, including machine to machine (M2M) solutions for customers and application developers. Wavefront is a well-known name in wireless research and it was named Canada’s centre of excellence for wireless communication research in 2010. The technology incubator has received more than $20 million in funding and it’s research partners includes big names such as include Sierra Wireless, Ericsson and Nokia.

“We’re excited to work with Wavefront to leverage our world-class LTE technology to spur the development of innovative products and solutions for Canada, and Canadians,” said Gordon Nelson, Vice President, BC, Rogers. “Vancouver is a key growth market for Rogers which is why it was one of the first markets in Canada to experience the benefits of our LTE network. We look forward to seeing many more firsts come out of the Rogers Wireless Innovation Centre and helping Canadians understand how machine to machine and other wireless technologies can impact their company’s productivity and compete in a global market.”

The two companies will also work together on the Rogers Wavefront Innovation Mentorship program to support early-stage wireless technology companies for long-term success.

To be honest, I’m not surprised to see Rogers lead by example on wireless innovation as the company holds several “firsts” in the Canadian wireless arena.  It was the first carrier in North America to roll out an HSPA+ network with speeds up to 21 Mbps. It subsequently became the ‘first Canadian Carrier‘ to launch LTE as well.

While I applaud this move, I think the Canadian wireless industry needs more such initiatives and innovators. As my fellow blogger Jordan Richardson wrote in one of his posts “Once an innovative leader in the technology sector, Canada’s presence on the world stage has been slipping for a few years now.”

While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Canada’s “innovation woes” are over, this is another good step in the right direction.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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