World Comes to Play in Canada’s Digital Media Scene

By: Lee Rickwood

April 16, 2012

By Lee Rickwood

Digital media training facilities and high tech incubators in Canada are attracting global attention for the home-grown success they’ve achieved – and they are attracting innovative entrepreneurs from around the world to come here and learn how it’s done.

DMZ Open House

Open House activities at Ryerson's Digital Media Zone

In just one such example, Wavefront, the Vancouver-based centre for wireless commercialization and research, is building on a deal with the Cellular Operators Association of India in order to ‘grow the flow’ of bilateral wireless activity between India’s technology and service providers and those in B.C. and the rest of Canada­.

The COAI represents India’s major cellular operators, infrastructure and service providers, and they represent one of the world’s fastest growing wireless phone markets. The two organizations are working together to develop and promote strategic business and partnering opportunities.

Likewise, Brazil feels the digital media heat in Canada, and it is sending a delegation to participate in Canada 3.0, the industry conference that kicks off next week.

The Canadian Digital Media Network stages the event, now in its fourth year. Held in Stratford, ON, the digital media forum brings together all sectors in industry, government, and academia to advance the adoption of digital media technologies in Canada – and the rest of the world.

Brazil, the sixth largest economy in the world, is interested in collaborating with Canada to expand the digital media forum concept to Brazil and enhance business opportunities between the two countries.

Canadian and Brazilian partners from industry, academia and government are collaborating on joint research and development (R&D) projects, equipment loans and student exchanges.

“Brazil could have requested participation in any activity in Canada, and they chose the CDMN Canada 3.0 digital media forum which speaks volumes for the importance of this event to the digital media sector and Canada as a whole,” said Tom Jenkins, Chair of the CDMN Board and Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at OpenText.

CDMN logo

Canadian Digital Media Network

He expects Canada 3.0 to take on an even more international flavour in the future.

And, having helped dozens of tech companies get started in Canada, the Digital Media Zone at Toronto’s Ryerson University is also going global.

For the first time ever, Ryerson is going to offer fellowships at the DMZ for international students from technical schools in Delhi, Madras and Hyderabad, India.

Over the span of four months, seven teams will have the opportunity to develop their ideas in the DMZ’s unique collaborative environment.

Other international fellowships are soon to follow with agreements in place with Communications University China and Nanjing University.

The announcement was made during last week’s open house, part of celebration of the facility’s second year of operation.

The DMZ is described as a multidisciplinary workspace for digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both entrepreneurial start-ups and industry solution-providers.

Two years and 41 start-ups later, the DMZ business incubator thrives and grows: it recently expanded to three levels within its downtown hub.

“This is a very exciting time for the DMZ,” said Valerie Fox, Director of the Digital Media Zone. “In two short years, we’ve grown substantially in terms of scope, space and international reach. We celebrate our accomplishments thus far, and look forward to supporting even more entrepreneurs and cutting-edge digital media as we move forward.”

Digital Media Zone success stories abound. Start-up 500px is an online photographic community allowing users to share, rate and discover inspiring photographs. In November 2011 the company graduated from the Zone to become one of the hottest and fastest growing photography websites globally.

Another Zone graduate, TeamSave, has grown exponentially since incubating in the Zone. The social buying website and platform has recently partnered with classifieds giant Kijiji and now operates in 20 cities in North America.

Flybits, a research company residing in the DMZ, developed and launched GO Transit’s first official mobile application, GO Mobile, together with GO Transit staff. The app was downloaded over 750,000 times in its first eight weeks.

wavefront logo

Wavefront is B.C.'s wireless innovation centre.

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