Why Telstra is getting Involved with Canada’s Supercluster Initiative

May 21, 2021

4 min read

Article content

Let me tell you, when I accepted my new role at Telstra back in April, I was beyond excited that I would have the opportunity to bring my expertise of working in the Canadian business market to help grow the company in the Americas region. 

The timing couldn’t be better. Telstra is fast-tracking its expansion into and within Canada, adding some amazing people, network infrastructure and connectivity through new points-of-presence (PoPs) to support Canadian-headquartered businesses connecting to Asia Pacific.

Many of these businesses are now joining  the next wave of Canadian innovation, and this provides an opportunity to show why Canada and Telstra are a perfect fit.

Having seen the market from a few different perspectives – working with an integrator, a traditional telecommunications provider and a large technology manufacturer – I’ve learned that Canada is so unique and diverse in terms of what we’re creating across products and services, including some incredible innovation across the region. 

The Canadian Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Back in 2017, in developing its budget for that year the federal government realized that for the Canadian economy to be sustainable, it needed to make continual and purposeful advancements in key areas such as digital technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), manufacturing, natural resources, agriculture, scientific research and the ocean.

Since then, the government has invested billions of dollars to establish five “Superclusters" areas of intense business activity made up of companies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations that boost innovation and growth in a particular industry. For context, Silicon Valley is an example of a well-known cluster. In Canada, these Superclusters have been geographically placed so each province across Canada has the opportunity to contribute locally and nationally. And all this is happening by putting every facet of our communities to maximum use.

Overview of the five Innovation Superclusters:

  • Digital Technology Supercluster: This cluster in Western Canada is tasked with developing world leading technologies that will transform business and society.
  • Protein Industries Supercluster: In the Prairies, this cluster is focused on changing the DNA science of genomes and phenotyping for open air agriculture to address world hunger. 
  • Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster: This cluster in Ontario is building next-generation manufacturing capabilities and expanding on current trends such as robotics, blockchain and automation to make Canadian manufacturing a global gold standard in the world.
  • AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster: In Quebec, this cluster is combining the power of retail, and manufacturing, transport and infrastructure to build an intelligent, intuitive supply chain.
  • Ocean Supercluster: This cluster on Canada’s Shoreline is combining the strengths of the industries operating in Canada's oceans, including marine-based renewable energy to create a sustainable environment for future generations.

The companies participating in the Innovation Superclusters Initiative are a mix of local and global organizations. By participating, they are helping the Canadian economy through innovations that they share with the world. By putting tighter controls over their IP, they feed dollars back into the economy and create a solid foundation for long-term growth.

According to projections by Invest in Canada, the positive economic benefits of the Superclusters Initiative over the next 10 years include thousands of new jobs created and billions added to Canada’s GDP, varying from cluster to cluster.

Complementing the government’s investment are dollar-for-dollar matching efforts by Canada’s industrial, venture capital and academic sectors. This will further empower key commercial efforts in energy, banking, finance and investments, manufacturing, technology, and agriculture, and will leverage the massive geographical reach of Canada (the second largest country in the world, by the way). 

Telstra gives a boost to the Supercluster Initiative 

While Supercluster companies are doing a great job of developing and marketing their cluster-borne innovations, they can still benefit from the power of additional reach. 

Telstra can deliver that support by helping these companies bring, and ultimately sell, these innovations to the rest of the world through our network presence, especially with our new Canadian PoPs, and products such as global internetIP transitsatellite servicesSD-WANvirtual private networksEthernet private linescolocationcloud infrastructure, and more. Essentially, we can bring what the Supercluster member companies are creating to Asia, and to the rest of the world, easily. 

Canada has long been one of Telstra’s most requested network routes, and we believe that the time is right for providing new, world-class connectivity options for Canadian businesses seeking to securely connect into the Asia-Pacific region. For Telstra, Toronto is also just a starting point as we’re exploring other major markets in Canada as additional PoP locations.

Working together for the future 

Efforts like the Supercluster Initiative to drive Canadian innovation and the economy, underscore a key point about the telecom industry, which traditionally has excelled at moving data from here to there. But where it’s often fallen short is in managing data, understanding its real value, learning how to store it, mine it and make it work. There is so much growth potential if organizations learn to capture, store, save and use their data in a meaningful way to better understand every aspect of their operations. 

This all impacts how they're able to address the market. 

Telstra has the network capabilities and the market expertise to help companies in Canada optimize the use of their data and innovate for their customers.

Now, this won’t happen overnight. This is a long game for everyone’s benefit, and Telstra is committed to continually investing in its networks to support Canada’s projected growth – and to support North American enterprises in their growing need to connect into and across Asia and beyond.

I’m delighted I get the chance to help my home country grow and be successful, and that starts with helping you and your business. If you would like to chat with me it, feel free to email me directly or connect with me on LinkedIn.