Tech sector thriving through research
Published Friday, July 20, 2012 12:56PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, July 20, 2012 1:13PM MDT
Calgary’s technology sector has long been overshadowed by oil and gas but it is beginning to flex its muscle and is taking on competitors worldwide.
A lot of the innovative research done here gets started at the University of Calgary.
One day soon you may go to your doctor’s appointment and your physician will use an electronic table top to display your medical profile.
The computer displays patient information like age, height, and weight for the doctor to reference.
The table top can also show diagnostic tests, like a cross slice of the human chest from an MRI.
The system allows the physician and the patient to walk away with an electronic copy of the file and is as simple as dropping an iPad on the table top and the iPad will capture the content.
Programs like this are made possible by Cloud computing.
Jeff Lafrenz is the Network Manager of SurfNet, which is a new Canadian research alliance made up of academic researchers and partners from industry and government.
“Being able to turn that data, first of all, into information that they can look at and make sense out of and then turn into knowledge that they can turn around and use in their business is what we're about,” said Jeff LaFrenz from Surfnet.
At the University of Calgary, scholarship and industry are working hand in hand and local companies are funding much of the cutting edge research in computer science.
The Calgary firm Ivrnet is funding research at the university and it is paying off.
“So far we're thrilled actually. I find that nobody works harder than a student trying to get his thesis done,” said Ivrnet CEO David Snell.
U of C researchers are mapping out phone call activity for Ivrnet's clients and they're turning live, raw data into something people can understand.
This kind of technology will change the way Ivrnet does business.
“What you'll see is a lot of these computers will go away on the wall and we envision half a dozen, maybe 4, large touch screens and a lot of the desks out of the way and people literally controlling data just by grabbing of the hand and dragging it around,” said Snell.
There are also applications for Calgary’s conventional oil and gas business which give geologists a 3D view of carbon deposits underground.
The people behind these displays say the technology is second to none.
“The group of people that we have here, the fundamental researchers, are world experts in their fields. So not only are they world experts but they're drawing students and other researchers to them who are also world experts in their fields,” said LaFrenz.
About 5 percent of Calgarians work in the information and communications sector which is higher than most other cities in North America.