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Cisco picks Toronto as one of 4 global innovation hubs

03/05/2014 12:18 EST | Updated 05/05/2014 05:59 EDT
Cisco Systems Inc. has announced Toronto will be the site of a $100-million global innovation centre dedicated to the “internet of everything.”

The centre, to open at RBC WaterPark Place, a new complex scheduled for completion in spring 2015, will bring together startup companies and other innovators involved in developing new applications for smart connection technologies.

Cisco is one of the world's biggest makers of internet backbone equipment and "internet of everything" technology will run on its networks.

The “internet of everything” is a term used to refer to internet-connected things such as smart vehicles, home security systems and appliances — and internet-connected processes, such as ways to connect retailers with customers or companies with their suppliers. It’s a market Cisco estimates to be worth $19 trillion over the next 10 years.

4 global innovation hubs

The Toronto IoE Innovation Centre represents a $100-million investment in design and infrastructure, technology, staffing and operational costs over the next 10 years, Cisco said in a release on Wednesday.

Toronto is one of four such innovation hubs planned by the tech giant. The others are in Songdo, South Korea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an unnamed city in Germany.

Cisco said the Toronto site will be a “North American hub for thought leadership and experimentation.”

“Innovation centres are a key pillar of our strategy to impact the productivity and innovation trajectory of Canada,” Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale said in a press statement.

Commitment to Ontario

“The internet of everything is not only changing the world, but creating new opportunities. Connecting the unconnected has the potential to bring revolutionary change to industries, including healthcare, education, municipalities, transportation and construction,” she said.

Late last year, Cisco committed to investing $4 billion in Ontario over the next 10 years and developing up to 1,700 jobs.

It is a premier partner in the 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan Am Games in Toronto and will also invest in research chairs, professorships and innovation centres at 10 universities across Canada.

Toronto deputy mayor Norm Kelly welcomed the creation of the innovation centre, saying it will boost Toronto as a place to do business.

“It will also position Toronto as a unique tech hub that will allow companies to harness Cisco's expertise and leverage their 'internet of everything' market opportunity,” he said.

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