TechTalk Blog
North Saanich Test Tank Facility is in the news!

The North Saanich Test Tank Facility at UVic’s Marine Technology Centre is in the news:

$800,000 tank boosts research at UVic’s Marine Technology Centre

Here’s the story:

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , timescolonist.com

A 62,500-litre saltwater pool to test high-tech marine science devices will replace a modified dumpster at the University of Victoria’s Marine Technology Centre in North Saanich.

“It’s like another piece of the ecosystem to help industry and academia do research,” Dale Gann, president of technology parks at UVic, said Wednesday.

The university is spending $800,000 on the three metre deep tank and associated buildings to provide improved facilities for current and future tenants at its technology centre, sited on 6.9 hectares, Gann said.

Kinetic Construction Ltd. started work on the tank, which measures five metres by five metres, on Jan. 3.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of the month.

The concrete tank will be chilled and equipped with a crane to move research devices in and out of the water.

Two-thirds of it will be constructed in the ground, Gann said.

Greater Victoria’s technology sector includes a wide range of marine businesses and non-profit agencies that carry out research and provide services in nearby waters, as well as internationally.

The Marine Technology Centre includes the Neptune and Venus projects.

Neptune, an 800-kilo-metre cabled ocean network in deep waters off Vancouver Island’s west coast, is part of UVic’s Oceans Networks Canada Observatory.

It collects data and video from instruments on the seafloor.

Venus collects information from locations near southern Vancouver Island, including one in the Saanich Inlet, sending real-time data from the seabed through fibre optic cables to UVic.

The tank can be used by Neptune and Venus, UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and for equipment going on the university’s new research vessel, Gann said.

Neptune has been using a modified dumpster in the tech centre’s parking lot.

It is hoped that the tank will attract other tenants to the tech centre, Gann said. At this point, only half of the building space in the 42,000-square-foot marine centre is filled.

Neptune’s nodes, for example, can be lowered into the tank before they are placed into the Pacific Ocean. Scientists use the nodes, or seafloor laboratories, to control and watch over data-gathering instruments.

A new 2,500-square-foot building will give ocean researchers a place to handle fibre optic cables without being in the elements, Gann said. Storage space is included.

Ocean science researchers will be able to develop large devices that have to be assembled, tested and delivered before going to sea.

It is the only such test facility on Vancouver Island, Gann said.

UVic has a truck to deliver seawater to the tank, and to remove it twice a year, Gann said.

 

Power To Play 2012: the dirtiest Victoria tech community event
victoria technology events

The Accent Inn team gets down and dirty

Back by popular demand, Power To Play 2012 will take place May 27th once again at Vancouver Island Technology Park and its beautiful (and muddy) surrounding forests, swamps, and marshlands. There will be more teams, new and exciting challenges and five zones for your family, friends and colleagues to cheer you on and join in the fun – including a participatory Family Zone.

This unique corporate challenge, organized by Power To Be, combines a high-profile location and intensive media support, to create the perfect combination for a successful fundraising event. VITP and the Power To Be team are confident that we will be able to meet our goal of raising at least $125,000.

We hope companies in Victoria’s advanced technology community will join us in making this a reality.

About Power To Play:

– Proceeds from Power To Play will support our delivery of programs and services in the communities we serve
– A maximum of 35 teams participate
– Teams are comprised of four members
– Entry fee is $1,600 per team
– Recommended fundraising challenge of $2,000 per team
– Your company can determine how team members are selected. Make it fun!
– The event includes a unique CEO challenge
– There are two winning teams at the event, the race winners and the top fundraising team

Power To Be itself provides inclusive adventure programs designed to support people facing significant life challenges. Through a community collaborative approach and caring staff, the organization inspires people to connect with nature and discover their limitless ability.

Ocean technology companies need workers!

ocean technology companies in VictoriaValentine’s Day this past week was an especially happy time for ocean technology companies in Victoria as it marked the start of the first concrete step in a federal plan to make the most of shipbuilding in the west. Lynne Yelich, minister of state for the Western Economic Diversification Department came to Victoria to officially hand over $1 million to help construct a dedicated marine training centre (the province and industry are also contributing a further $15. million, for a total of $2.5 million for the project) . This is a follow-up to Seaspan Marine’s $8-billion federal contract to produce noncombat vessels as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. TC Business writer Andrew Duffy did a great overview of the story here.

While shipbuilding and trades may seem like a far cry from what goes on in Victoria’s booming, $2 billion tech sector, the announcement – and the funding – is big news for our industry. For one thing, it shows that the federal government is continuing to pay attention to the needs of western Canadians, both by providing much needed infrastructure, as well as resources for training. Victoria is on the radar.

As well, the $8 billion shipbuilding project itself will provide likely provide benefits for local technology companies. Victoria’s marine technology cluster is part of a larger provincial sector (driven by the port of Vancouver) that is said to generate at least $12 billion of revenue every year, and there will undoubtedly be opportunities for Victoria ocean technology companies to work on Seaspan-related projects.

In other good news, it’s expected up to 4,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in B.C. as a result of the shipbuilding strategy. While the new training centre will help fill the funnel to make sure there will be workers to actually build the ships, there will be other jobs created in Victoria in the fields of software development, procurement, project management, accounting, business development, design, quality assurance… The list of possible jobs is endless, and luckily post-secondary institutions such as UVic are here to make sure there is a continued supplied of knowledge workers.

However, enrollment in math and science streams continues to decline, which means there just won’t be enough workers to fill Victoria’s growing technology industry (it employs 15,000 people!), even before the Seaspan project comes online. So local tech companies need to continue to be creative, and make sure students – and parents – understand what opportunities there are in the industry, and how to get to them.

VITP and its sister-facility MTC are home to a variety of ocean technology companies in Victoria.

North Saanich test tank facility soon to be a reality
North Saanich test tank facility

Photo courtesy NEPTUNE Canada

Underwater robotic devices will be happy: UVic’s own Marine Technology Center (MTC) on the Saanich Peninsula is busily constructing a new state-of-the art building that will house the new North Saanich test tank facility.

Until now, submersible testing has been carried out in a repurposed dumpster in the parking lot. Excavation for the new building has already started, and the new building should be ready for to open by the spring.

The new test tank facility at the Marine Technology Centre is one of just a few in Canada. Although the ocean is close by, testing of instruments and platforms needs to be completed in a smaller, more easily accessed volume, and so far NEPTUNE  have been using a large dumpster filled with salt water.

Says NEPTUNE:

With our new facility, the dumpster is being replaced by a 5m x 5m, 3m deep tank and equipped with a chiller to keep the salt water within it cool. This tank will allow onsite testing of instrument platforms, nodes and most instruments. A small crane will be permanently installed next to our new tank permanently in order to lift and move smaller instruments. For very large instruments like nodes or our Veritcal Profiler System, a larger crane will be brought in to lift these heave delicate and very expensive instruments.

MTC is a University of Victoria initiative that is located at the heart of a growing marine cluster at Patricia Bay, in North Saanich. Neighbours include the federal government’s Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS), and, including other nearby properties, to the Marine Technology Centre, the area offers nearly 80 acres of businesses and institutions devoted to developing and commercializing marine technology.

The Marine Technology Centre itself is home to the VENUS project and the NEPTUNE project; VENUS is the coastal network of the Ocean Networks Canada Observatory, and is a cabled undersea laboratory for ocean researchers and explorers. VENUS delivers real time information from seafloor instruments via fibre optic cables to the University of Victoria, and operations are located at the Marine Technology Center in North Saanich.

NEPTUNE is  the world’s first regional-scale underwater ocean observatory network that plugs directly into the Internet. People everywhere can ‘surf the seafloor,’ while ocean scientists run deep-water experiments from labs and universities anywhere around the world.

The new space at MTC is going to be shared with VENUS and the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Research Vessel Operations and Ocean Technology Test Bed (OTTB). The Marine Technology Centre as a whole is being developed to support and nurture the growth of the ocean and marine sector regionally.

Not only will this new test tank facility expand UVic’s current research and operational capabilities, but this infrastructure investment (including the North Saanich test tank facility) will help create the critical mass necessary for the Marine Technology Centre to become the regional hub for ocean and marine activity.

Cebas unwraps local talent, revealing endless possibilities!

A company of innovation and strong technological aptitude, cebas aims to provide opportunities for new talent to share their ideas in such surroundings is what, we believe, makes them stand out and stay on top. cebas has called the Vancouver Technology Park home for nearly two years.

The cebas / UVic collaboration helps both achieve just that through its continuous strive to explore and grow local talent.

Cebas is working tirelessly with University of Victoria’s Department of Computer Sciences – Graphics lab – on one of the company’s major projects to further enhance their products adding unique features and ensuring impeccable outcomes.

The project focuses on the science of developing methods to simulate water through cebas’ thinkingParticles tool; a rule-based particle systems offering unlimited combination of conditions and operators that define the behavior of each single particle in a particle system.

Computer Sciences Master degree candidate, Jonathan Cobb, is an example of such great talent. The post-graduate student has been providing input, hard work and research material of high quality under the guidance of his direct supervisor Professor Brian Wyvill and internship program supervisor Professor Bruce Gooch.

Results, so far, have been of great significance indicating promising and timely progress. Cebas is certain that the project, once completed, will add immense value to thinkingParticles, with its already powerful and unique capabilities, and -in turn- the industry as a whole.

Check out cebas’ work online!
Nikki de Goey is the Manager of Culture and Corporate Relations at Vancouver Island Technology Park.
SendtoNews.com Closes $1 Million Angel Round led by ParetoLogic Co-Founders to Fuel Continued North American Expansion

Company also announces promotion of President Greg Bobolo to CEO

Victoria, B.C., December 6, 2011 – Cloud-based news platform SendtoNews.com is pleased to announce that it has closed a $1 million financing round from angel investors led by Elton, Adrian and Myron Pereira & Don Wharton, all Co-Founders at ParetoLogic Inc. The funds are targeted to accelerate North American expansion out of its offices in Victoria, San Francisco and New York.

“This round of angel financing will allow us to grow our team, aggressively increase our sales and marketing efforts into the sports event marketing and advertising industries, and continue to innovate and scale our technology to keep pace with the rapid adoption of our cloud-based news distribution platform,” said new CEO Greg Bobolo.

SendtoNews launched its platform at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics where more than 1,450 reporters used the SendtoNews platform to send video to their home networks in over 200 different countries. The platform has since been used for high-profile sporting events worldwide and adopted by North America’s largest news organizations.

The ability of SendtoNews to distribute sporting event highlights for large-scale exposure on web and television presents revenue opportunities in one of the fastest growing segments of a $475 billion global advertising market. Spending on sports marketing and advertising by the top 50 North American companies was up 27% last year, and global sports spending is projected to increase from $114 billion in 2009 to $133 billion by 2013. In the U.S., advertisers spent an estimated $7.6 billion on sports programming in 2009. An average of 81 million people visit sports websites in the U.S. every month.

SendtoNews’s service of packaging and distributing video coverage has unique revenue potential in the sports sponsorship market, which was identified by PricewaterhouseCoopers as the fastest-growing sector of global sports spending, with a forecast increase of 20%, from 29.4 billion in 2009 to $35.2 billion in 2013.

SendtoNews was recently shortlisted for Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Promising Companies.” It was also rated top startup in Western Canada by a panel of U.S. industry experts in Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s October 2011 Technology Growth Initiative (TGI) competition, which identified companies with outstanding U.S. market launch potential.

The company’s success drew the attention of Elton Pereira, a Victoria-based entrepreneur who co-founded the security and utility software company ParetoLogic and helped transform it into one of North America’s fastest growing technology companies.

“I recognized this as an exceptional investment opportunity,” said Pereira. “SendtoNews.com is well positioned in the high-growth space of cloud-based news distribution and has paired a transformational technology with a management team that has an exceptional knowledge of the news industry.”

(more…)

There’s a new sheriff in town!

The Vancouver Island Technology Park would like to welcome another new member of our team, Gina Bugslag!

Gina is our new VITP Collaboration Centre Coordinator and you will find her smiling at the Welcome Desk when you arrive at VITP. Gina is responsible for both guest services and security within the VITP Collaboration during the daytime hours Monday to Friday. Her main goal is to raise our level of hospitality, and to ensure that everyone’s experience at VITP is exceptional. She will do this by offering services ranging from escorting your 3 year old grandson into the building, to providing restaurant suggestions, to assisting you with your meeting or conference set-up, or even offering free life advice!

Gina was previously employed at Vancouver Island University as their Event Coordinator, and has extensive experience in executing a variety of events. We are excited to have her lend her expertise with our Conference Centre, and to assist with the re-branding of the VITP Business Centre.

Gina is a home grown Island girl who was born and raised in Victoria, BC. She obtained a Bachelor of Tourism Management Degree (Recreation/ Marketing) from Thompson Rivers University in 2010. When she’s not at work, you will find her hiking with her dog, playing on her sailboat, or enjoying the snow at the ski hill.

Gina is in the process of obtaining a Basic Security Training (BST) License and holds her Bronze Medallion First Aid Certificate.  Securiguard will continue to work evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, and are excited to work in cohesion with Gina to effectively keep our facility as secure as possible.

Welcome Gina!

For all security related matters please continue to contact 250-483-3215, 250-889-4654 or security@vitp.ca 24/7. For all matters outside of security you can email Gina directly at gbugslag@vitp.ca.

Nikki de Goey is the Manager of Culture and Corporate Relations at Vancouver Island Technology Park.

 

Vancouver Island Technology Park – The place to hit the ground running

Did you hear? We launched a 60-day Facebook campaign at Discover Tectoria last Thursday! As the official sponsor of Startup Alley, we wanted to reinforce to the technology community that the Vancouver Island Technology Park continues to support companies big and small from start-up to Fortune 500.

By simply ‘liking” our Facebook Page and entering our contest you could be the lucky winner of an 8gig iPod Touch! The contest closes February 8th, 2012.

VITP is not only the place where Great Ideas Happen but also the place where they can grow.  Providing an ideal business friendly environment for companies big and small, VITP is the mecca of innovation and technology commercialization in the region.  35 acres, 190,000 square feet, 33 technology companies employing 1100 of the regions brightest individuals all combined make VITP the Place to Hit the Ground Running.

VITP boasts a power of place….a physical and cultural environment that have proven to be true magic.  “Architecture facilitates relationships”, “collaboration through co-location” are just a couple of the real benefits of being located at the park.

The scope of services and expertise VITP offers is unlimited.

•       VITP creates an environment that allows companies to attract and retain high-value jobs for the community.

•       VITP assists in the identification and introduction of angels, venture capitalists and institutional bankers.

•       VITP promotes the reputation of its companies and academic institutional partners.

•       VITP partners with technology associations to attract and retain high-technology companies.

•       VITP develops lasting partnerships among regional, national and international industries, governments and academia institutions.

Thinking of locating at VITP or wanting to find out more information? We have commercial office space for lease to accommodate start-up to medium sized companies.  Contact us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit www.facebook.com/myvitp to enter!

Nikki de Goey is the Manager of Culture and Corporate Relations at Vancouver Island Technology Park.

Microsoft opening new Victoria based gaming studio in January 2012

December 1, 2011 – Victoria Times Colonist

Microsoft Corp. will open a major game design studio in downtown Victoria early in the new year that could employ up to 60 people.

In an exclusive interview with the Times Colonist, the technical director of the project said Victoria was chosen for its strategic proximity to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and for its “livability,” which will help attract the best and brightest in creative, production and design in the global gaming industry.

Chris Robertson said it also helps that Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s gaming division and former president of Electronic Arts, is an Oak Bay resident and didn’t have to be sold on the idea that Victoria was an easy alternative to expanding in Vancouver.

“The sun shines over here, there are no hour-long commutes, housing prices are half as much … it was an easy decision,” said Robertson, an industry veteran who lives in Victoria and sold his gaming company, Blackbox, to Electronic Arts when Mattrick led the firm.

“We wanted to live where we worked and we love the community feel of Victoria … the walkability, the village centres, the bike lanes.”

Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, designs games in centres worldwide with partners. But it does most of its inhouse work at the Redmond campus and in Vancouver, where the company employs 165 at its Victoria Park location.

Microsoft has been remodelling former government office space on the top floor of the Dogwood Building at 1019 Wharf St., at the foot of Fort Street, over the past several months.

The facility, to be called Microsoft Studios Victoria, will have an open, modern design and rooftop garden. Microsoft has an option for the floor below to allow for expansion of its workforce.

The site was chosen for its downtown waterfront location and proximity to seaplanes and ferries to Seattle, Robertson said.

In an email statement, Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Division, said Victoria is well positioned as a game-design hub. “Victoria offers proximity to world-class universities, a thriving, advanced technology industry with a highly educated and skilled workforce, located in one of Canada’s best communities to live in,” he said.

Post-secondary institutions and the local technology sector were thrilled with Microsoft’s decision, saying the company’s “star power” on the global stage will put Victoria on the map and help to attract talented people.

The initial team includes Robertson, his wife and games designer Joanne Parker Robertson and former Electronic Arts veteran Eduardo DeMarta, who will be the studio director.

They aren’t revealing what games will be produced in Victoria, but indicated they would be designing for several formats, including Microsoft’s XBox, as well as mobile and tablet units. The XBox had a shaky start, but its successor, the XBox 360, is the fastest-growing console on the market, having recently surpassed Sony’s PlayStation 3 and set to knock off Nintendo “within the year,” Robertson said.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Vancouver Island Technology Park supports “The Charity Guys” and “Coats for a Cause”

The Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) is proud to support The Charity Guys and their 2011 Coats for a Cause Campaign benefiting the Victoria Cool Aid Society! Notoriously females have been the designated “clothes horses” of a family but we all have those sweaters, coats and toques that we no longer wear and have allowed them to creep into back corners of our closets.  We are asking that you dig out your retired winter articles of all colours, sizes and fashion eras and drop them in the VITP front lobby so that we can help the Charity Guys and hopefully 1000’s of kids, teens and adults in Greater Victoria stay warm this winter! Not only are we offering you the opportunity to give back during the holiday season but also the incentive to clean out your closet!

We will be accepting donations all week until end of day Friday, December 2nd, 2011.  Please drop your donations in the large bin near Security.

About the Charity Guys:

The Charity Guys are nothing more than a group of middle-aged guys looking to make a difference in the community – that’s it. Though this may sound simple or generic, it is the basic premise for our being. We seek to help others and improve the well-being of our community. We feel that, as a group, we’ve been very blessed and privileged thus far, and we’d like to give back by raising the standard of living for those around us.

About  the Victoria Cool Aid Society:

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health and employment services, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help and provides assistance to over 10,000 individuals every year.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society traces its origins to the Cool Aid Hostel, which was established over 40 years ago, on June 10, 1968, to provide short-term, emergency shelter to transient youth travelling the country. Today, Cool Aid operates a diverse range of social and health services for those in our community who are most vulnerable.

Nikki de Goey is the Manager of Culture and Corporate Relations at Vancouver Island Technology Park.

Need one more reason besides doing good for your community? How about so your family doesn’t nominate you for Hoarders based on your closet looking like this: