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Information and communications technologies change at an astonishing pace. NRC is keeping Canada competitive in the information revolution by developing IT systems and hardware, finding new ways to use the technology in a variety of applications, and supporting innovation that will benefit Canadians.
The Industry Sector
The ICT sector in Canada is composed of nearly 32,000 companies generating over $130 B in annual revenues. NRC recognizes that ICT is a pervasive enabler in many sectors including health, environment, security, construction, aerospace, etc. It is critical to understand this dual nature of ICT when developing a strategy in order to fully capitalize on the potential of this area for Canada. NRC characterizes ICT activities under four broad headings: software, photonics, microelectronics and wireless.
NRC currently has two "ICT focused" institutes: NRC Institute for Information Technology (NRC-IIT) and NRC Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS). In addition, there are ICT activities embedded in most of NRC's major research programs. NRC-IIT's emphasis is on extracting knowledge from data, improving the human-computer interface and developing anywhere, anytime computing. NRC-IMS develops functional materials and components that will fuel the information revolution of the next decade. Key areas of expertise across NRC include data mining, decision support systems, sensor networks, device technologies (including sensor development), visualization and security. In addition, NRC invests in forward-looking research that explores exciting new areas such as quantum information and quantum cryptography.
NRC's ICT Sector Plan was launched in 2008. The sector goal is to work collaboratively with industry to create the convergent platform technologies that will ensure global competitiveness for the future. NRC will build capacity in gap areas deemed important by industry and other stakeholders. We will continue to develop "ahead of the curve" technologies that will bring Canada to the forefront of this dynamic sector.
“Building Intelligence”, Sensors Networks for Commercial Buildings (Video)
In 2008, NRC launched a 3-year multi-faceted project to develop wireless sensor networks for commercial buildings. Its aim is to optimize energy efficiency and monitor equipment health, indoor air quality and occupant comfort through intelligent systems. It demonstrates an integrated system from advanced sensors for data capture through hardware, software, decision support technologies, communication and response actuation. We expect this sensor network to be a platform that could be adapted to other sectors and applications in the future.The project involves contributions from six NRC institutes, as well as from industrial and academic partners.