According to Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, “a good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” And that’s exactly how the game is being played in the thriving Ontario Technology Corridor, as evidenced by “hockey stick” expansions by companies including Google Inc., Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), Gameloft Inc. and Arkadium Inc.
The Ontario expansion of multinational digital media companies comes as Martin Soltys, CEO of Transmedia Entertainment Partners Ltd., an offshore investment fund intent on investing in Canadian gaming, digital media, film, music and TV projects, stated in TechVibes last month that “Canada could rise from third worldwide to become number two and eventually number one in the worldwide scope.”
Google’s presence in Kitchener, Ont. has increased six-fold from 35 employees in 2008 to more than 200 today, many from the neighbouring University of Waterloo. Those employees work on key Google projects including Geocommerce product search, the Chrome Browser and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. In the same Ontario city, Electronic Arts is expanding to a new location to accommodate its growing team.
Bill Elliot, Integrative Trade Consultant for Canada’s Technology Triangle in Waterloo Region and a member of the Ontario Technology Corridor, says, “Ontario continues to score with top talent and financial incentives. Ontario also has a tremendous team of home-grown all-stars fed by 22 colleges and universities that produce18,000 graduates per year from 174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.”
Federal and Ontario provincial research and development tax credits combine to give Canada the most favourable tax treatment among G-8 countries. Ontario innovation companies are able to cut R&D expenditures by up to 63 per cent.
Other recent gaming and digital media wins in the Ontario Technology Corridor include:
Ontario’s lead agency for provincial incentives in digital media is the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). Darius Basarab, Senior Business Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, says, “Ontario is well positioned to compete with other jurisdictions that are trying to attract gaming firms and we have a lot to offer.” To date the OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million – and the OMDC continues to offer the following incentives:
Ontario’s fast-growing entertainment and creative cluster employs nearly 300,000, while contributing $12.2 billion to the province's GDP.
The C.D. Howe Institute, which studies social and economic policies, notes Canada’s international reputation as a destination for capital and investment is better than it has been for a generation. Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will fall to 15 per cent this year — less than half of the top U.S. federal marginal corporate income tax rate, and the lowest in the G7 plus the lowest R&D costs in the G7, with a 12.9 per cent advantage over the U.S. Canada also has the world’s soundest banking system according to the World Economic Forum.]]>
Executives from the Ontario Technology Corridor are attending Interop New York this week to show ICT companies from around the world that Ontario is the best place in North America to expand or relocate their businesses. According to Branham Group Inc.’s report entitled Canada's ICT Industry: A National Perspective released in August, The Canadian province is home to the highest concentration of leading ICT companies in Canada. 52.4% of Canada’s top 250 companies are in Ontario. Those companies contribute more revenue than all other provinces in Canada combined, with $41.1 billion coming from the top 250.]]>
The province of Ontario has committed $25 million to this project to support Ontario’s leadership as a global centre for the development of transformative communications technologies.
From Cisco's news release about this announcement, posted at The Network - Cisco's Technology News site:
"Ontario has long been globally recognized as a centre of excellence for IT innovation. Both the Province and Cisco share a dynamic vision for building on the substantial IT R&D capability resident here and we see a key opportunity to join forces to further Ontario’s innovation machine. This collaboration and co-investment is an excellent example of how governments can partner with industry to help drive innovative strategies."
John Chambers, Cisco Chairman and CEO
The government of Ontario is an active player in the province’s innovation economy. The Ministry of Research and Innovation is investing $3 billion to bolster Ontario’s world-class education system, highly skilled workforce, creative environment and diverse culture. Ontario has a vast talent pool for IT companies looking to expand or relocate to Ontario Technology Corridor cities, and 55% of Ontario residents aged 25-64 have advanced education certificates, diplomas or degrees – compared to 51% for Canada as a whole and 39% for the U.S.
The Ontario Technology Corridor also boasts a talent engine fueled by 11 universities and 11 colleges – many offering extensive internship and co-op education programs highly responsive to technology industry needs.
As reported in ITWorld Canada's recent story: This “massive” new investment will create 300 jobs in Ottawa and Toronto. From this same article, Chambers affirmed that Cisco looks for specific conditions for investment: a skilled workforce with a solid education base; solid infrastructure; and entrepreneurial spirit in both business and government when they invest in expansion.
“Canada's been very good to Cisco,” said Chambers, naming Canada the company's third-largest market. He also called Ontario “an amazing location in the world in terms of your IT workforce.”
In Ontario we've got it all. Please explore the Why Ontario and Incentives sections of this Web site for more information on why Cisco chose the Ontario Technology Corridor.]]>
Toronto, Ontario – May 17, 2011 – You can wait for Hollywood to come to you, or you can go to Hollywood and bring some home. In February, executives from the Canadian province of Ontario’s talent-rich tech cities went to the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles promoting pixel-perfect business conditions for expanding entertainment companies. A successful meeting with American United Entertainment LLC’s CEO Robert Rodriguez (Managing Director of American United Media Fund, LLC.) has quickly created a $40 million investment in media, film and television production infrastructure representing three to four upcoming feature films, television and/or digital media projects.
Pleased to discover Ontario’s open-arms approach to the film production and digital media industries, Rodriguez, whose backers include a who’s-who of Hollywood heavy hitters including Bill Mechanic of Pandemonium Films (former Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment), Arnold Rifkin of Cheyenne Enterprises (Producer of “Die Hard”), Toronto-based Kevin Hicks, and Thomas Sherak of Revolution Consulting (currently President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), who’s in charge of distribution for the company. One of American United Entertainment’s upcoming feature films is “Your Perfect Angel,” directed by comedy director Donald Petrie, who also directed Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality” and Kate Hudson in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
“Toronto’s an incredible city to do feature films and digital media, and thanks to the Ontario Technology Corridor and their many government and private sector partners, we’ve had our eyes opened to the possibilities for American United Entertainment expansions in gaming, special effects and social media,” says Rodriguez. “The fact that our industry is a provincial priority and there’s a wealth of graduates from colleges and universities as well as veteran production talent and companies makes Ontario a very compelling place to expand our business.”
“We are thrilled to welcome American United Entertainment to Canada’s digital entertainment heartland,” says Gerald Pisarzowski, Vice-President Business Development with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), an Ontario Technology Corridor partner. Pisarzowski and his Ontario Technology Corridor colleague Blair Patacairk, Senior Director, Investment, for the Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation, met with Rodriguez last February on a foreign direct investment trade mission that also included meetings at San Francisco’s Game Developer’s Conference 2011.
“This was a total team effort,” says Pisarzowski. “We also want to credit this investment win to follow-up collaborations from the Entertainment and Media Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and RBC, the major sponsor of the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, City of Toronto and Invest Toronto.”
In Ontario’s collaboratively linked technology regions of Toronto, Ottawa, Waterloo Region, London and Niagara, 22 universities and colleges are pumping out more than 18,000 graduates per year. They come from 174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.
Ontario’s Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is the central catalyst for the province’s cultural media cluster – to date the OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to support 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million – and continues to offer the following incentives, including:
In addition to American United Entertainment, Ontario’s digital media and entertainment tech talent bank has attracted other international companies including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Capcom Entertainment. Animation, special effects and mobile apps talent from homegrown firms such as Starz Animation, XYZ RGB, Digital Extremes, Silicon Knights, and RIM also help create exciting cross-platform entertainment products. These products run on everything from gaming devices to smartphones to Internet tablets to personal computers and 3D cinema screens.
About American United Entertainment LLC
American United Entertainment is a Media company with divisions in digital media, finance, production, VFX, 3D, film and television. The company is committed to delivering spectacular media entertainment that is setting new standards in the entertainment industry. The company is lead by a team of experienced top equity finance executives, Hollywood producers and writers. American United Entertainment’s mission is to create top intellectual properties that have cross platform industry markets, state-of-the-art and commercial viable motion pictures and television properties.
About the Ontario Technology Corridor
Employing nearly 260,000 people among 6,400 companies within Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors, the Ontario Technology Corridor includes the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa Region, Waterloo Region, City of London and the Niagara Region. The Corridor also welcomes in partnership the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as well as the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
The Ontario Technology Corridor is supported by the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI), Canada’s Technology Triangle, the London Economic Development Corporation and the Niagara Economic Development Corporation.]]>
ThinDesk Inc. offers small and medium-sized businesses secure, cost-effective IT infrastructure – managed computing services and thin client, replacement PCs – that is always on, accessible from anywhere and easy to maintain. ThinDesk supports entire IT environments, from the desktop to the back office, across wide area networks and the Internet, for businesses in health care, financial, educational and business services industries.
Founded in 2006, with an infusion of investment capital from Canadian Investors Corporation, ThinDesk forged a partnership with TELUS Communications Company in 2007. With the partnership, ThinDesk gained a fully scalable, Canada-wide, enterprise-class TELUS data centre infrastructure and skilled personnel. At that time, ThinDesk also changed its platform from an old server base to a new platform based on VMware virtualized Hewlett-Packard (HP) Development Company, L.P. servers.
Today ThinDesk can serve an unlimited number of new customers. The company manages the network between its offices and its customers, and between its customers’ software and the thin clients on the desktops. TELUS manages everything inside the date centres including maintenance and customer updates. With TELUS, ThinDesk delivers an Always On Guarantee© to ensure its clients’ businesses are supported 24/7.
ThinDesk, a private company headquartered in Markham, Ontario, benefits from close proximity to the large business market in the metro areas within the Ontario Technology Corridor. Ontario is home to the largest SMB market in Canada. ThinDesk serves companies in more than 70 facilities throughout Ontario. As well, ThinDesk has strong partnerships with Ontario-based operations at Hewlett-Packard, Unisys and TELUS – with its $250 Million world class data centre located in Toronto.
Award-winning author of Who’s Your City, University of Toronto Professor Richard Florida has said Toronto has a fresh energy that places it among the globe’s most powerful urban centres with “the ability to attract people from all over the world.” ThinDesk and TELUS employ a full complement of technologists and other staff skilled in a variety of areas of expertise, and so Toronto suits the company. ThinDesk is also pleased to serve the growing businesses found throughout smaller and rural Ontario communities.
ThinDesk’s solution centralizes data in powerful, secure and energy efficient SAS 70 Data Centres and provides access to customers’ applications from anywhere in the world either from their office desktop clients or from any browser-based device with internet access to a company’s secured VPN. ThinDesk solutions can save up to 40% of the annual total cost of ownership of traditional, distributed servers and PC environments.
For Greenferd Construction Inc., ThinDesk’s thin computing solution is expected to deliver a Return On Investment (ROI) in just two years. Greenferd, a construction management firm in the Toronto area, was struggling with an IT setup that hindered productivity of the company’s 22 employees. After implementing ThinDesk technology, Greenferd benefited from:
Industry analysts predict Thin Computing solutions are the wave of the future. Gartner Inc. named “green IT” a top strategic technology in 2008. Green IT is one of ThinDesk’s key features. A ThinDesk replacement thin client desktop typically consumes one-tenth the energy of a traditional desktop PC. As well, ThinDesk efficiencies enable branch and remote or mobile offices to lower company costs by reducing overall emissions and energy use as well as eliminating IT maintenance required in the field.
The company’s national partnerships support its growth. ThinDesk secured distributor pricing status from Hewlett-Packard for the benefit of its customers. In 2009, Hewlett-Packard became the world’s largest thin client manufacturer and is pursuing alliances with ThinDesk to expand global product line.
Download a PDF version of this story here.]]>
With roots in popular console and personal computer video game development, Keyframe Digital Productions Inc. has evolved into a full service digital art, animation and visual effects studio. Focusing less on gaming and more on visual effects and animation, the company is producing original animated television series and providing visual effects and cost saving pre-visualization for blockbuster films.
Founded in 1997 by Clint Green and Darren Cranford and located in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, a community nestled between St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Keyframe’s digital effects and animation work includes original children’s animated series and international movie blockbusters, such as X-Men and Driven.
Over the last five years nearly every film nominated for a special effects Oscar has used technology development in Ontario. As a result of Ontario’s international special effects reputation, The Computer Animation Studios of Ontario (CASO), a non-profit organization, was founded in 2005 to promote and grow the province’s industry. Brian Simpson, Keyframe Chief Executive Officer, has been a member of the CASO board since December 2007.
The Ontario government provides film and television producers with financial incentives to do business in Ontario. The province has the highest research and development (R&D) tax credits of any G7 country, better than France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. In fact, the combined federal and provincial tax breaks can repay up to CDN $44 for every CDN $100.00 spent in R&D. For example, the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects (OCASE) Tax Credit refunds 20% of the labour costs accumulated for computer animation and special effects activities.
Keyframe is the first Canadian company to specialized in pre-visualization, a process that is used to plan a scene before filming commences. Starting as storyboards, the scene is generated by a computer as low-resolution animations. The sets created in this phase are exact replicas of the stage and after these virtual sets are built, rough computer versions of the actors can be created. Through this, a director can begin directing the movie even before decisions on cast and locations are finalized. They can plan backgrounds, evaluate complicated stunts, light sets and test camera movements.
Pre-visualization can also expose potential production problems. “When we were working on X-Men, the production crew was in the process of building a very expensive 40-foot stone wall and a huge bluescreen,” said Cranford. “But by creating the exact camera view - looking out of the jail cell - we realized that most of the wall and the area behind the camera were not visible on camera, so we were able to save the production a huge amount of time and money on the construction of the set.”
In addition to doing pre-visualization work for X-Men, the studio has also worked on Head of State, with Chris Rock, and The Secret Window, starring three-time Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp.
Keyframe recently did visual effects, including wire and rig removal and created computer generated elements such as crowds and police vehicles, for XIII, a NBC Universal Inc. four hour television mini-series starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer. The studio also performed motion tracking, color correction, blur effects and removed unwanted elements, while cloning and adjusting other elements from the original footage to complete the finished sequence.
Keyframe is working with Kavaleer Productions, based in Dublin, Ireland, to co-develop the animated children’s series Sock Monsters. “We are currently in negotiations with several European children’s networks who are very pleased with the animated samples and love the creative concept,” said Brian Simpson, Chief Executive Officer.
In February 2008 Keyframe announced that it is developing an original children’s animated series, Peggy’s Little Harbour. “We’ll launch Peggy through a Canadian broadcaster, with whom we are in discussions,” said Green, “then roll it out in Europe, the United States and Latin America.”
Keyframe also announced in February 2009 that it was selected to provide visual effects for Warehouse 13, a SCI FI Channel original series. Filming began in March 2009 with an eye to a July premiere.
Keyframe Digital Productions Inc.
Download a PDF version of this story here.]]>
Beginning with a handful of employees in a small London plaza over 15 years ago, Autodata Solutions, Inc., headquartered in London, Ontario, with presence in Toronto, Ontario, has grown to more than 225 employees working in Canada and the United States. Today more than 25 million consumers each month use Autodata’s web-based tools to complete their online vehicle research, configurations and comparisons. With excellent growth prospects in existing markets, the company is sending the message that things are just getting started.
If you’ve bought a car recently, you’ve probably done your initial research online. And, if like an increasing number of consumers, you have compared vehicles, specifications and built your new car online, the information you used to make a buying decision was likely the result of Autodata Solutions’ work.
Based in London, Ontario, Autodata Solutions provides information technology (IT) solutions and professional services to auto manufacturers and fleet companies, enabling them to streamline and automate their sales, marketing and technology activities. Evolving from a vehicle data provider with a focus on content aggregation, Autodata has become a leading provider of web technology and custom-built solutions that respond to the automotive industry’s changing business needs.
As a North American enterprise and ecommerce partner to the world’s foremost automotive brands ranging from Acura to Volvo, Autodata delivers market analytics, product planning and training, vehicle configuration management, lead management, order placement, and in-dealership retail systems. Many automotive clients use Autodata’s technology and data-enabled solutions to power consumer-facing, competitive comparison web sites.
With a head office in London, Ontario, Autodata Solutions has easy access to both Canadian and U.S. markets, allowing the company to effectively serve its expanding North American client base. The London area also boasts excellent access to several world-class universities, colleges, and an enriching, rewarding environment in which to live.
Being a high-tech hub, Ontario offers companies the opportunity to benefit from a wealth of business and technology professionals with diverse skills, knowledge and expertise. The central Ontario location has in part helped Autodata Solutions become the dynamic, entrepreneurial company it is today.
Autodata Solutions responds to market demands and enables the auto industry to upgrade to web-centric business practices. Extensive OEM knowledge helps the company outpace larger technology providers in the industry and Autodata is equipped to build innovative technology solutions uniquely adapted to the automotive sector.
The combination of an increased consumer preference for online vehicle research and commerce and Autodata’s demonstrated expertise in web-based and data-enabled solutions positions the company as a choice supplier in a changing market. Autodata delivers many ebusiness tools, content platforms and a wide variety of technology to an increasing number of automotive clients, helping them improve both their sales chain effectiveness and profit potential. Solutions include:
Autodata Solutions plans to continue building on its solid reputation as a leading provider of industry expertise, technology platforms, professional services and data. With the ongoing growth of personnel, technology and clients, Autodata Solutions anticipates participating in increasingly high-profile projects that will shape the future of automotive ecommerce.
Excellent growth opportunities in existing markets are fueling the continued addition of talented business and technology professionals to the Autodata Solutions team.
Autodata Solutions, Inc.
Download a PDF version of this story here.]]>
Backbone Magazine, Canada’s national business, technology and lifestyle publication, reports that sixteen of the top 25 companies in Canada are from Ontario. The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world.
Toronto is Canada’s finance, media and entertainment centre. Richard Florida, author of best-selling books about global economy and a regular contributor to publications and programs such as The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, BBC and CBS, forecasts Toronto will be among the world’s fastest-growing business sectors over the next generation. “Toronto’s fresh energy places it among the world’s most powerful urban centres. It has the ability to attract people from all over the world.” Toronto offers an abundance of technological expertise and more social stability and ethnic diversity than most North American super-cities.
Ontario is home to strong support organizations and world-class research and development facilities serving the province’s entrepreneurs. An example, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives commercialization of cutting-edge research and offers programs such as the Investment Accelerator Fund to provide eligible technology-based start-ups with up to $500K in seed investment.
Marketcircle recently outgrew its original office and moved its world-class software development operation to a bigger space in Markham, part of the Greater Toronto Area. Marketcircle CEO Alykhan Jetha, with well-established roots in Toronto’s business community, would not locate his company anywhere else. Marketcircle’s employees enjoy access to Canada’s comprehensive, public healthcare system and the vibrant Toronto lifestyle.
Mac OS X (including iPhone) made up 10.41% of systems in use in Jan. 2009. Windows’ share declined slightly the month before. Said Arik Hesseldahl, in the Feb. 2009 issue of BusinessWeek, “This is a good indicator for growth at Apple, despite the downturn. Apple is still an early platform adoption story with plenty of headroom for growth, driven by the iPhone and Mac.”
As an Apple business partner, Marketcircle’s successes soar alongside Apple’s. Marketcircle’s business software and its newest offering – Macworld 2009 Best of Show winner, Daylite Touch for iPhone – sell across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and into Singapore and South Africa.
Both Apple and Marketcircle focus on the needs of small business and eager start-ups. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 98% of all U.S. firms employ less than 100 people and 90% have less than 20 employees. These small businesses are responsible for 97% of all new jobs in the U.S.
Marketcircle creates a number of connectors linking Daylite software to other small business boosting products, such as FileMaker Inc.’s database software and MYOB Limited’s AccountEdge package. By integrating with other small business software, Marketcircle manages its expansion into a still growing customer base.
Mobile computing is on the rise. Marketcircle is poised to meet this trend. Daylite Touch, for iPhone and iPod touch, brings the unique collaborative and productivity benefits of Daylite to the mobile masses. “Daylite Touch is offered as the most advanced and cost effective small business productivity platform,” says CEO Alykhan Jetha. “Leveraging the legendary ease of use of the Mac and iPhone, Daylite Touch users become more competitive.”
Daylite Touch syncs over the air with 3G, Wi-Fi, or 2G EDGE and offers a more distinctive set of collaborative features than either Microsoft’s Exchange or Apple’s MobileMe.
Download a PDF version of this story here.]]>
With names like Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Silicon Knights Inc. has blasted to the top of the video gaming world, working closely with the likes of Nintendo Company Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. Silicon Knights began in the basement of a home in St. Catharines, Ontario almost twenty years ago. The company was incorporated in July, 1992, and its first games were real-time strategy/action hybrids for the PC, Amiga and Atari systems. During the final stages of development of the company’s last PC game, Dark Legions™ (1994), Silicon Knights found its calling – creating and writing compelling stories, and the creation of backgrounds for characters.
The company has turned this expertise toward developing new ways to make non-linear content in games, resulting in the company’s first action-adventure game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain™ (1996) for the Sony PlayStation. In 2000, Silicon Knights became an exclusive second-party developer for Nintendo, during which time they created the critically acclaimed Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem™ (2002). Later with Nintendo and Konami Digital Entertainment Inc., Silicon Knights created Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes™ (2004). Most recently, Silicon Knights released Too Human™ with Microsoft on the Xbox 360.
The company is now based in downtown St. Catharines and utilizes the talents of more than 140 employees. Silicon Knights is an active member of the video gaming industry, working with the Ontario government and peers to develop an action plan for the province to make Ontario a more attractive place for this industry.
Silicon Knights is nestled in the Niagara region, best known internationally for its wine industry. Company founder Denis Dyack chose to start his business in the city, his hometown, because he believes in the value of drawing on Canadian expertise. “I believe that talent is the overriding factor in this industry more than anything else,” said Dyack, “and you could really make video games anywhere. You don’t need to be in LA, or San Francisco. There is a ton of talent in Ontario – great programmers, great artists – and for me, it was just natural to stay here.”
Dyack’s Ontario pride extends to nearby educational facilities. A graduate of St. Catharines’ Brock University, he stated, “We’ve got the best universities in the world here. You’ve got, within an arm’s throw, twelve or thirteen universities that are world-class – Toronto, Waterloo, Brock (one of the fastest growing universities in Ontario). They’re all in Ontario.” Building on his commitment to working with local universities, Silicon Knights assists with Brock University’s new Interactive Arts and Sciences program, which blends graphic arts with a writer’s perspective to help the institution produce work-ready game developers. He also is one of the founders of the Interacting with Immersive Worlds conference, which is a bi-annual conference, taking place in June, 2009, at Brock University (www.brocku.ca/iasc/immersiveworlds).
In addition to great talent and excellent educational institutions, Ontario also provides funding opportunities for media companies. In February 2008 the Ontario government, by way of the Ontario Media Development Corp. (OMDC), named Silicon Knights as one of the winners of the OMDC Video Game Prototype Initiative. As a result, the company was given a $500,000 grant to go toward the development of a third-person action/psychological thriller. The game is to be released in 2010 on all next-generation consoles. In response to receiving the award, Dyack said “this grant will encourage great talent to stay within Ontario.”
The video game industry is booming as sales of video games rose 20% in 2008 to US$23 billion in North America, according to analysts at Media Control GfK, while sales of DVDs and Blu-ray movies dropped 6% to US$29 billion. The growth is expected to continue in 2009, with video games poised to account for 57% of all home entertainment sales this year.
Acknowledging the potential of the gaming industry, the Canadian Federal government, in its January 2008 budget, committed to provide CDN$28.6 million in funding to Telefilm Canada’s Canadian New Media fund over the next years and will continually provide funding of CDN$14.3 million for each year thereafter.
Silicon Knights will continue its growth trajectory working with Brock University and the Interactive Arts and Sciences program, in addition to working on several new projects.
Silicon Knights Inc.
Download a PDF version of this story here.]]>
With 21 million customers around the globe, Research In Motion Ltd., creators of the BlackBerry smartphone, have become a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of wireless solutions. Founded in 1984 by Mike Lazaridis, Chief Executive Officer and President, the company is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario. In total, RIM employs over 8,000 people throughout the province.
In 1999, the BlackBerry smartphone was introduced as a wireless email solution, today the Blackberry provides customers with access to email, phone, short message service (SMS) messaging, web browsing, Internet and Intranet-based applications, and multi-media features. RIM continues to appeal to various customer bases with new smartphones, including the recently released BlackBerry Storm, the company’s first touch-screen smartphone. “The BlackBerry Storm is a revolutionary touch-screen smartphone that meets both the communications and multimedia needs of customers and solves the longstanding problem associated with typing on traditional touch-screens,” said Lazaridis.
Stretching across 23 buildings, RIM is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario – located in southern Ontario, approximately one hour west of Toronto. With a population of approximately 117, 000 the city is Ontario’s fourth largest urban area and ranks 10th in Canada.
In 2007 the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a non-profit research organization, founded by John Jung, current Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Technology Triangle (CTT), named Waterloo the “Top Intelligent Community”. The CTT is a regional economic development agency that markets the business potential of the Waterloo Region and is also a member of the Ontario Technology Corridor, a group that promotes Ontario’s enterprise opportunities to the world.
Ontario offers RIM many benefits, including access to highly skilled people, advanced manufacturing capabilities, close proximity to the United States and globally competitive costs. Ontario’s combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate for manufacturers is more than three percentage points below the average in the United States, and is expected to be almost 10 percentage points lower by 2012.
Ontario’s 44 universities and colleges, including three in the Waterloo area –The University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University and Conestoga College – produce 29,000 graduates every year in mathematics, engineering and science. Helping students, RIM is the largest private-sector employer of co-op students in Canada.
RIM has continually increased it’s presence in the United States smartphone space. During the first quarter of 2008, RIM captured 44.5% of the market, according to a report from IDC, a global provider of market intelligence.
The BlackBerry is available in 150 countries and is supported by 425 wireless carriers, including Canada’s Rogers Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. provider of telephone services and Internet access.
In 2008, RIM’s yearly revenue grew by 98% to over $6.01 billion. For a brief period, in November 2007, RIM had a market capitalization of $69.1 billion, surpassing the Royal Bank of Canada as the most valuable company in Canada.
Building on past success, RIM is continually expanding their smartphone line-up, adding new models in 2009. In addition, RIM will continue researching and developing new technologies and continues to recruit employees throughout Ontario and globally.
Research In Motion Ltd.
Download a PDF of this story here.]]>