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Manitoba Launches Provincial TelePresence Network
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011

WINNIPEG, MB – Jan 20, 2011 - Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, today helped launch a provincial network of Cisco TelePresenceTM video conference sites linking UWinnipeg, Brandon University (BU), and University College of the North (UCN) in The Pas.

Other dignitaries taking part in the landmark ceremony at UWinnipeg included Mr. Nitin Kawale, President, Cisco Canada; Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, The University of Winnipeg; Dr. Deborah Poff, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brandon University; and Dr. Kathryn McNaughton, Vice-President (Academic & Research) University College of the North, The Pas.

The Cisco TelePresence system, which promotes energy conservation by reducing travel and delivering measurable energy savings, enables high-quality distance education and more effective collaboration with research sites in Manitoba and around the world.

"An investment in education is an investment in Manitoba's future; I'm honoured that our government has been able to assist in providing technology that will link students from across the province and around the world, allowing research, information and ideas to be shared," said Premier Greg Selinger. "This is just one of the many ways that our government works to support and promote green innovation and education in our province."

"Our Government is committed to building a competitive advantage for Canada and Manitoba based on excellence in science and technology," said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "Through investments in key public-private partnerships, we are helping to support knowledge-based research and development with a focus on the commercialization of new products, technologies and services."

The Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba supported the establishment of this Cisco TelePresence network through an investment of $7 million announced in January 2010 under the Canada-Manitoba Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA).

"The Cisco TelePresence system is transformative in the way the Internet has been transformative. The Internet allowed us to instantly retrieve and share information in ways we could not imagine even 15 years ago," said Dr. Axworthy. "TelePresence shrinks our world even further with tremendous implications for our students and faculty, for citizens of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada in advancing solutions to the many global challenges facing us today. There is also enormous potential to grow this collaborative technology into a viable commercial unit to benefit business, governments, and others in our community."

Cisco donated two TelePresence virtual meeting systems to UWinnipeg, making it the first university in Canada with this advanced technology.

One TelePresence endpoint will be based in the new Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex in the coming months. The second will be located inside UWinnipeg's Faculty of Business and Economics at the newly opened Buhler Centre. UWinnipeg is acquiring additional TelePresence technologies for future use.

"Establishing UWinnipeg as a centre of excellence for innovative collaboration technologies, like Cisco TelePresence, is already reaping benefits in global leadership, economic development, and cost savings," said Mr. Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada.  "As the Cisco Innovation Centre for Collaboration Technologies continues to evolve at UWinnipeg, we look forward to continuing to work with the University, the Province of Manitoba, and the Government of Canada to help academic leaders and government policy makers extend expertise, share resources, and reduce environmental impact." 

The Province of Manitoba, under the Manitoba Research Innovation Fund, has contributed $2 million over 8 years to supporting UWinnipeg's Cisco Endowed Research Chair for Collaborative Technologies.