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University of New Brunswick and Cisco Collaborate to Drive IT Innovation and R&D
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2011

 TORONTO, ON and FREDERICTON, NB - October 25, 2011 -The University of New Brunswick (UNB) and Cisco Canada today announced two agreements aimed at helping the university become a world leader in technology innovation.

The agreements were signed at a meeting of the Premier's Advisory Council on Technology in Toronto by Eddy Campbell, UNB president, and Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada, in the presence of David Alward, premier of New Brunswick.

"Effective partnerships are critical to the production of research and to the support of development activities," said UNB President Eddy Campbell. "Collaborations, such as this with Cisco, enhance the reputation of UNB programs and drive the continued success of our students. With this collaboration, we are reinforcing our commitment to being one of the country's premier institutions for innovation in technology."

In a major boost to the university's research and advanced learning capabilities, Cisco is providing a $2 million endowment to establish a Cisco® Chair in Advanced Learning Technologies, which will promote, support, and lead innovation at the university through industry-linked projects. The chair holder will foster a close relationship with industry and government, as well as support the university's strategic goals and long-range vision to position the university as one of the world's premier institutes of higher learning. 

The Cisco Chair for Advanced Learning Technologies will lead research and innovation in the application of technology related to advanced learning, government cooperation and community outreach.  This includes creating innovative ways to deliver educational and training services to remote communities involving the use of high-definition video and cloud computing infrastructure.

The two parties also signed a marketing development agreement that will help UNB engineering students collaborate to develop energy-efficient processes for the manufacturing industry. The Green Remote Automation and Monitoring for Manufacturing (GRAMM) project will develop the physical monitoring, computing and network infrastructure to remotely monitor manufacturing and production processes, store and manage information, and develop analytical tools so that manufacturing processes and entire facilities can be remotely powered up or down in accordance with production or power demands. Ultimately, companies will be able to reduce power consumption while improving production rates, process performance, quality, and employee communication.

Graduate students taking part in the GRAMM project will be able to take courses and interact with professors using Cisco TelePresence™, irrespective of where they are geographically located. This essentially creates a virtual laboratory, or manufacturing centre, for students to remotely observe and monitor experiments in real time.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will provide UNB with two Cisco TelePresence 500 System solutions, one on UNB's Fredericton campus and another at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., as well as an array of IT hardware and software solutions to help drive the GRAMM project. Cisco's hardware and cash contribution under the marketing development agreement is approximately $350,000.

The project will also use the CANARIE Network, which connects nearly 40,000 researchers at 200 Canadian universities and colleges to share and analyze data, not only for simple communications across remote sites, but also for all remote data monitoring, storage and data analysis.

"We are delighted to partner with UNB on these two exciting initiatives designed to help the university realize its strategic goal of driving innovation in the classroom and beyond. These projects with UNB are representative of larger initiatives in the works with the Province of New Brunswick designed to boost Canada's global profile as a technology innovator," said Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale. "Both the Province and Cisco share a dynamic vision for the significant IT R&D potential in the region and see this investment at UNB as a key step to help drive these innovation efforts."

Cisco is currently working with Province of New Brunswick to explore continued investment and new opportunities to utilize advanced technologies to help meet the Province's economic development goals.