R&D - Transforming ideas into growth
Innovation is essential to a knowledge-based economy: It is the lifeblood of a high-performing education system, an advanced system of healthcare, a strong business sector, a growing economy and, an inclusive society. Without innovation, all of these critical elements begin to atrophy and disintegrate and innovation itself begins to flounder like the proverbial fish out of water.
R&D plays an important role in the innovation process as it leads to technology that gives us new products and services. These can lead to more jobs, successful businesses, and more efficient processes. Moreover, international research has consistently demonstrated the positive correlation between R&D investment intensity and company performance measures such as sales growth and share price. Businesses place themselves in a better position to gain and maintain competitive advantage in today’s increasingly global market place when their R&D investment is adequate and sustained.
Canada is defined by its history of innovation and the fact that it punches above its weight in the area of innovation. It has done this in everything from mining to telecommunications to computer chips and aviation. Despite this studies have repeatedly documented that business innovation in Canada lags behind other highly developed countries. This gap is a significant concern because innovation is the ultimate source of the long-term competitiveness of businesses and the quality of life of Canadians.
According to Nanos/Policy Options poll taken last fall, three Canadians in four agree that R&D is important to Canada’s future prosperity. This sentiment is shared by more than a few ICT companies including the three companies that are highlighted in this newsletter. That said Canada needs to become more aggressive in the R&D investment game. Given the recent article in the Globe & Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/canadas-vanishing-tech-sector/article4396596/?page=1) regarding Canada’s vanishing tech sector, it may be high time to do so.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Delivering the future today
Teledyne DALSA, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital imaging products and solutions in addition to providing semiconductor products and services. The company's advanced digital sensors are used in everything from automotive airbag systems to factory-line inspection and control systems. In fact, some of its sensors are "out-of-this-world" as they are used on both generations of the Mars Rovers, beaming down to earth spectacular images of the red planet.
Teledyne DALSA's core competencies are in specialized integrated circuit and electronics technology, software, and highly engineered semiconductor wafer processing. It has 1,000 employees world-wide (including 850 in Canada) and is also one of the only digital camera producers that have a vertically integrated supply chain which promotes better financial growth and efficiency in its businesses. Moreover, it owns Canada’s only volume production wafer foundry where its imaging sensors are manufactured and is one of the few companies that uses both CCD and CMOS sensors depending upon the application.
R&D is central to all of Teledyne DALSA's businesses. As an example, Teledyne DALSA has joined with IBM Canada and Université de Sherbrooke as founding partners of the MiQro Innovation and Collaboration Center in Bromont, Quebec. This recently opened center was funded by the Quebec and federal governments and will be operated by Teledyne DALSA and IBM as one of the world’s leading research centers for Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and microelectronics packaging. Teledyne DALSA spends as much as 8-10% of its net revenue to fund its R&D. Most of this R&D is conducted in-house. Sometimes the company will use specialized areas of Teledyne Technologies for some R&D projects. It will also undertake customer-funded R&D to develop specific products for clients where needed.
The result of this emphasis on R&D is that Teledyne DALSA today is a knowledge-based company with globally competitive high-tech products. For example, it produces semiconductor chips for its imaging business and manufactures MEMS for many growing markets for everything from smart phones, gyros, and game controllers to more advanced bio applications such as measuring the size of blood cells to determine disease or automated blood testing and DNA testing. Some of Teledyne DALSA’s high performance chips are even used to examine the integrity of semiconductor wafers.
Furthermore, the high performance imaging products that Teledyne DALSA produces are used to scan about 80% of the worlds TVs and tablet screens. A new line of the company’s products are also making gains in the X-ray detection market where they are replacing x-ray film with full-scale CMOS based detectors to produce 3D images. Teledyne DALSA, its employees and partners are dedicated to enabling industry and exploration through innovative technology. This is why it enters new fields such as infrared or x-ray imaging – these initiatives fuel the company’s growth and employment in Canada and around the world.
“Teledyne DALSA was originally spun out from the University of Waterloo in the 1980s by Dr. Savvas Chamberlain. You could say it was birthed by research from there,” said Brian Doody, Chief Executive Officer, Teledyne DALSA. “Research is part of our company’s DNA. Maybe this is why we are such a R&D-intensive company. This allowed us to lead the evolution of digital imaging for over a quarter century and earn a reputation as a global leader in high performance imaging and semiconductors.”
Teledyne DALSA is a hardware-intensive company and each year requires fairly intensive capital investment for its R&D, in addition to the work of its scientists and engineers. As a result the recent changes made to SR&ED by the federal government are expected to negatively impact Teledyne DALSA, especially given its high R&D spending. Brian believes that this could cut 8-10 new product launches annually and hurt the company’s competitiveness and growth rate. In a competitive global market, this will curtail Teledyne DALSA’s ability to continue to be a leader in its field.
Brian says the acquisition by Teledyne Technologies has been beneficial especially in terms of investment and the R&D area which was valued due to tax credits like SR&ED. He foresees that the changes to SR&ED could lead to a change in Teledyne’s strategy as other regions become more attractive.
“There can be no doubt that the recent changes in SR&ED are going to negatively impact Teledyne DALSA. We are losing significant portions of a vital tax credit and a program that is deterministic in terms of building a business plan and budget around. This will dampen our growth and weaken our ability to plan for the future.”Tell us your thoughts on this story
Keeping software going like Klocwork
What is the most ubiquitous element in smart phones, tablets, smart televisions, telecommunications, computer networks, aviation, defense, space exploration, smart cars, medical technologies, GPS systems, video games, etc.?
It is software!
Software provides the instructions for telling a computer or device what to do and how to do it. Few businesses today can exist without software. Consequently, from the outset its reliability and security is very important.
This is where Klocwork comes in: It helps developers create more secure and reliable software. Klocwork’s tools analyze source code with a technology known as static code analysis that identifies complex bugs and security vulnerabilities in software projects of all size. Klocwork has more than a thousand customers in the mobile device, consumer electronics, medical technologies, telecom, automotive, military and aerospace sectors.
“At Klocwork we use static analysis to test software without actually running the software,” said Gwyn Fisher, CTO and VP, Research and Development, Klocwork. “We build a model of what we believe the source code will do and determine where it could fail. This differs from traditional testing as it is more predictive and utilized by software developers rather than testers.”
The range of issues that can be found with automated source code analysis is quite broad, but include many issues that are critical to embedded software such as: security vulnerabilities, logic errors, memory management defects, concurrency violations, and rare boundary conditions, in addition to a variety of software coding standards used in embedded development such as MISRA.
The process of automated source code analysis involves building a rich representation or model of the provided code, and then simulating all possible execution paths through that model, mapping out the flow of logic on those paths coupled with how and where data objects are created, used and destroyed. The main advantage of this type of analysis is that bugs discovered at this stage of development are less expensive and more productive to fix than later in the development cycle or once the product has gone to market.
“The field that Klocwork operates in is highly technical, and combines a variety of different technologies. One of Klocwork’s advantages is our development team, who have been with us since the beginning,” said Brendan Harrison, VP, Marketing. “Thanks to their research and development, Klocwork’s technical know-how in this space leads the pack, and is proven in many of the world’s largest software development organizations.”
Founded in 2001 as a spin-out of Nortel Networks, Klocwork today has its headquarters in Burlington, MA, but its R&D is based in Ottawa. The company continues to innovate in the following areas:
- Software compilation technology: Klocwork builds its own compilers that are a required building block for any source code analysis tool.
- Code analysis research: Code analysis that understands a wide variety of coding patterns and idioms, providing whole program analysis of C/C++, C# and Java source code, all based on formal symbolic logic solvers.
- Front-end developer tools: To make all this technology effective in real-world development environments, it needs to be easy to use. This includes integrations with IDEs like Eclipse and Visual Studio, and support for other common application lifecycle management (ALM) tools.
Given that smart phone users, for example, have 10 million lines of code in their pocket, expect the use of Klocwork’s tools to grow as organizations need to deal with more software complexity and time-to-market pressures.Tell us your thoughts on this story
R&D in 3D
The old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. If this is true for a 2D image, just imagine what it is for a 3D image that moves. This is exactly what Dassault Systèmes (3DS) brings to the table in terms of product design and development.
Originally a spin-off from Dassault Aviation in 1981, 3DS provides its customers in more than 80 countries with a 3D view of a product's lifecycle, from creation to maintenance, including manufacturing and recycling. It is backed by a workforce of over 10,000 people in 30 countries across 31 R&D laboratories worldwide including 2 in Canada. Dassault Systèmes’ North American Services headquarters is based in Montreal where the Quebec government provides significant tax credits which helps facilitate the development of new industry solutions.
“The most natural visual medium for sharing information is 3D. It enables all human beings, whatever their language or culture, to literally see what they mean,” said François Bouffard, Director (Canada) Global Industry Development, Dassault Systemes. “At Dassault Systèmes, we have not only built the tools for people to see in 3D, but also to act on what they see to virtually improve their products and processes without the high costs of physically doing it in the real world.”
Dassault Systèmes is a leading global 3D solutions provider that goes beyond just selling software. It configures its software to customer’s needs to enable a near seamless integration into the customer’s enterprise systems through a solid understanding of the customer’s business processes.
Dassault Systèmes’ global customer base spans 12 industrial sectors: automotive; aerospace; industrial equipment; consumer goods; consumer packaged goods; energy; high-tech; shipbuilding; life sciences; construction; business services; and natural resources.
Natural resources are a relatively new area for Dassault Systèmes based on its recent acquisition of Gemcom Software International, a leader in 3D CAD mining software solutions, headquartered in Vancouver. At the same time Dassault Systèmes created a new brand – GEOVIA - to support modeling of our planet and its natural resources. The objective here is simple but not simplistic: Develop and deliver products to model and simulate the planet in order to provide tools for geologists, botanists, ecologists, environmental regulators, political leaders, hydrologists, petroleum & mining engineers, foresters, and others to develop the world’s natural resources in a sustainable way.
Dassault Systèmes is not resting on its innovation laurels and is committed to pushing the 3D envelope for everyone. To do this it reinvests about one third of revenue in R&D which is significant as Dassault’s revenue last year was almost $2.5 billion. Beyond R&D, Dassault Systèmes is always looking to expand its virtual universe into new areas. In fact, from now until 2020, its goal is to expand its virtual universes to new communities in education, society, business and research. It is doing this because it believes that 3D democratization will enrich the human experience in all of these areas.
According to Francois, a self-confessed 3D Experience Evangelist, Dassault Systèmes ultimate goal is to provide a portfolio of rich 3D applications that will allow people to create its products/scenarios virtually, see what happens if things go wrong, and come up with solutions to prevent this.
“With 3D we will eventually be able to virtually simulate man-made and natural disasters as well as the human fit of new technologies and the testing of new healthcare solutions. If we show the dream is possible, we can inspire people to create it. We can then work towards having more positive event outcomes like the safe ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 onto the Hudson River thanks to virtual pilot training. ”Tell us your thoughts on this story
October 22 - October 24, 2012
ITAC Committees and Forums
September 18, 2012
For a full list of events, and to register for ITAC events, visit itac.ca
The ITAC Volunteer of the Year in 2012 is… Dave Wattling
The ITAC workforce is about a dozen staff and hundreds of volunteers. We couldn't do the work we do without the volunteers who share our vision of a digitally empowered society in Canada. This year the ITAC Volunteer of the Year is Dave Wattling.
Jennifer Evans Named ITAC Chair for 2012/2013
Jennifer Evans, CEO and chief strategist of Sequentia Environics, has been named as the Chair of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) for the 2012/2013 term.
ICT Investment Gap Between Canada and the United States is Widening
A recent study by the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) has revealed that in 2010 Canada's ICT investment per worker, expressed in current dollars, was 53 per cent of that of the United States – a gap of 47.0 percentage points. The ICT Investment gap between Canada and the United States is widening.
Other News and Events
Shared Services Canada launches Email Transformation Initiative
Shared Services Canada (SSC) recently held an Industry Engagement Day to present its plan for consolidating Government email systems. ITAC and a number of its members were in attendance. ITAC continues to push for proactive engagement with the SSC and the Government of Canada on behalf of its members.
Banff Venture Forum - October 4 - 5, 2012
The 2012 Banff Venture Forum takes place on October 4 and 5, 2012 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in the beautiful, world-renowned resort town of Banff, Alberta. Bringing together the best and the brightest minds from both the entrepreneurial and venture capital fields, the Forum provides a platform for the marriage of ideas, innovation and investment.