Industry Issues the Call for Public Sector Technology Test Beds: Aims at new applications for government productivity and reference accounts for ten thousand Canadian technology enterprises pursuing international markets
June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009

Contact: Emily Boucher, Media Adviser at eboucher@cata.ca or 613-236-6550

Read: High-Tech Lobby Group Urges ´Test Beds´ with Government

CATA proposes test beds in government

CATAAlliance has issued a call for Governments at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to create Technology Test Beds, as a vehicle and incubator to conceive, develop and sustain new solutions for government productivity and to help create reference accounts for Canadian technology companies pursing international markets.

The Test Bed concept was presented today by a team of industry executives to PWGSC officials at their request and as follow up to a CATAAlliance presentation to Parliamentarians regarding open bidding for federal contracts.

Last month the federal government decided to opt for the de-bundling of bids, viewed as a positive first step in making the growth environment right for SME's (Small to mid sized Enterprises). The Parliamentary Report can be viewed at:

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4001862&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

According to CATA's Senior VP and CIO Adviser, Charles Duffett, "In addition to the adoption of forward looking procurement practices, we can accelerate export successes, through Public Sector Technology Test Beds, that allow Ministries to innovate, test and trial technologies and serve as reference accounts for thousands of emerging enterprises. Having government as a client is an endorsement for a company breaking into foreign markets."

Duffet added, "What we would like is a policy and approach that encourages Canadian technology and that also includes promoting supply chain synergies between large and small companies. We must stop the polarization of the debate. We see Canadian technology as a huge wealth creator. If you can get that machine running and keep it running, it creates a lot wealth in Canada,"

Current rules wouldn't allow Public Works to buy technologies as a "trial" without a full-blown procurement. Under the "Canadian Technologies Office Test Bed" the government would be an incubator, buying and trying new products and services. Clearly a win-win result for governments, companies and tax payers.

Public Sector Test-Beds Benefits and Outcomes

The CATA delegation spoke to the Benefits and Outcomes from having Public Sector Test-Beds, including
  • Provide Canadian Companies With Reference Accounts
  • Generate Best Practice Research and Applications Knowledge
  • Increase Canada's Long-Term Economic Potential
  • Attract and Retain Top Public Sector Talent who value innovation mandates
  • Enhance Canada's Public Sector Leadership Profile In The International Community
  • Create Expertise in Canada to meet Critical Economic Challenges
CATAAlliance is also leading a Test Bed concept for the Networked Vehicle Foundation (NVF), an organization founded in the belief that the merging of vehicles with the global broadband ICT infrastructure is producing a new platform upon which a wide range of new services and capabilities will be created. With the support of the NRC-IRAP, a study is currently underway defining best practices for test bed creation in the multi billion dollar automotive sector.

CATA CEO, John Reid, commented "Canadian businesses, institutions and governments need to redefine themselves, how they act, and how they work together. To compete and prosper, we need to fully enter the creative economy and be an Innovation Nation. Adopting Canadian Technology Test Beds at all levels of Government can be part of a new working model to move us from 13th to first place in innovation and competitive performance."

He concluded, "Under CATA's Innovation Nation Program we have set the bold objective of creating 10 domestic companies in the ICT sector with annual revenues exceeding $5B/ by the year 2020. Similarly we should strive to provide Public Sector reference accounts to 10 thousand SMEs in the same time frame. Let's start today to create the mindset and necessary conditions to achieve this bold objective."