Ontario slipping behind in wireless revolution

(Toronto—May 19, 2009) Too few mobile phone users, overly expensive data rates, and lack of access to capital, distribution and markets are holding Ontario back in one of the only sectors poised for growth in the current recession, says a new white paper released today by the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC).

“Mobile and wireless devices are revolutionizing the way we think, work, play and live in the same way the Internet did almost two decades ago,” said Sara Diamond, Chair of the MEIC and President of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD). “Unfortunately, our research shows that we’re falling behind other jurisdictions in terms of our ability to play a leading role in driving this mobile revolution.”

Innovation and Insight: Mapping Ontario’s Mobile Industry suggests that Ontario could and should be a leader in the global mobile and wireless sector — but that key challenges must be overcome for the province to realize its potential.

“One of the key findings of our research is that we don’t have enough people with the right set of skills to keep up with the demand to develop applications for new and emerging mobile platforms and devices,” explained Ray Newal, one of the report’s principal authors. “We need to invest in education to build a workforce that’s ready to lead the world in mobile research, design and innovation.”

Industry survey results included in the report show that a majority of respondents are either unsure or do not believe that post-secondary education in Ontario is adequately preparing students to work in the mobile and wireless sector, and that Ontario is not among the best places in the world to find people with the necessary skills and talents.

Innovation and Insight makes 16 recommendations (endorsed by the MEIC’s 30 corporate partners) to address current and anticipated gaps in Ontario’s mobile sector, including:

  • Industry-academic research initiatives aimed at procuring local talent must be established, facilitated and supported by the mobile industry, universities and colleges, and governments.
  • A mobile partnership consortium that brokers targeted business development, alliances, research and training among industry, academia and funders should be formed.
  • The provincial and federal governments should further develop procurement strategies for the mobile and wireless sector to fund initiatives for applied research, business development, tax incentives and prototyping for content, services and applications development.

“We have a window of opportunity to act on the report’s recommendations, but we need to move quickly to maintain and enhance our capacity to generate new jobs and new technology, and to help drive continued growth and innovation,” concluded Diamond.

Download a full-text version of Innovation and Insight: Mapping Ontario's Mobile Industry (PDF).

About the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC)
The Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (www.meic.ocad.ca) is a public-private consortium engaging leaders in mobile research, design and innovation. Funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation through the Entertainment and Creative Clusters Partnerships Fund, the MEIC includes 6 academic institutions and over 30 organizations from across the mobile industry, and is led by the Ontario College of Art & Design.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information or images, please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

Leon Mar, Director, Marketing & Communications, OCAD
416-977-6000 Ext. 222


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