Opportunities seen for Winnipeg’s local technology community as Canadian Tire prepares to open cloud computing centre

Winnipeg gets tech boost with Canadian Tire digital hub

Canadian Tire Ltd. today said it will soon be opening a digital content hub in Winnipeg as part of its ongoing innovation strategy geared towards enhancing customer touch points in an increasingly online and mobile retail environment.

The Canadian Tire Cloud Computing Centre, which is scheduled to open in October, will not only serve as storage for digital assets being developed by the iconic retail company it will also play a critical part in the development of new customer-oriented applications, according to the company.
 
 
On cloud nine . Pictured (L-R) Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz; Eugene Roman, CTO, of Canadian Tire; Premier Greg Selinger; Bill Morrissey, Leader, YES! Winnipeg
 
“As retail evolves into e-tail, the centre will play a foundational role in our digital programs,” said Eugene Roman, chief technology officer for Canadian Tire. “We will be building various applications for back-end operations and apps that the mobile and in-store experience of customers.”

He said the Class IV computing centre will deliver 20 times more computing power and 10 times more network bandwidth than what Canadian Tire’s existing technology infrastructure delivers.

The 28,000 square-foot facility housed in the Air Canada building in downtown Winnipeg is also being welcomed by local and provincial politicians that see it a big boost to Manitoba’s technology community.

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“We are pleased to support Canadian Tire’s advance cloud computing centre, and we look forward to attracting further investment from businesses as a result of the new media and data processing business incentives in Budget 2013,” said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.

“The data centre will create terrific opportunities in our technology sector terrific opportunities in our technology sector and will significantly advance the digital industry in Winnipeg,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

Roman said the centre will employ 50 new Winnipeg-based employees, but he also sees other linkages in the local tech community being formed in the near future.

“Part of the reason we chose to build the centre in Winnipeg is its growing population of technology professionals,” said Roman. “For instance, we need to connect with a lot of talent in the local online gaming and mobile community to develop new apps.”

The giant retail company sought the help of YES! Winnipeg, the business development team of Economic Development Winnipeg, in sourcing local vendors and partners.

The provincial government was also instrumental in helping Canadian Tire work with Manitoba Hydro which will provide the power needs of the new centre.

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