Tony Schultz, vice-president of delivery and service for Huawei Canada, says, “What we announced on June 14 is that we are going to work in a partnership with Carleton and Telus on an innovation centre focused on enterprise services.”
“The three partners, together, are going to contribute $1.4 million, as well as products and services, over the next number of years,” Schulz says.
Rafik A. Goubran, dean of the faculty of engineering and design at Carleton University, says the lab will have three primary uses; “number one it’s a research lab where masters, PhD and post-doctoral students can come up with new concepts and new ideas in the area of enterprise cloud services, undergraduate teaching for fourth year projects and outreach activities.”
The project came about after on a trip to China that Canada-based Telus and China-based Huawei took. During that trip, Telus chief technical officer, Ibrahim Gedeon, floated the idea of an Ottawa-based research lab. With that in mind, locating it at Carleton came up because “what we’ve found is that, by [working with a university], we get access to thoughts, concepts and ideas that we might not otherwise get,” Schultz says.
It’s not the first collaborative research lab for either of the two tech companies, or even Carleton University. Goubran says the faculty of engineering and design has had a lot of industry-supported activities for years, like Alcatel-Lucent’s research collaboration lab, the only one the company has in Canada.
Goubran says Carleton also has some of the only North American research labs for Mitel Networks Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc., as the faculty of engineering and design are “known to be involved with industry in solving real world problems.”
One part of the collaboration that hasn’t been explicitly agreed upon to date is the question of ownership. Schultz is unsure who will have rights to anything produced in the lab.
Chances are, he suggests, a balance will be met where all parties can access any research done and benefit from gains made. For now, it will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
As to what exactly Telus and Huawei will provide to outfit the lab, Schultz says, “that has not been finalized yet but it [will likely] be enterprise type gear; custom routers, switches, that type of product and maybe some optical gear,” as well as “technical expertise in the form of access to our technical experts to help students with their research and projects.”
Schultz says “the lab is being built now and it’ll be ready a bit later this year [in] the new engineering building at Carleton.”