The energy in Calgary is stronger than ever thanks to the innovation happening across the city.
Technological advancements are setting off a wave of creativity and spurring an influx of opportunity for emerging industries, new companies, and top talent. The innovation ecosystem in Calgary brings together clusters of educators, governments, think-tanks, established companies, and ambitious entrepreneurs to make industries more efficient and effective.
Driving innovation is something Calgary prides itself on.
“The energy sector has a well-established ecosystem and is recognized as a centre of excellence globally, and as the tech ecosystem builds out, it’s encompassing all of our key industries,” says Mary Moran, President and CEO of Calgary Economic Development.
Aimsio is one firm driving digitization in Calgary’s oil and gas sector, but the five-year-old company has customers all across North America using its software to manage their field operations. It’s expanded into sectors like renewable energy and construction and CEO Ash Esmaeili sees future growth in forestry, mining, and agriculture.
The entrepreneurial energy and creativity in Calgary are critical to Aimsio’s success, notes Esmaeili who, along with his co-founders, is a University of Calgary graduate.
“Everybody is talking about the digital transformation,” he said. “Our intention was to build the next tech giant in Canada and that’s where we are headed.”
Zedi Solutions is a well-established energy company that is repositioning its remote sensor technology for industries including agriculture and retail. CEO Matthew Heffernan is nominated for a 2018 Ernest C. Manning Innovation Award for repositioning its energy-related technology for growing sectors.
FLYHT Aerospace Solutions recently received a Canadian patent for FLYHTStreamTM, a commercial data streaming application that combines smart electronics, global satellites, and secure, Internet-based data delivery to stream black box data to aircraft accident investigators, airline executives and operations and maintenance centers in the event of an in-flight incident.
“FLYHT is the industry leader in real-time data streaming,” says CEO Tom Schmutz.
A number of patents filed by companies like FLYHT is why CD Howe Institute recently named Calgary the “most innovative city in Canada.”
Changes for the future
Innovation in Calgary is focused on industrial sectors where disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, autonomous vehicles, and 3-D printing are transforming how companies do business.
To support the innovation ecosystem, the City of Calgary created the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund to distribute $100 million to companies making investments in the city that will be catalysts for transformative growth in key sectors.
This article first appeared in the National Post Canadian Innovation supplement on June 27, 2018.