Alberta/Jalisco, Mexico Technology Partnership Announces Initiation of Three Industry Innovation Projects
May 31, 2012 -- Edmonton – A partnership between the Government of Alberta and the State of Jalisco, Mexico to jointly exploit technology research, development, and commercialization opportunities has selected and funded three initial research and development projects. The technology partnership, and project management of research collaboration, is being facilitated by TRLabs.
Alberta-based SagaTech Electronic, TELUS Health Solutions, and Mexico-based Medisist have formed a coalition to work together to develop and test market commercialization opportunities for an innovative new solution that can benefit people with sleep apnea health issues. SagaTech Electronic and Medisist will design, develop and deliver a single device for home diagnosis of sleep apnea and detection of associated cardiac anomalies, and the team will explore potential market opportunities related to connecting with the TELUS health space platform in future. The convergent hardware/software solution proposes to establish a new standard of care by integrating cardiac and respiratory monitoring at a lower price with greater ease of use than current solutions, and in home rather than medical environments. The project also includes innovation of a stand-alone pulse oximeter and EKG monitor and associated diagnostic tool that can be sold into the eHealth market to address chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma, and congestive heart failure. Sleep apnea (a reduction or cessation of airflow in the upper airway that occurs during sleep….also referred to as a phantom cause of heart disease) is a widely under-diagnosed condition that is associated with significant incidence of related disease and mortality.
Alberta-based ShirWin Knowledge and Learning Systems, and Mexico-based Metacube Tecnología y Entretenimiento have formed a joint venture to innovate a 3-D, multimedia-driven, integrated and immersive learning platform for PC/Mac desktop devices that enhances the virtual social environment around learning. The solution proposes to capitalize on an increasing trend toward distance and lifelong learning education, while increasing motivation by removing the ‘loneliness’ felt by virtual students. Two inter-related prototypes will be generated; 1) a virtual campus experience where learners will be able to customize their personal avatar (representation of ‘self’ in virtual space), create their online campus environment, interact with classmates through voice and text communication, and document sharing, and collaborate on learning activities; and 2) a ‘serious games’-based immersive learning environment to support an integrated learning approach. The multimedia platform will be developed in Mexico, while the learning engine will be developed in Alberta. The solution will be piloted to higher learning institutions including Athabasca University, the University of Alberta, and Tecnológico de Monterrey.
“This is a fine example of how we can collaborate – not only here at home, but well beyond our borders – on programs to encourage technology adoption and commercialization in Alberta,” said Stephen Khan, Alberta’s Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education. “We will continue to promote Alberta internationally and attract investment to help broaden Alberta’s value-added economic base.”
“The commonality among the projects is that they leverage technological advantages of each of Mexico and Alberta companies and research organizations, creating a sum greater than the parts,” says Rob Tasker, President and CEO, TRLabs. “In addition, these projects also demonstrate clear potential for market expansion for technology innovation that is otherwise more challenging to achieve outside the Alberta/Jalisco collaboration.”
The three projects were selected from nine project proposals jointly submitted by Albertan and Jaliscan companies and research institutes in response to a call for proposals. Proposals were reviewed by independent subject area experts and business experts. Total grant funding for the three projects is approximately $1.4 million in 2012, representing roughly 50% (Government of Alberta – 25%, State of Jalisco – 25%) of total project costs.
Sixty four industry representatives and academics in Alberta have been engaged in the Alberta/Jalisco collaboration to date. As a result of the interaction, several business to business (B2B) relationships have been established independent of project funding.
A second Call for Proposals is now under way, with a closing date of June 30, 2012. For more information - http://trlabs.ca/trlabs/jalisco
The projects fall under the framework of an MOU signed by the Government of the State of Jalisco, Mexico and the Government of Alberta in January, 2009, extending through January, 2014. The collaboration is intended to improve opportunities for joint industry and public sector projects in research and technology development, as well as commercialization activities between Alberta and Jalisco in the priority areas of eHealth, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)/ Sensors, Nanotechnology and Embedded Systems, and Multimedia.
Update – Jalisco Delegation Visits Alberta
A fresh round of the Alberta-Jalisco research and technology development collaboration got underway May 8, 2012 with a TRLabs/COECYTJAL-facilitated meeting in Alberta. ICT and Nanotech companies from Alberta and Jalisco were present to present their innovation elevator pitches to potential new international business partners. Subsequent one-on-one sessions were arranged with interested companies, resulting in formation of several new business partnerships.
The new partnerships reveal complementarity, with Alberta companies focused on ICT applications for the Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, and ICT sectors engaged with Jaliscan companies focused predominantly on Electronics and Cybernetics.
An Alberta delegation previously visited Jalisco in August, 2011 to provide an opportunity for Alberta companies to find appropriate Mexican industry partners for joint research and technology development.
The Alberta-Jalisco program acknowledges the support of the DFAIT team in Jalisco, and Alberta-Mexico office in facilitating the collaboration.
35+ – Number of Alberta ICT and Nanotech businesses that expressed interest (25+ attended).
13+ – Number of Jalisco Companies that expressed interest (11+ attended).
5+ – Established working relationships to date.