Last week, the Canadian government announced the five winning superclusters slated to receive part of the $950 million that makes up the superclusters initiative. SCALE.AI ((Supply Chains And Logistics Excellence.AI), the AI-powered supply chain supercluster headquartered in Montreal, was one of those winners.
The initiative was first announced in the government’s federal budget last year, with the national shortlisted consortia announced last October. At the time of its announcement, it called on SMBs and SMEs, not-for-profits, and research institutions to work together to spur innovation in certain sectors.
While the business-led consortium is headquartered in Montreal, it will be centered in both Quebec and Ontario.
“Supply chains are a key focus area of IVADO’s applied and collaborative research activities. Our leading capabilities in machine learning, operations research and data science will equip Canadian firms with next-generation technologies,” said Gilles Savard, CEO, IVADO.
The government hopes to create 50,000 middle-class jobs by investing in superclusters, growing Canada’s economy by $50 billion over the next 10 years.
“Today we are investing in five superclusters so that tomorrow we will be more than 50,000 jobs richer and benefit from an even stronger economy—an innovation economy,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “With the superclusters initiative, we bet on Canadians. We looked at what we did well across our great nation, and we asked industry, academia and NGOs how we could do it better. The response was impressive and the ideas were remarkable.”
On behalf of the Mayors of Toronto, Montreal and myself, congrats to the #ScaleAI team on your successful artificial intelligence #supercluster proposal! Thx for believing in us @NavdeepSBains and @JustinTrudeau! pic.twitter.com/4GVidse4PW
— Berry Vrbanovic (@berryonline) February 15, 2018
SCALE.AI was made possible thanks to generous contributions by the academic research institutions, IVADO and University of Waterloo, as well as the support of a volunteer team made up of professionals and organizations such as BCG, CGI, Norton Rose Fulbright, OPTEL GROUP, PwC Canada and SCMA.
“Digitization of supply chains require technology integration between AI, robotics, autonomous systems, data analytics, connectivity and IOT. Waterloo is known for research, training, industry collaboration and start-ups in these areas; with Quebec and Ontario collaborating this will have an enormous economic impact,” said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering, University of Waterloo.
All told, nearly 120 industrial partners, enabling organizations and world-class research institutions joined forces to create this innovation consortium, to which partners have already committed $700 million in support.
By launching operations and collaborative transformation projects, SCALE.AI will accelerate development and early integration of nest-generation, AI-powered supply chains in our economy. The Canadian supply chain provides nearly 1,000,000 jobs and makes up 10% of our GDP. Digital technologies and AI are already disrupting our country’s supply chains, and SCALE.AI will seize this opportunity to empower Canada as an applied-AI powerhouse and the nexus for global trade.
“Supply chains are the backbone of the economy and propel all industries. Combined, AI and supply chains will generate immense business value. Our mission is to increase the wealth and quality of life of Canadians through technology-driven, sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said Louis Roy, President, OPTEL GROUP and Co-Chair SCALE.AI
“SCALE.AI will build something unique: bolster Canada’s leadership in AI and data science, and define the new supply-chain platform, deeply impacting the retail, manufacturing and transport sectors. SCALE.AI will drive economic growth, create highly-skilled jobs and boost our talent pool, putting AI at the service of all Canadians,” said Hélène Desmarais, Chairman HEC Montréal, Executive Chairman CEIM and Co-Chair SCALE.AI.
The full list of winning superclusters includes:
- The Ocean Supercluster (Atlantic Canada) is led by the Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, and will work to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy.
- The SCALE.AI Supercluster (Quebec) will use artificial intelligence and robots to build intelligent supply chains; this sector is targeted to the retail, manufacturing, and transport sector.
- The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (Ontario), submitted by Communitech Corporation and MaRS Discovery District, will connect Canada’s technology strengths — mostly based in southern Ontario — to work on advancing manufacturing for the “factory of the future”.
- The Protein Industries Supercluster (the Prairies) hopes to build on Canada’s success as a leading exporter of canola and pulse crops to make Canada a leading source for plant proteins.
- The Digital Technology Supercluster (British Columbia), which includes TELUS, the Research Universities’ Council of BC, the University Health Network, Microsoft and more than 270 partners, will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors like healthcare, forestry, and manufacturing. Specifically, this sector wants to use advanced data collection, analytics, and visualization to build healthcare, natural resources, and industrial applications.