A Microsoft-led IT industry consortium has won government approval to set up a digital technology supercluster in British Columbia, Canada, making it eligible to obtain a portion of US$755 million in federal funding.
The Supercluster will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors, including healthcare, forestry, and manufacturing. Augmented reality, data analytics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain, and cloud are among the new technologies it is hoping to explore.
The Canadian government expects the cluster to add CAD$5 billion (US$3.9 billion) to the national economy over the next decade in addition to creating 13,500 jobs.
The consortium, which includes the likes of Telus and Canfor Corp, says it will invest more than CAD$500 million alongside the government money.
On its part, the government will help start-ups and small- to medium-sized companies grow by connecting them with resources, technology adopters, and investors.
The consortium, on the other hand, will develop virtual environments for rapid experimentation and testing, besides providing digital skills training for those working in traditional industry sectors.
The ultimate goal of the super-cluster is to create areas of concentrated research and development, with ambitions to create a new Silicon Valley.
“The Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster is a powerful example of what we can achieve together as we build a globally-recognized technology hub along the Cascadia Innovation Corridor,” said Brad Smith, President at Microsoft.