Big Data Analytics centre to play “transformative” role in wireless spectrum: Bains

OTTAWA — The future of wireless spectrum in Canada won’t be about who holds the largest amount of it, but rather who wields it in the most-efficient manner, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Monday, alluding to potential for far-off changes in how spectrum is allocated, as he marked the opening of the country’s Big Data Analytics Centre in the capital city.

The centre, about two years in the making, is the newest division of the Communications Research Centre, the research arm of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, which has been studying wireless telecommunications for more than 50 years.

As a finite resource, “we need to understand exactly how spectrum is currently being used,” Bains said. “And at this lab, our researchers will use data; and big data is so important to understand in real time where the unused radio waves could be put to work.”

According to Jean Luc Bérubé, Communications Research Centre president, the lab will use “big data analytics, cloud computing, crowdsourced information, data fusion and state-of-the-art visualization” to carry out its work, which officials said is the first by any government laboratory.

Waterloo, Ont.-based Cognitive Systems Corp. is providing the sensor technology used by the centre, which CEO Hugh Hind said Monday “enable[s] you to visualize this invisible infrastructure and actually derive information about where it’s being used efficiently, where there are things like interference that need to be resolved.”

Speaking to reporters after grand opening formalities, Bains said that though the research is in its early stages, ideally, it would lead to opportunities for increased competition and, subsequently, lower wireless prices for consumers.

“The idea is … as the technology is developed, people will have access to spectrum in real time and so therefore, as opposed to the current system where spectrum is allocated to a particular incumbent or particular Internet service provider, now individuals will have access to spectrum in real time. So basically it means more competition and better use of spectrum,” Bains said.

This article originally appeared on The Wire Report. Author: Charelle Evelyn

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