Call for change

Invest Ottawa, together with the Government of Ontario, City of Ottawa and other strategic public and private partners, launched the most advanced, fully integrated Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) and automated vehicle test environment of its kind in North America. Rapidly evolving over 14 months, this facility is now known as Area X.0, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration.

Area X.0 enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing, and application of next generation technologies. Combining diverse expertise with Ottawa’s telecom and cybersecurity strengths, it fuels the creation, commercialization and adoption of breakthrough innovations in mobility, autonomy and connectivity. These applications span telecom; smart agriculture; defence, security, and public safety; unmanned aerial vehicles; and smart cities.

When tech meets human ingenuity

Due to the varied nature of its work, Invest Ottawa required a broad range of industry expertise related to automotive, future mobility and smart city solutions. That’s why it teamed up with Accenture to design and implement the Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) cloud platform. Together with Avanade—a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft— test track IoT sensors and devices were programmed and integrated into a centralized data lake in the cloud. Near real-time dashboards were then set up to support and track usage data, helping to improve decision-making and inform strategies for future projects and investments.

Accenture supported the initial establishment of Area X.0 through several deliverables:

 

Business model

All relevant stakeholders participated in design-thinking workshops. This research shaped the recommended strategy and business model for Area X.0.

Commercial pricing and revenue model

This tool enabled the Area X.0 operations team to calculate price points for different testing scenarios and plan financially for future projects.

Cloud integration

This integration allowed test track users to sync the data captured on their vehicles with the data from the connected infrastructure.

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A valuable difference

With its new strategy and commercial operating model, Invest Ottawa has attracted more than $29 million in public funding and private investments as of April 2021, and established a growing pipeline of commercial projects for connected and automated vehicles, smart mobility, smart city technology and other industry innovation.

The organization is leveraging this investment to continually grow its team, operations and impact. To date, Area X.0 has supported 146 firms, supporting the development and launch of 19 new products and prototypes related to automated vehicles, road safety, drones, precision agriculture, and defence.

Automated vehicles are poised to revolutionize how people live, work and move in their communities. But as technologies evolve, testing and validation will be critical to ensuring safe implementation. The private Area X.0 ‘living lab’ in Ottawa has over 16 kilometers of paved, sensor-enabled roads to detect surface conditions and analyze and predict traffic flows.

To date, Area X.0 has supported 146 firms, supporting the development and launch of 19 new products and prototypes related to automated vehicles, road safety, drones, precision agriculture, and defence.

Accenture will continue to work with Invest Ottawa to expand its cloud solution and related analytics capabilities. As well as they will also continue to seek opportunities to help local, provincial and federal governments embrace next-gen technologies, inform public policy, and realize the potential of smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity solutions.

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