Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and GDC's Chris Pogue
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and GDC’s Chris Pogue

The EDGE Innovation Centre has played a pivotal role in helping one small Ottawa company break into the international market. Last week, the General Dynamics Canada centre was the setting for a contract award to Omniglobe Solutions, which will assist GDC in its support for the NATO Global Hawk program.

In January, GDC was contracted by Northrop Grumman to provide ground stations for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program, ensuring information from the high altitude, long endurance unmanned system reaches decisions makers and commanders at deployed headquarters and the main Global Hawk operating base in Sigonella, Italy.

Omniglobe will provide a software-based internal communication and recording system for the ground stations.

The Ottawa start up exemplifies what the EDGE network is all about. The Ottawa centre is one of 14 across U.S. and U.K. that brings together small and medium-sized innovative companies, large manufacturers, academics and government researchers to address complex problems.

“It’s a perfect example of how the EDGE network and two companies in Ottawa can take a capability built here by Canadians into the international market,” said Chris Pogue, GDC’s vice president of Land and Joint Solutions.

Col (Ret’d) Bryan Righetti, a Board advisor with Omniglobe, said that while the contract is not its first, it is the most “prestigious, high profile and international.”

“We’re a small company, but we’ve been able to develop an innovative and powerful product. We’ve developed a communications and collaborative based system that will work in mobile facilities like aircraft, ships or vehicles, or command centres. And we have challenged the paradigm that traditional systems are based on hardware. [Our’s is ] all software. That has allowed us to make it more flexible, to use less power, to use less space, for example. That means it is less expensive in capital and logistics support costs.”

He credited both the EDGE network and Invest Ottawa for helping the company find its footing. Invest Ottawa was created last year to carry on the work of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, and already has 1,900 technology entrepreneurs, many in the defence sector, drawing on it for advice, mentorship and other support.

“We realize that with the downsizing in the federal public service we are going to need to continuously expand the private sector opportunities for job creation and economic growth,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “This contract is a great example…[of] the results we need.”