Ontario Microelectronics Industry Sees a Future in Broadband and Multi-Media

    OTTAWA, Jan. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Ontario's microelectronics industry sees
future opportunities for growth in emerging new areas such as broadband
technology and the field of multi-media including video and converged consumer
devices. A report on the state of the microelectronics industry released today
by ITAC, the Information Technology Association of Canada, suggests there is
already a strong expertise in these areas present in the industry. The paper
recommends that Ontario Government support for the establishment of clusters
or centres of excellence in these fields that would help to ensure successful
growth in the next generation of the industry's evolution. It calls for
measures to anchor a broadband cluster in the Ottawa area and for a
multi-media cluster in the Greater Toronto Area.
    The paper "Revitalizing Ontario's Microelectronics Industry" is the
result of a series of interviews with 25 leaders in 20 enterprises. The
interviews solicited their views on a broad range of business development and
public policy issues. It summarizes the emergence of the industry from a
handful of companies in 1990s and illustrates how strategic government support
in the form of focussed public as well as significant private investment built
a community of excellent global players including ATI (now AMD Canada), Gennum
Corporation, Tundra Semiconductor Corporation and Zarlink to name only a few.
But it also notes that the industry globally is facing a major period of
reconsolidation. This imposes an obligation on Ontario firms to examine their
lines of business and their business models. Many in the industry believe that
government support in the process would be particularly timely.
    "All of the elements are in place for strong cluster development in these
new areas," said David Lynch, Chair of ITAC's Strategic Microelectronics
Council and Senior Vice-President & General Manager of Image Processing,
Gennum Corporation. "We have excellent relationships with the universities and
other institutions that help us with talent formation and we have rich pools
of expertise from an array of companies - ranging from start-up to billion
dollar firms with the business savvy to plan for the next generation. We
believe government support in the form of centres of excellence would provide
the catalyst we need to build for a competitive future."
    In addition to the recommendations on broadband and multi-media, the
paper also recommends that the Ontario Government can be helpful in the
exploration of other new fields such as automotive, health technology and
environmental technology. "The automotive industry is crucially important to
the province," Mr. Lynch noted. "And the microelectronics content of a car is
now more valuable than its steel. Yet there's very little activity in the
Ontario microelectronics industry that addresses this market. We could use the
services of a good matchmaker to help us explore new opportunities and the
Government is in an excellent position to do just that. Equally in healthcare,
the Government has a huge role and a stake, not just in building economic
opportunities but in ensuring the whole healthcare delivery system delivers
better outcomes."

    The full text of this paper is available at:

    The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) is the voice of
the Canadian information and communications technologies (ICT) industry in all
sectors including telecommunications and Internet services, ICT consulting
services, hardware, microelectronics, software and electronic content. ITAC's
network of companies accounts for more than 70 per cent of the 589,000 jobs,
$137.6 billion in revenue, $5.2 billion in R&D investment, $22.6 billion in
exports and $11.5 billion in capital expenditures that the industry
contributes annually to the Canadian economy.

For further information:

For further information: Lynda Leonard, Senior Vice President, ITAC,
(613) 238-2250 x 223

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