CANARIE , Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, has announced the findings from the DAIR pilot program  and is seeking input  from Canada’s digital entrepreneurs on the next phase of the program.
The DAIR pilot program was launched in spring 2011 and hosted over 40 users. As part of the wrap-up of the pilot phase of the DAIR program, CANARIE surveyed those users who cite the speed, scalability and security of the program as its biggest benefits. Other results of the survey showed:
- Participants used DAIR primarily to launch products or services to market
- New digital products were generated using the cloud resources of DAIR
- Most participants had never used a cloud-based service like DAIR before
- Participants made a significant investment of time to use DAIR
- DAIR created additional project opportunities and greatly improved product launch readiness
“Our vision for the DAIR program is to directly lead to more innovation, more development and therefore more Canadian products on the market and it has done just that,” says CANARIE’s Senior Director, Technology Innovation Mark Wolff. “The DAIR pilot program provides more than cloud computing resources. DAIR provides valuable experience on how ICT can deliver business results, thereby strengthening Canada’s position in ICT and commercialization of innovative digital products and services.”
Some of the spin-off benefits noted by users include:
- Participants modified their business model to incorporate cloud resources after experiencing the benefits and value first-hand through DAIR
- DAIR provided users with valuable information on how to provision for cloud resources
- Users typically underestimated their testing time requirements
- High performance computing resources and the ability to test virtually and at less cost, allowed users to test their products and services when they otherwise would have been unable to do so
CANARIE operates Canada’s ultra-high-speed network, thousands of times faster than the Internet, which enables world-class research and discovery at universities, colleges, research hospitals, government labs and private sector research facilities across the country.
DAIR is a testbed environment in which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the high-tech sector can design, prototype, validate and demonstrate precommercial technologies faster and cheaper than ever before. In the pilot phase of the program, there was no charge to users of DAIR.
Led by CANARIE, DAIR is possible through strong partnerships with Alberta’s Cybera, Compute Canada, and Quebec’s RISQ network. These partnerships deliver an advanced technical environment enabling large-scale simulations that ordinarily are difficult – or even impossible – for SMEs to carry out.
CANARIE intends to expand the program, and has incorporated this proposal into its mandate renewal request to the Government of Canada. In order to build the most beneficial program for SMEs, CANARIE is looking for feedback from digital entrepreneurs across the country on how best to meet their cloud-computing needs.