By Alexandria Angco, RIC Centre’s Project Manager
It’s not every day that the Star Wars BB-8 droid rolls into your office. His cute shape and funny sounds are just a couple qualities of this wonderful workplace distraction. This little astromech added excitement into our hallways on Wednesday morning. While he wasn’t here on a mission for the Resistance, he does remind us of our focus on tech entrepreneurs.
RIC Centre has helped more than 300 clients in the past year. Our clients operate in a variety of industrial sectors such as advanced materials and manufacturing, clean technology, digital media, and life sciences.
This year, the Chair of the RIC Centre Board, Sunil Selby, has announced that RIC will be focusing on three major sectors: advanced manufacturing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and clean tech.
The Three Major Sectors
Advanced Manufacturing enables companies to use cutting-edge technology to improve industrial processes. A popular example is 3D printing. Materials such as metal, concrete, and human tissue are being improved and applied to solve the challenges we face. For example, 3D printing can create joint replacements with a patient’s own tissue. Outside of its cool factor, advanced manufacturing has great market potential. According to Gartner, 3D printing alone is projected to grow from $1.6B in 2015 to $13.4B in 2018 .
Internet of Things
If you just figured out how to use social media, get ready because the internet is about to get even more complex. The Internet of Things will let us connect everything. This new generation of the Internet will allow our devices to communicate with each other. Industrial machinery, mobile phones, sensors, vehicles, other personal devices, and even your appliances will be connected.
Reducing negative impacts on the environment is becoming a priority for people and their communities. According to the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance, the clean tech global market is current at $1 trillion and projected to triple within a decade. With about 35% of clean tech companies located in Ontario, the RIC Centre has already helped 56 of these clean tech ventures.
What about BB-8?
BB-8 isn’t the first robot to roll through the RIC Centre hallways. Robots have a special place in our hearts. Investment in robotic startups are increasing and this will be followed by their rise. According to CB Insights, about 22 deals are expected to be made in 2016 which is much larger than the 2 deals made in 2011. Robotics are also poised to drive 1.5 million jobs – contrary to the common belief that robots will result in a net loss of jobs for humans.
While our tech startups work tirelessly, we are ready to provide them the necessary tools to help their business. Maybe we will send BB-8 to check up on them every once in a while, and remind them to keep pushing forward.