The Platform Innovation Centre (Platform Calgary) has become the first incubator and innovation specific space in Western Canada to offer eduroam (education roaming), a global internet access service for the higher education and research sector.
This means any staff or student from an eduroam-enabled institution (which includes thousands of research and education organizations from around the world) can instantly — and securely — connect to the internet on their own device when they enter the centre.
Since its inception, Platform Calgary’s mandate has been to bring together the resources of Calgary’s tech ecosystem to help startups launch and grow at every step of their journey, from ideation through to scale.
“At the Platform Innovation Centre, we have a two-pronged approach to technology,” says Michael Scullen, IT Systems Lead for the centre. “On the one hand, we want to showcase state-of-the-art technology that dazzles visitors and brings to life Clarke’s law: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ On the other hand, we strive to provide seamless, frictionless services that don’t interfere with getting work done. The eduroam service is a good example of something that quietly works in the background to increase the quality of life at Platform.”
The organization has over 100 partners that provide technical, advisory, and infrastructure support to Calgary’s startup community. These include Bow Valley College, the University of Calgary’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Mount Royal University, and SAIT. Because these organizations are members of the National Research and Education Network — facilitated in Alberta by the not-for-profit organization, Cybera — their students and faculty will be able to take advantage of the eduroam network at Platform.
Joining eduroam will also support higher education members from outside of Calgary, as Platform Calgary regularly hosts conferences, workshops and events that play host to students and academics from across Alberta and around the world.
“Platform is a hub of activity, with thousands of visitors passing through every week. For example, the recent Discover Tech YYC event welcomed a deluge of post-secondary students interested in pursuing careers in the tech industry. We want these visitors to ask questions about the tech ecosystem, not ask for WiFi credentials.”
“Cybera has been a proud community partner of the Platform Calgary Innovation Centre since its inception, which is why we’re excited to welcome Platform Calgary as a new eduroam partner,” says Barb Carra, President and CEO of Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator. “This will allow Platform Calgary to better support the community by providing students and academics an additional location to work from that has a seamless and secure connection.”
Growing eduroam’s presence in Calgary’s downtown core
This addition to the eduroam network increases eduroam’s presence in downtown Calgary, with other connection hubs at Bow Valley College, the University of Calgary’s downtown campus, and the Calgary municipal building.
This opens up the possibility for eduroam to be made available in additional public buildings and transit, potentially supporting thousands of people dealing with connectivity barriers.
This secure, global, Wi-Fi roaming service is available in more than 100 countries and 30,000 locations worldwide, including airports, train stations, and even vending machines.
It allows seamless Wi-Fi connectivity for students, researchers, and staff from participating higher-ed institutions — whether they are on their campus or visiting other participating institutions and community sites. Once they enter an eduroam-enabled space, their linked phones or laptops will immediately sign on to a secure internet connection.
It was developed by the international research and education community to eliminate the administrative effort of offering secure internet access to staff and visitors. Previously, this required allocating extra resources to either providing and supporting temporary login accounts on a person-by-person basis (which can be time-consuming and expensive), or offering the use of public guest accounts, which come with their own security vulnerabilities. The eduroam service creates one secure login account that can be utilized around the globe.
In Canada, the eduroam service is managed and operated by CANARIE, Cybera’s federal partner in the National Research and Education Network (NREN), which supports more than 10 million eduroam logins per month. The connection comes as CANARIE and its provincial and territorial partners in the NREN, including Cybera in Alberta, look to expand the reach of eduroam to more public spaces.
For more information, contact Cybera’s project management team.