MARCH 23, 2021

University of Alberta and TELUS bring 5G ‘living lab’ to campus to advance research and development of innovative technologies

$15 million investment from TELUS enhances U of A’s innovation and commercialization capacity in areas of strength, starting with precision agriculture and autonomous vehicle systems.
EDMONTON, Alberta—The University of Alberta announced a five-year partnership with TELUS to establish a 5G “Living Lab” at the U of A that will contribute to a pipeline of new research and technology with commercial applications, while supporting the development of the talent pool needed to enhance economic recovery and diversification in Alberta. The $15 million investment from TELUS will provide the 5G infrastructure to enable TELUS and the U of A to accelerate research and drive technology roadmaps to address society’s most pressing challenges now and into the future.
“This investment in 5G advanced infrastructure will not only stimulate economic growth, diversification and innovation in Canada, but it will transform the Alberta ecosystem for technology and innovation,” said U of A president Bill Flanagan. “This is the sort of diversification opportunity that provincial, education and business leaders are pushing for in order to position Alberta to compete globally. It reinforces TELUS’ remarkable reputation as a technology company driving emerging opportunities.”
TELUS’ investment will help the university to prioritize research projects with a direct path to public or commercial viability in the areas of precision agriculture and autonomous vehicles, with potential subsequent partnerships in precision health, virtual medicine and smart cities. It will also leverage strengths in artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver innovation and technology solutions in these areas. 
“TELUS is excited to be part of this great initiative and to be investing in technological innovation to create sustainable, intellectual wealth for Alberta and Canada,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer at TELUS. “The promise of creating jobs and positioning leading technology to support innovation in education and providing solutions for both Alberta and Canada as leaders in the connected and digital economy is crucial. We are proud to support the faculty and students at U of A, and we are confident that this alliance will propel our efforts to further enhance the lives of all Canadians through technology.” 
5G is the fifth generation of technology for broadband cellular networks. With mobile data speeds up to 100 times faster than the current 4G networks, 5G networks will move the amount of information needed to enable everything from remote surgery to autonomous cars and the creation of truly smart cities that optimize the lives of residents using innovation, data and connected technology. In Alberta, TELUS’ 5G network will support vital connectivity including remote work, virtual healthcare, and distance education all while inspiring the technological innovations that will unleash new opportunities for human productivity and will enable Albertans’ entrepreneurial spirit.
The U of A is home to the Autonomous Vehicle Testbed, which enables researchers to develop and test autonomous vehicle technologies that will allow vehicles to see the road and any potential obstacles, communicate seamlessly with the environment and with other vehicles, and make immediate decisions on speed, direction and safety.
The disruptive technologies enhanced by 5G will enable researchers to address global problems in agriculture and food systems, such as increasing demand for food and growing competition for land, energy and water, and improve the efficiency, quality and sustainability of these systems.
"Having precision agriculture highlighted in the first stage of the partnership will create unique opportunities for us to generate new, innovative ideas with our partners,” said Stan Blade, dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. “The agriculture and food sector has been a leader in developing new technologies based on effective collection and use of data for diverse applications. Our expertise across the entire agrifood value chain and extensive industry collaborations will generate many new initiatives in both teaching and research using the strengths of the TELUS 5G Living Lab."
For media inquiries, please contact:
Michael Brown
University of Alberta, Strategic Communications
[email protected]
Doug Self
TELUS Media Relations
[email protected]
About the University of Alberta
Since the beginning, the U of A and Alberta have grown together. From launching an energy industry to the discovery of insulin to the first moment a computer beat a human at chess, our people have been part of it. Together, we have pushed forward discoveries that changed the world, created opportunities and opened up industries. For more than a century, we have been the engine that drives social, cultural and economic prosperity in Canada. We are not only training the workforce of tomorrow, we are also creating the industries of tomorrow. We work alongside communities—because they’re our communities, too. The university’s alumni—numbering more than 300,000 in 167 countries—have founded more than 70,000 organizations and businesses around the world, creating 1.5 million jobs, nearly 400,000 of which are in Alberta.
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TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $16 billion in annual revenue and 16 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. We leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. In 2020, TELUS was recognized as having the fastest wireless network in the world, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better. TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture provides innovative digital solutions throughout the agriculture value chain, supporting better food outcomes from improved agri-business data insights and processes. TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that delivers next-generation AI and content management solutions for global brands across the technology and games, ecommerce and FinTech, communications and media, healthcare, travel and hospitality sectors. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 25+ countries around the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.
Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $820 million and 1.6 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.
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