A Message from the CEO
nGen has been open two and a half years and the interactive digital media cluster in Niagara has come a long way in a short amount of time. We have successfully completed a number of interactive projects and have provided tenancy to talented, young businesses. We have hosted business seminars and networking events to facilitate and encourage greater knowledge and networking, and we have expanded our technologies significantly through the opening of the Generator at one. All of our actions are aimed at accomplishing our mandate of growing the cluster of interactive digital media companies in the Niagara Region. Our hard work and dedication was recognized at a provincial level earlier this month as nGen was selected to join the new Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), a network of 14 Regional Innovation Centres across Ontario. To be selected to represent Niagara is an honour and a role we take very seriously.
The Ontario Network of Excellence is designed to help local entrepreneurs bring new and innovative ideas to the marketplace. This is an incredible partnership for nGen as it greatly improves upon our current resources and will benefit many local companies. ONE will help nurture more local entrepreneurial successes in the interactive digital media industry, as well as other industries such as health and bioscience, advanced manufacturing and the green industry. Although nGen’s mandate is to grow the interactive digital media industry in Niagara, by becoming a Regional Innovation Centre we will be able to strengthen other knowledge and research driven industries in Niagara. This is a great opportunity for our Region to further develop itself in these high-growth industries and we are looking forward to working closely with ONE.
Joining ONE is a testament to Niagara’s business leaders, post-secondary institutions, governments and citizens who have all embraced the concept of a transition to a knowledge-based economy, and it is incredible to see our Region working together in building a brighter future for Niagara. As a lifelong Niagara resident I take pride in the community that I live in and it is a great feeling to be a part of an initiative that is going to have such a significant impact on the Niagara Region for many years to come.
One of the projects that this new partnership is going to benefit is the ‘Niagara 1812’ project. This research-based project has taken a life of its own, and is growing to heights we could only have imagined when we first started the project. With expansions to other parts of Niagara in the very near future, we are realizing the full potential of the intellectual property that has been created. With technology based, interactive guided tours just in the introduction stage, we see a significant amount of growth in the upcoming years and hope to play a significant role in bringing these new products to market.
We recently hosted an Interactive Media Mashup at the Generator at one, and we had one of our strongest turnouts. We will be hosting our next Mashup on November 24 at our regular spot, the One St. Paul St. Lounge. We will have a short presentation from one of nGen’s newest tenants 211 INTERACTIVE, and we hope you can attend. Also, this week, nGen hosted a seminar ‘How to Hire the RIGHT Employee!’ New seminars will be posted shorlty for the 2011 year. Visit the Events page on our website.
Over the next few months, we will be accepting applications for tenancy and we are always open to new ideas in the interactive digital media field from members of the community. If you have any questions, or you want to become involved in the interactive digital media field, feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or add yourself to nGen’s stakeholder list.
Chief Executive Officer, nGen
nGen has been selected by the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) to be a Regional Innovation Centre for the Niagara Region. ONE is Ontario’s new, province-wide innovation network created to align all of the programs and resources Ontario has to support innovators and companies in bringing new ideas to market.
During the period of 2008 to 2009, Ontario’s regional innovation centres helped the province’s technology-based entrepreneurs and firms create more than 3,400 jobs. They have also helped protect over 1,300 new ideas through patents and copyrights, develop nearly 900 prototypes, and bring over 700 products and services to the marketplace.
By becoming a Regional Innovation Centre nGen will expand upon its role as an incubator for interactive digital media, and will nurture the growth of other research and innovation based industries. Among these industries are health and bioscience, clean technologies, and pharmaceuticals. The extension of nGen’s role into these other industries is in line with the St. Catharines-Thorold Prosperity Council’s Paths to Prosperity, and the Niagara Economic Growth Strategy.
As a member organization of ONE, nGen will be able to provide local entrepreneurs with access to a broad range of experts, including researchers, academics, businesses, government and investors. This will expand nGen’s current programs considerably and will allow us to build upon these high-growth industries in our Region.
The programs and services of ONE will include business acceleration programs and services, industry-academic collaboration programs and services, and sector-based expertise. Local entrepreneurs and companies will be able to access these programs and services through nGen.
To learn more about the Ontario Network of Excellence, check out their website.
X-Men: Destiny is coming to video game consoles in Fall 2011, courtesy of St. Catharines’ very own Silicon Knights. Not much has been revealed at this time about the game, but what has been announced is that in X-Men: Destiny players strap on the suit of a new mutant recruit among the comic’s mutant band of heroes. With a story created by X-Men Legacy’s Mike Carey, the game will have branching storylines that feature a deep element of choice, and players will have ultimate control of their destiny.
The first trailer for the X-Men: Destiny game was released on Oct. 7, 2010, during New York’s big comic book conference, Comic-Con. The trailer can be viewed on IGN at (http://ps3.ign.com/articles/112/1126373p1.html). A website has also been set up to keep you up-to-date on the news of the game and can be found at http://www.herohq.com/xmendestiny.
Project Update - Niagara 1812: Return of the Fenian Shadow
Niagara 1812: Return of the Fenian Shadow has officially been launched on the iTunes store and the project team has received great feedback from those who have tried the interactive history tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The project has also garnered a large amount of regional and national publicity as people are beginning to take notice of the innovative new application which is considered the future of guided sightseeing. Take a look at the press it received in the St. Catharines Standard, and the Globe and Mail.
The Niagara 1812 project team is weeks away from launching its second, fully guided and interactive iPhone tour. Niagara 1812: The Bomber’s Plot is set to be released within the next month and will be available for download from the iTunes store. This guided tour takes users through Queenston and is designed in a similar way to its counterpart application for Niagara-on-the-Lake. Dr. Kevin Kee, the producer for the applications was thrilled to have the second tour ready to be rolled out just months after the release of the first one. “What we have done here in collaboration with nGen is create an incredible piece of intellectual property. We are now able to use this IP to further expand our guided tours, and hopefully our expansion into Queenston is just the first of many.”
When asked if this meant that iHistoryTours was seeking expansion into new towns and cities for their innovative iPhone tours, Dr. Kevin Kee did mention that he had been contacted by a city regarding these services, and they are currently in talks.
The project team has also launched its new website www.ihistorytours.com. The website was created by vxFusion, a young, Niagara-based creative studio focused on skillful designs and high-quality hand-coded websites.
Make sure to ‘like’ Niagara 1812: Return of the Fenian Shadow on Facebook to get the most up to date information!
nGen is currently accepting applications for tenancy. Applicants must be entrepreneurs in the field of interactive digital media. Those interested may contact nGen’s CEO, Jeff Chesebrough - email@example.com.
Furi is working on strategic partnerships with companies from Niagara and across Ontario on some exciting new initiatives in social networking, gaming, cloud computing, as well as information technology.
As the Technical Director for the “1812 Niagara” project team, Furi has been working hard on the expansion of the iPhone application to Queenston. The team hopes to have the new application “Niagara 1812: The Bomber’s Plot” launched within the next couple of weeks.
Furi has also been working closely with a multi-tenant facility in Sarnia, Ontario, architecting and implementing the IT infrastructure for the facility. This is one of many strategic IT infrastructure projects that Furi has been a technical lead for (Furi was also the technical lead for the design and implementation of the Data Centre at the Generator at one). This is an area of work that Furi excels at, and hopes to pursue more in the future.
Furi has also been piloting an electronic document workflow for a high profile sporting players' association. The prototype is designed to save the company money and time, making registration for professional hockey players more efficient and more effective.
Furi is continuing to strengthen its core competencies through its current projects and partnerships, and is excited about all of the new opportunities and relationships that are occurring as a result of their role as Technology Partner for the Generator at one.
Fourgrounds Media Inc.
The change of seasons has not only brought a change in the weather, but a change in the pace of business for the team at Fourgrounds this fall. They have been very busy continuing to produce video content for their existing clients, but are also hard at work for new clients like The Niagara Ice Dogs, The Niagara Wine Festival, MacLaren McCann Toronto, and Walker Industries. Their first Broadcast deal with TVO Kids has just been approved, and will continue to keep them busy for the foreseeable future. They were pleased to be able to work with the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce creating nominee videos for the 2010 Business Achievement Awards (where they were nominated for an Outstanding New Business Award!), as this gave them an opportunity to network with a large number of other unique and successful local businesses.
In addition to the business side of things, there are two distinct recent accomplishments that are worth noting:
Fourgrounds Co-Owner and Vice-President Kristen Nater has been officially selected to represent Brock’s “Both Sides of the Brain” Campaign as an established prominent alumni (the photo can be viewed on their facebook page “fourgrounds media inc.”.
Fourgrounds Co-Owner and President Adrian Thiessen was featured on the cover, as well as a two-page article in the Innovation issue of Niagara Magazine’s Business edition.
Fourgrounds Media Inc. continues to thrive on the craziness that is their daily operations, and is proud of their growing team. Their presence in the Generator at One has enabled their continued growth, and this space now provides a home for a Brock course in Interactive Arts and Science that Adrian teaches with morro images President Tobias Wiegand.
morro images Inc.
It seems that 2010 will indeed be a very successful year for morro images. the Generator at one has been up and running for a few months now and the first projects have made their way through the pipelines. The Technology Partners and nGen have all spent a great deal of time in getting the Generator at one up and running, and it is great to see their ideas and efforts working out.
morro images has worked on its first reverse engineering project utilizing the R&D lab's 3D scanner and 3D printer. The client was very happy with the results as was morro images. The Motion Capture Studio has also seen its first real action. Working together with a large gaming company, morro images established a workflow to produce 3D motion capture data in a very economic way. Again the client was very happy with the results and morro images is continuously working at further enhancing the effectiveness of the MoCap studio.
Apart from real life projects, the artists at morro images created visual effects and animations utilizing the High-End Visual Effects suite - in this case Autodesk flame - for a well known TV commercial production challenge which has been received by audiences rather well (check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUZSqOPSEa0). Everyone involved in the commercial was very happy with the outcome and hopefully the project will win first place.
Last but not least, IP creation is always at the top of the list for morro images. Another important step has been taken with one of morro’s projects. morro images has managed to find a broadcaster for one of its in-house productions, currently under development with Fourgrounds Media Inc. and Falling Squirrel Productions. Stay tuned!
To stay in touch and always get the latest breaking news from morro images in Canada and Germany (which is also doing very well with currently more than 30 artists), become a fan at facebook.com or follow us on twitter.com.
211 INTERACTIVE has been working on new creative marketing projects with innovative, global corporate clients including Accipiter Radar, RMT Robotics and Amdocs International. Combining their MODOcms web technology and Apple's Final Cut Pro Studio software, they've been able to deliver high-end, artistic and interactive solutions to their clients.
Their interactive website building software, "MODOcms" is steadily gaining popularity not only as a powerful CMS, but an SEO/SEM Platform to increase website traffic. Its flexibility has allowed them to create enterprise level, scalable solutions. They've been working with fellow nGen tenants to develop new business strategies and hope to partner on several interactive ventures in 2011! They also hope to utilize the new video and audio studios at nGen with upcoming client projects.
Brock University – Centre for Digital Humanities
The Interactive Arts and Science (IASC) Program at Brock University provides students with the chance to study and work in various areas that combine digital media and interactivity such as social media, 3-D online environments and video games, just to name a few. In the Fall of 2010, the IASC program began offering two new courses at nGen: "Innovations in Advanced Digital Media" which introduces students to the motion capture and other cutting-edge imaging technology, taught by Tobias Wiegand of morro images, and "Interactive Media Portfolio," taught jointly by Tobias Wiegand and Jeff Chesebrough. These courses show the close working relationship that has developed between Brock University and nGen. It is a great example of cooperation between industry and higher education in the area of interactive digital media.
Niagara College – School of Media Studies
The School of Media Studies successfully launched two new programs this past September. Two sections of 20 students each enrolled in the new Digital Photography program, with more than 50 additional students on a waiting list. As well, a new Computer Service Technician program was initiated. Both programs may be expanded following extensive renovations to the main building at the Welland campus. In September, 2011, a new one-year Art and Design certificate program, as well as a new Game Development program will be introduced These initiatives coincide with the start-up of the INC production studios at nGen. There is a great deal of enthusiasm and interest regarding the INC project amongst students and local businesses, evidenced by the large number who attended the nGen Mashup on September 22.