Industry group calls for government test beds

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance has called for governments of all levels to create “technology test beds,” which would allow departments to trial new technologies without going through the usual procurement process.

Current rules forbid government departments from using new technologies without undertaking a bidding process.

In a presentation to Public Service and Government Works Canada, industry executives urged the government to act as an incubator, buying and testing new technologies from Canadian firms.

Along with getting the government to sample newer and more cutting-edge technology, the “test bed” model would provide a boost to smaller tech firms who’d be able to list the government as a client.

“In addition to the adoption of forward looking procurement practices, we can accelerate export successes, through Public Sector Technology Test Beds, that allow Ministries to innovate, test and trial technologies and serve as reference accounts for thousands of emerging enterprises. Having government as a client is an endorsement for a company breaking into foreign markets,” said CATA senior VP and CIO adviser Charles Duffett in a press release

CATA CEO John Reid said in the same release that he’d like to see 10,000 small-medium enterprises receive government reference accounts by 2020 as well as the creation of 10 domestic companies with revenues exceeding $5 billion annually in the Information Communication Technology sector in the same time frame.