Six months after launching its purpose-built Internet of Things network in southwestern Ontario, Waterloo-based eleven-x has announced a major cross-Canada expansion, setting the table for growth in smart-cities initiatives and industrial IoT applications.

The company, founded by former BlackBerry employees with deep expertise in wireless technology, can now lay claim to Canada’s first and only coast-to-coast network built specifically for IoT communications.

In practical terms, this means remote devices connected to the eleven-x network can operate far more efficiently, consuming less battery power and at lower cost than those connected to traditional cellular networks built for voice and data.

Last December, eleven-x launched its network in and around Waterloo Region. With today’s expansion announcement, the company has extended connectivity to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Toronto and Greater Toronto Area cities including Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville and Burlington, and now reaches more than 60 per cent of Canada’s population. Further Canadian expansion is planned for this year, the company said.

The expansion comes as cities ramp up their use of low-energy, battery-powered devices to automate municipal systems – such as street lighting, water monitoring and vehicle tracking – and industries tap into IoT to increase productivity and save money.

“The timing of this expansion couldn’t be better, enabling the rapidly growing Canadian IoT market,” said Nigel Wallis, Vice-President of IoT and Industry Research at International Data Corporation (IDC), an agency that monitors IT and telecom market trends. “This network expansion by eleven-x can serve as a catalyst for innovation across the country for both public and private sector organizations.”

IDC has predicted the global IoT market to be worth US$1.7 trillion by 2020, with an estimated 30 billion connected devices in use.

For eleven-x, which employs close to 25 people out of its office at Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre, expansion of the network will mean growth for the company. It will be hiring software developers specializing in back-end and embedded systems, along with business development and product-related talent, company spokesman Mark Hall said.

Photo: Global Rainbow (2014) by Saku Takakusaki is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

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Anthony Reinhart
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Anthony Reinhart is a veteran journalist who left the Globe and Mail to join Communitech in 2011. Tony has covered everything from crime, politics and courts to business, the arts and sports, and his writing has won numerous journalism awards. He is Communitech's Director of Editorial Strategy and senior staff writer.