The partnership is intended to advance cloud computing through a Carleton lab to a stage to make it more attractive to small- and medium-sized businesses, said Tony Schultz, senior vice-president of Huawei Canada.
The Shenzhen, China-based firm set up its first Canadian research and development lab in Kanata in 2009 and in 2010, pledged it would spend $50 million locally in three years.
A competing cloud system is being built by Bell and Cisco. In March, members of that partnership touted it as a way to help understaffed IT departments cope with a shortage of graduates in Canada.
"(The lab) is part of our investment in Canada," Mr. Schultz said, adding Huawei has been putting in the money to demonstrate its desire to stay in Ottawa – a sentiment confirmed by Huawei Canada president Sean Yang in prepared remarks.
"Huawei is committed to bringing leading technology and solutions to this market," Mr. Yang said. The company is expected to have 250 people working locally in a couple of years; as of January, it had just over 70.
The partnership was born from a Carleton connection: Mr. Schultz and Ibrahim Gedeon, the chief technology officer at Telus Corp., are both engineering alumni of the university and had a mutual interest in growing technology at their alma mater.
The two men met in China for unrelated reasons just over a year ago – Huawei and Telus are long-standing business partners – and put in a call to Carleton engineering dean Rafik Goubran from there when they came up with the initial idea of the partnership.
"The IP will be built at Carleton," Mr. Gedeon said, adding the appeal to businesses will be a "library of services" available anywhere they are – by mobile, in front of a computer or by other means.
Undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to intern at Telus and possibly at Huawei. Lab research will focus on security, compatibility and ease of use, among other items. Around 220 students will be involved annually.