In the News Archive
July 2004

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Camera/transmitter combo on inside track

Zarlink Semiconductor’s new radio frequency transmitter chip – an ultra low power, high performance device – is being by used an Israeli firm, Given Imaging Ltd (www.givenimaging.com), as part of a unique swallowable camera capsule. The camera-transmitter combination of the M2A® capsule provides doctors with an alternative to standard and invasive endoscopy procedures.

A patient swallows the M2A® capsule, which then relays images, using Zarlink’s RF transmitter chip (www.zarlink.com), as it travels through the digestive tract. Signals from the transmitter are captured by a data recorder worn on the belt of the patient who can go about their normal routine. The data is then downloaded to a computer where image-processing software produces a video for doctors to examine for evidence of disease or problems in the small intestine.

Changes in government e-tendering sites

As of May 31, 2004 new tenders from the Provinces of Alberta and Québec are not being posted on MERX, a subsidiary of Mediagrif Interactive Technologies. MERX is responsible for the development and operations of the e-tendering services offered by the federal government and the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. It also publicizes the tendering documents from other Canadian jurisdictions.

New Québec government tenders can be found at www.seao.ca, the Système électronique d’appel d’offre. Construction tenders from Québec, which were already published on MERX, can be ordered there also. Tenders published on SEAO include those from Québec government departments and agencies choosing to publish exclusively via the SEAO, all public sector construction related tenders, and those from municipalities and organizations such as education, health and social services.

Alberta tenders can be found at the Alberta Purchasing Connection, www.purchasingconnection.com. (See Summit, June 2004, In the News at www.summitconnects.com for more details.)

MERX recently announced some new features and services including:

  • reduced subscription fees (varying from a monthly cost of $21.95 to $29.95) depending on the choice of service package and term of payment;
  • three service packages designed to meet the different needs of various suppliers;
  • membership fees include: online previewing of full tender documents before ordering and the cost of downloading tender documents and amendments, as well as notices of amendments or the cancellation of an opportunity that the supplier ordered;
  • value-added services are available for suppliers who want to access opportunities in multiple jurisdictions/regions, choose to receive the amendments automatically or want to have additional opportunity matching profiles set up; and,
  • MERX also offers the reproduction and delivery of the hard copy of tendering documents (an Enhanced Service).

Healthy storage for digital images

Physicians at the William Osler Health Centre (WOHC, Ontario’s sixth largest hospital corporation) will be able to access online in real time, digital images of patient CAT Scans, MRIs and X-Rays archived in its new PACS (Picture Archiving Communications Systems) solution.

Delivered through a partnership between Siemens Canada Limited and EMC Corporation (www.emc2.ca), the new PACS system is designed to manage the distribution, sharing and storage of images and information across the three hospital sites that comprise WOHC. PACS is a combination of SIENET RIS/PACS systems, an EMC Symmetrix® storage area network (which also supports WOHC’s clinical, administrative, financial, and Microsoft Exchange systems) and two EMC Centera content addressed storage systems. Centara –a WORM (write once, read many) storage medium – provides flexible, secure storage that is hardware independent and assures content integrity. One of the Centera systems will be remotely located and act as the back-up for the data. In addition to ease and speed of access to stored patient information, the integrated solution offers lower management and overhead costs.

Other Canadian health care organizations such as the Fraser Health Authority and the Interior Health Authority located in BC, and Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston General Hospital, The Scarborough Hospital and Trillium Health Centre, all in Ontario, also rely on EMC Centera as part of their PACS and electronic health records solution. At the Fraser Health Authority $2 million in savings on film cost is the estimated return on investment for the PACS project where Centera is an integral part.

Nova Scotia hardwood gets equal opportunity

Due to provincial tendering specifications, hardwood manufacturers in the Province of Nova Scotia have been unable to compete for public school contracts to supply hardwood for gym floors. In late May 2004, the province announced that it would adjust its design standards to allow quality Canadian-manufactured products not necessarily certified by the Maple Floor Manufacturing Association – a certification that excluded Nova Scotia hardwood manufacturers.

In fact, the province is helping Nova Scotia companies to get a bigger slice of the $1 billion it spends in public procurement each year. A new Supplier Development Program was announced on May 19, 2004, which will provide new outreach services and community workshops on accessing procurement opportunities through things like reverse tradeshows. Summit magazine will report further on developments under this initiative in the November issue.

Broadband expands north

The Government of Canada has committed to making broadband access available to all Canadian communities. According to the government website, “broadband is defined as a high-capacity Internet connection, capable of supporting full-motion, real-time audio and video applications. It is a pipeline for delivering innovative applications, thereby making health, education and business services easily accessible to all Canadians.”

A variety of community groups have applied to Industry Canada, through a competitive process, to bring broadband to their communities. Two such organizations are the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) of Nadina and Stuart Nechako – independent, non-profit organizations, directed by volunteer boards. CFDCs are based on the philosophy that local decision-making and local development is the most effective means for communities to create strategies that deal specifically with their economic environments.

In late May, a $2.1 million project was awarded to a partnership of the CFDCs of Nadina and Stuart Nechako and Navigata Communications, formerly known as WesTel, a BC-based telecommunications company. Navigata (www.navigata.ca) is a wholly owned subsidiary of SaskTel. The state-of-the-art wireless network – built by Navigata, but owned and managed by local community organizations – will allow communities along British Columbia’s Highway 16 between Vanderhoof and the Hazeltons to access e-learning, health and business applications over the Internet. Due to rugged conditions in northern BC, completion of the network is scheduled for 2005.

As well, in Ontario, Industry Canada (committing $890,000) and the Pwi-di-goo-zing Ne-yaa-zhing Advisory Services (committing $256,000) partnered with Bell Canada (committing $1.56 million) to extend broadband to the Fort Frances area, making it available to 10 First Nations communities.

E-recycling in Alberta

As part of Alberta’s strategy to reduce the annual per capita landfill waste from 750 kilograms per person to 500 kilograms by 2010, the province has created an electronic recycling program. Electronics Recycling Alberta, a division of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA), will manage the recycling program. Glass, plastics and heavy metals, like lead and mercury, are components of computers and televisions that can be recycled into products such as next generation electronics.

According to the news release in May 2004, “in the initial phase of the program, televisions, computer monitors, CPUs, laptops, electronic notebooks and printers will be accepted for recycling. An environmental fee, ranging from $5 to $45, depending on the item, will be placed on each product included in the program. The fee will cover the costs of collection, transportation and recycling of electronics material, education and awareness programs and electronics recycling related research. Collection will be coordinated through locally run depots and drop-off points.”

ARMA – a non-profit organization that will also include Alberta’s existing tire recycling program – will begin collection on October 1, 2004.

Red light, green light – safety on command

Richmond, British Columbia, along with Coastal Range Systems (www.coastalrange.ca), a systems integrator, and WebTech Wireless (www.webtechwireless.com), is developing a wireless cost-effective system, that will allow specially-equipped emergency vehicles (such as ambulances, fire trucks and police cars), transit buses or other priority vehicles to initiate traffic signal changes. The intelligent Traffic Signal Pre-Emption System (TSPS) will integrate state-of-the-art vehicle location technology with centralized traffic control systems to allow emergency vehicles to move safely and quickly through intersections – no more weaving through or waiting for cars to dodge here and there to get out of the way. In late May the project received $250,000 from Canada’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Research and Development Plan. Completion is planned for September 2006.

Rubber hits the road

This summer, drivers on a section of road in Pictou County, Nova Scotia will be on rubberized pavement – a blend of rubber and asphalt that reduces cracking and provides a longer lasting road surface. While used elsewhere in North America, the pilot project slated for completion in August, will see S.W. Weeks Construction Ltd. lay recycled rubber on a 3.3-kilometre section of Granton Road. Michelin is providing the recycled passenger tire rubber and consultants and the Nova Scotia government is funding the largest part of the contract.

Cobourg upgrades email

Adapted from an article posted at oneNet News, onn@onenetnews.ca

To serve its citizens, which number about 18,000, Cobourg, Ontario employs over 120 people. They work both at the town hall and as well as remote locations. The town’s email system, a critical tool for the employees, had become too slow and was experiencing difficulties, so Cobourg decided to upgrade. They were looking for an affordable, stable system that would give employees Web-access from remote locations to their email and to integrated calendars and schedulers and utilize existing hardware. A cost-effective solution was chosen – Novell’s Small Business Suite 6 NetWare server, which was installed at Cobourg’s Emergency Control Center where it would host Novell’s GroupWise system. Cobourg purchased 60 GroupWise 6.5 licences, and maintenance for each licence. The total cost for the system, including the licensing, antivirus software, backup software and the consulting and deployment fees, was under $12,000.


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