Canadian offshore slowdown impacts RandD investment dollars

7/13/2020

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND – Engage Creative Technologies (Engage) is a technology development firm focused on emerging technologies, especially the spectrum of virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) known as “extended reality.”

The application of AR/VR has the potential to transform the way people interact with data and it provides massive benefit to a range of industries. Engage has been focused on augmented reality applications for the oil & gas industry that would allow users to “see” hazards, especially rogue ice, in all conditions (night time, fog) and in context, to a user with a wearable device. This technology has tremendous potential for ice management strategies. With the industry now in crisis mode, and no sign of help from Ottawa, companies are putting many of their projects on hold indefinitely.

“The partners we had lined up to work with us on our projects are all taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to R&D contributions,” said Aaron Dawe, president of Engage. “The oil & gas industry is so interconnected to the technology industry here. Everyone loves technology but – at least here in Newfoundland and Labrador – it’s been built by oil & gas.” Since 2004, over a half a billion dollars has flowed to local research and development, education and training as a result of the oil & gas industry’s activity. This crucial investment – along with the industry as a ready market for technology – has made this province a center of excellence in ocean technology and underpinned a recent boom in the innovation ecosystem.

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