Siemens Establishes Global Centre for Cybersecurity in New Brunswick, Canada
Cybersecurity is one of the most significant business risks and opportunities for our society and economy. Yesterday in Oakville, Ontario, Siemens Canada President CEO Faisal Kazi and Opportunities NB CEO, Stephen Lund, announced Siemens decision to locate its global centre for cybersecurity in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
We had a chance to sit with Faisal Kazi, President and CEO of Siemens Canada to discuss this announcement and what the future looks like.
CyberNB: Today it was announced that Siemens will be establishing its Cybersecurity Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Can you tell me why Fredericton was selected as the location?
Kazi: There were several important factors that guided that decision includingNew Brunswick’s decision to focus on cybersecurity as an important economic topic and create CyberNB as a dedicated agency to establish and grow a cyber ecosystem in the province.
Our existing strategic partnership with NB Power in the area of smart grid also played a role as we can now also extend that partnership to cybersecurity.
Finally, the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) expertise in cybersecurity through the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity was a decisive factor and offers the prospect of R&D collaborations and a pipeline of highly-skilled cyber talent.
“New Brunswick’s cybersecurity ecosystem is an exciting space to be coming into, and Siemens has known since we originally located here that the province is well-known for its innovative spirit and research capacity.”
Faisal Kazi, President CEO, Siemens Canada
CyberNB: New Brunswick has a strong focus on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, how will this focus, along with the expertise of our ecosystem factor into the Centre?
Kazi: Power utilities, oil & gas, and manufacturing are key customer verticals for Siemens. They are all part of the critical infrastructure in Canada and their cybersecurity needs are very different from those of financial services companies…New Brunswick’s focus on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure is for a fitting compliment to the needs of our customers, and this was, in fact, another reason for our decision to choose Fredericton.
CyberNB: What do you see for the Cybersecurity Centre over the next two years, five years and seven years?
Kazi: Our goal for the next two years is to fully operationalize the Centre to meet the cybersecurity needs of our Canadian customers. Beyond that, our aspiration for the Centre is to support Siemens’ global efforts to strengthen the cybersecurity of industrial operations worldwide. In that context, I would also like to mention the Siemens Charter of Trust, a new global initiative by Siemens and numerous other respected companies in Europe and North America which is aimed at making the digital world more secure.
CyberNB: Siemens has a strong presence in New Brunswick through your partnership with NB Power and the UNB which you mentioned. Can you tell me about that relationship?
Kazi: When the grid modernization and business transformation project partnership was struck 2012, Siemens demonstrated its long-term commitment to New Brunswick and NB Power by making some major investments in the province, including opening a Global Smart Grid Centre of Competence and a Global Smart Grid Research and Development Centre in 2012, in the provincial capital of Fredericton. At that time, Siemens has also committed to invest $2.5M (cash and in-kind resources) in leading edge smart grid related research at UNB’s Faculty of Engineering. This research investment is now funding three projects at UNB. And it was the combination of the NB Power partnership and the UNB investment that spurred the creation of a unique collaboration called Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN) with partners NB Power and UNB. This collaboration has opened the door to many provincial and regional companies to get their products and services ‘smart grid ready’, to take advantage of coming opportunities in this burgeoning sector.
CyberNB: New Brunswick has a very unique and diverse energy industry, what impact/role does this play for Siemens? Where will this play out in the area of Smart Grid?
Kazi: The Province of New Brunswick embraces low-carbon renewable energy future. NB Power plays the unique role of generation, transmission and distribution. With these two factors, NB Power is an incredibly well positioned utility to take advantage of, and optimize, a full spectrum of smart grid opportunities, both for the utility and its customers. This is due to a variety of factors including their strong vision of sustainable electricity for the province, the utility’s diverse generation mix, and its increasing proportion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc.). NB Power and Siemens are aligned on the goal of the future of energy transition and this strong and unified commitment led to a unique partnership and design of the smart grid program for the utility.
Smart grid will play a major role in helping New Brunswick achieve the larger goal of making better use of energy, while reducing the need for future spending on power plants and lowering GHG emissions. This will enable NB Power to help their customers to better manage electricity usage. Recently, Energy Smart NB was introduced as NB Power’s long-term plan to build a smarter, more resilient, flexible and responsive power grid, and to provide customers with more ways to manage energy including usage of new technologies. Siemens is working with NB Power on smart grid processes and technologies, which will support a fully integrated dynamic electricity system to enable communications between customers and their homes, power plants and distribution systems.
CyberNB: A foundational component of CyberNB’s strategy is based on our cybersecurity skills and workforce development strategy. What role did this leading edge strategy play in your decision to choose Fredericton?
Kazi: For the same reasons we started working in NB Power and in New Brunswick, we are thrilled to establish the Siemens Cybersecurity Centre here. New Brunswick’s cybersecurity ecosystem is an exciting space to be coming into, and Siemens has known since we originally located here that the province is well-known for its innovative spirit and research capacity.
The Government of New Brunswick and UNB determined early on, as the cybersecurity sector began to evolve, that the province could play a leadership role on the national stage and led to Opportunities NB’s creation of Cyber NB as a centre-point for this burgeoning sector.Visionary decisions like this have seen the province take a leadership position in thecountry in cybersecurity and Siemens is looking forward to contributing to its growth.
CyberNB is a Special Operating Agency of Opportunities NB.