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Serving the Internet of Things

Bob Vrbanac, Waterloo Chronicle
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internet of things

 It was graduation day at the Accelerator Centre again last Thursday, but this wasn’t the first time the parties involved had been part of a ready-to-launch experience.

The latest grads from the Waterloo-based high tech incubator were Trustpoint Innovation Technologies, which provides a more efficient form of secure authentication between wired and wireless products, and Blue Rover, a company that helps track data and resources around the globe and allows business clients to react in real time.

Both firms feature veteran entrepreneurs who have already had success in launching previous high-tech companies like Trustpoint’s Dr. Scott Vanstone, a world-renowned cryptographer at the University of Waterloo. He founded Certicom before selling it to BlackBerry for $106 million in 2009 to help the local high-tech giant expand its encryption security.

Unfortunately, he passed away after a short illness at the start of March but his wife, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, remains a driving force with the company that is helping secure machine-to-machine communications within the Internet of Things.

Bill Scott, vice-president of product marketing and operations with Trustpoint, said being incubated in the Accelerator Centre allowed it to focus on the marketplace as opposed to the infrastructure it takes to launch a new business.

“It’s laid the foundation that we’re projecting to double our growth by the end of this year,” said Scott. “It’s not to say that we’re going from 50 to 100, but it’s certainly meaningful, and has allowed us to be in good standing when we talk to customers.”

It’s a growth market as more and more things become connected and need secure links in the Internet of Things, which represents more than 97 per cent of the activity on the web. The public only sees about three per cent of what is actually going on the web, and the technology has important implications for future developments like allowing cars to talk to other cars and increase features like accident avoidance.

Our vehicles are becoming our home away from home for a lot of us, and Scott said they hope to provide a more secure authentication that won’t use as much space on these limited networks.

“It’s about machine-to-machine communications and how you’re going to make it secure,” said Scott. “What makes us unique is the encryption that we’re taking to market, which has been proven with the previous company our founder had, based on elliptic curve cryptology.

“It’s claim to fame is that it’s very efficient and much smaller than your standard encryption methodologies that you see on computers today, thus it’s well-suited for the machine-to-machine environment today where bandwidth and memory are very limited and the requirement for processing is very high.”

Scott said this was a natural evolution for the Vanstone’s after selling Certicom.

“He was semi-retired and he said ‘let’s do this again’ about a year-and-a half ago,” he said about Vanstone, who was a distinguished professor emeritus at UW. “Scott was the visionary and Sherry was the more hands-on founder.”

The company will remain in Waterloo and has opened an office on Phillip Street in some of the office space made available by the restructuring being done by BlackBerry. Scott said it has become prime real estate for a lot of new technology companies.

“We moved into a former BlackBerry facility on Phillip Street and there has been a bit of surge here,” said Scott, who rhymed off a number of local companies that had found similar space, like Axonify. “We were able to leverage out the BlackBerry suites and we’re able to get up and running fairly quickly.

“They did a fabulous job in putting their infrastructure together in terms of cabling and networking, and we were able to leverage that infrastructure that already pre-exists in the building.”

The other grad last week was Blue Rover, founded by long-time entrepreneur and businessman Loreto Saccucci. His newest venture provides a technically advanced platform that helps companies in the transportation, food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical sectors better track their inventory. A lot of it is time sensitive, and the real time application helps them to avoid issues like spoilage that could go right to the bottom line.

Trustpoint and Blue Rover were the 35th and 36th companies to graduate out of the world-renowned Accelerator Centre program.

“Both companies are graduating on a very solid footing and are destined to be significant players within their market and economic contributors within Waterloo Region,” said Tim Ellis, CEO of the Accelerator Centre.

Serving the Internet of Things

Bob Vrbanac

Waterloo Chronicle, Waterloo ON