USask Innovation Enterprise Managing Director Johannes Dyring.

USask-led event brings together academics and industry to tackle Internet of Things (IoT) challenges

SASKATOON – The Internet of Things (IoT) has begun to change how people live, interact and consume, and companies want to know how to adapt to this new and fast-changing environment.

IoT refers to how computing devices embedded in everyday physical devices—from coffee makers to security systems—connect to each other, and collect and exchange information both with one another and with us. Smart devices can be remotely controlled and monitored, or work automatically, through a variety of software, cameras, and sensors.

Companies are asking: What is possible to do today? How does IoT look like tomorrow? How can companies utilize IoT to drive innovation and meet customer demand?

These questions were addressed at an AIMday™ event on March 27, as Saskatchewan academic researchers and industry representatives met to discuss challenges and opportunities in the evolving and vast IoT research space.

University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Innovation Enterprise hosted the AIMday™ IoT event at Innovation Place, partnering with University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. It was the first step in a process that is expected to lead to joint research projects that will address specific industry needs and help explore and move beyond the knowledge of today to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

“We understand that IoT will be critical to advancing our economy. AIMday™ provided the forum for interaction between companies and researchers to identify where and how  IoT can propel innovation,” said Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan which is one of the main sponsors of the event. “We look forward to learning more about the partnerships and outcomes of this event.”

Researchers from USask, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic met with representatives of seven organizations (including ISM Canada, Farm Boys Design, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., and Intelliconn Communications Solutions) to discuss innovative solutions to industry issues.

Questions submitted by companies were the basis for company-led discussions with academics from various disciplines. A structured one-hour discussion around each question enabled industry representatives and academics to assess whether they can work together to find a solution to the specific challenge presented by the company.

Of the 41 proposals submitted by researchers in response to specific industry questions, eight were selected by the companies and turned into six tangible projects aimed at finding solutions to specific company challenges.

“This is our fifth AIMday™ event and we wanted to challenge ourselves and tackle the enormous ever-evolving area of IoT,” said USask Innovation Enterprise Managing Director Johannes Dyring. “The success of this AIMday™ shows that this concept can be applied to the most complex research area. Even IoT could be broken down to very concrete and tangible questions that can be discussed, and synergies found, in the allocated one hour time slot.”

AIMday™ IoT is sponsored by the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Innovation Saskatchewan, and Innovation Place.

Some of the research collaborations that emerged from AIMday™ may also be eligible for NSERC Engage program funding, which has supported more than 10,000 such academy-industry collaborations since 2009.  

The following research teams were selected by the industry organizations to receive initial funding of $1,000 each:





Ray Spiteri


Department of Computer Science

University of Saskatchewan

Khan Wahid,

Terry Peckham

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,

School of ICT

University of Saskatchewan,

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Debajyoti Mondal,

Mohammad Rakib Hasan


Computer Science

University of Saskatchewan

Irfan Al-Anbagi,

Tessa Herzberger


Faculty of Engineering and

Applied Science

University of Regina

Terry Peckham,

Cyril Coupal

School of ICT

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Irfan Al-Anbagi

Faculty of Engineering and

Applied Science

University of Regina

About AIMday™

AIMday™ was originally initiated and successfully developed by Uppsala University in Sweden. USask, through Innovation Enterprise, has initiated and signed a collaboration agreement with Uppsala University to implement the internationally acclaimed and highly successful concept, and is now approved by Uppsala as the Canadian AIMday hub, enabling Innovation Enterprise to help facilitate  AIMdayTM events at other Canadian institutions. Since its inception, the successful global AIMdayTM concept has been used in several areas, including cancer research, diagnostics, materials science, aging, imaging and big data. It has proven to be an effective tool for generating new contacts, new ideas and new approaches to solving problems and driving innovation forward.

About USask Innovation Enterprise
Innovation Enterprise initiates, develops, commercializes and implements innovative, sustainable and knowledge-based solutions generated by USask researchers. Find out more: www.research.usask.ca/ie

About Innovation Saskatchewan
Innovation Saskatchewan is an innovation catalyst serving the needs of individuals, companies and institutions, as well as enhancing the role and benefits of innovation in Saskatchewan through:

  • Developing an environment that encourages and accelerates innovation;
  • Enhancing the ability of the private sector to innovate and implement innovations, leading to the commercialization of new, high value-added products and improved competitiveness; and
  • Fostering coordinated public-sector research, development and technology transfer targeted at economic growth for Saskatchewan.



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