605 words | 3.5 minutes
Do you know who made your debit card?
There is a good chance it was the innovators at the Thales, a global technology company that supports the aerospace, defense, transportation, digital identity, and security markets, and has a large-scale operation in Ottawa.
Founded over a hundred years ago, Thales is a world-renowned business. Thales Canada launched operations fifty years ago and quickly became a domestic leader in research and technology; a distinction it still holds today. Currently, Thales Canada partners with over 500 Canadian enterprises, creating value of more than $140 million annually.
Cara Salci, the Vice President, Strategy and Government Relations at Thales Canada, a division of Thales joined Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh in a conversation for Invested in Our New Reality.
“Thales has approximately 400 team members here in Ottawa, across a rather diverse set of business units, including our defense business and our digital identity and security business,” says Cara Salci. “…we have a broad range of primarily government customers, including the Royal Canadian Navy, the RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Commissionaires, and the Canadian Border Services Agency.”
With offices in 68 countries around the world and several in different Canadian cities, it’s natural to wonder – what sets Ottawa apart?
“Talent and people,” answers Salci. “We are drawn not only to the level of expertise, and the accessibility of talent – which is obviously in extremely high demand – but the quality.”
Pushing boundaries is key to success in business, so it’s no surprise the Thales Group has set their sights beyond even earth and have an extensive portfolio of work in outer space.
Thales Alenia Space, a Thales joint venture with Leonardo, is working with satellite operator, Telesat, on the LightSpeed Constellation project. The Lightspeed Constellation will be made up of 298 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that, when operational, will dramatically improve internet speeds and ensure gigabit speeds at 30 to 50-millisecond latency anywhere in the world.
“The constellation is constructed, in super simple terms, to form a mesh. All the satellites link up in outer space and can communicate with one another,” explains Salci. “The constellation will be able to shift demand around the world … to drive the most effective connectivity capability it can.”
Now deep into its second year, the Covid Pandemic has highlighted the inequities in internet access and the critical need for improved infrastructure. The Canadian Federal Government announced an agreement to secure services via the Lightspeed Constellation, a move that will improve service and lower costs of broadband subscription costs in underserved areas.
This project, says Salci, will go a long way to close the digital divide and help ensure people who live in remote areas have access to the internet and internet-based services equal to an urban resident.
“The role my colleagues at Thales Alenia Space are playing is second to none in terms of the opportunity this project represents, for both Canada’s legacy in space and our growth as a space-based economy,” she said, adding, “It’s an exciting time.”
Thales Canada, supported by the Ottawa office, is also launching a new program called Synergy. As the name suggests, this project will foster synergistic partnerships with Canadian small businesses, engaging them in the company’s global supply chain and helping them pursue Government of Canada and Department of National Defense partnerships.
If Thales Canada is big, then it must be said that Thales is enormous. What’s next for this global company for whom the sky is not the limit?
Only time will tell.