Innovation has always been the heart of Calian, Advanced Technologies since its inception in 1965. Originally emerging from the University of Saskatchewan Space Engineering Division, it was acquired by Calian in 1990. Since that time, the Canadian technology firm has been at the forefront of space exploration, aerospace technology and pioneering other ground-breaking communications advancements. 

For example, in 2000, Calian, Advanced Technologies, then known as SED Systems, built its first 35-metre-deep space antenna for the European Space Agency to be used for communication on its deep space explorations missions. In 2014, this Calian-built deep space network communicated with the first probe to land on a comet – a monumental achievement not just for Saskatchewan, Canada or Europe, but for humanity. 

“We’re an organization that really makes a difference in the world,” said Patrick Thera, President of Calian, Advanced Technologies. “We make things that help build the world and make sure everyone can communicate with each other.”  

For more than half a century, the Saskatchewan company has built a strong international reputation developing, designing and integrating sophisticated infrastructure product solutions. Their product range includes complex radio frequency (RF) systems and antennas tailored for industry giants like Boeing, Canadian Department of National Defence and Space Systems/Loral.  

Just recently, Calian, Advanced Technologies won a contract with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to develop a spectrum interference simulation software solution that will support CSA’s continuous scientific missions and earth observation endeavors. 

In addition to space communications in the last 15 years, terrestrial networks, also known as wired and terrestrial wireless networks, have evolved to become a significant growth engine for Calian, Advanced Technologies. By leveraging expertise and products from its space communication technology it is now meeting the demands for connectivity and higher quality outputs for new customers in our increasingly digital world. 

“Customers come to us when they can’t afford to fail. The work we do, not many other people in the world can do,” said Dan Coode, Vice President of Terrestrial at Calian, Advanced Technologies. “Our space communication technologies were so capable of creating game-changing solutions for the cable industry so we brought new solutions to the cable market that were ahead of almost everybody at the time.” 

For example, Coode’s team is doing cutting edge work on the newest iteration of DOCSIS, a standard for broadband cable transmission that permits high-bandwidth data transfer, helping companies build and test their products on DOCSIS 4.0 to ensure their technology is reliably working on these networks before bringing it to market.  

Currently, the standard DOCSIS 3.1 delivers less than 1-2 gigabit per second upstream whereas DOCSIS 4.0 promises 10 gigabits per second speed, exponentially enhancing the digital experience by providing more bandwidth to more people in more areas, helping ensure the reliability connectivity with lower latency and high quality. 

These advancements in DOCSIS will have immeasurable impacts on quality of life and the technological innovations possible to a wide spectrum of people and industries from home users with multiple streaming demands to health care and medical imaging sectors utilizing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. 

“Each ecosystem has a specific need for infrastructure and a reliability and availability that’s different. Calian, Advanced Technologies is laying the foundation for the connectivity the world needs,” said Thera. 

Although the company has in the past focused on offering its suite of technical solutions through products that are manufactured by its team but sold under the label of its customer, the company has embraced new opportunities to produce its own Calian-branded products in addition to its partnerships with industry. 

It’s a natural evolution. We’re market focused, but customer driven and now we can innovate for even more customer bases,” said Coode. 

The Calian-branded products currently being developed are focused on the DOCSIS test market and incorporate features and enhancement that the team knows the market needs as opposed to being responsive to just one customer. 

The branded products will launch soon, establishing Calian, Advanced Technologies as major part of both design and manufacturing and delivery and customer support, having a significant impact on Saskatchewan’s innovation ecosystem. 

At its purpose-built facility at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, Calian, Advanced Technologies created a home for its cutting-edge complex electronic manufacturing division, engineering teams and corporate office that were previously spread out throughout the city. 

“There's nothing better than bringing all that together into an area and creating a center of excellence. It makes your business more efficient and agile,” said Thera. “Being part of the Innovation Place community has helped us in terms of our expansion, our ability to support growth and ability to be part of a community with institutions like Canadian Light Source and the University of Saskatchewan.” 

The company has also become part of the province’s world-class research and science community with its innovative work and over the last 10 years the company has doubled in size, attracting top talent to the province in addition to creating a career pipeline for the province’s post-secondary education and driving economic growth. 

“A great reason why we’re in Saskatchewan and why we stay here is because of the talent. The people here are incredibly hardworking and incredibly bright and allow us as a company to punch above our weight class,” said Coode. “Saskatchewan should be proud of where we are and proud of the technology sector that we’re creating.”