Photo of SNOLAB's neutrino detector by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Effectively leveraging big data and predictive analytics requires access to a modern, ultra-high speed network. Thanks to the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) and its commitment to supporting innovation, research and educational institutions in Ontario can seamlessly transmit massive amounts of data and collaborate with other innovators without experiencing bottlenecks. The network connects 28 Ontario communities, providing a collaborative link between more than two million researchers, educators, and students throughout Canada, and around the world.

At more than one million square kilometres, Ontario is about the size of the states of Montana and Texas combined or four times the size of the United Kingdom, and that's why roughly 6,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable were needed to connect the province. The result is an incredibly fast network. In fact, it is up to 1,000 times faster than publicly available networks, and redundant infrastructure enables ORION's 99.95% up-time across Ontario, rivaling world-class telecom networks. As a non-profit, ORION enables research, educational institutions and innovative businesses to connect, learn and collaborate to leverage the power of big data and predictive analytics to support breakthrough 'made in Canada' disruptive technologies among intelligent community and economic development opportunities, such as digital healthcare start-ups.

Big data and predictive analytics lead to breakthroughs in digital health, medicine and a Nobel Prize in physics

Insight from big data and predictive analytics through access to a private, ultra-high speed network and ORION's Nebula cloud partners have already helped researchers in Ontario develop breakthroughs in their respective sectors. Discoveries include advancement in the treatment of ALS, a better understanding of conditions like cerebral palsy and autism and even Nobel Prize-winning work in the field of physics.

Doctor in northern Ontario establishes brain-computer interface lab

Professor George Townsend of Algoma University is using the ORION network to generate change-making discoveries that could help patients with ALS, also known as 'Lou Gehrig's disease.'

"We have collaborators all over the world and we exchange data files and emails, we use VoIP and so on… We depend on a good network to do that. Particularly with EEG recordings, which are huge, huge files. It's nice to be able to snap them back and forth."

ORION enables doctors to analyze health data securely

Clinical data is big data, and ORION is helping Ontario researchers to access large files including detailed brain images, samples and assessments to gain a better understanding of conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and autism. One single file can reach up to a terabyte, which equates roughly to a quarter of a million MP3 files.

“ORION's network accelerates and amplifies what we can do,” says Dr. Ken Evans. “Through analysis of data across multiple projects and disease states, we can get answers that aren't otherwise possible.”

Big data access through ORION crucial in Nobel prize-winning work at SNOLAB

“Connecting the big data we create to the international collaborations that are running these experiments is absolutely essential…And that's what ORION provides us with,” says Dr. Nigel Smith, Director of SNOLAB. SNOLAB is an underground laboratory that specializes in neutrino and dark matter physics. And it's also where Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur B. McDonald of Ontario's Queens University performed the work that won them the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which demonstrates that neutrinos have mass.

Is your business looking to harness the power of big data and analytics to perform innovative research?

In addition to ORION's high-speed fibre-optic network, ORION's Nebula offers a collection of third-party, professional cloud services and software that are accessible over its network.

Learn more about ORION's services

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