April 5, 2022

MONTRÉAL, April 6, 2022 – SCALE AI, Canada’s supercluster dedicated to strengthening the country’s leadership role in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, today announced it is investing $24 million to support five innovative AI projects. This follows previously announced funding of nearly $130 million since the start of the 2021–2022 fiscal year, which has contributed to the development of promising projects in several economic sectors. 

These investments attest to the significant impacts of the use of AI-driven technology solutions in supply-chain operations, both in terms of productivity gains and competitiveness, for Canadian companies across multiple industry segments. Key industry players and AI experts alike will be speaking about those impacts at the AI Meetings, organized by SCALE AI, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and the Forum IA Québec, an event taking place on April 8 in Montréal and presented with simultaneous translation. 

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, says: “AI can help us solve some of the most difficult challenges we face, create good jobs and improve the lives of all Canadians. The projects announced today highlight how cutting-edge AI solutions can strengthen the supply chains of Canadian companies across our economy. With investments of over $24 million, the government is proud to support SCALE AI and the role it plays in ensuring Canadian innovators can benefit from opportunities in AI, at home and abroad.” 

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Québec Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development, notes: “Quebec is already a world leader in artificial intelligence thanks to its research and talent. With SCALE AI’s industrial projects, we are putting this knowledge to good use in our businesses. It is this transfer that will increase productivity in several sectors of our economy and create wealth for all Quebecers.” 

Julien Billot, CEO, SCALE AI, explains: “SCALE AI is currently funding more than 40 industry projects across Canada with a total investment value of nearly $300 million, in sectors ranging from retail business to transport, healthcare and energy. When a company stands out in its industry segment by leveraging artificial intelligence solutions, it prompts others to follow suit, and the resulting ripple effect propels companies upward. AI is a genuine economic and social lever for all of Canada and we are pleased to support companies in their digital transition here at home, so that they can also shine internationally.” 

Hélène Desmarais, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, SCALE AI, adds: “The reality is that artificial intelligence is already firmly integrated into our daily lives, powering organizations, increasing Canadian productivity and, ultimately, changing lives for the better. Montréal is home to the beating heart of Canada’s AI ecosystem, a world-class hub that continues to attract the best talent. These latest announcements are proof that the team at SCALE AI, a true centre for investment and innovation, is committed to continuing its collaborative work within the ecosystem.” 

Five projects representing investments of over $24 million.

Smart platform for optimizing agricultural yield 

Partners: Adastra, GoodLeaf Farms,
University of Guelph, SunGro, Johnny’s Selected Seeds 

SCALE AI investment: $1 million 

Total investment: $2.5 million 

Vertical farming is a solution that allows local produce to be grown year-round, indoors, using LED lighting and multiple plant beds stacked on top of each other. The goal of this project is to enable Adastra and GoodLeaf to jointly develop a smart platform that captures operational growth measurements and image-based data. This information will be used to optimize yield and crop quality. 

Darren Edery, CEO, Adastra North America: “We are delighted to be partnering with Goodleaf Farms, Canada’s leader in vertical farming, and having a tangible impact on the farming ecosystem, consumers, retailers and our project partners. Upstream partners will benefit from the information generated by this project and be able to develop improved substrates and seeds for vertical farming.”   

AI-driven retail sales demand forecasting 

Partners: Bombardier Recreational Products, IVADO Labs, Performance NC, Motor Sports World, Energy Powersports 

SCALE AI investment: $2.1 million 

Total investment: $4.4 million 

A global leader in the world of powersports vehicles, propulsion systems and boats, BRP sells its products in over 120 countries through a network of dealers and distributors. As part of its commitment to fully leveraging AI to drive business growth, BRP is looking to bolster its supply-chain processes, starting with improved demand forecasting. This project is aimed at developing predictions using advanced AI algorithms, generating insights for key decision-makers and supply chain stakeholders at BRP. 

Sandy Scullion, Senior Vice-President, Global Retail & Services, BRP: “With this project, we seek to enhance our predictive capabilities for customer demand, driving efficiency and agility across our supply chain. Our goal is to create value for our dealers and end customers alike, positioning ourselves at the vanguard of AI-powered decision-making in our industry.” 

Predictive modelling and optimization algorithms for home care delivery 

Partners: AlayaCare, CIUSSS du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, Bien Chez Soi, Polytechnique Montréal 

SCALE AI investment: $800,000 

Total investment: $1.7 million  

AlayaCare is a company that enables home care providers across the world to improve their patient care delivery through technology. Already relying on AI to simplify home care planning and management services to specialized agencies, AlayaCare now plans to take things a step further by using predictive modelling to optimize scheduling, routing, and staffing operations. 

Naomi Goldapple, VP of AlayaLabs, AlayaCare: “As the industry faces a labour shortage, we are using AI to optimize care worker resources, improve the outcomes that they provide to patients, and change the way care is delivered in the home. Our approach is unique in that we use data to streamline the organization of shifts by the care workers’ geographic area, schedules, and skills; ultimately, delivering predictability and compensation, which are both motivating factors for our customers on the frontlines of caregiving.” 

AI-powered supply chain model focused on demand, from supplier to customer 

Partners: London Drugs Limited, Deloitte, TAP, Sanctuary AI, Atlantia 

SCALE AI investment: $3 million 

Total investment: $13.8 million 

As it continues its digital transition, London Drugs Limited is proceeding with upgrades to its infrastructure, core merchandising capabilities, supply-management processes, and pricing. AI-driven data processing enables improvements to forecasting of demand for suppliers while mitigating shortage risk and losses from unsold or unproductive inventory. It also reduces the need for its teams in the field to perform certain meticulous, labour-intensive tasks. 

Robert Bagatella, CFO, London Drugs Limited: “The project’s objective is for us to better serve our customers by making improvements to London Drugs’ technology capabilities that in turn will improve operational efficiency. The supply and inventory management component will facilitate data-driven collaborations with our suppliers, while demand forecasting will help ensure more fluid and timely replenishment decisions. The business intelligence amassed as a result will also be key to our pricing decisions. In addition, we will be able to better serve our customer communities by ensuring the products and services that need to be delivered are available to meet in-stock demands.” 

AI-based NDT platform for improving productivity across the steel sheet products supply chain 

Partners: InspecTech Analygas Group, Impact AI, QA Consultants, TWB Company, Magna International, Royal Military College of Canada 

SCALE AI investment: $700,000 

Total investment: $2.1 million 

InspecTech, Impact AI, and QA Consultants are developing an AI-based quality control system for industrial environments. The goal of this project is to develop an AI-based model that will reduce scrap and improve productivity across the steel sheet products supply chain. The focus for this project is on the midstream welding of steel tailor-welded blanks. 

Carmine Pizzurro, President, InspecTech: “The AI-based solution developed by Impact AI will take in data from InspecTech’s existing non-destructive testing (NDT) system and a laser profilometer sensor. We will use these data to not only predict whether a defect is present, but also to classify the type of defect present and, for certain defect types, make measurements on their physical size. In other words, the manufacturing process will be more efficient, and products will be of higher quality, to the benefit of the entire production chain.” 

About SCALE AI ( scaleai.ca ) 

As Canada’s AI supercluster, SCALE AI acts as an investment and innovation hub that accelerates the rapid adoption and integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and contributes to the development of a world-class Canadian AI ecosystem. Based in Montréal, funded by the federal government and the Québec government, SCALE AI has nearly 120 industry partners, research institutes and other players in the AI field. It develops programs aimed at supporting investment projects of companies that implement real-world applications in AI, the emergence of future Canadian flagships in the sector, as well as the development of a skilled workforce. 

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