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The ancient Chinese bronze chime bells called bianzhong or zhong / zeng (鐘) were used as polyphonic musical instruments and some have been dated at between 2000 and 3600 years old. Tuned bells have been created and used for musical performance in many cultures but zhong are unique among all other types of cast bells in several respects and they rank among the highest achievements of Chinese bronze casting technology. However, the remarkable secret of their design and the method of casting—known only to the Chinese in antiquity—was lost in later generations and was not fully rediscovered and understood until the 20th century.

The Kelowna Innovation Society (KIS)  received a strong federal endorsement recently, in the form of a pivotal financial commitment for the Okanagan Centre for Innovation (OCI) .

The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD), was in Kelowna last month to announce a $ million investment that will build out, equip, and operate 24,000 sq. ft. of publicly funded space at the (OCI).

With this contribution from WD, the OCI now enjoys support from all three levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal. Combined with the solid backing of private enterprise and the academic community, Kelowna’s new tech centre has tremendous momentum.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Government of Canada on this initiative,” says Society Director and VP, Jeff Keen, “this funding allows us to fully execute on the vision for the OCI and provide maximum support to the startup & entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

KIS had a vision to create a space that would be accessible to fledgling innovators, who traditionally have an abundance of ideas and initiative but limited access to cash or infrastructure. The second floor of the OCI has been designed to support high growth early-stage technology companies, non-profits and social enterprises, and will provide the infrastructure necessary to help accelerate their business ideas.
Keen is extremely thrilled about the possibilities. 

“This is an exciting development, on several levels. We’re happy about the benefits that will come to our city – having a space that will attract innovators and creatives is good for the fabric of the community.

“We’re happy about the economic spin-offs – as these companies grow they attract more employees, who use the services in our city, and that’s great for the local economy.

“But we’re especially happy for the entrepreneurs that will benefit directly from this space. These entrepreneurs are building companies, creating new jobs and driving our community's growth.  We want to nurture and encourage them, help them survive and thrive.”

Collaboration is a key ingredient in the success of tech companies at all stages of development, and the OCI is designed to foster that collaboration. The concept was inspired by what is happening in other leading tech centres including the Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas. 

Late in 1993, the Bakers realized that improvements in desktop computers would soon allow continuous voice recognition. They quickly began setting up a new development team to build such a product. To finance the needed expansion of its engineering, marketing, and sales staff, Dragon brokered a deal whereby Seagate Technologies bought 25 percent of Dragon's stock. By July 1997, Dragon had launched Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a continuous speech & voice recognition program for general-purpose use with a vocabulary of 23,000 words. The package won rave reviews and numerous awards. IBM quickly followed suit, offering its own continuous speech recognition program, ViaVoice, in August after a crash development program. By the end of the year, the two companies combined had sold more than 75,000 copies of their software. Other companies, such as Microsoft Corporation and Lucent Technologies, are expected to introduce products in the near future, and analysts expected a $4 billion worldwide market by 2001.

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