James CastlePresident and director, Smart Cities and Strategic Partnerships
President and director, Smart Cities and Strategic Partnerships of Terranova Defense Solutions, James Castle works in the area of defense, search and rescue, UAV and C-UAS security, urban and environmental growth, technologies for Smart Cities, Aerospace and Defense.
Canadian ambassador of Drone Think Do International and executive director of Drone Think Do Canada, James Castle also works with land, sea and air unmanned systems.
Interested in artificial intelligence and cyber defense systems, James Castle is the guest of the Connecting Stories series by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, who will tell us about his career and the technological industry he is in.
1. You are the President and Director, Smart Cities and Strategic Partnerships of Terranova Defense Solutions, a Canadian Unmanned Systems distributor and manufacturer that represents more than 30,000 partners and members in 64 countries globally. Terranova Defense Solutions and Drone Think Do support and encourage Smart Cities and their development. Can you tell us a little more about your journey and your professional experience? How did the interest in the technology industry (and unmanned systems more specifically) come along?
I established my career in the defence and public safety industry as a former emergency manager in Canada for over 20 years and I was trained as an incident commander by the Toronto Police Service, Public Order Unit through the OFMEM IMS 300. In 2014, with my big dream to be directly involved in helping individuals save lives, I became the CEO and president of Terranova International Public Safety Canada Incorporated, operating as TIPS Canada. Tips Canada was designed to provide basic to advanced first aid training with the Canadian Red Cross and St. Johns Ambulance. In 2016, I was licensed as emergency medical responder and became an instructor trainer for the Canadian Red Cross.
Through my background in emergency management and public safety, I recognized the constraints that hinder the defence and public safety sectors from innovation in science and technology preventing industry-related growth in aerospace and defence in North America. I recognized the opportunity for improving these sectors to enhance public and government areas in helping organizations to save lives better.
In 2017, I heard a story from one of my previous first aid training staff members about his time when he joined a search and rescue team that used a fixed-wing drone to locate a missing person quickly, using thermal detection sensors on the drone. If this technology wasn’t used, the person could have died from extreme exposure in a northern climate during late fall.
This story changed my mind to a new direction to promote world “top-class” drone technologies to replace traditional methods of lifesaving helping governments and first responders in making better decisions, with lowered risk to human fatalities. I am an advocate in saving lives and in making a difference to bring change to an industry in need. Terranova Aerospace was created in January 2018, as a division of TIPS Canada.
In September 2018, me and my team hosted Terranova Aerospace’s first live drone demo on using a solar fixed-wing drone. As Terranova Aerospace president, I was called as a subject-matter expert before the Tran Committee at the House of Commons in Canada’s Capital City, Ottawa. Terranova Aerospace was also the first drone company in Canada to be granted a 1,000-foot flight ceiling in GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) Airspace by Transport Canada and NAV Canada.
In 2019, me and my team went to CANSEC 2019 in Ottawa, to present nine different classes of drones ranging from solar to propeller, to fixed wing and tethered drones including three DJI drones. Terranova Aerospace presented the largest drone collection at this show. Terranova presented to military and government representatives from around the world. Terranova was also invited and attended a PRE-CANSEC dinner hosting other aerospace companies at the German/Israeli Consulate in Ottawa.
In 2020, I expanded the drone classes to include Unmanned Surface (Rescue) Vehicles (USV/USRV) such as Terranova’s Dolphin One and TN75 1000Kg Protector (SAR) Drone Ship; and other fixed wing drones like the Raybird 3, CGT50 and Canada’s fastest small drone, the CNG Jet for military drone target acquisition exercises.
As a result of expanding our focus to include unmanned surface drone technology, Terranova Defense Solutions was formed to include land, sea and air unmanned systems.
Today, our company Terranova Defense Solutions is specialized in Search and Rescue operations and helping save lives through technology, currently involved with our US partners in Louisiana helping with the disaster efforts and in trying to find missing persons, as well as speaking at the "International Conference on Smart Cities, Smart Infrastructures & Smart Building Digital Municipality" and will be presenting a 20-minute speech on Smart Technology and Autonomous – Unmanned Vehicles: The Need for Search and Rescue Technology for Environmental and Climate Change Disasters.
2. How does Terranova Defense Solutions contribute to the development of Smart Cities?
Terranova Defense Solutions contributes to Smart Cities through the development of the Climatopolis Corporation, a federally incorporated company, operating as Climatopolis Canada, based in Ottawa, Canada.
Terranova Defense Solutions will be the technology supercluster for the Climatopolis Smart City, that will build the infrastructure that will become the backbone for the project, as well as provide the drone technology for the smart cities operational core with interoperability and security for the cities requirements.
3. You are also an ambassador for Drone Think Tank international and executive director of Drone Think Tank Canada. What is this initiative?
I am, indeed, the canadian ambassador of Drone Think Do (International Brussels EU District Based "Think Tank" to EU Commission and International Organizations), representing over 30,000 high-profile partners and members in over 64 countries globally. Drone Think Do supports in initiating and co-developing smart cities related to sustainable projects. In addition, to be the canadian ambassador, I have become the executive director for Drone Think Do Canada.
Drone Think Do Canada is being developed to create the Think Tank for the tech supercluster and will additionally be the organization that will be used to coordinate the fundraising efforts for Climatopolis Canada and Drone Think Do Canada, and to work with government organizations in drone regulations and standardization in North America.
4. Can you explain to us what you mean by Smart City and how is the development of Smart Cities in the world?
A Smart City to me is the transformation of a sustainable green development and urban transformation through the creation of a fully autonomous infrastructure and transportation solutions, which are designed to provide a low carbon, self-managing community, complete with abundant resources and highly resilient environment to improve climate change through the technology that is developed onsite by the residents and partners of the city.
In the world today, smart cities are being developed or have been such as Shenzhen, China, and other key centres that are focused in autonomous transportation, smart buildings and other infrastructure projects that are aimed to improve our environment and increase non-fossil fuel burning energy and the ability to survive in a green zone or smart infrastructure and environment.
5. How do you think the cities of the future will be like?
I picture that the future smart city will involve the creation of resilient infrastructure and structures that protect communities from the ravages of extreme weather, pollution and disasters, human-made and natural, while also protecting the environment from emissions and waste through sustainable and responsible production in a circular economy.
6. In order to improve safety in cities, PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS has developed a solution that incorporates drones and multimedia kiosks and that works as a surveillance system. How do you think drones can contribute to the development of cities?
As the system seems good at first, I think there are a number of things to be concerned with such as how the drone will be used, what information will be recorded and how the data will be used, how will the drone be programmed, and when will the drone be used, as weather would be a huge determination to when they can be flown.
In Canada, Transport Canada has started to develop new rules for the purpose of using drones. Organizations like the Canadian Standards Association, Terranova Defense Solutions and Drone Think Do are looking to unmanned solutions as the next step to the evolution of the smart city. However, as the temperatures in Canada are much colder than in other parts of the world, this will prevent the full cycle for the use of this technology outside at this time.
With this being said, drones could be a significant part to smart city growth from a controlled autonomous indoor use for monitoring of various needs and safety requirements.
7. Besides, you are president and CEO of Climatopolis. What is this project and what is the purpose of it?
The overall project from Climatopolis Corporation, operating as Climatopolis Canada, is to develop a 200-acre smart city that will be designed to best serve the environment and fragile planet to design new green technologies that will help lead to the future sustainability for our planet. Designed to reduce the carbon footprint and lower the CO2 emissions and improve our way of life for many generations to come.
Climatopolis is an interdisciplinary and international ecosystem that aims to accelerate the commercialization of virtuous technologies for the benefit of our environment, species and climate change. Our mission is to foster research, innovation, training, funding, creation and development of start-up to transform these start-ups into growth companies (or "scale-ups") in the service of sustainable development, ecological and energy transition and biodiversity protection. Our team of experts and international partners detect worldwide environmental research start-ups and micro-projects, which are often isolated due to lack of resources. Our mission is to bring them together and accelerate their development thanks to our infrastructure and financial resources, with a view to hatching the green future deep-tech and unicorns of tomorrow. Thanks to the synergies of knowledge and know-how that emerge from our ecosystem of innovations, we can offer the market ecological solutions that are financially accessible to consumers and profitable for our investors without pitting one against the other, because the only winner is the future of our planet.
8. What challenges have you found in the struggle for sustainability through Smart Cities?
Building a smart city that is designed specifically for climate change is a brand-new concept. To validate what the correct path is, to finalize this design into a globally recognizable system will be one of our greatest challenges. This will be a long and steady process and may show positive cash gain over ten or more years. In North American, the expected timeline to generate a return on investment (ROI) is three to five years, which is not enough time to create legitimate IP to bring positive cash return.
The challenges are to find people who want to save our planet and are prepared to invest. There are two totally different areas open for this discussion, and quite possibly another great challenge for us all.
9. As a driver of Smart Cities, and as PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a company that has the capacity to produce digital billboards, multimedia kiosks and other technological solutions for Smart Cities, what relevance does digital have in the strategy of a company and/or brand?
In smart cities the relevance of a digital strategy is based on the needs of a city and its core design. If the city being developed is designed for human survival from all elements, then the need for digital requirements will have a beneficial role to the environment for both branding needs and for providing the right messages for people as is required.
For a smart city that is designed for the environment and to help improve the effects of climate change, the need for a digital signature is not as strong, so the environment could benefit from a digital interface that can provide needed information for the purpose of expanding knowledge and information to the people involved in bringing change.
The resolve is varied and well worth the need to create a professional study to this question, which PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS could easily establish and identify in the two designs I have mentioned. Then we can learn from this study, understanding the resolve for digital branding and digital strategies for the smart cities of tomorrow.
Connecting Stories is a new editorial space led by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS which consists of conducting exclusive interviews, directed at influential personalities who work in different sectors of activity.
The project, conceived by PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, includes the publication of success stories, through small interviews with influencers who want to share details about their projects, opinions, plans for the future, among other subjects.
The idea is to connect stories, share knowledge, develop networking and generate content that can provide new visions, opportunities and ideas.
Founded in 2000, PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS is a world renowned Portuguese IT company, manufacturer of indoor and outdoor multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions, for all types of sectors and industries. To know more about our story, click here.