Interac Corp. is setting up shop in Kitchener-Waterloo.

On Tuesday, the payments giant announced the launch of the Interac Lab, an “innovation outpost and accelerator” located at Kitchener, Ont.-based hub Communitech that will support the research and development of the company’s next generation of products and features.

“Opening the Interac Lab positions us to continue to evolve as the payments sphere changes,” Interac vice-president of digital product and platforms Debbie Gamble said in a June 19 press release. “Kitchener-Waterloo is an incredible place with such a wealth of tech knowledge. We’re excited to learn from some of the best minds while we explore new ways to use our products and platforms.”

According to the company, the Interac Lab will focus on three key priorities:

  • Developing new payment capabilities through research, development, and experimentation;
  • Improving electronic money transfers by creating new ways for consumers and businesses to move money however, wherever, and whenever they want to; and
  • Exploring the future of payments by testing how Interac’s suite of products can be augmented by such emerging technologies as voice, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and Blockchain.

By conducting the Lab’s research at Communitech, founded through a public/private partnership in 1997, Interac will be joining a community of more than 1400 companies including Google, which famously relocated its engineering headquarters nearby in 2016.

From left: Interac vice president of digital product and platforms Debbie Gamble; Interac CIO Peter Sweers; and Interac Lab director Tricia Gruetzmacher at the Labs’ opening on June 19, 2018. Supplied photo.

In the June 19 release, Communitech CEO Iain Klugman welcomed the opportunity to have “a nationally-recognized brand like Interac engage with our community and help build technology for today and the future.”

“As a leader in their industry, we’re excited to have Interac join our ecosystem of labs amongst the most innovative in Canada,” Klugman said in the release.

While exact numbers were not given, the Interac Lab will have both full-time staff, led by director Tricia Gruetzmacher, a former senior product manager with Waterloo-based Intelligent Mechatronic Systems and Unitron Hearing, and a rotating group of co-op students from its neighbouring universities’ math, science, and engineering programs.

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