- Indiana’s first Internet of Things (IoT) Lab opened its doors on Wednesday in Fishers. The 24,500-square-foot space will support collaboration and innovation, and has more than 50 members focused on design thinking, cloud computing, edge technology and software development.
- "At the heart of Indiana’s economy sits the three major industries of manufacturing, logistics, and agriculture that are on the cusp of being completely transformed by technology," Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said in a statement. "It’s critical that we arm our companies and engage our entrepreneurs in this transformation."
- The lab is the first of its kind in the Hoosier State, and will include private sector companies as well as local government organizations like police and fire departments.
In an interview with Smart Cities Dive last November, Fadness said "most East Coast and West Coast IoT folks would salivate over the opportunity to sign contracts with the industries that are here in Indiana." And it presents an interesting proposition for companies to go to the Midwest — not traditionally seen as a tech hub — and work on projects in the IoT industry, which is predicted to be worth $457 billion by 2020, according to a press statement.
Fadness said previously collaboration will be key in the new lab, with members encouraged to work together on new ideas and developments. And with private and public sector workers likely to join academic researchers from Indiana University in the space, the lab could be the perfect setting for such collaboration. "We expect to see a wide range of members at The Indiana IoT Lab," John Wechsler, Indiana IoT Lab founder and CEO of Launch Fishers, said in a statement. "From the entrepreneur with a backpack and an idea to corporate innovation teams looking to add an entrepreneurial edge, we will support the entire range of IoT innovators."
Already, Indiana’s booming manufacturing and agricultural industries are a test bed for IoT companies, and the state is one of many in the region to embrace such innovations and new technology. To the north, Michigan became the first to join Cisco's State Digital Acceleration program, while Kentucky and Ohio are working to develop smart city solutions.
Fadness is bullish about developing talent in Indiana and keeping it in-state rather than seeing entrepreneurs flee to traditional tech powerhouse cities like Boston, Seattle and San Francisco. "Because we have such a target-rich environment for potential customers, we think it's important for us to nurture and groom that talent right here in our own state," Fadness said previously.