Indiana IoT Lab creates environment where startups thrive | Crain's

Indiana IoT Lab creates environment where startups thrive

Twenty miles northeast of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana’s first "internet of things lab opened for business in March as the global IoT market is expected to reach nearly $460 billion by 2020.

The 24,500-square-foot facility is a first of its kind, public-private partnership with the intention of bringing IoT innovation to entrepreneurs. It's led by the city of Fishers and Launch Fishers, a co-working space in the area.

“The Indiana IoT Lab has been in the cards for quite some time as an outgrowth to the success of our co-working space,” Indiana IoT Lab Founder and CEO of Launch Fishers John Wechsler says.

Furthermore, Wechsler adds the idea really grew legs when he and his team began analyzing Indiana’s leading industries of agriculture, manufacturing and logistics and what the future of these industries could look like in the wake of IoT development.

“Who better [than Indiana] to lead the charge of IoT development for these industries?” he says.

As interest grows, lab leadership is hosting meetings throughout the state to ensure developments made in Fishers can be plugged into other areas of competency. Additional conversations include sharing best practices for the potential opening of future labs.

“We need to link these networks together so we can all become stronger,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness says.

Wechsler credits Fadness with clearing the path to this vision and ensuring everyone has a seat at the table.

“We believe in creating environments where the entrepreneur can thrive. The world economy is heading in the direction of IoT and we’re taking action,” Fadness says. “We needed to break down the barriers of capital.”

Memberships at the lab begin at $1,000 annually. Larger office space are available for lease starting at $1,000 monthly. Members have access to items such as 3-D printers, laser printers, circuit board makers all on-site.

“We’re increasing the pace of innovation, which no longer needs to be a stopping point for entrepreneurs or a small company,” Wechsler says.

Since opening, multiple large corporations have approached the lab to outsource their innovation needs utilizing lab members. This is done in an effort to solve innovation dilemmas by taking their existing products outside of their walls. For instance, the pair share Indiana-based security company Allegion recently committed to investing $50 million in the IoT space.

The lab has additional support from dozens of businesses, organizations and institutions including: Arrow Electronics, AT&T, Baldauf Group, Ball State University, Beck's Hybrids, BlastMedia, Cage Campus, Comcast, DeveloperTown, Four Day Ray Brewing, Flexware Innovation, Foxio, Glassboard, Huston Electric, Iconic Digital Marketing, Ice Miller, Indiana University, InGen, InnovateMap, IVM, Jasper Group Brands, Klipsch, KSM Consulting, Maginot, Moore and Beck, Mesh Systems, Nameless Catering, Old National Bank Foundation, Stanley Security, Taylor's Bakery, Vai Logic, Volktek, Verizon and Vibenomics.

“This is good on top of good on its way to great,” Weschler says.

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April 17, 2018 - 11:49am