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Comcast to Open IoT Lab in Accelerator

Jason Meyers
2/24/2015

Comcast is doing its bit to try and help populate the Internet of Things (IoT) with more things by partnering with the Boomtown tech accelerator in Boulder to open an IoT development lab.

The lab is intended to serve resident startup entrepreneurs at Boomtown, as well as other entrepreneurs looking to create products and applications for the IoT.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), like other communications service providers, is seeking to define the role it will potentially play in the IoT sector -- one that, companies like Comcast hope, will extend beyond being a provider of undifferentiated connectivity and encompass the creation of IoT apps that add revenue to its network. (See Will 2015 Bring IoT Resolution for Operators?, AT&T Links With GE on IoT, Smart Energy and Verizon Helps Manage IoT Security.)

"When people throw around terms like Internet of Things, they tend to think of stuff like connected thermostats and FitBits," Joshua Seiden, executive director of Comcast Labs, tells Light Reading. "With the network we've built and are continuing to build, we look at IoT as much bigger than that. In the future there's going to be class of services and connected devices that run on top of our network, and for us this lab is a way of getting a good idea of what's possible creating an ecosystem."


For all the latest on the IoT, check out Light Reading's dedicated IoT content channel


Comcast's network, however, does not actually factor into the lab, which perhaps reinforces the fact that connectivity is connectivity, and it's the layer of service innovation on the network that is more important.

"We are much earlier on than worrying about the network it's riding on right now," Seiden says. "We're looking at prototyping proof of concept, and really trying to throw that net as wide as we possibly can."

Thus the partnership and colocation arrangement with Boomtown, an accelerator program that puts two classes per year through the paces of entrepreneurship in hopes of forging new tech-sector superstars. But Boomtown founder and managing director Toby Krout says the new IoT lab isn't limited to those innovators.

"You don't have to be a Boomtown company at all to run through the lab," he says. "Any entrepreneur that has a great idea can come in and use the lab. This is an explosion of opportunity -- we're not going to put any major constraints on it."

The lab is slated to open in May in conjunction with Boulder Startup Week, Krout says.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading

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MordyK
MordyK
2/24/2015 | 4:18:45 PM
Re: Why not include the network?
One can argue that the network is both either a commodity, or going deeper into the network is a morass of standards. Either way they're trying to remove the burden from the model and add it on or work on it later, as the use cases and models mature.

It's not the worst idea as the connectivty is not a limited capability that require real attention early on.
jasonmeyers
jasonmeyers
2/24/2015 | 9:51:40 AM
Why not include the network?
It strikes me as a missed opportunity to not include Comcast's network as part of this IoT development effort. If the point is to attract the next wave of innovative application developers to create applications, why not give them a high-speed network connection and even datacenter resources to use as part of their experimentation? The fact that Comcast is not worried about what network these services are riding on just seems to further commodotize the role of the network. 
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