CHICAGO -- Cisco will open the doors to three more innovation centers focused on the Internet of Everything (IoE) as it looks to take a chunk of the $19 trillion opportunity it sees in connecting, well, everything.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced its newest Innovation Center, to be based in Barcelona, on Tuesday at an event in Chicago, but with some help from the Spanish city's CIO Manel Sanroma, who joined via a telepresence link. The center will focus on research and tech development around the IoE for smart cities.
IoE, by the way, is Cisco's term for connecting all manner of devices, as well as using the massive amounts of data they generate to create business value. Others call this concept the Internet of Things (IoT), a term first coined by Kevin Ashton way back in 1999. Whatever you want to call it, the idea has been enabled by the rise of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
Cisco sees this IoE/IoT/M2M market being worth $19 trillion over the course of the coming decade. As such, it is building these innovation centers to tap into new opportunities, sell more of its equipment and consulting services, and accelerate growth in the industry, in general.
The networking giant has also committed to funding startups in the space. Kip Compton, Cisco's brand new VP of engineering and GM of the IoT business group, said it all comes back to connectivity, something in which Cisco has a major stake. (See Cisco's IoT Leader Finds Other Things to Do, Cisco Investments Gets $150M Boost, and Chambers Caught in 90s Deja Vu.)
"By funding companies, we hope to accelerate the market," Compton said. "We hope to bring together solutions for our customers with partners more quickly. All that feeds into the product and technology teams I lead to make sure were building the right core technologies to support all of this."
Barcelona's 1,720 square foot Innovation Center will open in the summer of 2016 (in time for Mobile World Congress 2017!). Cisco also has facilities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Songdo, South Korea, as well as two in development in Germany and Canada. The company also plans to invest close to $30 million in the facilities, with funds going towards IT equipment and the hire of engineering, app development, and research staff from 2015 to 2020.
In Barcelona, the center will serve two purposes: a lab at which partners can design new smart city services, such as location-based analytics, parking improvements, energy management, and safety; and a showcase for Cisco's own technology for smart cities, including its Smart+Connected Communities platform.
"When you look at how you want your city to be in the future, you apply technology in a way that will help it grow into that," Barcelona's Sanroma said. "We saw that IoT was the way ahead, and we decided to bet on it."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading