Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cisco opens European research centre devoted to logistics

William Payne
October 21, 2015

IoT and networking specialist Cisco has opened a European research and development centre in Berlin devoted to innovation in IoT and logistics, transportation and manufacturing.

The research centre, named openBerlin, is now fully operational in the Euref campus in Berlin’s Schöneberg district.

openBerlin is one of nine Cisco Innovation Centres worldwide, each with its own specialisation. Cisco intends to invest close to $30 million in the new site over the coming years.

“Our site itself is an Internet of Things (IoT) showcase with more than 10,000 sensors collecting and analyzing data such as room temperature, lighting, power consumption and many others – we practically connected everything that can be connected today,” said Dr. Bernd Heinrichs, managing director of openBerlin. “At openBerlin, we follow a business-oriented model, working on solutions with clear market potential. Our motto is: Come along with a problem and six months later you can monetize the solution.”

An example of this approach is the cooperation with Berlin-based company Azeti Networks. Working with Azeti, the teams developed and launched to market a new asset management solution that monitors and controls distributed infrastructure over the Internet.

According to Cisco, openBerlin is not an incubator, a classic accelerator or company builder. It is meant to function as an open digital platform offering an infrastructure that partners can use. Exploiting the global presence of Cisco, it is also a gateway for German companies to address global markets.

Part of the centre is a solution lab, dedicated to the development of industry solutions and addressing specific customer requirements. In the lab area, Cisco experts, together with industry partners and ecosystem startups, will develop proof of concepts, features, functionalities and do rapid prototyping. The center includes a dedicated space to demonstrate IoT in action, and open areas where customers, startups, communities, researchers, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts are invited to work and brainstorm on new ideas and technologies.

The openBerlin team is already working with an ecosystem of more than 40 local and international companies and organizations. Bosch, Cisco and Tech Mahindra have jointly developed a testbed for connected tools in an industry environment. Intel and Cisco are connecting thousands of sensors in the openBerlin building to create a blueprint that can be scaled to other facilities.