By Tony Armstrong, president and CEO, Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.;
The future is coming to Indiana, and I received a sneak peek Jan. 9.
“Internet of things” has been a popular phrase among high-tech circles for a while. It suggests a concept of linking all devices with an on/off switch to the internet. The implications are far-reaching, including developing not only smart devices but smart cities, smart factories, smart farms, smart transportation and more.
One of the first steps to strengthen the state’s ability to develop the internet of things is the launch of an IoT Lab at Launch Fishers, a coworking space. Although the lab will have its grand opening March 21, I attended a preview with IUPUI professor Lou Lenzi and Jason Whitney, IURTC’s manager of strategic partnerships.
The preview included two sessions, led by Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and John Wechsler, founder and CEO of Launch Fishers. The first session was for developers; Scott and John solicited information about how the audience wanted to use the IoT space, how it could be used and who might be good partners. The second session included early sponsors, supporters and community leaders. About 75 people attended each session. Both sessions included question-and-answer segments, and all attendees toured the facility.
During the sessions, Scott and John specifically mentioned Launch Fishers’ partnership with Indiana University, endorsing it and speaking about the possibilities it could develop for the future. Lou, Jason and I also spoke about the possibilities — the university will have a dedicated space at the IoT lab, and there are a lot of options to encourage faculty, students, staff and alumni from all campuses to use the space to work on projects and connect with companies.
The importance of IU’s connection as the exclusive university partner of the IoT lab cannot be understated. It provides yet another opportunity for the university to interact with companies around the state. It is a convergence of the industrial sectors where the state is strong: We make things (manufacturing), grow things (agriculture) and move things (logistics). Connecting these with the internet, the state has a definite advantage. Connecting IU as the exclusive university partner provides a unique platform for our faculty, students and alumni.
We are at the cusp of the IoT revolution, and IU is one of its leaders.