More than 1,000 people attended the grand opening of the Indiana IoT Lab on March 21. The lab is designed for new and established companies working in IoT, or the internet of things. IoT enables internet-connected devices placed in routine objects to send and receive data.
Indiana University has a dedicated space at the Indiana IoT Lab. Why is interest growing in the internet of things? What is the importance of IU’s dedicated space at the Indiana IoT Lab? We asked a few experts.
Laurie Burns McRobbie, first lady, Indiana University
“It may sound trite, but the internet of things is the wave of the future. It really is where technology is going. It is crucial that IU be at the forefront of that. The university has a lot of academic programs already, but one of the core missions of the university is economic development in the state. It’s the perfect match for what IU is committed to.”
Lou Lenzi, professor of practice, IUPUI
“We believe the internet of things is a transformative opportunity for any business. I like to say, ‘If you’re in the hardware business today, you’re going to be in the service business tomorrow.’ It’s going to be that far-reaching.
“I’m in the Department of Human-Centered Computing in IUPUI’s School of Informatics and Computing. We’re taking our students through the idea of applying human-centered design and design thinking to this transformative technology that is IoT. Think about the business model that will emerge once that happens. If you’re in the hardware business today, you’ll be in the service business tomorrow because once things are connected, the information becomes of high value. What a business does with that information will transform them.
“I consider being in the Indiana IoT Lab as bi-directional learning. Our students will be here, and our hope is that they will learn from the partners who are in business. Our hope is also that our partners who are in business will learn from our students. For example, if a student is working on a data analytics or data visualization project, the partners here in the space may learn how IUPUI is educating students in the data sciences. Conversely, if there is an internship opportunity or externship opportunity or a special project, our students will be willing to roll up their sleeves and dig in.”
David Gard, assistant vice president for economic development, Indiana University
“The turnout we saw at the grand opening is a testament to the interest in IoT and the capabilities it has, and what it represents in terms of entrepreneurial impact for companies large and small. A lot of new applications will be developed here to benefit smaller companies and larger companies.”
Joe Carley, director for economic development, Indiana University
“Universities are increasingly seen to be not just partners in economic development initiatives, but leaders. We are seeing more and more that companies want to be co-located next to universities and to have access to that talent. That can be a win for universities and students as well, as it brings jobs and also exposure to the work of the future. Being at the Indiana IoT Lab is very exciting, as we will work with some of the fastest-growing companies in the state and have great access for our students.”
Tony Armstrong, president and CEO, IU Research and Technology Corp.
“The internet of things will be able to connect all the different devices that we’re managing in our homes and in manufacturing settings. We will be able to manage them, mine the data and use it in a number of different ways. IoT can make the devices more effective and impactful, and change our lives in a way we can’t imagine right now.
“Having a dedicated IU space at the Indiana IoT Lab provides the ability for our students to be at the cutting edge of all this work. They can use this facility to work with companies that are designing and practitioners who are using these new tools. The space also provides an opportunity for students to join those companies or, perhaps, start their own. It gives them a head start on students at other schools.”
Jason Whitney, manager of strategic partnerships, IU Research and Technology Corp.
“The internet of things is the next generation of economic development. For Indiana to be a global leader in agriculture, logistics and advanced manufacturing, we need to iterate that moving forward to make us stay at the front of the game.
“Having IU at the Indiana IoT Lab is going to provide great opportunities for students and researchers at the university to connect with the companies looking to advance their efforts. It will create future job opportunities for students and advance research opportunities for educators.”
John Wechsler, co-founder, Launch Fishers
“IoT is something we need to embrace. It’s also a bit of a threat to traditional industry. If you look at Indiana’s traditional leadership in manufacturing, distribution and agriculture, those key industries are going to be radically transformed. We need to embrace IoT so that as those industries prepare for the next generation, they have the right kind of product offerings and the right technologies in their products.
“How does the Indiana IoT Lab benefit by having IU in the space? There are the obvious hooks: the academic research and the might of having Indiana University as a partner. But there’s a practical component, too. When we have projects that come from larger corporations, they might not be to the point that they are scoped — that we can introduce them to a company. What we are finding is that with the master’s and Ph.D. programs at IUPUI, we’re able to bring those professors in, who can then bring students in. They can put this into a research project and get it to the point where it’s ready to scope for a commercial partner to commercialize.”
You can read further commentary about the internet of things and the Indiana IoT Lab in other Crimson Catalyst posts:
- March 3, 2017 – VIDEO: IU among the founding members of Indiana IoT Lab-Fishers
- December 19, 2017 – IU sponsorship of Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers supports statewide economic development by Jason Whitney
- January 12, 2018 – On the Cusp of the Revolution: Indiana University and the Internet of Things by Tony Armstrong