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Fishers plans state's first internet-of-things laboratory

February 21, 2017

The city of Fishers announced Tuesday that it will launch the state’s first internet-of-things lab near its popular co-working space, Launch Fishers, this summer.

The 24,562-square-foot Indiana IoT Lab-Fishers will be located at 9059 Technology Drive in Northeast Commerce Park, not far from the SuperTarget store near East 116th Street and Interstate 69. The goal of the facility will be to bring together and nurture various players in the growing IoT sector to allow for innovation and collaboration. IoT lab

The co-working space is expected to offer designated maker space, storage rooms, 12 project suites, common project areas, four meeting rooms, collaborative desk space, a coffee bar and a break room.

Fishers officials, along with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Launch Fishers CEO and founder John Wechsler, ClearObject Inc. CEO John McDonald and Indiana University representatives, were scheduled to reveal plans for the space Tuesday morning at Launch Fishers.

“Connected devices are prevalent in our daily lives from wearable fitness bands to self-driving cars,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said in a written statement. “With the rapid speed of innovation in this sector, the internet of things provides the greatest threat to our current economy, but it also provides the greatest opportunity for our future.”

IoT deals with the emerging world of internet-connected appliances, toys and other devices. It's getting a lot of attention from business leaders and elected officials based on the idea that companies can make their products—from hotel room doors to diesel engines—more useful through internet connectivity.

Holcomb said the initiative falls in line with his “Next Level Legislative Agenda,” which proposes investing $1 billion over the next 10 years in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Indiana’s economy is built on our proven ability to grow things, make things and move things,” Holcomb said. “These very industries of agriculture, manufacturing and transportation logistics are the ones we know can benefit most from the IoT revolution.”

ClearObject, formerly known as CloudOne, will be a founding member of the lab and plans to open a second office in the space to serve as the company’s technology and project services center.

ClearObject CEO John McDonald said the company expects to increase its Indiana employee base by 15 percent this year. The 10-year-old IoT firm has about 45 employees and moved its headquarters to downtown Fishers in 2015.

IU is also a founding member of the initiative and plans to have a physical presence at the facility for faculty and staff serving the IoT industry. The space also might be used for student programs or internships.

Indiana IoT Lab-Fishers will be led Wechsler, who describes the facility as “a sandbox for discovery and development.”

Wechsler said it is the first IoT lab in Indiana, but organizers expect to grow the IoT Lab network. He said discussions have already started about the possibility of one in Bloomington that could focus on cybersecurity or cyber-physical systems.

Similar to Launch Fishers, the city will control the master lease for the space and offer annual memberships. Lease terms are still being worked out with the Fishers Redevelopment Commission.

Membership prices are expected to start at $1,000, and non-members will also be allowed visit the lab and receive advice from members on their IoT-related questions.

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