Microsoft, Cisco, IBM investing in German IoT development
Germany has long been a leader in the manufacturing sector with global powerhouses including Bosch, Siemens, BMW, Adidas and many others headquartered in the country. Building on that heritage, the national government’s Industrie 4.0 plans to accelerate manufacturing automation, a key internet of things (IoT) use case, has attracted significant investment from major tech companies including Microsoft, Cisco and IBM.
Microsoft, which has already opened what it calls IoT and AI Insider Labs in Redmond, Washington, in the United States, and in Shenzhen, China, recently announced plans to open a third facility in Munich, Germany. In a recent post to the Microsoft blog, Sam George, partner director, Azure IoT, called AI and the internet of things “two of the most significant trends in technology. Each of our labs is hosted by resident experts who will help participants clean up hardware design, debug drivers, work on supporting applications, and demonstrate how to connect devices at scale. They can also help you understand Microsoft’s vast array of IoT, AI, and AA solutions capabilities, and how they can work with your technology to develop insights from data, and turn insights into action. The labs will even help manufacture small-scale hardware runs for devices designed and built by participating organizations.”
Networking giant Cisco, with its investment in Germany, focused on the manufacturing, transportation and logistics verticals. One of a series of Cisco Innovation Centers, openBerlin. Geared towards universities, customers, startups and developers, openBerlin has hardware and software labs and what the company calls a “micro factory dedicated to the development of industrial IoT solutions.” Cisco identified three goals for the lab: accelerating development, responding to market needs and creating an open ecosystem.
And, in February, IBM opened a “collaboratory” also in Munich, which is officially called IoT Headquarters. Jen Clark, of the Watson IoT team, described the new facility in a blog post: “he new Headquarters is dedicated to helping clients and IBMers work together to constantly push the boundaries of what is possible with IoT. It’s a hub for collaborative working and will be the setting for an exciting series of new offerings, capabilities and ecosystem partners – all in the name of extending the power of cognitive computing and securing the future of the IoT.”