The FINANCIAL — Cisco on October 16 announced the inauguration of openBerlin, a Cisco Innovation Center. The center is now fully operational in the Euref campus in Berlin’s Schöneberg district.
Cisco Innovation Centers are aimed at catalyzing and showcasing digital innovation and development. They bring together customers, industry partners, startups, application developers, accelerators, government organizations and universities. openBerlin is one of nine Cisco Innovation Centers worldwide, each with its own specialization. At openBerlin, the focus is on manufacturing, logistics and transportation. Cisco intends to invest close to $30 million in the new site over the coming years, according to Cisco.
„openBerlin is a clear sign of commitment from Cisco to Germany and Berlin,” said Michael Müller, governing mayor of Berlin. „The decision to bring such a unique institution to our city shows that we are on the right path to establish Berlin as a leading high-tech location. openBerlin is a platform that builds on the diversity of Berlin: people, startups, companies, research and science come together here to shape the future.”
“openBerlin is the smartest building in Berlin, especially when it’s full of people,” said Dr. Bernd Heinrichs, managing director of openBerlin. “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. 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 – such as base stations of mobile operators – over the Internet.
“Germany is one of the countries with the greatest potential to benefit from IoT, thanks to its well-trained engineers, sustainable innovation strength, and global market position” said Oliver Tuszik, vice president and general manager, Cisco Germany. “At the same time, German industry has a lot at stake when it comes to digitization, and innovation will be key to capture the opportunity. We are not copying Silicon Valley here. Our aim is to merge the strengths of the German economy with a new approach to innovation. openBerlin is a sign of our commitment to Germany and our local partners, both from business and the public sector.”
openBerlin, a Cisco Innovation Center: a platform for technology ideas and open innovation
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. Based on the global presence of Cisco, it is also a gateway for German companies to address global markets.
Part of the center 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. For example, 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.