Chicago’s new IoT innovation space offers room for startups, universities and corporations

The historic Merchandise Mart in Chicago has a new occupant in the plaza, The Chicago Connectory, an IoT innovation co-creation space, which is a 19,000 square-foot facility jointly run by Bosch, which invested nearly $2 million in the Connectory, and Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurship centre, 1871. Both firms will be actively involved in The Chicago Connectory. Designed by Whitney Architects with support from Barbara Pollack and Associates, The Chicago Connectory features open working spaces, project collaboration areas as well as space to host regular events and activities. Featuring a mix of community, technology and educational resources to help facilitate IoT partnerships, the Connectory will be joined by start-ups, corporations and universities via membership, programming and strategic partnerships to create IoT solutions and business models. Bosch will be offering technical resources including a cross-domain development kit (XDK) and sensors such as accelerometers and barometric pressure sensors for IoT development. A maker space meant for smaller prototyping will feature Bosch power tools and 3D printers. It will also provide mentorship from teams and leaders on topics in manufacturing, software engineering and commercialisation. Elsewhere, 1871 will provide access to its 1,000 events each year, innovation days programming that matches startups with corporate companies, access to the 1871 mentor network of more than 500 professionals, and workshops on business and technology topics. An internal corporate team from Bosch is using the Connectory space to conduct co-creation sprints with two local startups to identify proofs of concept using bot and data-simplifying technologies. In early 2017, the startups were matched with Bosch through an 1871 innovation day program.

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