The Chicago Connectory, an Internet of Things (IoT) innovation space in the historic Merchandise Mart, launches today as a new center for IoT co-creation in Chicago and the Midwest United States. Startup organizations, corporations and universities will collaborate at the Chicago Connectory through membership, programming and strategic partnerships to create IoT solutions and business models.
The 19,000 square-foot facility is jointly operated by Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, and 1871, a technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem which is currently home to nearly 500 high-growth digital startups. The Chicago Connectory officially opened today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Chicago’s innovation ecosystem is thriving and the Chicago Connectory will further strengthen it,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Our unparalleled pool of talent and corporate leadership have positioned the city to fully capitalize on future advances in the tech economy.”
The Chicago Connectory features a mix of community, technology and educational resources to help facilitate IoT partnerships. Community resources will include access to mentors from Bosch, 1871, faculty from Chicago-area universities such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Northwestern University and DePaul University, and executives from local corporations. The Chicago Connectory, which was designed by Whitney Architects with support from Barbara Pollack and Associates, features open working spaces, project collaboration areas as well as space to host regular events and activities. On-going educational opportunities include IoT workshops, innovation challenges and hackathons.
Bosch, which invested nearly $2 million to help launch the Chicago Connectory, estimates that the global volume of the IoT market will grow 35 percent annually to 250 billion dollars by 2020. In 2016, Bosch sold 27 million web-enabled products and by 2020, all new electronic products from Bosch will feature connectivity. Bosch launched its own IoT Cloud in 2016 and the Bosch IoT Suite connects and manages more than 5 million devices around the world. Of the more than 20,000 software engineers employed by Bosch, around 4,000 of them focus solely on the Internet of Things.
“Realizing the possibilities of IoT will require open partnerships within the technology community to overcome barriers and drive innovation,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Robert Bosch LLC. “The Chicago Connectory provides a platform for startups, corporations and universities to collaborate, explore and dream how IoT can bring new benefits to society and business throughout the world. For Bosch, it’s another example of how we encourage an outside-in philosophy in order to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the company.”
Bosch and 1871 will be actively involved in the Connectory. Bosch will offer 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. Bosch will also provide mentorship from teams and leaders on topics in manufacturing, software engineering and commercialization. 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.
“The Chicago Connectory is 1871’s extended IoT incubator and the place to nurture and grow the next great ideas and companies in IoT,” said Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871. “We’ve already graduated companies who had been located at 1871 to the Connectory and look forward to helping more organizations connect, grow and co-create as this space becomes a key catalyst for IoT growth in Chicago and the greater Midwest.”
Several startups as well as Bosch project teams are already actively working in the space. Two startups from 1871, Xaptum and Glance Displays, have already relocated to the Chicago Connectory and others have purchased memberships for the general co-working area. Glance Displays will also be contributing to the community by offering mentorship and workshops to members for prototyping connected devices.
“As we complete the development of our first product, we look forward to being a part of this IoT community and helping others with their own connected devices,” Glance Displays CEO Dave Krawczyk said.
An internal corporate team from Bosch is utilizing the Connectory space to conduct co-creation sprints with two local startups to identify proofs of concept using bot and data-simplifying technologies. Earlier this year, the startups were matched with Bosch through an 1871 innovation day program.
To learn more about The Chicago Connectory or inquire about becoming a member of the community, visit www.chicagoconnectory.com. More information about the grand opening open house event on May 18 can be found at http://bit.ly/2pIKlsZ.
Having established a regional presence in 1906 in North America, the Bosch Group employs nearly 32,800 associates in more than 100 locations, as of December 31, 2016. In 2016 Bosch generated consolidated sales of $13.7 billion in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit www.boschusa.com, www.bosch.com.mx and www.bosch.ca.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. The company employs roughly 390,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2016) and generated sales of 73.1 billion euros in 2016. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected industry. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life, and to improve quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 120 locations across the globe, Bosch employs 59,000 associates in research and development.