It was around a year back, when Chandrashekhar Raman, who used to handle Internet of Things go-to-market strategy for Cisco, started noticing a lot of curiosity and backyard innovation happening around IoT. He regularly came across techies in Cisco playing around stuff like Raspberry Pi and coming up with some interesting applications.
The lab, situated in the Cisco campus in Bengaluru, has about 30 employees in its beta program and already boasts of six minimum viable prototypes, some very interesting ones. Take for instance, the self watering plant. Equipped with sensors and connected to the internet, this plant automatically gauges when it needs water and given the right set-up, can release water for itself from a dedicated or a central water repository. The system works simply by linking a pump to sensor data on temperature
Though the technology behind these projects is pretty simple, it's in implementation that the challenge will lie, believe Chandra. Some of the projects,like Vignesh Natrajan's waste management solution that includes dustbins with wi-fi sensors that give you alarms when they are full are likely to be tested within the Cisco campus itself.
The idea of innovation labs is not new for IT companies that house enormous engineering talent on their premises. Cisco has also had similar labs for networking innovation. Giants like TCS and Infosys have long relied on these concepts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation within the organization.