vor 6 Jahren

Berlin to go, english edition 1/2015

  • Text
  • City
  • Cisco
  • Internet
  • Berlin


DISCUSSION BIRTHPLACE OF SMART BERLIN Last year, Cisco opened its innovation center – the goal: “To change the world, starting from Berlin” More than 50 billion devices – from dishwashers to cars – will be linked together by the end of the decade. Network specialist Cisco estimates the value added by digitization at 900 billion euros and is working hard with the Berlin startup scene to create the “Internet of everything.” The first time you hear Cisco manager Bernd Heinrichs enthusing about the EUREF campus in Berlin, it might seem as if you are in a science fiction movie: “More than 10,000 sensors have been installed on our 5.5-hectare site and not only do they ensure that I can get to the former Gasometer without getting caught in traffic, they can also tell me where I can find the perfect parking spot.” Once he reaches his destination, Heinrichs recharges his e-car at the largest electric filling station in Germany, which connects to the local power grid via a smart grid, and then makes his way to the new Cisco Innovation Center. This is where the IT group conducts research on the “Internet of Everything,” using its own facilities to demonstrate how to network every sort of object, from smart lighting to demand-driven garbage disposal. The most obvious indication of just how efficient this revolutionary technology can be is the fact that by last year the EUREF campus had already met the federal government’s climate objectives for 2050. Thus Cisco‘s network specialists made sure that the future has already begun in Berlin. According to Bernd Heinrichs, the rest of Berlin should follow within the next ten years. “Starting from Berlin, we have the chance to change the world,” says the marketing manager in charge of the “Internet of everything.” “Nowhere else are there as many creative minds as there are here – along with policy makers who understand how to take advantage of this unique opportunity.” Heinrichs is of course referring to the city’s vibrant startup community. photo: Petar Chernaev/; freevector/ 16 BERLIN TO GO

DISCUSSION Since the unofficial opening of the Innovation Center last year, nearly 50 startups have followed Cisco to the German capital, where they are working together to find solutions for the Internet of tomorrow. There’s a mutual attraction between the IT giant, with its annual turnover of nearly 50 billion euros, and the young tech guns from around the world: as a specialist for routers and switches, Cisco provides the lion’s share of the world’s Internet backbones – so the developers who program applications for the hardware could scarcely be closer to the beating heart of the Internet. “Nowhere else are there as many creative minds” More important for the company’s immense popularity in startup circles, however, is Cisco’s new openness: “The future is not in the cloud, but in the fog,” says Heinrichs, immediately offering this explanation for his analogy: “A cloud floats out of reach in the sky; but fog stays close to the ground.” Unlike most major competitors, Cisco has begun opening up its products to applications from other companies, starting last year. Success, spontaneity and a yes-we-can attitude are attractive qualities in the startup world – and the Cisco Innovation Center exudes quite a lot of them. No wonder young entrepreneurs are fighting for the coveted positions. Nearly 150 people work in the charming brick building, and just under a quarter of them are Cisco employees. The rest are mainly startups that have been able to win over Cisco with innovative ideas for partnerships. It’s for precisely this purpose that the company makes available a whopping 250 million euros in risk capital. “We see ourselves as a startup accelerator,” says Heinrichs. Free from financial worries, young developers can concentrate on the essentials: developing breakthrough technologies in the fields of production, logistics and transport in which the Berlin Innovation Center specializes. At least 900 billion euros of added value could be generated alone in Germany by networking these three sectors – which makes the immense investments suddenly no longer seem so huge. “We see ourselves as a startup accelerator” The changes these sober sums bring about will be utterly revolutionary: Berlin’s congestion problems – forever solved. Hunting for a parking space – a headache no more. From dishwashers to cars, more than 50 billion devices are expected to be networked by the end of the decade, helping to make people’s lives easier. What is now emerging in the shadow of the Gasometer is a veritable revolution – and it hasn‘t even really begun yet: In October Cisco‘s Innovation Center will be inaugurated. It already is one of the birthplaces of the smart Berlin. jv But open source is not just sending the developer scene into flights of euphoria or helping build confidence in a technology that, especially in Germany, has long been viewed with suspicion, due to concerns about the loss of privacy. The synergies it provides also allow the companies involved to make quantum leaps in development. “We used to think of our projects in terms of years; now it’s weeks, sometimes even days,” says Heinrichs. The best example of the success of this new strategy is the collaboration with Azeti: This Berlin-based company monitors complex industrial infrastructures and, along with Cisco, has developed a system that allows to analyze the sensor data right there on the network devices – which are, of course, made by Cisco. And here’s where the fog comes into play: instead of sending the information into a cloud and analyzing it there, almost everything happens locally – thereby reducing data traffic by 90 percent and saving resources for everybody involved. It’s a seemingly minor measure which, Heinrichs is convinced, “may have paved the way for Azeti to become a global market leader.” photo: Berlin Partner Dr. Bernd Heinrichs, Managing Director IoT EMEAR & openBerlin IoT Innovation Center, Cornelia Yzer, Senator for Economics, Technology and Research, and Dr. Stefan Franzke, Management Spokesperson of Berlin Partner for Business and Technology at the presentation of the Innovation Center. BERLIN TO GO 17

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