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Business Incubator Seeks Next Game-Changer in Big Data, the Cloud, and the Internet of Everything


Chicago Innovation Exchange, Cisco narrow Innovation Challenge field to three teams

The Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE) and Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) have created the “CIE + Cisco Innovation Challenge” to support early-stage startups building game-changing products in the Internet of Everything (IoE), Big Data, cloud computing, and other transformational areas. Led by innovators at Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago's Computation Institute, Fermilab, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the three finalists, Parallel Works, CEMAS, and Embedor, are competing for an opportunity to become a part of the CiscoEIR@CIE joint incubation program.

Parallel Works has developed technology that enables complex and compute-intensive modeling, simulation and analytic workflows to be performed rapidly, easily and economically on parallel computing systems. Led by Michael Wilde, a software architect at Argonne and senior fellow at the Computation Institute, Parallel Works’ technology can help scientists, engineers and data analysts to perform the computations that increase their quality and speed their products to market, with greater ease, lower cost, and far less distraction from their core business mission than was previously possible.

Cloud-based Event Monitoring and Storage (CEMAS) technology supports emergent Internet-aware devices from the Internet of Everything (IoE), providing a central hub for storage and event monitoring of data generated by objects and sensors. Led by Fermilab’s Deputy CIO, Jin Chang, the team is working to develop partnerships that would support proof-of-concept testing and commercialization of the service.

Embedor’s technology enables continuous real-time structural health monitoring of civil infrastructure using wireless smart sensors, enabling infrastructure owners to improve the reliability of inspections and significantly reduce maintenance costs. Kirill Mechitov, a postdoc in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign leads the team, which is looking to reduce catastrophic bridge failures by improving the way structural and civil engineers assess and analyze the condition of bridges.

“The innovative technologies of the three finalist teams showcase the rich level of creativity and invention happening in Illinois,” said Tom Yoritaka, managing director of Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence. “Chicago, with its world-class universities, national labs and vibrant startup community, is a key innovation hub and a leader in Smart City and Internet of Everything technologies. Our collaboration with the Chicago Innovation Exchange enables Cisco to tap into the region’s dynamic entrepreneurial community, connecting us with innovators who are building solutions in areas that are strategic to Cisco.”

The three finalists received feedback from Cisco and CIE executives. The teams will participate in Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago in mid-October and spend a day at Cisco’s offices meeting with Cisco engineers and executives in San Jose, California, in November.

“Through our partnership with Cisco, we’re furthering our mission to help entrepreneurs and researchers from the Chicago area to translate their ideas into start-up businesses and products,” said John Flavin, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange. “We are able to support these early-stage ventures along their journey by connecting them to resources and mentors who can help them to commercialize their technologies, and by giving them access to space where they can focus on development.”

The winning team(s) will be announced later this fall and will receive financial support from Cisco and the CIE as well as the opportunity to incubate in the CIE’s primary 17,000 square foot space when it opens in October. The CIE is the University of Chicago’s new center to connect emerging entrepreneurs with Chicago’s broader innovation ecosystem and to drive the creation of new businesses, jobs and economic activity in the city and surrounding region.

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Nikki Kidd

Nikki Kidd | newswise
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