Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

5G innovation lab takes in first cohorts

Steve Rogerson
May 20, 2020



The 5G Open Innovation Lab, a global ecosystem of developers, start-ups, enterprises, academia and government institutions, has opened its lab and launched its inaugural programme for start-ups and their founders.
 
The Seattle-based lab has selected its first cohort of companies using 5G technology for the development of applications and markets. Founding partners Intel, Nasa and T-Mobile are pooling engineering, technology and industry resources to provide the lab and selected start-ups with access to platforms to develop, test and bring to market use cases that unleash the potential of 5G networks both now and in the future.
 
The programme launched earlier this month and will run till July 17.
 
"Our first programme provides start-ups with virtual access to mentors and tools to collaborate directly with technology and business leaders to design and bring to life their vision and dreams for new 5G applications," said Jim Brisimitzis, general partner of the 5G Open Innovation Lab. "We've adapted our programme into a virtual format in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are grateful to our partners for stepping up their support to ensure our first cohort has the best experience possible in a virtual environment."
 
The lab has selected 17 companies as members of the first cohort that will participate in the 12-week programme. Start-ups collaborate with 5G technology experts and business advisors through CEO and CTO roundtables, private working sessions to explore challenges and opportunities, and virtual networking and social events. Founders will also be introduced to leaders in the venture capital community. Content driving the programme includes business planning, corporate development and engineering and will culminate in a demo day showcase to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones achieved.
 
"Ecosystem innovation is important to unlocking the potential of 5G and, as a founding member of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, we will help nurture start-ups developing 5G and edge applications that focus on digital transformation for industries," said Caroline Chan, vice president at Intel. "There is a breadth of opportunities across multiple industries, and to make them a reality it requires this type of industry collaboration to accelerate and bring innovative 5G solutions to market."
 
In addition to three companies that are in stealth mode, the first cohort includes the following start-ups:

  • Aarna Networks: 5G and edge app orchestration, management and automation
  • Evolute: Enterprise container migration, management and optimisation
  • Expeto.io: Platform to manage global enterprise IoT connectivity
  • Iunu: Computer vision platform for greenhouse-based agriculture and tracking
  • Gybe: Hardware platform and edge service for employee connectivity
  • Mutable: AirBnB for servers (distributed public edge)
  • NLM: Optical computing materials and design
  • Numurus: Making robots smarter
  • Omnivor: Holographic real-time and on-demand video platform
  • OptiPulse: Optical front-haul mesh networking
  • PlutoVR: Spatial communications platform
  • Scivista: Collaborative, virtual reality data visualisation
  • Taqtile: AR and VR platform for frontline workers
  • Transparent Path: Building a more agile, efficient and predictive supply chain for food
"5G has the potential to transform our world by enabling new, ground-breaking applications," said Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile. "T-Mobile is building a 5G network unlike any other, with unmatched breadth and massive capacity nationwide. Through efforts like the 5G Open Innovation Lab, we're providing developers and start-ups with the tools to unleash transformative services for people across the country, benefitting everything from entertainment and gaming to education and public safety."
 
The cohort of selected start-ups and potential candidates for future cohorts are at various stages of development and have initiated fund raising including series A rounds of $15m or more. The lab does not take an equity position in the start-up companies, rather, those selected have access to a partner ecosystem including 5G network and development tools, one-on-one engineering mentorships, and knowledge sharing. Applications are being accepted online for the autumn programme.
 
The selection process is focused on identifying a class of companies that are applying 5G in diverse markets across agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and entertainment, as well as other markets. In addition to improvements in mobile communications and networking for the consumer, 5G will enable wireless networks to deliver faster computation and analytics of massive amounts of data, accelerating the adoption of edge computing for enterprises and communities.
 
Founding partner Nasa recognises the power of 5G technology for space-based applications. The agency will support the lab with knowledge sharing and requirements gathering for such applications as nanosat networking, space-based data analytics and processing, remote sensing, space-to-ground communications, weather data analytics and processing, and ground communications.
 
Avanade, an Accenture-Microsoft joint venture and a digital innovator on the Microsoft ecosystem, has joined the lab as a business ecosystem partner to support founders as they develop their 5G development and integration strategies.
 
"Avanade's clients are discovering how 5G will enable them to achieve new ways to transform experiences and deliver value to their customers and employees,” said Aaron Reich, global emerging technology lead at Avanade. “The lab will enable us to build innovations together with them."
 
The lab has also partnered with Google Cloud for Start-ups and AWS Activate to enable entrepreneurs to host 5G services and run and test code closer to the user to improve performance and reduce latency. More than 20 additional business, technical and community partners have joined the lab and serve as mentors and advisors.
 
Sponsored by the city of Bellevue, the lab is also a founding member of Washington's latest Innovation Partnership Zone, a state-wide initiative, administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce, to stimulate regional economic growth by strengthening industry clusters and intellectual capital, and to accelerate the development of technologies, marketable products, company formation and job creation. This public-private partnership includes Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Snohomish County, Washington State University and the University of Washington.
 
"The ability to move data and communicate across devices and platforms seamlessly and without latency will enable us to connect everyone, anywhere,” said Brisimitzis. “5G will enable enterprises to synthesise new knowledge, connect people and devices, and ultimately change their business and how they engage their customers. The result will be a world more connected through intelligence and shared experiences. We're focused on working with future application developers, industry leaders and an ecosystem of partners to pursue what the future has in store."