Cisco to open Internet of Things lab in Toronto

Cisco Systems Inc. will set up a $100 million “Internet of Everything” innovation lab in Toronto where organizations can develop M2M solutions when it moves into its new Canadian headquarters next year.

In a coup for the Canadian division, it will be one of only four Cisco facilities around the world and the only IoE lab in North America.

Company officials said Wednesday that Toronto was chosen in part because of the success of an intelligent building lab opened at its current headquarters in 2012. That facility has attracted 100 customers and 30 technology partners and integrators of organizations to build applications that in part make building systems like heating and airconditioning controls talk to IP networks.

“The Internet of Everything is a US$19 trillion global opportunity over the next decade,” said Rob Lloyd, president of Cisco’s development and sales division, “including almost $500 billion available to Canadian private and public sector organizations. Today much of that opportunity is left on the table. Cisco Innovation Centres help to accelerate and catalyze IoE opportunities for our customers by developing partnerships and expertise in key verticals.”

The $100 million will be spent over 10 years.

The decision comes after Cisco promised to spend up to $4 billion to expand Cisco operations in Toronto and create up to 1,700 new jobs

The other IoE centres will be built in Germany, Brazil and South Korea.

The Toronto facility will occupy 15,000 sq. ft. of space in Cisco Canada’s new waterfront headquarters, which is scheduled to open in April, 2015.

Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale refused to say how many new jobs the IoE centre alone will create here. But he did say that Cisco is committed to raising its head count in Canada to 5,000. It has about 1,500 now.

Cisco will occupy four of the 30 floors of the new building, called RBC WaterPark Place, whose main tenant will be the Royal Bank and its retail head office. However, the IoE innovation centre will have a prominent place on the second floor near a pedestrian bridge that will link it to the Air Canada Centre, where the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors play.
That means the innovation centre will be seen by many people as they walk to the area, Cisco officials say.

Cisco [Nasdaq: CSCO] is involved in a number of buildings in the waterfront area, part of a revitalization project that will see a number of condominiums and office towers wired with ultra high-speed broadband that will enable new kinds of IT applications.

While Cisco will have a data centre in RBC WaterPark Place the IoE innovation centre will also leverage Cisco’s cloud computing network. That begged the question of why is have a physical lab at all, particularly because Cisco also heavily promotes video conferencing.

“What you need the innovation centre for is to fundamentally transform industries,” Kawale replied. “At the end of the day its still about humans working with humans.”

RBC WaterPark Place will be a 935,000 sq. ft. building  will be built to high environmental standards — it will be the city’s first designed to LEED Platinum standards — and have building controls designed with Cisco’s help. It will have a green roof irrigated with recycled rain water, an air system that pulls in fresh outside air more frequently than most systems.

Michael Kitt, executive vice-president of Oxford Properties, which is developing the building, said in an interview the ventilation, lighting and physical access will “talk” to each other through a Cisco IP  network in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Cisco was part of a similar integrated infrastructure project in a nearby tower opened in 2011 (see story above as part of “Related Articles”). However, Rick Huijbregts, Cisco Canada’s vice-president for smart and connected communities, said WaterPark Place will be the first office building with environmental controllers driven by Power-over-Ethernet.

Ultimately that will allow rules, policies and analytics to be set at the network level for buildings rather than on devices, he said.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now