Cisco and MSP set to Launch IIoT Innovation Centre in Manchester

Dan Butler
Sat, 24 Mar 2018
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US tech giant Cisco is set to launch an innovation centre in Manchester dedicated to the development of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology, smart cities and other innovative technological solutions.

The innovation centre will be a joint venture with the Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), which consists of the city’s two main universities and local councils, as well as property firm Bruntwood Ltd. The centre gets its name from this partnership – Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired-Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance).

Mi-IDEA will support fledgling Northern companies in creating innovative technology products and solutions. It will also provide companies with a tailor-made programme to maintain and strengthen their development after the initial accelerator period.

The Mi-IDEA centre will be situated in the centre of Manchester at MSP’s 70,000 sq ft hub space, No.1 MSP Central, which is scheduled to open early 2017. It will also work closely with Cisco’s Create innovation centre in Hackney, London, to develop innovative technological solutions.

Chief executive of Cisco UK and Ireland, Phil Smith, described Manchester as an effective location for their latest innovation centre, not least because it allows Cisco to broaden the scope of its National Virtual Incubator (NVI). Cisco’s NVI employs video conferencing to connect incubators, research facilities and academic centres with companies all over the UK and Ireland.

“Manchester has innovation in its DNA,” explained Smith. “Our investment in the city builds on our ongoing commitment to support new digital businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs across the UK.”

“Mi-IDEA will be uniquely positioned to tap into local, national and international innovation ecosystems. It will benefit from MSP’s existing partnerships across the region and be a key part of the NVI.”

 Cisco’s most recent investment into a Manchester based innovation centre underlines the significant growth in the North’s technology industry. This, coupled with Cisco’s 2015 commitment to invest over $1 billion across the UK’s digital industry, shows how UK cities other than London are attracting significant interest from major tech companies.

“As London recently overtook New York and Shanghai in a global ranking of leading tech cities, Cisco’s recent investment demonstrates that the success of the UK’s tech industry is not limited to the capital,” commented Charles King, Head of IIoT at Challenge Advisory. “Establishing Manchester as a technological powerhouse will go some way to attracting digital talent away from London and sharing the economic benefits of the IIoT across the country.”