This morning I had a pleasure of joining 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and many others in launching the expansion of 1871. 

Launched in 2012, 1871 is a leading Chicago non-profit incubator that provides affordable co-work spaces to Chicago entrepreneurs as well as community gatherings and programs such as tech talks, hackathons  and more.  They’re named after the fire of 1871 – not because of the destructive nature of the fire, but because of the innovation and ingenuity that built up Chicago afterwards.  1871 is true to its name as we’re seeing a similar surge of innovation and ingenuity from the startups that are based there.

Cisco was a founding sponsor of 1871 and today we’re expanding that sponsorship.  Cisco will be offering equipment, tools, training, and mentorship to members of 1871 (and we’re sponsoring their wireless deployment!)  The goal of this collaboration is to support entrepreneurs that are building Internet of Everything solutions.  Internet of Everything is the connection of people, processes, data, and things to the internet – connecting the previously unconnected. With an expected 50 billion devices that will be connected in just the next 5 years (up from 13B now) – there is a strong need for creativity and ingenuity as we build the infrastructure and systems to support all of those connection. We hope that this collaboration will lead to identifying promising companies for closer cooperation – with the possibility of developing joint solutions and bring products to market. 

This week I’m also in town for the second annual Internet of Things World Forum, hosted by Cisco, where we’re bringing together some of the best and brightest thinkers, practitioners, and innovators from business, government, and academia to accelerate the market adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).

To kick off the week, 1871 hosted a Cisco-sponsored competitive hackathon (#IoTWFHack), produced by Monkeybar, one of the startups at 1871. Over 15 teams were competing to develop a creative solution using one or a combination of the 4 software platforms developed by Cisco – including Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX), Data in Motion (DMO) and Cisco Instant Connect (CIC) and IOx application development platform and they had access to our ruggedized 819 ISR routers.

The teams’ solutions were judged based on practicality, creativity, design, and how they used the technologies. Congratulations to the 4 winners of the Hackathon: Fleetmatics (Supply chain inventory management); Geoanimaniacs (location and tracking); Simon Says AIot (crowd analytics) and ‘peer-choice’ Firefighters (Emergency management).

With so many things happening, I am proud of the growth of 1871 and the incredible impact that its making on the local community.  I hope that we’ll see many innovative IoE-enabling companies coming out of 1871.


Maciej Kranz

Vice President and General Manager

Corporate Strategic Innovation Group