Customer-centric innovation is part of Cisco’s DNA. We are constantly seeking to anticipate and drive market transitions and help solve our customers’ business challenges in a fast-changing world. These challenges are driven by multiple factors such as volatile markets, new requirements to the workforce and eventually most important, the digital disruption happening in nearly every market segment, vertical and geography around the globe. A Chairman of the Board at a major global automotive company recently said: “The automotive industry will foresee more disruption in this decade, than it saw in the last century.” The key drivers are new technologies and the opportunity, which occurs once we are combining people, processes, data and things. A concept Cisco describes as the Internet of Everything.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is without any doubt the most significant market transition of our time. It creates unprecedented opportunities for companies, governments, cities and people, delivering true outcome. At the same time, it changes how innovation is being done: companies open up their R&D labs, ideas emerge and get funded in the social space. Customers around the world reach out to us and ask for our support in innovating their business, responding to Digital Disruption and aligning their business model to ongoing changes.

To bring customer-centric innovation to life, it is crucial to bring together the right parties: industrial and IT partners for developing and rapid prototyping, startups and accelerators to identify trends and turn them into business ideas. Cooperation with governments, academia and research institutes complements the picture.

With the announcement of openBerlin, Cisco is making an important step in its strategy of open, customer-centric innovation. openBerlin is one of six new Cisco IoE Innovation Center locations around the globe and the only one focusing on transportation, manufacturing and logistics, leveraging on the strengths and future potential of Europe in all of these areas.  Part of the center is an R&D lab, dedicated to the development of industry solutions and solutions for specific customer requirements.

As the Internet of Everything is at the heart of our innovation strategy, the center includes a dedicated space to demonstrate IoE in action, and open areas where customers, startups, open communities, researchers, entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts are invited to work on new ideas and technologies. Today, the openBerlin team is already working with an ecosystem of more than 40 local and international companies and organizations, including Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions, Bosch Software Innovations and Intel. Part of the ecosystem are also startups such as TTTech, specialized in cross-industry standards or the startup accelerator Startupbootcamp Berlin.

Europe with its global manufacturing brands is the ideal location for this innovation center. We consider Germany with the tens of thousands of hidden champion as an innovation stronghold, as reflected also in the Industry 4.0 strategy of the federal government. The lively city of Berlin with its right mix of talent, infrastructure, and presence of a strong business, academic, and research community fits perfectly. While one could say, this is only a small step in the bigger picture, I am convinced that this is a bold and big step into the future of the Internet of Everything. The Center of Innovation may has the potential to be the key global platform for the market transitions in manufacturing, transportation and logistic. We are very looking forward to customer-centric innovation out of Berlin!




Michael Ganser

Senior Vice President Central and Eastern Europe