Pathway to innovation

IIIT-H’s Living Lab is a first-of-its-kind setup where path breaking ideas can be created, tested and validated in real-time.

A new trend of user involvement in open innovation processes has emerged. As part of the smart cities initiative, IIIT-H’s Living Lab has been launched to streamline and integrate technology applications. Not just that, it also serves as a place where researchers, startups, innovators and large companies can create, connect and collaborate to build products for Smart Cities.

In a first-of-its-kind setup, IIIT-H has made ample provision for startups and innovators to experiment in their Living Lab. “Living Labs are essentially a live setup of a building, campus or facility that gets used for its intended purposes along with being a ‘living’ test bed for research and innovation. All data coming from the Living Lab is used to develop or validate new solutions and can be tested in the same live setup,” says Ramesh Loganathan, Professor of Practice, Co-innovations, IIIT-H.

The Living Lab is the brainchild of five IIIT-H professors — Professor Ramesh Loganathan, Practice, Co-innovations; Professor Vishal Garg, who presently heads Smart Buildings Centre; Professor Sachin Chaudhari, Signals Processing and Communications Centre; Professor Aftab Hussain, VLSI & Embedded-Systems Centre and Prakash Yalla, the Technology Transfer Officer of IIIT-H.

Through the Living Lab, IIIT-H plans to transform the campus into a platform for learning, experimentation and for showcasing new ideas and approaches. “As technology goes mainstream and directly into homes, buildings, campuses and cities, it is imperative that access to such spaces should be available to ensure that the right products are defined, designed and built. Without live access to such spaces, solutions or products may end up being theoretical and not actually usable,” explains Professor Ramesh.

Interestingly, the Smart Building setup of IIIT-H has been in the building sciences research centre for a few years now. “But with the plans to setup the Smart City Research Centre, the whole campus is in the process of being turned into a smart campus, which will be available as a Living Lab,” says Professor Sachin Chaudhari.

Elaborating on its characteristics, Professor Aftab Hussain adds, “The space is wired for all data and controls needed. The controls are also available for startups to deploy their solutions and see how it works in a live setting. The data is available live and later archived for startups to use and validate their designs and testing.”

Originally started by IIIT-H as an internal initiative, the Living Lab has today taken on whole new proportions. “It is just an infrastructure with possibilities. No specific projects or problems are being targeted. Anybody with an idea can come here to validate and prove it. Projects or products will come ‘out’ from the living labs, and not the other way around,” says Prakash Yalla.

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