ClearObject Expects New Collaborative Opportunities at Fishers IoT Lab

Last month, CloudOne, the Fishers, IN-based startup focused on building, operating, and integrating cloud-based technologies, changed its name to ClearObject.

John McDonald, ClearObject CEO, says the new name reflects the company’s evolution beyond cloud provider to “Internet of Things innovator”—an evolution further solidified by ClearObject’s decision to be the founding member of a new IoT lab in Fishers.

“We realized a lot of the companies working with us were using the cloud for IoT projects,” McDonald says. “Sometimes they didn’t call it IoT, but that’s what it was. We also realized the name CloudOne didn’t reflect IoT, so we needed a new brand to drive that idea forward.”

Defined as a network of Internet-connected physical objects—devices, vehicles, and homes, for example—embedded with software that enables communication and the exchange of data, IoT is one of the fastest growing tech sectors in Indiana, he adds.

The Indiana IoT Lab-Fishers will be housed in a 24,562-square-foot space on Technology Drive in the heart of the city’s tech park. John Wechsler of Launch Fishers is leading the initiative, and Indiana University joins ClearObject as a founding member.

The lab’s member companies will be able to set up shop there permanently or temporarily; annual membership fees start at $1,000 per company. The idea is to bring together companies involved in four components of the IoT ecosystem (ideation, development, cloud data, and edge hardware) for collaboration and cross-pollination. In addition, non-member companies could bring IoT tech challenges to member companies for help solving them.

Why IoT, and why now? Governor Eric Holcomb, Fishers mayor Scott Fadness, McDonald, and others suggest Indiana has a unique opportunity to exploit the sector for economic growth. State officials point to a Machina Research report released late last year, which found that IoT is expected to be a $3 trillion industry by 2025. Because Indiana already excels at growing, making, and moving things, these officials reason, it has the potential to also lead IoT development, especially in the manufacturing, logistics, and agricultural sectors.

McDonald agrees that the IoT opportunity in Indiana is ripe, and he says the lab in Fishers fits ClearObject’s needs because it allows different disciplines within the IoT universe to collaborate.

“The idea is for the lab to be a co-working space critical to IoT,” he says. “We wouldn’t have anywhere else to do this kind of integration work.”

Under its previous name, ClearObject launched in 2010 as the first company to offer software-as-a-service and virtual private cloud delivery of IBM software products. In 2015, the company relocated its global headquarters from Indianapolis to Fishers. Since then, McDonald says, growth has been swift. In 2015, Inc. magazine recognized it as the state’s fastest-growing IT services company.

In 2017, McDonald says ClearObject plans to do some hiring and will announce the location of a second office in central Indiana soon. But most of all, he’s looking forward to Indiana’s role in growing the Internet of Things.

“The lab is a gift to the people of Indiana,” he says. “IoT will be the creator of the next generation of jobs if we do it well. That realization has been stunning—the state’s business and political leadership are almost demanding that this be done, so obviously it’s important to Indiana’s future.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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