The Chicago Connectory: Bosch & 1871’s New IoT Incubator

I work with Accenture at 1871, Chicago’s leading tech incubator. 1871 is growing and has collaborated with Bosch to open a new Internet of Things incubator, the Chicago Connectory. Also located in the Merchandise Mart, the Connectory is aiming to be the main Midwest Co-Creation Space for the Internet of Things (IoT). I was lucky enough to check out the space on May 18 with my Accenture team.

The Chicago Connectory is a wordplay on “connecting” and “factory,” two main elements for Bosch’s IoT vision. The Connectory focuses on three pillars: Partners and Co-Creation, Corporate Projects, and Educational Experience. University and corporate partnerships are encouraged to facilitate projects, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities.

Dennis Boecker, the global IT Innovation Lead at Bosch, is excited to embrace the tech ecosystem of Chicago and further Bosch’s goal of accelerating IoT projects. Bosch analysts predict that the global IoT market will grow by 35 percent annually and be worth about $250 billion within the next three years. Mobile apps are great, but IoT is really going to change tech as we know it.

The space looks similar to 1871: modern designs with collaborative spaces. Greeted with cookies, we got a tour from some of the Bosch leads. We got to meet Pepper, the robot. I was honestly most impressed by her fist bump. Not only was it a solid fist bump, but she also did a small explosion afterwards with sound effects. Too cute.

The Chicago Connectory seems excited to differentiate itself from 1871’s startups. While equally incredible, separated spaces will allow more intentional collaboration. Still, only a few floors apart allows interconnected resources for all startups.

Tours are available every Tuesday, but make sure you visit me if you stop by Merch Mart. I can’t wait to see how the Chicago Connectory continues to boost the Chicago tech ecosystem!

++ Mary K

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