Cisco is working on creating a new incubator with smart cities, the Internet of Things, and healthcare as its primary points of focus. This new innovation center, based in Manchester and founded in coordination with the Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), will be called Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired-Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance).

If there were a list of the most likely vendors to fulfill the technology needs of a smart city, Cisco would be near the top of that list. It is arguably the largest networking company in the world, and when it comes to the Internet of Things, networking is the lifeforce that drives it.

So, it makes perfect sense for Cisco to partner with MSP to create an innovation center that will incubate startups and projects focused on creating and launching IoT technologies that will pave the way for smart cities of the future.

Manchester is an interesting choice for the center’s location. It is a hotbed for growth in the tech scene, second only to London. In a 2016 survey by KPMG, Manchester was ranked number 1 among European cities for cost of doing business.

Cisco will add Manchester to its incubator network

Cisco will also be able to add Manchester to its growing National Virtual Incubator (NVI) network, a system linking incubators and research/academic centers through video conferencing. Its network, which spans the UK and Ireland, already includes several key incubators – including Idea London.

In addition to smart cities, there is an increasing interest in IoT technologies for both consumer and commercial applications. The healthcare sector is also a ripe industry that these technologies can improve. As more sensors and networking solutions are developed, the potential for new solutions in these areas is virtually unlimited.

Smart cities are being actively developed and budgeted around the world and thus far, there is a noticeable gap in the market for telecoms and networking providers…a gap that Cisco wants to fill.