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Cisco has signed a strategic agreement with Electronics City Industries Association (ELCIA) to set up a Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Hub in Bangalore.

The company claims that this will be Asia’s first end-to-end IoT Innovation Hub and will provide a much-needed fillip to the Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) ecosystem in the Garden City. Cisco mentions that it chose ELCIA for this project because ELCIA is the only brownfield ESDM cluster in the country which has received an in-principal approval for a financial grant from the Indian government.

As part of this tie-up, Cisco will help provide the network infrastructure and expertise for testing and production of electronic product prototypes for an “IoT enabled smart city environment”.  This project is being undertaken as part of Cisco Smart+Connected Communities initiative, that aims to focus  on using the network to deploy digitally enabled transportation, healthcare, education, utilities, energy grid and real estate in cities.

The company mentions that through its living lab, ESDM startups and other electronic city companies will be able to build solutions for city infrastructure management including Smart Parking, Smart CCTV Surveillance, Smart Street Lighting, Smart Water Management/Leak Detection and Community Messaging.

This project will be making use of Cisco’s Smart+Connected City WiFi solution to enable community WiFi services and allow access to public utility offerings. ELCIA will also be embedding Cisco’s network equipment (access points, routers, switches) and other required hardware & software applications that will be connected to the smart city’s fibre-optic backbone network.

Electronic City will be the testing ground during the first phase of this smart city project. It will be developed as replicable model for the rest of the city, and eventually other cities in India and other emerging markets.

Bootstrap Financing: Cisco mentions that companies participating in this project will also get access to bootstrap financing through its IoT Innovation Fund, provided the idea is “really strong and is commercially viable”.  They will also apparently get a chance to participate in the global Cisco IoT Challenge.

Cisco had earlier earmarked $100 million as investment capital for early stage companies in the IoT segment, through its venture capital arm Cisco Investments. It had later allocated an additional $150 million over the next two to three years. Last month Cisco had announced a $40 million India-specific fund, that was a part of this $250 million global investment fund.

IoT Innovation centres: Earlier in March, Cisco had stated plans of setting up similar IoT innovation centre in Toronto (Canada), Songdo (South Korea), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and an unnamed city in Germany. For the Toronto centre, Cisco had earmarked an investment of up to $100 million over 10 years.

In March this year, Tech Mahindra’s Integrated Engineering Solutions division had also joined hands with the semiconductor design and manufacturing company Texas Instruments to establish the Texas Instruments Lab. The focus of this lab is also to develop solutions based on the IoT.