A health-based Internet of Things lab is being planned for northeast Indiana. The federal Economic Development Administration has awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center to launch the cluster-focused commercialization program. Chief Executive Officer Karl LaPan says work on the Indiana Connected Health IoT Lab/Network is slated to begin in January.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, LaPan said the lab will serve as a place to pilot and experiment with innovative ideas in the healthcare space. He says it will be "focused on how to use technology to improve patient care, how to get greater engagement with patients and the care that they need in order to be successful with their health, and to work with companies and entrepreneurs and business builders and idea people to bring some of those game changing ways of engaging patients to the marketplace."
LaPan says northeast Indiana is a great fit for a lab of this type because of the cluster of industries, such as advanced manufacturing, medical devices, communications and electronics, and insurance, which have a strong presence in the region.
"All of those things are important dimensions of a successful ecosystem for connected health," said LaPan. "So I think bringing those various disciplines and industries together, we can create game changing technology to help improve and hopefully bend the cost curve in healthcare."
The lab will be housed within the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. LaPan says the organization will be working with the EDA to finalize plans for the lab and he hopes to have it open sometime in the first quarter of 2019. He says one of the main goals of the lab is to commercialize intellectual ideas in the state and region.
"What we do know is that communities that commercialize intellectual ideas and who are creating the jobs and companies in their communities are the ones that get all the economic impact from that commercialization," LaPan said. "So the more Indiana can make things happen in our state, the greater the quality of life, the better the economic impact and the more successful we’ll be as a community."
LaPan says feedback on the project has been very positive. He says people like the idea of a vertical market-focused effort targeting healthcare.
"IoT is quite an expansive industry when you look at all of the ways that connected technology can improve quality of life in so many dimensions of how people live and work and play today. The center being exclusively focused on looking at health and related health areas, I think, is something that people are really excited about because that’s an area where industry needs to change and needs to improve in order to provide more effective, more engaging solutions for patients."
The grant for the effort required a local match, which was provided by numerous contributors such as the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fishers-based Clear Object Inc., Indiana Tech, the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation, Elevate Ventures Northeast Indiana, the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., Vision Tech Partners Northeast Indiana and Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
LaPan says the lab will serve as a place to pilot and experiment with innovative ideas in the healthcare space.