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$25 M Center for Applied Innovation Opens in South Carolina’s Innovista Research District

A public private partnership between USC and IBM

Columbia, S.C. – On April 14th, the University of South Carolina and IBM hosted the grand opening of the $25 million Center for Applied Innovation, where university, IBM and private sector researchers—including Fluor Corporation—will use the technology for a host of real-world applications. The initial projects include developing ways to enhance and personalize tools in higher education, make aircraft more reliable and supply chains more efficient. 

IBM 3“Our vision for Columbia is to be the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America,’ said City of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Today marks a watershed moment to make this vision reality. Big Blue and Fluor are coming into town in a meaningful way, this sets the stage for the explosive growth we expect to see in Columbia for the next generation.” 

Located in USC’s Innovista research district, the Center for Applied Innovation was formed in 2014 to provide application services to both public and private sector organizations across North America specializing in analytics and higher education industry solutions. Together, IBM and USC have been working to create personalized learning tools for both students and educators using analytics to better align intelligent content, student assessments and learner data.

The new collaboration announced Thursday builds on USC’s Center for Predictive Maintenance (CPM) and McNair Aerospace’s deep expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) research for predictive maintenance. USC is currently using predictive analytics to make maintenance on a host of military aircraft more efficient and reliable. Coupled with IBM Watson IoT expertise and technologies, the Center also will house university, IBM and other private sector researchers dedicated to creating new IoT applications, including interconnected health equipment and intelligent supply chains.IBM 4

“IBM and USC are working together to provide organizations across industries with the research expertise and tools needed to manage, analyze and more deeply understand massive amounts of data from the Internet of Things,” said Chris O’Connor, General Manager, Offerings, IBM Watson Internet of Things. “Bringing together cognition with the IoT is revolutionizing our joint research on compelling use cases for connected assets and better asset health, for example, including ways to utilize predictive maintenance to minimize costly downtime using technologies that sense, reason and learn.”

Fluor Corporation also is a partner in the center. Fluor, a global leader in engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and project management, serves as a strategic advisor, providing insight into emerging trends and requirements that will drive offerings delivered from the center. Fluor also has a major operations center in nearby Greenville, S.C.

“Fluor is pleased to partner with IBM and the University of South Carolina on this facility, which will keep the university at the forefront of innovation for decades to come,” said David Seaton, chairman and CEO of Fluor. “We look forward to accessing the knowledge, innovations and skills gained by USC students and graduates working with, and as a part of the Center for Applied Innovation, to help provide state-of-the-art methods and techniques, supporting leading edge technological advancements in the integrated solutions we provide to our clients.”

Construction on the state-of-the-art, 110,000 square-foot Center for Applied Innovation began in February 2015.  Developed by Holder Properties, it is the second public/private building developed on Carolina’s campus.

About the City of Columbia Office of Economic Development

As the leading economic development agency for the City of Columbia, the office focuses on recruitment of new business, retention and expansion of existing industry, and support of job growth through entrepreneurship and innovation.  Columbia, South Carolina is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast and an ideal place for commercial development.  With a world class workforce, high quality of life, low cost corporate environment, and an extensive transportation infrastructure, Columbia is positioned to assist companies in gaining the competitive edge in the global marketplace. For more information about the Office of Economic Development, click here.

Photo Credit: Christian Barker – Creative Director at the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator


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