The DEC to ‘Innov8te’ With New Smart Cities Incubator That Supports Emerging Tech

Operating out of the DEC's West End location, the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator is backed by AT&T, Microsoft, Cisco, UTD, and the Dallas Innovation Alliance.

The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Network today announced the launch of its Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator at the West End location. The program will focus on supporting urban and civic transformation from regional smart city R&D and is backed by a group of public, private, and academic contributors including AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the Dallas Innovation Alliance.

The incubator will highlight North Texas’ growing influence in a range of emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality, as well as the data and connectivity upgrades happening now with the rollout of 5G wireless that provides a major boost.

“We are excited to launch the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator out of our West End location,” said Alyce Alston, CEO of The DEC Network, in a statement. “We are grateful for the cooperation of these leading companies and universities in the Smart Cities space. And we are thrilled to support the great work that the Dallas Innovation Alliance has done in partnership with the City of Dallas and its collaborators through the Smart Cities Living Lab and the Dallas Innovation District. We look forward to bringing our background and experience in helping to accelerate startups through education, mentorship, and community to this important initiative.”

Innov8te’s goal is improving eight civic innovation issues:

  1. Citizen Engagement/Services
  2. Equity/Inclusion
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Governance
  5. Mobility
  6. Public Health/Healthcare
  7. Public Safety
  8. Sustainability


Last November, The Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) released a year-end case study on the first phase of its Smart Cities Living Lab program in the West End Historic District. That report was the result of three years of work by the DIA, starting with its launch in 2015 when it was co-founded by Trey Bowles and Jennifer Sanders. At the time, Bowles told Dallas Innovates it was the fastest-to-market smart city project in the U.S.

“We have appreciated our partnership with The Dallas Innovation Alliance over the past three years,” said Hugh Miller, Chief Information Officer at the City of Dallas, in a statement. “We believe the creation of the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator will create new ways for the city to engage with emerging tech companies developing cutting edge solutions addressing our city’s greatest challenges and opportunities for growth to secure the future of our region.”

Participants in the Innov8te program will have access to education, mentorship, networking, programming, products and services, as well as connections to leading corporations and access to capital channels. The initiative will also include events geared toward the entrepreneurial community.

“Through our work with the Dallas Innovation Alliance and Innovation District, we’ve had a front-row seat for Dallas’ entrepreneurial and civic innovation enabled by smart cities technology,” said Mike Zeto, vice president and general manager of smart cities, AT&T. “By providing resources, education and training to the Innov8te Smart Cities Incubator, we can empower bright minds in our city to address today’s greatest challenges and effectively grow the smart city solutions marketplace.”

Steve Guengerich, clinical associate professor at UT Dallas’s Jindal School of Management and lead for the university’s Innov8te partnership, added that innovation and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand.

“Our students and alumni are increasingly proposing new ventures in the Innov8te civic innovation themes. Further, our research faculty, led by the Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science, is already a leader in IoT and other baseline areas of smart cities innovation,” he said. “We are excited to bring these UT Dallas stakeholders together, through joint education and projects at Innov8te, with the other founding collaborators.”

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