The Connected Life Lab

Companies need a place to experience the future. CDI’s Connected Life Lab is a first-of-its-kind initiative which seeks to transform Detroit into an innovation playground where large, established enterprises can test ideas and experience the future Connected World.

Why Detroit? Putting the T in IoT

Detroit provides the perfect platform for a Connected Life Lab. It has:

  • Population and Economic Diversity

    The Detroit region has a wide range of racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds. The Connected Life Lab offers the ability for large enterprises to tap into this diversity to evaluate new connected experiences that will impact future users, customers and employees.

  • Brownfield Infrastructure

    Integration will become a key theme in the emerging Connected World. Established companies need to understand how elements of connected life can be integrated with legacy infrastructure, systems and policies/legislation. Detroit is a place where renewal is happening but in a Brownfield manner – where existing infrastructure can be converted and leveraged to drive new connected innovations.

  • Emerging Transformation

    Detroit offers a clear entry point into the IoT conversation through “Things.” We’re makers. We’re engineers. We build things. As the city and surrounding region continues to transform, Detroit will have a unique story to tell in the emerging world of IoT.

Detroit has real people

  • Influx of young professionals
  • Tremendous mix of age, race and ethnic backgrounds
  • Poverty at a rate that first world nations rarely see

Detroit has real infrastructure

  • Provides a place to see how old and new can integrate
  • Change is harder with legacy infrastructure
  • A real-life laboratory for the Connected World

Detroit has the need and is transforming

  • Transformation is already a forgone conclusion
  • Detroit offers the T for the loT
  • A small few can make a huge impact

The Connected Life Lab leverages Detroit’s many innovation assets.

We’re taking inventory and leveraging existing assets in the Detroit region to maximize reuse and create robust environments for Member companies to test new connected innovations. We’re seeing that the region has several different types of sandboxes to offer to enterprise innovators:

Established Public Innovation Environments which have been set up and commissioned for public use by researchers and enterprise innovators.

Private Innovation Environments which were developed to test ideas for single companies, but with collaboration, could be used as assets to drive out Co-Innovation.

Opportunity Areas which are new and emerging places to build and experience things collaboratively in the Connected World.

Community Sandboxes which are Progressive Communities (and citizens) that have offered to test and evaluate new connected innovations and experiences to benefit alongside the Member companies.

There is a lot of innovation happing in and around the region. With the help of our partners at Spatial, CDI has mapped the nodes of innovation activity in Detroit – a region that presents countless opportunities to engage in collaborative innovation.

The Connected Life Lab is both a physical place and virtual environment.

CDI is building an Innovation environment where enterprise innovators can co-ideate and prove concepts in a safe and secure way. The Connected Life Lab is an exchange: an integrator between Members’ assets and public environments where new ideas are generated in the whitespace between industries and attuned to Connected Life. The Connected Life Lab will free the flow of information between traditionally siloed companies and industries in order to support this Co-Innovation and execute meaningful cross-industry proof of concepts.


Unique to CDI is the use of communities as “sandboxes” to test collaborative concepts driven by CDI Members. These are communities of future users, customers and employees that will use CDI innovations to enhance their lives. Community Sandboxes take different forms depending on density, diversity and communities’ unique challenges. The opportunity for communities to be leveraged for more than philanthropic purposes is unique to CDI, as Members have the ability to test new ideas in real world scenarios.


Learn more about becoming a CDI Member.


Learn more about building the Connected World in Your Community.