Caterpillar Announces Grand Opening of First Data Innovation Lab

In today’s age of technology, data touches everyone’s lives and drives progress across the globe. Shocking amounts of data are generated every day from each sale, GPS point, social media post, web search, and countless other sources all over the world. We’re in the midst of a global data revolution, and companies that understand and leverage the value of Big Data will be the ones to succeed.

While Caterpillar has always been a company that places a premium on data-driven decision making, we’re upping our game. Today, February 19, we celebrated the grand opening of our first Data Innovation Lab, located in Research Park at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.

The U of I Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Peter Schiffer, and Caterpillar Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Gwenne Henricks, welcomed guests at the grand opening, both expressing excitement about the lab as another positive link in the long and rich relationship between the university and Caterpillar. Dr. Schiffer said, “Caterpillar has been a tremendous partner with the U of I. Ours is a strategic relationship that helps drive success at our respective institutions. The Research Park is a natural fit for a tech-focused company like Caterpillar, and this new innovation lab will leverage Illinois strengths in computing and data analysis in exciting ways.”

Henricks echoed Dr. Schiffer’s thoughts and went on to explain the opportunities this lab—and forthcoming labs in global locations—will provide. At Caterpillar, Data Innovation Labs will lead to faster, better, and more efficient innovation than ever before, allowing the company to deliver even better results to its customers. With high-velocity analysis of Big Data, research and development professionals can tap into insights about customers’ current and future needs, opportunities to optimize Caterpillar’s processes, and global trends that drive technological change. Staffed with world-class talent from critical fields (statistics, computer science, operations research, engineering, etc.), the labs will also tackle experimental and high-risk challenges that standard practices can’t address, allowing the company to identify and explore breakthrough and disruptive opportunities through data analysis.

At the grand opening, Henricks summarized, “This lab will foster real-world innovation at the dynamic intersection of technological and cultural change in the world, giving us the ability to turn customer and market data into valuable information for the growth of our business and our customers’ businesses.”

This grand opening is only the beginning. Caterpillar will be launching more labs in global locations, harnessing the power of worldwide analytics expertise and tapping into the data-driven insights that propel success.

Gwenne Henricks Biography

Since joining Caterpillar in 1981, she held numerous engineering positions before becoming a supervising engineer, BHL engineering manager, division manager of Systems and Controls Research, 6 Sigma Deployment Champion, WW Undercarriage Product Manager, general manager of Specialty Products Business Unit, general manager of Cat® Electronics, vice president of Electronics and Connected Worksite Division and vice president of Industrial Power Systems Division.

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Innovation at Caterpillar

Over the years, Caterpillar people have followed in our founders' footsteps, introducing breakthrough solutions in turbo charging technology, electronic controls, fuel systems, drive systems and more for the purpose of enhancing our customers' success.

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