November 20, 2018

Logistics giant Prologis tests the water with physical and virtual labs and relishes the “mystery” that comes with true innovation

On this week's episode of Tech Talk Radio Emily Wright and Sam McClary speak to Robbert Heekelaar, Prologis's VP of architecture and emerging technologies about the logistics giant's foray into real and virtual lab space.

Prologis Labs officially launched earlier this month with a 1300 sq m physical space in San Leandro just outside San Francisco and a virtual lab in Amsterdam. 

"There is now a department within Prologis responsible for these physical and virtual labs," said Heekelaar. "We are using them to do experiments with or without tenants and the physical space gives us so much freedom as a test environment.

"It will be 1300 sq m for the first year and will extend if it is a success...We are going to establish a lot of different experiments with some of our vendors and it is so great we finally have an environment where we can truly put vendor solutions to the test to see whether they work or not.

"The virtual lab is necessary because some of our experiments can't be done in a warehouse - things like Blockchain where we don't need a physical space. It is the same for BIM or creating a digital twin of the warehouse. These tests don't need a physical environment so we put them in our virtual lab space. But the two are totally aligned and driven by the same team."

Heekelaar adds that if the US physical space is a success the next step could be to build one in Europe where he sees "more ideas coming than from Silicon Valley."


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