Five of the World’s Most Innovative Corporate Labs

    Businesses have been building incubators and innovation-focused research labs for a long time, but tech companies have taken it to a whole new level in the last few years. Some of them are “skunkworks” labs, operating in secret and attempting wild ideas that may or may not work. (Think Amazon’s delivery drones.) Others are less secretive, but still designed to move quickly and seek creative solutions for problems that impact companies and consumers in big ways. This slideshow features five examples of corporate labs doing interesting work today, as identified by Acronis.

    Click through for five research labs working on tomorrow’s innovations today, as identified by Acronis.

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    Yandex Labs

    Yandex, the Google of Russia, opened its labs in 2008 in the Bay Area with the goal of fostering innovation in search and advertising technology. They have employed senior research scientists and engineers who have a wealth of experience that they are leveraging to solve complex problems related to web crawling, indexing, machine learning and more. The labs also contribute to the research community by publishing their findings around search technology at major industry conferences.

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    Google[x] Lab

    Not to be outdone, Google also runs a secretive skunkworks lab known as Google[x]. The engineers and scientists who work there are in charge of “moonshot” efforts, creative and experimental projects that may not necessarily lead to commercial products but that will undoubtedly move the company forward through innovation. The Google[x] facility is located about a half mile from the famed Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. Work there is overseen by one of Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin. Among the projects that have come out of the labs are the company’s infamous self-driving car and Google Glass.

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    Symantec Research Labs (SRL)

    Symantec’s research labs involve leading experts in security and availability who are busy building innovative new products and technologies across their businesses. The efforts include ongoing collaboration with research facilities, government agencies and universities around the world. Their core research includes short-, medium- and long-term projects that are ultimately designed to result in new intellectual property that can be used to build actual products.

    In other words, Symantec’s labs are innovative but focused on real-world solutions. They also engage in government-funded research in both the U.S. and the UK. A startup-style group, they focus on lightweight products in emerging growth categories and ship quickly to pilot customers, with the goal of transferring these releases into the product group for eventual commercialization.

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    Microsoft Research

    Microsoft Research is one of the oldest and largest groups of its kind, founded in 1991 and currently employing more than 1,000 scientists and engineers who focus on dozens of areas of computing. They openly collaborate with academic, government and industry researchers to advance state-of-the-art computing. Goals include advancing Microsoft and its products while solving some of the world’s toughest problems via technological innovation. Microsoft Research has branches in seven countries worldwide and employs a wide variety of the planet’s strongest research minds to bring its ideas to life. Microsoft claims that virtually every product it ships today has seen an influence from the work of this group.

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    Acronis Labs

    Acronis Labs, a new, $10 million research and development initiative, will address the growing challenges associated with cloud services, Big Data, archiving and mobility tools. Acronis Labs will focus a portion of investments in human resources to hire the top computer scientists, developers and programmers. The Labs will address the growing needs to store vast amounts of data, drive down associated costs and utilize cloud technologies. The teams based in Arlington, Va. and Moscow, Russia will build upon leading technologies found in Acronis True Image(R), Acronis Backup & Recovery(R) and Acronis Storage, while also focusing on creating next-generation storage management technologies. Acronis Labs will consist of four organizational units, all of which will closely collaborate with each other.

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