Munich, Germany is Europe’s new Internet of Things (IoT) hub as Microsoft becomes the latest company to open a new lab in the city.

Microsoft has followed in the footsteps of IBM when choosing the German city as its new IoT base, which will see the company developing technology that will connect everyday items such as fridges and thermostats to the internet.

The new lab will open in April, joining the ranks of Microsoft’s other hubs in Shenzhen, China and Redmond, Washington. Munich has been chosen as the European base as it is “an industrial hub of machinists and manufacturers” and will offer a central point for potential customers in Europe and the Middle East.

Though the lab is run by Microsoft employees it is to be used by startups and large enterprises alike, to take advantage of the equipment and mentoring on offer to develop their IoT solutions for the market.

“Companies have said their three weeks in the lab was worth four, five or six months of coding on their own,” said Microsoft’s general manager of IoT business development, Cyra Richardson.

The rooms in the labs are named after important scientific figures of the past, such as Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel prize for her work on radiation; Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer; and Mae Jemison, the first African-American women to become a Nasa astronaut.

“The lab works with customers from a depth perspective – we unblock them and help them develop solutions for products,” said Microsoft’s manager of IoT business development, Marlina Hales.

“We also work with lab participants from a breadth perspective, creating products to share with the community. For example, we believe in the need to nurture the next generation of developers. One of the ways we do that is through STEM in high schools and colleges.”

Earlier this year, IBM opened a new hub in Munch for Watson Internet of things to bring together its staff and clients to push the boundaries of the technology.

Though IoT has been getting a lot of traction, particularly with the launch of Samsung’s new S8 smartphone that wants to integrate the tech into our everyday lives more, there are concerns around the software. The sector is still reeling from the DDoS attack that took place in October last year which took down most of the internet after thousands of insecure IoT devices were hacked.