Technology innovation can happen at any place at any time. As rental prices for prime real estate in large cities continues to rise, startup companies and innovation centers look to the surrounding areas.
While some cities like Kansas City hoped to attract entrepreneurs and technology innovators with its Google Fiber installation, it wasn’t enough. It soon found out that it needed more than just fast internet to attract the tech-savvy crowd.
Not too far outside of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana is the city of Fishers. This city took a different approach to bring in the tech community. In addition to a tech economic plan, this city took it to the next level by opening up an Internet of Things (IoT) lab to explore technology innovation.
Before we jump into the post, here are a few quick facts about Los Angeles and its tech scene:
- The city has a population of approximately 89,000 in 2016, making it the sixth largest city in the state of Indiana.
- Hamilton Country, where Fishers is located, has an estimated population of 275,000.
- The GDP of Hamilton County is $521 million.
- Median household income: there is $84,635.
- The Indiana Chamber of Commerce's list of top 100 Hoosier companies included 22 from Hamilton County.
The IoT Lab in Fishers begins with its core tenant of IoT-based company ClearObject: to help propel the lab forward is its partnership with Indiana University. The sole purpose of this lab is to have a facility working towards advancing research and development of IoT-based technology.
Officially dubbed IoT Lab-Fishers, this new building is part of the city’s larger initiative, Launch Fishers, to help draw businesses and opportunities into the city. This program, which also includes a large co-working space, is an economic plan that hopes to champion entrepreneurial endeavors.
The city of Fishers is seeing an increasing investment in the tech space. In addition to IoT Lab-Fishers and the co-working Launch Fishers space and program, it was announced this past fall that Citimark will be investing $32.7 million into a new tech-ready site. When renovations are complete, this site will have 151,000 square feet of space.
Over the past few years, these efforts by Fishers’ mayor have helped lure over many tech companies. One of the larger companies within the past few years is cloud and IoT company ClearObject. In 2015, the company moved its entire headquarters from Indianapolis to downtown Fishers.
ClearObject’s CEO, John McDonald, commented in a release about the company’s decision to move to Fisher. He said, “As CloudOne has scaled up, we have quickly outgrown our current office space. In order to help enterprises make their things for the Internet of Things, it’s imperative we have a creative workspace reflective of our company’s culture and conducive to collaboration. Indiana has been the perfect place to grow our business and we are looking forward to the Fishers community helping foster our continued growth.”
With all of these incubator tech spaces available in the city of Fishers, Ind., it’s safe to say the mayor’s plan to help advance it has worked. What makes this city of particular attractiveness is its proximity to a major metropolis area. As Indianapolis is just a half-hour drive away, tech business professionals have a variety of resources at their fingertips.
This brings us back to the affordability of larger cities versus those surrounding areas. What big cities lack in space and cost savings, communities like Fishers are providing in plenty. This is why we’re seeing tech centers spring up all over the world in areas outside of large cities like San Francisco, New York City and Boston. Tech startups want the big city amenities and connections nearby in tandem with the necessary lower rental prices.
In the next few years, Fishers, Ind., may just become the Silicon Valley of the midwest.