It is quite common for cities and economic development associations to make a wish list of the types of companies they would like to bring into their city. Over the last couple decades it has been determined that clean industries are the kind of businesses that are the most desirable to recruit to set up shop in a city. And this is not just something that happens in the United States of America, it also happens in China. This is been going on for quite a while and in China they call this scheme; clustering.
Some are called high-tech manufacturing clusters, or other such labels. In the United States we generally set up areas and zone them for high tech centers. Perhaps the largest high-tech center would be Silicon Valley, as the whole region became the high tech center of the world for almost a decade before it collapsed. Still, to this day it is known for its high-tech status even after the collapse as things rebounded and got back to normality, since the bubble burst.
Having traveled to every single city in the US over 10,000 population, and having talked to over 500 economic development associations during my seven years of travel domestically, I noted how many cities have set up high-tech office parks, or telecommunication centers, or clean industry zoning. Indeed they got together with local universities and community colleges to train future employees and they set up recruiting teams to recruit new startup businesses, and large corporations into the hightech world to come and put in their facilities and set up shop.
Of course, I was also very careful, because at the time I was running a franchising company and we cater to doing services for high-tech office centers, namely mobile car washing and detailing for the employees; thus, I would go and actually check out the hightech center to see what kind of companies where they are and how many cars were in the parking lots.
What I had noticed was that many of the tech-centers had not been built yet, all the plans had been done at City Hall and they even had a model of the area, and complete zoning in their master plan all completed, but sometimes there were only one, two or even no companies that had come to set up shop yet.
The companies that did set up shop, were the first ones and they had negotiated incredible deals such as a rebate on all sales tax revenue collected for the first five years, no interest loans for building the building, no developer fees, and the ability to set up shop in an Enterprise Zone, Federal Trade Zone, or some specially designated business friendly area.
Beware of pre-clustering propaganda, and beware of economic development hype, no matter what nation you are in or what business you run. Please consider this.
It went live recently in 37 U.S. cities. Tech Talk City Simply buy Amazon’s $120 internet-connected security camera called Amazon Cloud Cam and a smart lock (together costing at least $250), download the Amazon Key app and you’ll be all set for this option.
Recently, I had to talk with Amazon about a package that never made it to my door – whether it was stolen by someone who really needed a banana holder for their kitchen counter, or something happened in transit, I’ll never know. The service representative was great about refunding my money, but I wanted to ensure that I didn’t have to worry about stolen packages ever again.
So I’m considering this option. (If you’re like me and unsure if you should trust strangers, no matter how well-vetted, into your home, you’ll understand why it’s taking me so long to decide.)
As I began to think about this huge shift in our delivery system options, the H.G Wells quote I mentioned earlier flitted through my mind: Adapt or perish.
There are so many innovative “smart” designs hitting the market these days that it’s hard to keep up. The Internet of Things (IoT) trend is clearly happening – and in big, paradigm-shifting ways.
Already, we’re tailoring neighborhoods with “future design” in mind. Since October, there have been at least three big announcements about smart cities:
Bill Gates just invested $80 million to build an Arizona smart city. This high-tech development will be built outside of Phoenix and, as CNN reports, it will boast “high-speed networks, autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and autonomous logistics hubs.”
In October, Alphabet Inc.’s urban innovation organization – Sidewalk Labs – committed $50 million for a similar smart city in Toronto. The company’s tagline is “reimagining cities from the internet up” – and this city is a perfect example. The cost of the project is likely to run over $1 billion, with a focus on self-driving car lanes, public Wi-Fi hubs and other modern advances.
And earlier this week, Cisco announced that it plans to invest $1 billion to develop smart cities around the world – which will use its Cisco Kinetic of Cities IoT platform.
Clearly, it’s not just our delivery systems that are getting an upgrade. Our entire walk of life is shifting as the smart money flows into building a world that previously only resided in science fiction stories.
We may not want to adapt with every smart innovation that hits the market, but we still need to adapt our investing strategies if we want to stay ahead of the game.
So follow the smart money if you haven’t already. Start looking into the building blocks of these smart cities and see which companies are setting up for explosive growth.