- Amazon opened a 25,000-square-foot tech hub in Houston on Friday, marking the company's 18th North American tech hub dedicated to "emerging technologies, such as voice computing, logistics, and robotics."
- The office will predominately employ Amazon Web Services (AWS) teams that will focus on software engineering, solutions architecture, data analytics and educating AWS customers on the service.
- Amazon also plans to engage the local community through its Amazon Future Engineer program, designed to foster student interest in computer science and related fields.
The Houston tech hub is the latest in a suite of Amazon offices designed to complement the company's main headquarters in Seattle, and its upcoming second headquarters in Arlington County, VA. Cities like Denver and Austin, TX also welcomed tech hubs this year, allowing Amazon to bolster its workforce and expand its footprint as a leading technology company.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has prioritized marketing the city as an innovation center, often dubbing it as the "Silicon Bayou." Over the last 18 months the city has worked to develop an "innovation district" in Midtown with the help of partner institutions such as the Texas Medical Center and Rice University. In fact, Amazon notes that Houston is a "fertile ground" for tech talent due to the surrounding academic institutions.
While there is high potential for tech talent, Amazon will need to prepare for competition with other major tech firms such as Microsoft and Intel, which recently launched an accelerator program in Houston for smart city technology. Microsoft in particular has developed a strong relationship with Houston as the company works to increase its leadership in IoT technology and pilot innovations in the city.
Amazon's presence in Houston can benefit the city's non-technological efforts, as well. In 2017, Amazon assisted the city in recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey by supporting supplemental call centers and assisting major clients as the navigated downed systems.