- In an interview with Smart Cities Dive, Fisher, IN Mayor Scott Fadness said the city's new Internet of Things (IoT) Lab — the first in Indiana — is projected to open in January.
- Fadness said the 30,000-square-foot building will house a "space for entrepreneurs in the IoT industry to aggregate their talents into one facility where we can direct a couple of different groups." These groups include private sector companies in industries like manufacturing, agriculture and distribution, as well as local government organizations like police and fire departments.
- Fishers is already largely focused on entrepreneurship, according to Fadness, therefore IoT entrepreneurship is the next step for the city to diversify opportunities. "People may not think of Indiana as [a place for] IoT, but I guarantee you most East Coast and West Coast IoT folks would salivate over the opportunity to sign contracts with the industries that are here in Indiana," he said.
According to Fadness, the concept of "freelance collaboration" will be key at the lab. He explained that it will be set up like a co-working space — a set number of permanent spaces have already mostly filled up, yet temporary memberships are still available – and members will be encouraged to collaborate on new ides and developments. The tenants who have signed for the permanent spaces include Clear Object, one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Indiana that focuses on implementing IoT and security into customers' devices; VAI logic, a company that offers IoT consulting and engineering design services; and Flexware Innovation, a group of tech integrators that helps to implement "real-time business intelligence and automation solutions" with manufacturing systems.
While coastal cities like Boston or Seattle are the star locations for tech development, more "fly-over states" are starting to foster IoT innovation. This is an important trend to ensure all U.S. cities develop at a similar pace — and to ensure local, unique opportunities are being tapped into in those areas. For example, Indiana's booming manufacturing and agricultural industries are a test bed for IoT companies with appropriate solutions that can boost those economies. And those companies are likely to originate in the area.
"Because we have such a target-rich environment for potential customers, we think it's important for us to nurture and groom that talent right here in our own state," Fadness explained.
Indiana's northern neighbor Michigan has also boasted a significant tech focus lately as the state became the first to join Cisco's State Digital Acceleration program. Gov. Rick Snyder also signed legislation to to codify the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps this week, all in an effort to expand tech opportunities in Michigan and boost the economy. As other neighbors like Kentucky and Ohio work to develop smart city solutions, it is likely that the IoT Lab in Fishers will bring a new wave of excitement toward tech development to the region.