Fishers, Indiana has put itself on the map as a potential new tech hub in the MidWest. The town of 90,000 opened its Internet of Things (IoT) hub on Wednesday, with the aim of attracting new jobs and leading the way on the development of new IoT technology.
The Indiana IoT Lab is the first in the state and is led by John Wechsler who is also the founder of Launch Fishers, a local entrepreneurship incubator.
The IoT Lab is designed to be an affordable workplace for developers and already has several sponsors including Indiana University, Comcast and Stanley Security Solutions. The city of Fishers is paying for the IoT lab’s lease.
“Our economy is at a critical time where innovation must happen in the heart of Indiana’s core industries: manufacturing, agriculture, and distribution,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “By creating a physical space to allow innovators and entrepreneurs to come together with industry leaders, Fishers will lead the way for innovation in our state and beyond.”
Members pay $1000 per year to have a workspace which can be configured to suit. The Lab features eight dedicated office suites to provide private spaces for IoT firms to establish operations and fifty members have signed on to use the Lab’s co-working and prototyping space. The Lab also plans to host several events throughout the year for members and the public. The first even is already scheduled – an IoT hackathon sponsored by AT&T.
IoT is poised to become a trillion dollar market over the next decade and many cities are scrambling to get a piece of those jobs. However, it can be expensive to develop IoT technology which relies on many small sensors and high-performance computing to run well. An incubator-style space could lower barriers to entry for startup companies that may want to share resources as they scale up.
Fishers isn’t the only city in Indiana working to become a tech hub. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb has launched his Next Level Legislative Agenda, which proposes investing $1 billion over the next 10 years to make Indiana a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Several cities are working through plans to bring high-tech jobs to the area and support training programs.