Jacksonville’s plan to develop the country’s first Smart Region is getting attention from companies from around the world interested in being in the middle of the action. The most recent news coming as Calif.-based Hurricane Electric, a provider of global internet services and data centers, chose to create a new point of presence (PoP) at GoRack, a carrier neutral data center located in Downtown Jacksonville according to an article in Jacksonville Business Journal.
In the company’s press release, Hurricane Electric referenced an assertion made in JAXUSA Partnership’s Elevate Northeast Florida report citing that the region “could become the nation’s number one economy, driven partly by the Internet of Things (IoT).” Jacksonville’s goal of turning Bay Street in Downtown Jacksonville into an innovation corridor known as “The Bay” and the city’s intent to transform the elevated Skyway into a 10-mile autonomous vehicle network were what attracted Hurricane Electric to start operations in the city.
In a previous episode of JAXUSA’s podcast “The JAX Current,” North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Executive Director Jeff Sheffield, made reference to the private sector interest in Jacksonville which is drawing attention from around the world. In the July 23 episode, Sheffield stated “that opportunities within our Smart Region effort are resonating with private sector industry, whether it be AV companies from Australia and New Zealand or startups from Silicon Valley with new technology. They are finding their way to our community and asking if they can test their technology here in Jacksonville.”
Following nine months of research, the Elevate Northeast Florida report outlines recommendations for the region’s economic growth, including the goal of amplifying Jacksonville’s leadership as a preeminent smart region. Due to the collaborative nature from entities such as the North Florida TPO, Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), JEA and others, and the fact that no other city is integrating as much as Jacksonville is from local intelligence, electrification, services and a data management system, Smart Region execution is seen as a differentiator for Northeast Florida.