By Brandy Noelle Hughes, Marketing & Communications Manager
You don’t have to work in Atlanta’s dynamic tech scene to know technology is as much a part of this city as our infamously horrible traffic. Mailchimp’s billboards are works of art which enliven the in-town commute. Startups and hyperlocal coffee shops tend to go hand-in-hand around here. And I see about as many Google Fiber shirts in my yoga classes as I do the “Namaste In Bed” gear. Because my work and social circles regularly expose me to Atlanta’s dynamic tech circles – including drone and aviation technology applications, local startups focused on sales and marketing technologies, and educational sessions hosted by any number of our vibrant incubator spaces – I’m often in awe of all the exciting new tools and processes my city is putting into the market!
In fact, Atlanta loves technology so much, one of the city’s most anticipated events every year is the Atlanta Science Festival. I recently attended “The Power of Connected”, an event presented by Honeywell with contributions from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Georgia State University’s (GSU) Robinson College of Business. Panel participants spoke about their experiences developing, training students on, and advocating on behalf of Internet of Things (IoT) deployments within the city. One such initiative is the North Avenue Smart Corridor project, which features connected sensors on an adaptive signaling system designed to create safer and more efficient traffic flows based on live transportation data analytics. Since its launch in 2017, the project has received national and local recognition for its engineering and has served as a “living lab” on which transportation applications can beta test their platforms.
Atlanta is very aware of and proud of the fact it has been recognized as the “Silicon Valley of the South”. In March of 2017, Forbes identified Atlanta as its #3 U.S. city poised to become one of tomorrow’s tech meccas, citing the nearly 50% growth in tech jobs in the city between 2010 and the date of publication – representing 20% better performance than the national average. These stats are no doubt directly impacted by the rich talent pool created from the ranks of highly skilled graduates in the city, but that’s not the whole story. Georgia on the whole, the Atlanta metro, and many cities across the state are also actively courting tech and telecom companies to the area with tax credits and other economic incentives. And these efforts are paying off! Today, Georgia is one of the top states for health tech and fintech companies and, because it’s home to some of the nation’s largest network companies, the Atlanta area boasts several incredibly robust fiber optic networks to support technology initiatives.
This environment creates a unique opportunity for technology infrastructure companies, including Atlanta-based FiberLight! New data centers are popping up every day, motivated by the city’s comparatively low land and power costs – only 3.5 to 5 cents per kWh compared to 12 cents per kWh in San Francisco. FiberLight is one of several companies building rich fiber optic networks to connect these data centers to the technology companies driving innovation in the region. So as organizations deploy new technologies like IoT – which inherently generate mountains of data and high-bandwidth content – data centers and service providers power the cloud and edge computing applications to turn those ones and zeros into actionable insights, greater efficiencies, and lower costs. For those of us at FiberLight, it’s an exciting time because we know our network is empowering technology applications for the area’s office buildings, colleges and universities, nonprofits and governmental organizations, and data centers.