Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance

Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance

By: Beatrice Silva 

2 min read September 2020 — Despite a dismal year for the aviation industry, Orlando Melbourne International Airport is experiencing a period of exponential growth. Companies such as Made in Space and Aerion Supersonic have announced plans to relocate their headquarters to central Florida, which will help bring hundreds of jobs to the region. 

Aerion Supersonic plans to relocate its headquarters from Reno, Nevada, to Melbourne, Florida. The American aircraft manufacturer received a substantial investment from Space Florida that will help bring an estimated 675 jobs to the region over the next six years. Aerion Supersonic and Space Florida also have plans to build a $300-million state-of-the-art campus at Melbourne International Airport. Located on 60 acres of undeveloped property at the northwest corner of the airport, Aerion Park will boast a center for research along with facilities for manufacturing, design and production. 

The AS2, a supersonic business jet, will be the first aircraft manufactured at Aerion Park. Production of this ultrafast fleet is scheduled to begin in 2023. “Our engineers call it science, but we call it time travel,” Aerion said in a tweet. “Why? At the speed of 1,000 MPH, we’re taking you from JFK to Sydney in 13 hours and 43 minutes instead of 18 hours and 6 minutes. Use those hours with your family instead.” 

Florida is in the midst of an aviation renaissance. Despite an unsettling year, the industry has remained resilient. Space Florida has high hopes that the creation of Aerion Park will help captivate other aviation and aerospace corporations to the area, which will only bring more exploration and innovation to the region. 

“This is a truly transformational project for Florida that changes the game for high-speed air transportation as well as for advanced aerospace manufacturing in the state,” Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida, told AINonline. “The decision to locate design, engineering, and manufacturing of this technologically advanced supersonic flight vehicle here in Florida is a testament to the growing strength and global recognition of the importance of Florida as a world-leading aerospace state.”

Aerion Supersonic isn’t the only corporation that has received investments from Space Florida to help relocate its operations to the Sunshine State. Earlier this year, Made In Space, announced its decision to move its headquarters from Mountain View California to Jacksonville. The engineering company specializes in the manufacturing of three-dimensional printers for use in microgravity.

“Relocating our headquarters to Jacksonville is a strategic step to position the company for long-term growth,” Andrew Rush, Made In Space president and CEO, said in a statement. “By expanding our presence in Florida, we can leverage a skilled aerospace workforce, large-scale infrastructure to support our growth, and key strategic partners like Space Florida that will accelerate our momentum as we continue to develop world-class space technology.”

Innovation and adaptation: What this could mean for education post-pandemic

Innovation and adaptation: What this could mean for education post-pandemic

By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read September 2020 — The pandemic forced educational institutions to pivot all of their operations to a completely virtual landscape. Many university leaders were planning on returning to normalcy at some point in the upcoming months, but that looks increasingly unlikely. The keys to a successful academic future are in the hands of those educators who are willing to adapt and use innovative technology to their advantage. 

For the majority of universities the rapid transition into an entirely digital world came as a rude awakening. It showed just how fragile the framework of higher education could be without a contingency plan in place. Nevertheless, within days institutions like Drexel University and  Rowan University worked tirelessly to develop new strategies that would not only keep them afloat but would help unify the educational community.  

“Between the financial impact of COVID, the demographic changes, the situation in terms of bringing international students here, and with so many constraints on the system … institutions are really going to have to step back and begin to rethink their model because the sector is not going to be spared continued disruption going forward,” John Fry, president of Drexel University, told DrexelNOW. “More than ever, partnerships — or joint ventures, or mergers, or whatever you want to call them — are the way to go. I think the sector is going to see an almost healthcare system-like response to what’s going on. Healthcare started on its own consolidation and rethinking its model decades ago and it’s obviously still in the middle of it. I think it’s time for higher ed to go through the same types of dynamic changes. I think you’re going to see fewer institutions. I think you’re going to see more networks of institutions. I think you’ll see more hybrid, more online. Hopefully we keep face to face, but that’s just part of what we do.

As Fry mentioned, in the years to come, almost the entirety of higher education’s traditional model could be shifted, not only the logistics concerning profitability but also the student’s overall learning experience. Despite implementations caused by COVID-19, it seems as if a new institutional network was inevitable. Even before the recent pandemic, consumers have been transitioning into the digital realm. Students and parents had started craving alternative options for higher education that involve more flexibility, innovative delivery models and seamless transitions between face to face lectures and online learning. 

Universities are starting to require students to download applications like the DUO, a two-factor authentication system, that helps with the onboarding process. The software works with third-party technology providers to verify a student’s identity. Biometric tools, commonly used by financial technology corporations, are also gaining popularity in this space. “New users will now be asked to take selfies before uploading them to the (UK fintech company) Curve platform alongside pictures of their driver’s license, passport or other official ID documents. FinTech will then use its partner’s biometric capabilities to compare the two images and verify potential customers’ identities,” according to PYMNTS, a B2B platform for the payments industry. 

During this period of evolution, sound insights and collaboration between the public and university leaders will be pivotal for the education sector’s success. To learn more about the future of education in South Jersey, register now for the Invest:South Jersey 2020 Virtual Launch Conference. The conference takes place on Oct. 8 at 11:30 a.m. The virtual conference will feature two robust panels, including “Innovation and adaptation: What this could mean for education post-pandemic,” moderated by Marlene Asselta, president of Southern New Jersey Development Council, and featuring Frederick Keating, president of Rowan College of South Jersey, Monica Adya, president of Rutgers School of Business at Camden, and Barbara Gaba, president of Atlantic Cape Community College. 

To learn more, visit:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_z34pLBUwQlSCObV80dyE7w

Atlanta finishes fiscal year on top despite global pandemic

Atlanta finishes fiscal year on top despite global pandemic

By: Felipe Rivas 

2 min read September 2020—The pandemic has soured the business climate globally and through the United States for the better part of the year. However, in Georgia, consistently ranked as the top state to do business by different publications, though 2020 has been far from peaches and cream, the Peach State closed out the fiscal year with an increase in economic development projects and billions in new investments. In the midst of the pandemic, the state saw an increase in economic development projects and closed out fiscal year 2020 with a total of more than $7 billion in new investments made in the state, the governor’s office announced. 

During fiscal year 2020, ending June 30, economic development project locations increased compared to the year prior while the state reported a 30% increase in jobs created outside the metro Atlanta area. From July 2019 to June 30, 2020, and despite the global implications of COVID-19 during the second half of the fiscal year, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) supported the creation of more than 24,000 new jobs, generating more than $7.4 billion in total investment. The location of 350 projects constituted a 4% increase from fiscal year 2019, according to the governor’s office. 

“These numbers are proof that the fundamentals that have made Georgia a leading competitor for investment remain strong. Businesses far and wide understand that, and the result is more jobs for hardworking Georgians,” said Gov. Brian Kemp in a press release.

Since mid-March, when the governor’s executive stay-at-home order was in place, the whole business landscape changed. “But thanks to Georgia’s approach to business during COVID-19, we still saw 72 new projects, over 7,800 new jobs announced and $2 billion in investments to date,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson told Focus: Atlanta. Many companies recognized both the challenges and need for long-term plans for the post-pandemic future, providing an opportunity to automate and change business lines, Wilson said. “Some of our companies that were planning toward the 2021 horizon to invest in automation and upgrade facilities are doing so now,” he said. 

Industries that experienced significant growth in both jobs and investment during fiscal year 2020 include the manufacturing, logistics, software development and tech industries, according to the governor’s office.  “The tech sector has been one of the real hot points for job growth in the last few months,” Wilson told Focus: Atlanta “As COVID-19 deeply transforms the retail industry, tech jobs are booming as a result of the bustling e-commerce activity.” GDEcD is keen on supporting workforce development efforts and the talent pipeline needed to fill the jobs coming to the Peach State. “We continue to focus on ensuring we can provide the workforce to supply those jobs and keep them going. We are only as good as the long-term workforce in the pipeline for these companies,” Wilson said. The department’s strategic partnerships with Georgia’s robust trades and higher education system have been instrumental in the success of its economic development efforts. “There is a strong focus on growing jobs, especially the new jobs of the future, and making sure the graduating workforce is anchored in the latter,” Wilson said. 

Balancing recovery efforts while keeping momentum in the growing sectors of the economy are among the main priorities as Georgia enters its new fiscal year. “For the upcoming phase of recovery, we intend to keep a close eye on our strategic and growing industries to continue their momentum,” Wison said. “Parallel to cybersecurity, fintech and e-commerce, food processing is going to be a renewed strategy for companies, bringing it closer to their supply chain. Georgia’s massive agricultural base recognizes a sizable opportunity within that niche.” Supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic can potentially create economic development opportunities in the state. “We are also monitoring companies looking to pull their supply chain back into the United States. We continue to see ripple effects from overseas shutdowns and how they impact companies involved in real-time supply chains. A company that has to shut down because it does not have enough inventory of critical components impacts local production. A number of companies are thinking about diversifying their supply chain and we are focused on working with Georgia companies that experience these problems, assisting them by recruiting their suppliers into the state,” Wilson said. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://gov.georgia.gov/

Tampa Bay’s ingenuity and innovation in face of adversity highlighted second annual launch conference

Tampa Bay’s ingenuity and innovation in face of adversity highlighted second annual launch conference

By: Max Crampton Thomas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

August 21, 2020

Tampa Bay’s economic resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges and innovation stemming from the pandemic highlighted the launch of the second edition of Invest: Tampa Bay 2020.

 

Tampa Bay, FL – In this time of uncertainty, it has never been more important to showcase the strength and overall resilience of the local community and economy. On Thursday, integrated media platform Capital Analytics provided an opportunity to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the region as it launched its 156-page analysis Invest: Tampa Bay 2020 with a virtual launch conference held via Zoom Webinar.

The 2020 edition of Invest: Tampa Bay highlights the region of Tampa Bay, including both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, as well as a special focus chapter on the city of Clearwater. The in-depth and well-researched economic analysis also highlights business opportunities that exist for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators within the Tampa Bay region despite the harsh economic climate resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the opportunities spotlighted throughout the publication include Tampa Bay’s healthcare market that has made significant strides to establish this region as one of the preeminent medical hubs in Florida. The region’s real estate market is also covered in great detail as new developments continue to rise from the ground despite major roadblocks caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a true testament to the thoughtful and strategic planning by the sector’s leaders. The publication also dives into the banking and finance sector, which has remained strong while also aiding the local business community through this unprecedented time. 

The launch conference was the first that Capital Analytics has held in virtual forum, and by all it was a resounding success, reflecting the get-it-done character of the region. “When I think of our global readership and the Tampa Bay business community’s lean-in attitude over the past couple of months, it’s a testament to the ingenuity and collaborative spirit of the Tampa Bay community,” said Capital Analytics’ CEO Abby Melone in her opening remarks. “Rather than shelter in place and do nothing, we sheltered in place and did plenty to promote community and push our business forward despite the challenges. Businesses across the Tampa Bay region are being innovative and embracing technology as they pivot from a pre-pandemic to a post-pandemic world.”  The event featured three robust panel discussions and ended with a thoughtful closing keynote speech by Pinellas County Commissioner Kenneth Welch.

All three panels addressed the current economic climate as well as prevailing themes currently dominating the Tampa Bay region’s economy: finance and banking in the time of a pandemic, adaptation and transformation for the legal sector, and innovation within the business community stemming from the current crisis. Gregory Kadet of UBS Global Wealth Management U.S., Terry Igo of the Tampa Bay Trust Company, Scott Perry of AmeriLife Group and Travis Jennings of Finance Cape all participated in the panel, “Making the right financial choices amid economic uncertainty.” Rita Lowman of Pilot Bank moderated. The second panel, “Adaptation for legal professionals in the wake of the pandemic,” featured Marie Tomassi of Trenam Law, William Schifino of Gunster, Michael Lundy of Older, Lundy and Alvarez and Alan Higbee of Shutts and Bowen. The moderator was Kevin Johnson of Johnson Jackson. The final panel, “Crisis breeds innovation: What this means for the business community,” consisted of John Couris of Tampa General Hospital, John Johannessen of AdventHealth and Douglas Wright of Holland & Knight. The moderator for this panel was Christopher Bowen of RD Management. 

Over 450 high-level guests and officials from Tampa Bay’s key industries and economic institutions tuned into the event via Zoom Webinar. For those who missed the event or would live to revisit some of the highlights from the day, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le35fKJv4Lo&feature=youtu.be

“The value of Invest: Tampa Bay is that it brings us together to listen, to learn, to collaborate and to build a stronger, more resilient and prosperous Tampa Bay,” remarked Commissioner Welch in his closing keynote speech. 

***

About Capital Analytics & Invest: Tampa Bay

Capital Analytics is an integrated media platform that produces in-depth business intelligence through its annual print and digital economic reviews, high-impact conferences and events and top-level interviews via its video platform, Invest: Insights.

Invest: Tampa Bay is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Tampa Bay’s economy, featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Tampa Bay is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on the Tampa Bay region to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Tampa Bay as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education, and arts, culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political leaders and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market, and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

For more information, contact: 

Max Crampton-Thomas, Content Manager, 305-523-9708 Ext: 233
How the hospitality industry is staying afloat during the flash recession

How the hospitality industry is staying afloat during the flash recession

By: Beatrice Silva 

2 min read FORT LAUDERDALE — The hospitality sector is a vital factor in South Florida’s economy. Around 1.3 million Floridians have jobs related to the tourism industry, which contributes $85.9 billion of the state’s GDP, according to A Banner Year for Florida Tourism Performance. On April 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay at home order that forced nonessential businesses like restaurants, hotels and shopping centers to close their doors. Within days of the shut down, an estimated 1.2 million people lost their jobs and more than 1.5 million unemployment claims were filed, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

 Although Broward County is a few weeks into phase one of reopening, uncertainty still looms. However, it has become apparent that the hospitality industry is doing everything in its power to stay afloat during the flash recession. The hospitality industry has endured a difficult four months and although it is making strides, no one knows how long it’s going to take for it to make a full recovery. 

Many industry leaders speculate that normal life won’t resume until a vaccine for the virus is discovered and easily accessible to the masses. The pharmaceutical industry indicates that a cure for COVID-19 could take years. In the meantime, businesses are having to come up with innovative ways to stay profitable. Unlike other sectors of the economy like technology and banking, the hospitality industry relies heavily on face-to-face interaction and physical guest services. “The hospitality industry will have to learn to function in a way not seen before. As the relationship between each brand and consumer starts by building trust, regaining customer confidence will be the first step in overcoming the crisis. Strict sanitary and hygiene measures will need to be applied, with new practices put in place to monitor and control the environment in which the business takes place,” Hassan Djeebet, food and beverage manager for Les Roches Marbella told hospitalitynet. 

Being transparent with guests will become even more important during the transition into a post-pandemic world. Managers will have to make their workers feel just as safe as their customers to ensure an overall positive guest experience. Although Broward County is just a few weeks into its phase one reopening plan, restaurant owners have noticed more and more people venturing out to indulge in their favorite food and drinks. “Eating outside is less risky than eating inside, if everybody is six feet apart and the wait staff are all wearing masks. That keeps the risk as low as it can be,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, told CNN Travel. 

Some argue one brightside to the pandemic is the emergence of new innovations in the hospitality industry. Many restaurants have adopted new technologies to ensure the customer experience is as hands free as possible. For example, instead of having a physical menu, restaurants are offering digital menus that can be accessed by scanning a QR code. Other innovations include artificial intelligence systems like FAQ bots to answer customer questions, virtual tours, and smart amenities like voice-controlled rooms and facial recognition. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has pushed businesses out of their comfort zones. However, as a result, easier and more efficient ways of doing things have surfaced. Some industry leaders even go so far as to say that the pandemic has propelled them at least five years into the future. 

 

 

Why Palm Beach’s legal sector could emerge from pandemic a winner

Why Palm Beach’s legal sector could emerge from pandemic a winner

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read July 2020Individuals and companies alike need reliable legal counsel during a time of need, and much like the people and businesses they serve, legal professionals quickly adjusted their operations as a result of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the coronavirus may linger and continue accelerating change throughout different industries, Palm Beach legal professionals believe the county is suited to withstand the uncertainty and will continue to adapt to future changes. 

Florida’s favorable tax landscape, talented legal workforce, and diversifying economy are among the factors driving the population growth in the Sunshine State, which in turn drives the legal needs of businesses and residents. “The biggest factor is need, with South Florida growing in terms of population and as a regional business powerhouse,” West Palm Beach injury lawyer Gary Lesser told Invest: Palm Beach. “This means more lawyers have been needed to meet the legal needs caused by that growth.” Lesser, managing partner for Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith PLLC, one of the state’s oldest law firms, said Florida law schools’ emphasis on business, community involvement, and technical knowledge produce well-rounded graduates. “We are producing law graduates who are much more adept than they were years ago. Many lawyers are now graduating from law school and joining firms or setting up their own practices in South Florida,” Lesser said. 

 

“Florida has terrific law schools,” Fox Rothschild West Palm Beach Office Managing Partner Robert Sacco told Invest: Palm Beach. “They prepare students to be good theoretical lawyers and also provide critical insights on the practical aspects of being a lawyer. The clinical programs the law schools offer are particularly important in this regard as they give students a real sense of what it is like to practice in the real world,” he said. 

 

While Florida’s legal sector can count on well-rounded talent, COVID-19-related change was inevitable for legal professionals. “COVID-19 has really accelerated trends in the legal and business worlds. One example is the movement toward paperless systems, which is now much more common. The technology was always there but we have now developed greater efficiencies, which clients appreciate,” Lesser said. Video conferences have made client meetings, hearings and mediations possible during the pandemic and help meet the demand for legal services. “I think a lot of these changes will stay with us going forward, making law firms and businesses in general more efficient for clients and customers. I think there will be sectors of the economy that will scale down, but the legal and business worlds will continue to stay very busy,” Lesser said. 

While technology undoubtedly is helping the legal industry meet client demand, it can also increase opportunities for legal professionals. “Technology is a growth area for Palm Beach County,” Sacco said. “Technology companies are finding that South Florida offers business expansion opportunities that increasingly are becoming similar to those of Silicon Valley. West Palm Beach in particular is a developing hotspot for the tech industry – a sizable economic shift from the early 2000s when the area was more focused on tourists and retirement communities.” 

Although the future remains uncertain, Palm Beach County’s business and legal environment is likely to remain resilient in the midst of the coronavirus-related challenges. “Florida is too vibrant to be held down regardless of the outcomes. I think some job creation is needed since we lost so many jobs, but I think the prognosis for Palm Beach County is very good. I have seen some activity picking up in the last few weeks and the businesses that are adept and flexible will see the rewards going forward,” Lesser said. 

Sacco echoes Lesser’s sentiments when thinking about the medium- to long-term future of the region’s economy. “Going into the second half of 2020, the many business growth decisions that were delayed will be unleashed. I believe we will likely see a surge in economic activity as we go forward into 2021,” he said. “While it will take some time to reinvigorate some economic pipelines, I believe the outlook for 2021 is positive and we will ultimately see a strong economic rebound in 2021.” 

For more information, visit: 

https://www.lesserlawfirm.com/our-lawyers/gary-lesser/

https://www.foxrothschild.com/robert-j-sacco/

Tech sector continues to thrive in Atlanta

Tech sector continues to thrive in Atlanta

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read July 2020From coding to game development, there is a great desire for more tech-related training in the metro Atlanta region and major companies are stepping in to help usher the next generation of tech workers.

 The Atlanta area, long known as a logistics and fintech hub, is bolstering its reputation as a producer of tech talent in the Southeast. Recently, Atlanta ranked No. 9 out of 50 North American markets in CBRE’s  annual Tech Talent Scorecard. Atlanta added 31,960 technology jobs over the past five years, the commercial real estate services and investment firm reported. Atlanta ranked No. 6 and No. 7 in the top 10 markets for educational attainment and degree completion, respectively, CBRE noted in its 2020 report. The report compared the number of tech degree graduates versus tech talent job creation to determine if brain gains or brain drains occurred in the different North American markets they analyzed. Atlanta posted a brain gain of +647. In comparison, other large metros did not favor as well as Atlanta, with the nation’s capital posting a brain drain of -28,819 and Boston, not far from historied institutions such Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sitting at the bottom of the list with a brain drain of -32,426, according to the report. 

Though the metro Atlanta region is home to more than 70 higher education institutions, major companies are ramping up funding to meet the technological needs of students and residents. 

Technology giant, Apple, recently announced the deepening of existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), adding more than 10 regional coding centers slated to serve as tech hubs for students and the local community. Among those institutions is Morehouse College, one of Atlanta’s most historic colleges whose alumni include civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr and filmmaker Spike Lee.

This effort is designed to expand coding offerings and workforce development opportunities to learners of all ages, Apple said in a press release. 

”Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping Black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”

Similarly, the Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) in June received a sizable grant from a major video game developer to help educational leaders teach a popular game engine supported by different industries.

Epic Games, host of the Unreal engine, a real-time 3D creation platform for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences, committed $100 million to support game developers and media professionals, students and teachers in the Peach State and beyond. 

“The Unreal engine has become not only the standard for making games, but also for pre-visualizing movies, creating great architecture designs, making great television shows and more,” said Andrew Greenberg, executive director of the GGDA. “Unreal has become one of the most valuable skills new graduates can know when they seek jobs in these fields.”

He added: “The GGDA applied for the grant because the need for skilled Unreal developers has far outstripped the current supply. Georgia companies like Hi-Rez Studios, Tripwire Interactive, the Weather Channel, Pinewood Atlanta Studios and more rely on this technology, and offer great opportunities to recent grads who can use it well.”

To learn more visit:

https://ggda.org/

https://www.cbre.us/

 

 

Startup ecosystem has a new Silicon Valley: Philadelphia

Startup ecosystem has a new Silicon Valley: Philadelphia

By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read July 2020The term “startup” may bring to mind a group of motivated mid-20-year-olds huddled together in a high-tech office somewhere in Silicon Valley. However, the southern part of San Francisco Bay is no longer the only hotspot for young, ambitious people. The Philadelphia Business Journal recently reported that Philadelphia has one of the top emerging startup ecosystems in the United States, according to a new study from the Startup Genome. Although startups are often small enterprises, the role they play in economic growth is extensive. With new entrepreneurs come new ideas, new innovations and new competition for bigger corporations. 

 

While all startups have the ability to transform into a big business, there are many differences between the two. Along with having different visions for growth and sustainability, startups also tend to have a unique relationship with funding. Unlike a traditional business, startups often rely on capital from outside investors or venture capital firms. Running out of money is the second-most common reason for a startup’s failure. An estimated 29% of startups fold because they ran out of cash, according to CB Insights. With that being said, more and more entrepreneurs are opening up shop in Philadelphia because it has a diverse population, an urban atmosphere and most importantly affordable rents. 

“People who do tech startups in Philly still feel that giddy sense of wonder and magic that comes from starting something totally new. We don’t take it for granted. We still feel lucky and grateful to be doing what we’re doing. We’re scrappy. Philly tech is the way I imagine Silicon Valley must have been before the personal computer boom, the first internet boom, and the second internet boom made startup success feel like a foregone conclusion. In the Valley, most employees don’t remember those days. In America, we’re used to thinking of the East as the past and the West as the future. But when it comes to tech, the tables are turned. The Valley is experienced and satisfied. Philly is young and hungry,” Michael Idinopulos, a social business pioneer, wrote in a blog originally for PeopleLinx, now FRONTLINE Selling, and reposted on Robin Hood Ventures

Startups and small businesses are also a crucial part of Philadelphia’s economy. Startups have been proven to boost employment patterns, which leads to more job opportunities. In 2019, small businesses created 57,377 net jobs. Firms employing fewer than 20 employees experienced the largest gains, adding 34,585 jobs, according to Pennsylvania Small Business Economic Profile. Other than economic growth, startups also tend to revolutionize technology. Exyn Technologies, founded in 2014 by Nader Elm, is just one of the many startups using research to create technology designed to keep more people out of harm’s way. Exyn Technologies pioneers autonomous aerial robot systems to improve operational efficiencies and safety for data gathering in underground mining. 

“I think it is interesting as we are watching the use of drones following the emergence of COVID-19. A lot of companies have started testing and demonstrating the capability of using drones to disinfect public areas. I think that is super relevant and very important not only for this pandemic, but it also shows how the industry at large is adopting autonomous tech in all kinds of environments. Also, it is fascinating to think about autonomous inspections and data collection for heavy industry,” Joe Snodgrass, field engineer at Exyn Technologies, told My Dear Drone. 

 

How Orlando is improving its transportation infrastructure through technology

How Orlando is improving its transportation infrastructure through technology

By: Beatrice Silva

2 min read  — Public transportation is a vital contributing element to urban sustainability. Practical transportation networks that integrate public travel can help lower a city’s per capita carbon footprint. It also makes metropolitan areas more livable by easing commute times and expanding accessibility. Over the last few decades, technology has played a critical role in the evolution of transportation. Transportation technologies most often tackle challenges involving alternative fuels, demographic shifts, traffic analytics, safety and security. 

 

 

Almost 300,000 people live in Orlando and an estimated 75 million people visit the city every year, according to Visit Orlando. These figures are just part of the reason why Orlando has issues with its transportation system. Among companies tackling these challenges is Omnimodal LLC, an interdisciplinary team of mobility tech experts that has created smart mobility management solutions to ease congestion by helping to make public transportation easier to navigate. 

 

“Let’s say you live over by Orlando Health, but you work in Winter Park. You have to take a bus or catch a bike share to get to the [train] station. You’re having to possibly download the Lynx bus tracker app. You have to download whatever scooter or bike-share app you want to use. Then you have to download the SunRail app. They all possibly have separate payment interfaces as well. The future here is how do we integrate things to let folks download whatever app they want? Let’s allow the data to flow and have interoperable payment options, so folks use what’s going to work best for them. Otherwise, you have 16 apps on your phone that you’re kind of playing bingo with to figure out,” David Thomas Moran, CEO of Omnimodal LLC, told Orlando Business Journal.

Beep, a driverless and electric shuttle, is another company making big changes within Orlando’s transportation industry. The company uses key hardware and software to enhance safety, sustainability and mobility. Not having a human driver may seem like something out of a science fiction novel, but it is actually quite common and effective. Beep believes that its technology eliminates human error when it comes to driving. The shuttle is equipped with scanners, sensors and cameras that make its reactions similar to a human driver but without having to worry about the human distractions. As for sustainability, it’s electric-powered motor makes it extremely environmentally friendly. “Look at the passenger count we had, which was 14,000 riders, equivalent to 7,000-9,000 cars off the road. That starts to show the impact these vehicles can have in not only eliminating road congestion and removing or reducing parking requirements but also impacting safety,” Joe Moye, CEO of Beep, told Orlando Business Journal. 

 

As transportation continues to be transformed, safety will always be a top priority. Autonomous vehicles will reduce the reality of human error which is the cause of 85% of all accidents on roadways. Improved safety is a result when combined with a reduction of cars on the roadways due to this mobility service, according to Beep’s Mobility Platform. 

 

Undoubtedly, technology will continue to impact the way people commute. Today, travelers are demanding more and more mobility alternatives. A city’s sustainability relies deeply on the different ways it’s able to offer transportation for its community. To ensure a region’s success and growth, metropolitan areas must continue to find more effective solutions to increase the overall quality of their transportation services.