Developing Tech Innovation in Indy

Indy Chamber News Archives

Tech innovation in Indy is thriving. In the annual ‘Tech Thirty’ report released Fall 2016 by commercial real estate firm CBRE, Indy ranked 5thamong major metros for tech employment gains over the last two years, outpacing even Silicon Valley. ­According to SmartAsset, Indy was ranked the fourth best city for women in tech in 2017, up one spot from 2016. In 2016, Forbes called Indy an emerging “tech hub on the move,” while the Brookings Institution reports that Indy is adding high-tech computer systems and data jobs at twice the rate of other big cities.

In May of this year, India-based technology giant Infosys announced that they will locate their first U.S. tech and innovation hub in Indy, investing more than $8.7 million and hiring up to 2,000 workers by 2022. Moving to a space in the OneAmerica Tower downtown, Infosys will contribute to the thriving tech ecosystem in downtown Indianapolis and create a culture that contributes to entrepreneurship and tech start-ups. The announcement came at a time when the Salesforce Tower Grand Opening was still in the headlines, further branding Indy as an emerging tech city. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in an IndyStar article said, “Indianapolis is a national leader in creating jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and math skills. The region’s universities and community colleges produce a pipeline of graduates with high-tech know-how.”

Last month, Develop Indy hosted a tech roundtable discussion at the Union 525 building downtown. Scheduled at the end of INX3, the largest regional gathering of entrepreneurial companies, the tech roundtable brought together key tech stakeholders in Indy to discuss successes and challenges with the tech business climate in the City. Conversations and topics held at the roundtable will be used to build out programming and policies in the future.

Also a part of INX3, Indy Civic Hack offered participants three challenges: one for the City of Indianapolis, one for the State Department of Child Services, and one for creative innovation based on available data at the city, state, and national level.

The City of Indianapolis’ challenge was to encourage citizen engagement through a good citizen’s toolkit. Winning the challenge, eimagine created an extension to the current RequestIndy platform. In its existing form, RequestIndy is an online tool where citizens can report issues such as illegal dumping, stray animals, street maintenance, etc. Eimagine’s extension encourages citizen participation through gamification: citizens who use the site will be rewarded for organizing community clean-ups, volunteer work, resource donations, and other forms of civic engagement. The extension will also feature ways to discover areas of the city that citizens might not know about.  Historically, RequestIndy has been used whenever citizens have a problem. Eimagine reimagined the site so that it now becomes a place for citizens to become more involved in their community in a positive way.

The Indiana State Department of Child Services’ challenge was to create a resource platform for kids and young adults in the foster care system so that they are able to stay in contact with the department as they get older. To address this challenge, the winning team Care created a mobile application where foster care youth could store important documents like health and birth records, and be able to contact staff at the Department of Child Services through a live messaging feature.

In the final challenge, participants were encouraged to become innovators and create a visual platform of their choice using open data from either the city, state, or nation, or a combination of all three. The only requirement was to use Tableau Software- a data visualization tool.  Sirius Cybernetics, the winner of the challenge, used state data to produce tools allowing county governments to correlate spending to different metrics of wellness. For instance, Indiana counties can compare multiple health metrics at once, like teen birth rate and high school graduation rates, over the course of time, year over year, etc. This tool allows counties to understand quality of life metrics and how they correlate to their quality of life planning.

It has been a busy few months for the tech scene in Indy! To learn more about tech jobs announcements or how you can get involved in the tech community, contact Marlon Webb at [email protected].

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