DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Silicon Valley might be the tech-hub of the nation, but the next wave of innovation in the country could happen right here in Central Ohio.
“When we think, ‘Why here?’ versus, ‘Why?’ some of the other economies, some of the other cities, it’s really the ecosystem that we promote,” explains Jake Kaufman from Adept Marketing.
Dublin and Marysville are connected by a 35-mile stretch of highway. But the US-33 corridor is more than a link between two cities — it connects a shared vision of the future.
“This high-tech corridor is something that really underlines the importance of this northwest quadrant to the Columbus region,” says Eric Phillips, the Director of Economic Development for Union County.
Area leaders refer to it as the “33 Smart Mobility Corridor.” What makes it “Smart,” are the 423 strands of fiber and roadside technology along that stretch.
“That fiber along the corridor is a significant investment, and it really is the foundation to all of this technology that’s able to be tested,” says Megan O’Callaghan, who serves as the Deputy City Manager and Chief Finance and Development Officer for the City of Dublin.
It all started as a broadband project five years ago. But now, their efforts have propelled the region into, what they say, could be the next Silicon Valley.
“There’s a high sector of tech talent here. Lots of engineering talent, STEM talent. Great industry exists in this territory, in this region,” Kaufman adds.
Leaders from different areas in the region formed a Council of Governments.
They tasked Adept Marketing with developing a brand that would promote the region’s commitment to future innovation.
They call it “The Beta District” — a nod to the types of engineering and tech-driven companies the region wants to attract.
“We want to invite companies from all over the world to come and do testing, and then hopefully they will find Dublin to be home,” O’Callaghan describes.
The U.S. 33 corridor is home to more than 70 automotive companies and produces more cars annually than another other corridor in the state.
“Over $100 million dollars has been invested into smart technologies,” according to Phillips, who says that the region’s automotive success is about much more than vehicle manufacturing.
For example, through the growing research and development sector, technology being tested at intersections and roundabouts could mean more safety communication between cars.
It can even study parking habits.
“Great opportunity here to test that technology in the real world, and then validate that technology in front of those companies,” Kaufman encourages.
But the future of the area goes behind cars and vehicle technology.
Dublin residents experience the movement everyday through the city’s responsive technology app, which provides two-way communication for residents with the city.
As well as through the Dublink broadband network, that was expanded to serve those in outlying areas.
For area leaders like O’Callaghan, it’s all building unbreakable connections– a theme for their growing city.
“Connected goes to those partnerships, it goes to making connections between the vehicles, it goes to communicating and engaging with our residents,” O’Callaghan says.
And through creating lasting economic stability, the sky is the limit for The Beta District.
“Creating an ecosystem like this to be supportive of our existing companies is so important, but also to attract new partners and businesses going forward,” says Phillips.