In fact, the Wall Street Journal suggests our city’s new moniker should be Silicon Prairie. Pretty cool, right?
In a round-up of industry hubs across the country, the WSJ identified Kansas City as an information technology leader thanks to a number of factors, including a friendly business environment and low start-up costs.
Being home to tech giants like Sprint and Cerner certainly helped boost our tech cred, but the Journal also cited a rapid increase in smaller firms, growth that has eclipsed “well-known hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin, Texas,” writes Emily Maltby.
And Kansas City’s Google Fiber selection didn’t hurt, either. Both sides of the metro – Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. – beat out 1,100 other contenders to be the first to offer Google Fiber. The lightning-fast fiber optic network is highly anticipated not only by Kansas Citians, but will also be closely studied by other tech innovators around the country in an effort to bring more productive technology initiatives to their own cities.
Although the Google Fiber network isn’t expected to go live until sometime in 2012, local innovators are already considering the nearly limitless possibilities. Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell, for example, is hosting a Broadband Summit in December “that will explore collaboration models that can be used by communities in planning, financing and implementing community open-access broadband networks,” giving community leaders and public sector officials a two-day forum in which to discuss partnerships, business models and implementation strategies.
Many in Kansas City are waiting for Google Fiber to roll out and various initiatives to launch before they make their moves, yet a growing group of proactive individuals, like the minds behind Burns & McDonnell’s Broadband Summit, are already brainstorming about the possibilities. In a MediaPost story about Google Fiber, Barkley’s vice president of digital innovation, Mark Logan, says he’s hoping Google Fiber “could attract a bigger, deeper, richer tech community and accelerate the growth of the tech ecosystem.”
The MediaPost story also details preparations being made in city governments on both sides of the state line, including a reorganization of economic development strategy in Kansas City, Mo., and a more aggressive business recruitment approach in Kansas City, Kan. Both cities share a sense of collaboration and partnership, a welcome departure from the typical competition and in-fighting that occur as a result of the metro’s dividing line.
To all of those nerdy folks like us who work in Kansas City’s information technology industry, or technology in general, we’d like to say thanks for all that you do. We’ve always known that Kansas City is a great city, and it’s high time that others recognize just how much we’ve got going on in America’s heartland.
Well done, Kansas City. Well done.