By Hope Winsborough, Crain’s
Florida’s history as an innovation hub includes such modern-day breakthroughs as air conditioning, Gatorade and even the first smart phone. And while the rest of the nation may think of the state as theme-park central, technology insiders know better.
Florida International University in Miami just announced its new internet of things degree, the first in the U.S. In Orlando, the University of Central Florida’s video-gaming program is ranked top in North America. And Miami Beach recently hosted the fourth annual eMerge Americas technology conference featuring keynotes by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, rap star – and Florida tourism pitchman – Pitbull, and baseball superstar/“Shark Tank” investor Alex Rodriguez.
Public and private entities, as well as nonprofits and investors throughout the state, are collaborating to further Florida’s rich legacy via innovative initiatives designed with technological advancement in mind. The grandfather of them all, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, known as The Corridor, was formed in 1996 to grow high-tech industry and innovation through partnerships that support research, marketing, workforce development and entrepreneurship in a 23-county region. That’s just over one-third of the state’s total.