This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Michael Morgenstern, Enterprise Ireland Senior Vice President.
In 2020, Site Selection magazine named Texas the top state for infrastructure and investment potential, and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) ranked Texas as the Best State for Business for the eighth consecutive time. Yet interestingly, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ annual report card has graded Texas as a C- when it comes to the state’s own funding, proper maintenance, and preparedness for environmental change.
As the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas is poised to lead the country in innovative, cost-efficient, long-lasting hard infrastructure. Six of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the US are in Texas, and Texas is the nation’s second-largest importing state behind California, bringing in nearly $294.9 billion in goods in 2019. This emphasis on infrastructure is critical as the state’s population continues to grow. Dams, drinking water, flood controls, airports, roads and highways, and wastewater are all key infrastructure segments within Texas where attention is desperately needed — and this presents a real opportunity for construction and the connected supply chain.
As a critical economic and national security priority, the pandemic has re-oriented the US supply chain away from foreign adversaries. Specifically, as the US Federal Government and the State of Texas re-assess trade relationships with China in a post-COVID world, there are immense opportunities for English-speaking countries to fill a massive void.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot and Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs should be proactively working to build relationships with trade partners with common values, a shared language, and mutually beneficial economic productivity goals. One of those well-positioned trade partners that is ready for the opportunity is Ireland.
The Irish economy is fast emerging and exhibits innovative and cost-effective infrastructure, construction, and industrial technology products and services. Ireland is strategically prepared to continue growing its exports and is well-positioned to take advantage of the American shift away from China.
The nation of Ireland – with a large population of expatriates in Texas – has been rated the sixth freest economy globally according to the Heritage Foundation. Ireland is second only to Switzerland in Europe, and Ireland represents the most-free nation within the European Union. As the EU undergoes disruption with Brexit, Ireland is looking to the Lone Star State as a key trade partner.
Solving next-generation infrastructure challenges entails identifying countries that have done it right and at scale. Ireland has a rich history of collaboration between industry, academia, government, and small businesses sharing knowledge around IoT and its industrial infrastructure applications. Many Irish companies, including Taoglas, LineSight, and Asavie already have a foothold in Texas. There are even direct flights between Dublin and DFW airports. Ireland is ready to serve the infrastructure innovation needs of the Lone Star state.
US states, cities, and regions looking globally to source the best innovations need to look no further than Ireland. Specifically, Texas business leaders and government officials focused on infrastructure should look to Irish companies like Davra or Evercam. Davra offers a complete Industrial IoT platform that allows system integrators, product builders, OEMs, and city managers to define, build and rapidly bring to market industrial-grade IoT applications on a single reliable, secure and scalable IoT platform. Evercam offers AI-powered construction cameras focused on site compliance and dispute resolution.
From a technology point of view, to ensure that Texas remains ‘the’ growth state in the US, the state must evaluate and develop next-generation infrastructure, which means incorporating IoT solutions. Innovation sourcing is no longer one dimensional. Technologies emanating from China and other countries are not the only outlet. Ireland has invested substantially in technology companies and startups and has taken a global leadership position in IoT, cloud, data centers, and other critical infrastructure technologies.
For many years, large US companies have been establishing their EU, UK, and European facilities and headquarters in Dublin. As a result, Irish companies are very familiar with American business culture and expectations. While pressures exist in the US to completely domesticate supply chains, in my view, Texas business leaders and trade representatives should look deeply at the innovation in Ireland.
To learn more about Irish IoT innovators contact Michael.Morgenstern@enterprise-ireland.com