Michael E. Porter, Boston Globe op-ed
GE’S DECISION to relocate its global headquarters to Boston is a turning point for the city and the state, not just because of what GE brings, but because of why it is coming. This decision was not about taxes and incentives — Massachusetts is not a low-tax state, and the Commonwealth stopped competing on incentives decades ago. While recognizing the need to compete for investments, ours are well below the kinds of incentives offered by other states.
So where does Boston come in? GE established a software development center in Silicon Valley in 2011. However, Silicon Valley did not have all the answers in this new field. The Boston region, in contrast, has long been a major hub in business-to-business software. Leaders such as PTC, Autodesk, Dassault, and others have a major presence here, and Boston has also spawned leaders in data storage, data analytics, sensors, and IT security. Leading competitors in the core platform technology for SCPs have emerged in Boston, and numerous companies have also emerged around specific technology applications, such as strong clusters in robotics and medical devices.
Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe
Amidst the endless string of funding announcements, office leases, Kickstarter campaigns, and initial public offerings, it can be tough to discern what’s actually happening in Boston’s innovation economy. [Indeed. And, without Scott Kirsner we would all know substantially less about what’s happening!]
What are the new industry clusters that are growing fastest locally, and seem to be more than flashes in the pan?
Quanttus, Fitbit, Whoop, Thync, Neumitra
EdX, Cengage, Valore, Harcourt, Panorama Education, Houghton Mifflin
- Marketing and adtech:
DataXu, Brand Networks, Fiksu, Nanigans, HubSpot
- Biotech and medical devices
Moderna Therapeutics, Biogen, MicroCHIPS, Intarcia Therapeutics, Syros Pharmaceuticals
- 3-D design and fabrication
Onshape, Voxel8, Formlabs, Markforged, SolidWorks
- Energy and sustainability
XL Hybrids, Gridco Systems, Digital Lumens, Ambri, Oasys Water
Vecna, iRobot, Rethink Robotics, CyPhy Works, Harvest Automation
- Spoken language recognition:
Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nuance, Semantic Machines
- Internet of Things:
PTC, LogMein, Robin Powered, Weft
- Security, big data, and enterprise efficiency:
Veracode, Actifio, ClearSky Data, Bit9 + Carbon Black, Tamr
Due to its strong base of world-class universities such as Harvard or MIT, Boston is known to be a world leading city in innovation. Therefore, it is no surprise that some of the most innovative IoT companies have its headquarters in the area. Examples: Predictive analytics company RapidMiner or MC10 Inc., a pioneer in wearable electronics.
Dan Adams, Boston Globe
The report by MassTLC, the state’s largest technology group, said the past five years have had a remarkable explosion of activity in the technology industry. In Boston, the Innovation District has flourished. Across the state, dozens of companies have opened or expanded, while incubators, accelerators, and robotics centers seem to be popping up everywhere.
The result? In 2013, Massachusetts’ tech sector became the country’s most concentrated — meaning that tech jobs make up a larger proportion of overall jobs in Massachusetts than in any other state, including California.
Looking forward, MassTLC predicted growth could come by coupling Massachusetts’ technology sector and its health care and life sciences industry. It also expects the region to be a big player in the burgeoning Internet of Things, a loose term for networks that connect “smart” objects equipped with sensors to smartphones or computers that analyze the data they return — think homes that can predict when you come and go and adjust the heat accordingly.
Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe
Funding sites like Kickstarter are full of proposed projects, many from local entrepreneurs, that aim to add sensors and connectivity to all kinds of household objects, allowing you to monitor and control them with a smartphone.