GPEC releases new global trade and investment strategy

Ample sunshine, decent weather, luxury resorts and great attractions make many think Arizona’s central industry is tourism. Soon, the world could be thinking of Arizona as a hub of sensor technology, if the Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s (GPEC) newest global trade and investment strategy pans out.

During a Wednesday announcement, GPEC released the Metro Phoenix Global Investment Plan to help boost exports and foreign direct investment in Arizona. Part of that plan is to sell the state as an industry capital for sensor-based technology, which is increasing in use as the Internet of things takes hold on the world.

The role of sensors in modern technology has grown exponentially with the rise of driverless cars and wearable technology. And sensors are directly connected with the Internet of things as more folks utilize internet connected devices like Nest thermometers and Amazon Echo to help make their homes and lives more technologically advanced.

Arizona’s industry strengths in aerospace and defense, microelectronics and healthcare have a lot of opportunity to take advantage of the sensors and Internet of things industries, said Chris Camacho, president and CEO at GPEC, at a Wednesday announcement.

The Metro Phoenix Global Investment Plan is part of the Greater Phoenix’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a project ran by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Our foreign direct investment strategy as a region and as a state has historically not been aligned with our legacy industry sectors,” Camacho said.

GPEC’s latest plan is to make it known that Arizona’s legacy sectors like aerospace and defense and microtechnology are working prominently within the sensor and Internet of things industries.

Camacho said that the Phoenix market can capitalize on sensor-based tech around emerging technologies like driverless cars, wearable technology, industrial automation and cybersecurity.

There are already many companies in the Greater Phoenix area working on sensor technologies for those four emerging technologies.

GPEC believes that the Greater Phoenix area has a great opportunity to develop a recognized global industry identity in sensor technology in order to attract more businesses and direct foreign investment to the region.

The next step, is to create a marketing platform about what companies in the Phoenix area are doing with these technologies, so GPEC can start attracting more businesses within the sensor industry.

“We’ll be developing a value proposition to prospective investors for (driverless cars, wearable technology, industrial automation and cybersecurity technology investors) and expanding our network of (Internet of things) champions, is where we’re headed.”