In the August 14 Tech Talk, I shared information about an upcoming 24-hour hackathon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. FirstNet Hackathon: The Road to 5G is coming soon, on September 13-14.

Little did I know that a few days later we would be greeted with news about which the tech community has been hearing whispers for months: Indiana is launching a first-of-its-kind 5G Zone to accelerate innovation and related technologies.

Previously, Indianapolis had been named one of only two U.S.-based metro areas selected to launch both AT&T and Verizon 5G broadband networks. Why is this a big deal (see BizVoice® magazine story from the January-February 2019 issue)? Now, Indianapolis is at the center of global advancements and growth in the next generation of wireless technology.

5G is 20 times faster than current networks. That will help companies propel innovation and improve nearly every industry – from ag-biosciences to health care. For example, Trevor Noah from The Daily Show invites us to imagine cities where everything communicates and doctors perform surgery from the other side of the world.

The Indiana 5G Acceleration Zone will be co-located with Eleven Fifty Academy at 151 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. It will occupy 3,000 square feet of the 24,000-square-foot space and is being established by the Indiana 5G Forum. Among the stakeholders: AT&T, Verizon, Purdue University, Eleven Fifty Academy, Indiana IoT Lab-Fishers, Battery Innovation Center, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

The Indiana 5G Acceleration Zone is one element of a strategic initiative established in partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to leverage Indiana’s developing digital infrastructure in order to catalyze innovation and support rapidly developing companies. The Indiana 5G Forum will have staff and resources on site to provide support to Indiana’s entrepreneurial community.

Once launched, businesses, universities and research institutions will be able to lease lab space at the facility, leveraging its unique 5G network infrastructure to develop and test new technologies, products or service applications. They will also have access to shared spaces for programming and events. For more information about these exciting developments, visit
Adam H. Berry is vice president of economic development and technology at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He joined the organization in 2019.