Minnesota DEED Trade Office hosted a Smart Water Round Table event at the Uponor corporation on May 10th, 2018. Featured were a host of IoT companies showcasing their work in smart water solutions. The audience and speakers who attended came from as far away as Europe and South America. This event came on the heels of the Minnesota IoT Fuse conference. The solutions they covered spanned a vast array of topics including: precision agriculture, water treatment, smart cities, transportation, city infrastructure optimization, etc. The companies also represented specializations in hardware & sensors, data aggregation and analytics, and business model development.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing that the City of Racine be allowed to divert 7 million gallons of Lake Michigan water everyday as part of the Foxconn deal in southeast Wisconsin. However, conservation groups oppose the plan, and argue that it not only undercuts the Great Lakes Compact of 2008, but also such a diversion for private industry use is unprecedented. Source: SSTi
This is another example of the growing struggle to jointly manage shared natural resources. Many cities, both in the USA and Canada rest on the shores of the Great Lakes. Who dictates that cities uses of their shoreline and access to the water. In the past law suits have come around pollution claims of an up stream user contaminating the water for those down stream and many of those suits have held up in court with large reparations to the offending party. While most cities try to regulate water usage for the greater good it becomes more concerning when private industry wants large scale access to those shared resources for their personal profit. Complicating the matter even more is that multiple nations share natural resources like access to fresh water sources and the seas.
This rising crisis of global sustainability is bringing many of the Grand Challenges to the forefront of national agendas. The world will need to create a new dialogue and ability to regulate and manage a court of appeals on a global level. Ownership of shared natural resources will also be contested, as will, the issues of unsymmetrical distribution of many resources. Today we have some internal bodies like the United Nations, ICJ/HAG, and G20 to name a few. These can serve as models to learn from while exploring a more globally inclusive model to represent all nations.
I encourage everyone to follow and share stories about Natural Resource controversies, appeals, and deals that will begin to set the precedents for the decades to come. We all need to be alert to the lobbying forces of private interest over the greater good.
Wisconsin’s water cluster initiative continues to attract companies from across the nation and world to participate in their innovation and education centers, the growing network of ecosystem development and their growing brand of industry leadership.
A recent example of attraction comes from Austrialia and south east Asia. With its head office located in Sydney, Australia, a sales and operations office based in Singapore and a contract assembly hub in Shanghai, China, the BioGill team knew it was time for a U.S. office to be established.
In January of 2017 the company established BioGill North America Inc., and in July opened its Milwaukee office within the Global Water Center, employing Annie Weidert as Regional Manager for the Americas. In October BioGill exhibited at WEFTEC, along with The Water Council, in Chicago. After the company delivered a technical paper at the event there was a tsunami of interest in the technology, which has led to the expansion of its U.S. team by adding a second full-time employee in January 2018.
“One of my beliefs in business is that one plus one should equal three. To successfully scale up in business, you need to look for ways to value add, leverage and network. And that’s what the water hub in Milwaukee has delivered to us. We’re plugging into an influential and well- established industry network, helping us to make better informed decisions as we grow our client base in the U.S.” – Paul Hatten / CEO BioGill
“We looked at many locations and states for our U.S. operation, but Milwaukee and Wisconsin best suited our needs,” said Paul Hatten. “While we have many sites and proven projects around the world, the U.S. is a relatively new market for us. The Water Council has proven to be a powerhouse of knowledge, contacts and advice. In the end, it was an easy decision and made perfect business sense to locate in Milwaukee.”
Source: The Water Council
Wisconsin continues to lead in the US in terms of cluster development and building a global brand for industry leadership. They have already launched over 6 cluster initiative in varying cities across the state but have the infrastructure and operational models to continue to move into more emerging industries faster than states that have no vision for cluster development and the regional advantage and attraction it creates.