HOLLYWOOD, FL – South Florida is shaping up to be one of the top smart home capitals east of the United States, according to this survey.
Over the past year or so, the pandemic has led many to move out of the major cities like New York and San Francisco, choosing either Texas or Florida as their new home, with the latter shedding its image as a retirement home for the flashier mantle of Next Great Tech Hub or New Tech Mecca, as touted by several media outlets.
Florida is now the third largest state with a population of 21.5 million. More than 33,500 New Yorkers moved down to South Florida in the past year, part of the 300,000 other people that have moved from elsewhere. The tech-xodus to Florida is real. So is the clamor for home or workplace automation. Where tech businesses go, so does clamor for making their lives tech-oriented as well.
Premium Digital Control & Automation, South Florida’s leading home automation company, has done various prestigious residential and commercial projects lately. A few of the projects include the Alchemist’s multi-zone audio control system; Aurora Sunny Isles’ smart sales center as well as the full automation services for a penthouse at the Ritz Carlton Residence.
The home automation integrations covered:
The reasons for the move: 237 days of sunshine for most transients.
For venture capitalists, Wall Street investors and dotcom companies, Florida’s low taxes have been enticing enough for them to make the move, with the mindset that most of their employees are going to be working remotely anyway.
You can also credit Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez’s effective campaign to tech companies that ignited it all, including his billboard campaign in San Francisco.
One of those who decided to make the move from San Francisco to Miami is investor-CEO Keith Rabois. He made his name as a senior executive at Paypal before serving in influential roles for many big tech companies, including Square. His investments include Airbnb, Doordash, Eventbrite, Lyft, OpenDoor and YouTube, among others. In Miami, he has led 17 new investments and founded OpenStore where he is also the CEO. The startup acquires small direct-to-consumer businesses.
Those who are moving down to South Florida are not exactly in a retirement mood, as Rabois' recent tweet pointed out. Many residents, some much older at 65, still work. They represent 20.9% of the population, according to the US Census. Florida’s median age is 42 years old or 37% of the population.
It’s this demographic composition in South Florida that allowed Papa to raise $150 million to offer senior services such as transportation assistance, running errands, and companionships in the Sunshine State. It’s also this demographic that has made smart home automation a thing here, as Premium Digital Control & Automation can attest.
Pitchbook claims South Florida’s tech community is not hyped. Its growth can be attributed to the big money offered by investors who have moved down here, initially to avoid the virus’ effect in colder cities. Many startups, even established online companies, have also relocated here.
Billion-dollar managers from Point72 Ventures, Blackstone, Thoma Bravo and G Squared are all here. Softbank initially invested $100 million for Miami but that has since soared up to $250 million, and since it’s searching for office space, one can expect that the company will have an automated office for efficiency and safety.
Of course, some companies move to South Florida for its low taxes, and if New York is requiring all private companies to have their employees vaccinated, it could prompt a tech-xodus that would benefit two places – Florida and Texas.
In the latest Workforce Report of Linkedin, Miami and other Sunbelt destinations gained traction among workers on the move, while popular job magnets like New York and Boston have lost their allure. In its analysis of 12 US metro areas with the biggest percentage increases in net population inflows this year, four are in Florida.
The flourishing job market in Miami, especially for software engineers and those in the technology field, is proof of South Florida’s dynamic business outlook.
South Florida construction tripled in June, with residential construction up 240% for a staggering cost amounting to $1.1 billion and nonresidential up by 245% totaling $795 million, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, a Hamilton, New Jersey-based construction data analytics firm.
A list of the biggest construction projects in Florida can be found here. Other projects going on or are planned in South Florida include the following:
Residential construction includes single-family homes and multi-family housing. Non-residential construction includes office, retail, hotels, warehouses, manufacturing, educational, healthcare, religious, government, recreational and other buildings.
The luxury market is especially hot in light of strong demand from out-of-state buyers who are the ones requesting for more personalized home automation. Smart home automation or it might as well be called smart home design, because it’s more personalized to suit a client’s taste, is also on the upswing. Most of these offices will be equipped for the future and modern office. For homeowners, smart home automation is a mindset, too. It’s a mindset if he wants to raise the value of his property. There are many cases of this now.
A homeowner who bought a $1.5 million house years ago is now selling his mansion for $34 million these days. His place is outfitted with smart home technology.
Many wealthy people are snapping up properties in South Florida now with two mindsets – half thinking of retirement, half thinking of it as investment still. For those who worked in dotcom companies think they can build them on their own but eventually realize that they are just too busy to do things themselves when there are expert technicians in South Florida to take care of their smart home, especially when they realize the work also entails electrical work.
It’s an entirely different story for relocating companies, though. Prestigious companies coming from New York, San Francisco and other major cities know they need high-quality, top-notch smart home or workplace automation work.
Spotify has a new 20,000-square-foot headquarters in the Wynwood Arts District. Microsoft is taking up a 42,000 square-feet space on ritzy Brickell Avenue.
Other companies that have moved down to South Florida will need to look into automating their offices for the future. These include ACI Worldwide Corp, a payment systems company that signed a lease for an office in Coral Gables; Colony Capital, the LA-based investment firm that moved to Boca Raton in early 2021; Elliott Management Corp, which announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from New York City to West Palm Beach; ShiftPixy, the part-time work platform from Irvine, California; and Novo, a New York-based company that opened an office in Miami's Brickell neighborhood in March.
The question remains: Is the mantle of New Tech Hub or New Tech Mecca appropriate to describe South Florida, or is all this tech hubbub just a state of mind?
Given that smart home installations are also becoming a thing, can we say that having a smart home is also a South Florida state of mind? (Dennis Clemente)