A new website is up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On the landing page, Chattanoogagig.com a big, bold message displays — Your Gig is Here. Could this public and private partnership offer you a gig, as in your next assignment, or gig as in Gigabyte (GB)? Maybe a little of both.
In 2010, the city lit up its highly publicized Smart Grid, a fiber optic system sought after for its super high speeds. A host of companies have relocated there, including Volkswagen and an Amazon fulfillment center. In a population of 160,000, the prospect of $400 million dollars of investment and 7000 new jobs is compelling, and bound to attract more companies, particularly small businesses in search of opportunities.
The president of Chattanooga’s Power Board, Harold DuPriest said in an interview with reporter, Jeff Glor of CBS This Morning, “We have built the network, but a lot of people will have to come and see it to believe it.” The average home in America gets 5 Mbps internet speed while Chattanooga gets 1 GB — that is 200 times faster. DuPriest said, “The fringes of our network, way out in the country, is just like downtown Chattanooga. Although fiber lines have been in use since 1960s, almost never have they been carried into the home, but here they are.”
The City of Chattanooga had the fiber power lines installed as an energy saving tool, so power could be quickly restored, in a matter of seconds instead of days. But then they decided to lay internet connectivity over it. The effect is a blue ocean.
What is a blue ocean? In terms of market space, there are red oceans and blue oceans, says INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute cofounders W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Red oceans are all the industries in existence today where companies compete in a bloody shrinking profit pool. In contrast, blue oceans are defined as untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth.
In their international bestseller, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, authors Kim and Mauborgne point out tomorrow’s leading companies will succeed not by battling competitors, but by creating blue oceans of uncontested market space poised for growth. This strategic direction is called value creation where leaps in value render rivals obsolete and unleash new demand.
Chattanooga is attracting top talent to work on next generation applications to run on America’s first true Smart Grid. And the city has already invested in the revitalization of its downtown area. So Chattanooga’s advanced network is a huge factor in attracting new companies — and companies are coming back, like Global Green Lighting, whose President and CEO Don Lepard says that he is bringing jobs home to Chattanooga from China.
Sometimes people need reasons to find new opportunities, especially for students graduating from college and companies battling in bloody red oceans. But Chattanooga is a city to be admired — for its vision and ambitions. It is a city all the world is now wanting to be like. As Glor says, “Do you want to see what the rest of the world is going to look like in the next 10 or 15 years, how most of us will be getting online?” Chattanooga has created a blue ocean — an extraordinary opportunity for its the next generation market space.
Blue Burst Fiber image copyright Scott Fichter/iStockphoto