Think of Las Vegas, and you may not picture it as a hotbed for cutting-edge technology. That's all changing. Today, innovative leaders are introducing their products and services at tech conventions, and putting down business roots as Las Vegas transforms into a more tech-friendly destination with a burgeoning workforce.
Las Vegas' evolving tech niche combines entertainment and technology in more ways than meet the eye. Not only does it take a feat of advanced technology to run its fantastical shows, resorts and casinos, but the town is also home to the world's largest tech conference, and it's a testing ground for self-driving technology — all of it fueling Vegas' growth as a tech stronghold in the West.
Vegas' Tech Roots
Why did Las Vegas win over the tech industry's largest show? For the same reasons the destination plays host to nearly 22,000 conventions per year, according to the Vegas Advantage. Vegas has room for conventions, world-class and smart-room hospitality for throngs of attendees, terrific weather, and plenty of entertainment to go around.
To capitalize on Las Vegas' strengths, in 2012, Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh invested millions in the Downtown Project to turn the town into an entrepreneurial, business-friendly destination to rival Silicon Valley. With all its twists and turns, the project put Las Vegas on the map as an emerging tech incubator that continues to attract pioneers to the city.
Vegas' Start-up Scene
Las Vegas is becoming more than just a destination for shows, conferences and summits that consistently fill the town's 150,000 rooms, according to the Vegas Advantage. The city's new Innovation District, located downtown, is now an incubator for smart-city technology infrastructure investments, a major testing site for mobility technology and a focal point for covert weapon-sensing technologies. Las Vegas is now positioned as a prime destination for research and development in many of the world's most advanced technologies.
It's also no surprise that the autonomous vehicle industry has descended on the area, including a pilot launch of Audi's autonomous vehicle program. Vegas' first self-driving electric shuttle debuted in 2017, and, after working out a few bugs, the pilot program continued. In addition, Las Vegas is the hub for new water resource management and sustainability tech start-ups.
Vegas' Tech Future
With great weather, no state income tax, inexpensive real estate and access to workers, Vegas continues to attract tech leaders to launch new products and technology at shows, as well as setting up a more permanent shop in town.
LinkedIn's 2018 Workforce Report cites that Las Vegas has risen to the number four city in the U.S. gaining the most workers, and that's a huge increase from the year before. What's one of the most valued skills needed in Las Vegas, according to the report? Software modeling — a sign of all good high-tech things to come for Las Vegas.