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Growth Monitor for Economic Development

Tracking the issues, programs, incentives, tax matters, and "lessons learned" affecting local economic development.
Edge computing is coming to you
Edge Computing is Coming to You Soon!

SCP’s Economic Growth Monitor

 

Edge computing is coming to you, an essential part of our world of data centers, Internet cloud and the Internet of things.  Since many local economic development professionals are interested in attracting major data center facilities, it is helpful to understand how these edge processing objectives may impact data centers and the rest of the connected data network.

 

In essence, edge computing is about distributed computing, delivering processing “horsepower” in low-latency situations as close as possible to where it is required.   Also, enterprise datasets are getting huge and there is also a desire to reduce data transport costs.  As a result, keeping more of collected data closer to its source simply makes economic and performance sense.

 

According to some industry sources, by 2025, 75% of generated data will be processed outside centralized data centers or the cloud.

 

Edge computing often involves data storage and processing with “edge devices.”  A simple example of an edge device is a router that connects public networks to the internet.  Or, in a finance setting, a smartphone or tablet becomes the edge device.    Edge devices become increasingly specific to particular edge requirements.  In healthcare, edge devices are increasingly deployed as wearable and/or implantable medical devices to support patient care.

 

Because this computer processing “at the edge” is implied as connected to data networks in the Cloud and in data centers, each edge device carries an implicit security risk.    While the interest in processing power at the edge increases, getting the overall system security design in place is a large open issue.

 

There are benefits to edge computing in most every industry today.    Network World joined with CIO, Computerworld, CSO, and InfoWorld, have prepared articles to explore “the edge” from five different perspectives, available here:  Edge computing: The next generation of innovation

 

real estate expert witness - Global Real Estate Consultants
Sovereign Wealth Funds Get Their Test in 2020, Aiding in Covid-19 Pandemic Relief

To be sure, sovereign wealth funds (“SWF’s”) have gotten their test so far, in 2020.  As the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the global economy, country economic downturns have created possible calls for draws on SWF reserves.  As well, the economic troubles have also hit the investment returns of many of these SWF’s, reducing the projected (hoped for) enhancement of portfolio asset values.   Such a time.

 

Norway’s GPFG has reported a negative return (loss) of -3.4% for the first half of 2020, a loss of $21.3 billion.   Bahrain’s will draw $450 million from its FGRF sovereign fund to provide funds for the state’s general budget.   New Zealand’s Superannuation Fund managed to achieve a 1.73% return for the year ending June 30, 2020, although since the fund’s inception it has returned an impressive 9.63% per annum.  Iran is using its SWF funds to stabilize Tehran stock exchange.

 

Generally speaking, these SWF’s were formed over the years to capture current wealth for use by future generations.   A great many of the funds were literal monetization transfer methods, where a portion of national oil and gas revenue (wealth) has been transferred into a country SWF.  Investment from any particular SWF have first been intended to build these reserves for the benefit of those to come.

 

For 2020, the existence of these SWF’s has been a helpful resource to provide funds at an unusually critical time, to stabilize national economies.    Tapping into held sovereign funds for “rainy day” purposes was always a possibility, but not a welcomed eventuality.  Norway will withdraw a record $37.72 billion from its SWF to address Pandemic impacts to the nation’s budget, and intends asset sales as part of this withdrawal.  Indeed, sovereign wealth funds have had their test in 2020.

 

Looking forward to the balance of 2020, we shall see how the 2020 pandemic impacts new SWF formations, in Indonesia, Oman, Israel, Mozambique, and South Africa, among other nations.   Within the U.S. and Canada, our many indigenous sovereign Native / First Nations are also facing particular financial stress this year, with operating asset revenues significantly down and available reserves at risk.  In discussions about SWF’s, these sovereign Native / First Nation tribes and pueblos are often neglected.

 

SWF formation has seen significant activity over the past decade, with just under 100 new national SWF’s getting their start.

Sovereign Wealth Funds Get Their Test in 2020
Dubai Announces Innovative Retirement Program for those Over 55 Years Old

SCP’s The Growth Monitor

 

Dubai is known for its innovative economic development programs, and with its announced retirement program it has again matched its reputation.   Retiring in Dubai can be an attractive proposition for many given the city’s open-door policy, tolerance, and quality of life.    This particularly economic development strategy successfully leverages existing regional assets with a new target market (retirees).

 

“Retire in Dubai,” the first of its kind in the GCC region, is being spearheaded by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai).  Dubai’s program is focused upon resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55 who are seeking to retire.   Eligible applicants will be provided a retirement visa, renewable every five years, provided they can meet one of three financial requirements for eligibility.  The eligibility can be based on either a minimum monthly income, savings, or the value of the Dubai owned property.

 

More details about the program were detailed in an Arabian Business article of September 3, 2020:  Dubai launches retirement programme for over-55s.

Destination Meetings are Starting to Occur Again; Some Lessons Learned

SCP’s The Growth Monitor

 

Several large conferences, as well as smaller meetings and events, have taken place around the country in a kind of “test case” scenario, according to the online resource BizBash.   Each of the events described by BizBash were successfully produced and with no follow-on COVID-19 cases reported.   Of course, each of the gatherings took place with intense safety measures in place.

 

These recent events are extremely helpful to economic development professionals around the U.S. and around the world.   Most metro areas count on the meetings industry and its ancillary hotels and resorts, transportation, F&B, and off-site activities, to provide local employment and tax revenues.

 

Professional meeting planners are quickly adapting and embracing safe meeting practices, and taking advantage of emerging “lessons learned” from first efforts.    With this backdrop we believe that metro areas accustomed to hosting destination meetings, re-starting this important economic activity is possible.

 

The BizBash article is a must-read for anyone wanting confidence to get their event scheduling underway.   The September 2, 2020 post at BizBash.com is available here: Meetings Are Still Happening Around the Country. Here’s What They Look Like.

DCT Abu Dhabi has Plans for “Safe Zone” Areas to Host Visitor Events

SCP’s The Growth Monitor 

 

Encouraged by the success of UFC Fight Island, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) is planning a “safe zone” strategy for hosting visitor events.   The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event at Yas Island was a success for Abu Dhabi, which provided for a “safe zone” that hosted approximately 2,500 people over five weeks on Yas Island.

 

The safe zone program may be an approach for other visitor destinations looking to revitalize their tourism industries.   Las Vegas may have some suitable properties if not areas of The Strip where this could be workable; at this time Las Vegas is seeking to recover with virtually no convention-related business.  A tall order.

 

A helpful overview of the tourism strategy was provided by Arabian Business in an August 31, 2020 post.

Hawaii is Adding Facial Recognition at Airports as an Additional COVID-19 Detection Measure

AEC Consumer Products Monitor

 

According to an August 28 report by Travel Weekly, Hawaii expects to have its facial recognition system in place and operating at five Hawaii airports, by year-end 2020.   The facial imaging will be used in conjunction with temperature screening cameras to assist in monitoring and tracking arriving passengers at the more than 130 gates at Hawaii’s airports receiving out-of-state and international flights.    Temperature screening cameras have already been installed at Hawaii’s airports.

 

With the screening cameras, any arriving passenger who registers a temperature above 100.4 degrees is asked to submit to a voluntary secondary screening conducted by paramedics.    The five Hawaii airports that will operate with the facial recognition technology are: Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport; Kahului Airport; Lihue Airport; Ellison Onizuka Kona Airport at Keahole; and Hilo Airport.

 

There are privacy concerns about the roll-out of this technology in Hawaii.   But if deployed and effective it may make a significant contribution to Hawaii’s travel industry recovery.   The facial recognition measure is in addition to other measures going into effect in Hawaii, including geo-fencing of guests at their resorts.

Redevelopment Project Consultants - due diligence consultants
California SB 1120 Would Allow Lot Splits and/or Duplexes on Single Family Lots

AEC’s Growth Monitor

 

UPDATED:  SB 1120 did not pass this session, failing to meet California Senate voting deadline on September 1.

 

SB 1120 is nearing approval in California that would allow existing homeowners in the state to split their lots and built duplexes on each of the resulting subdivided parcels.   Where a lot split is not possible under the law’s guidelines, that homeowner would be able to convert the existing home into a duplex or raze the house and built a new duplex.   SB 1120 is authored by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), as part of an effort to bring more control of local land use planning to the state legislature.

 

State control versus local control of land use decisions is a complicated matter in California, related to the lasting protections of Proposition 13, the California Environmental Quality Act, affordable housing, community diversity and equity issues, and local municipal fiscal viability.  And overall there is the push and pull of progressive political agendas and sensibilities of suburbanites who have relied upon their local municipal general plans in shaping how their communities will develop.

 

Of interest to existing homeowners of course, is the open question as to how SB 1120 would affect the quality of life they’ve grown accustomed to (and relied upon), and the value of their properties now situated in eclectic neighborhoods with unpredictable futures.   It could work out well for all involved, but if SB 1120 is approved each municipality will have to do in balancing heights, sun/shade, setbacks, on-street parking, security, and the like, while local policing is likely also in some kind of reformation.

 

Click here to review the full bill as now drafted.

 

Office and Industrial Consultants
Port of Long Beach has Busiest July in its History; Other California Ports Also Spike

AEC’s Growth Monitor

 

Transport Topics reports that the ports of Oakland, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, have stayed busy during California’s fires, and in fact have seen busy summer volumes.   For the Port of Long Beach, July 2020 activity was an all-time record.

 

The Port of Oakland saw a 33.4% increase in units processed in July 2020, over the same period in 2019.   The Port of Long Beach reported July 2020 was the busiest month in its 109-year history – some 753,081 TEUs, a 21% increase as compared to July 2019.   At the nation’s busiest port – the Port of Los Angeles – although units processed for July were not record-breaking the results for July were still the best of 2020 (so far), some 856,389 TEUs processed for the month.

 

Transport Topics reviewed port operating results for facilities throughout the U.S.   California’s three ports mentioned here were among the best reported.  The Port of Baltimore was among those ports still showing the largest activity drops since same reporting periods in 2019.  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey did not have July numbers at press time.

 

The full article at Transport Topics’ website is an interesting read and can be viewed by clicking here: Ports Say Business Beginning to Recover

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