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Artificial intelligence (AI) is yet another buzzword making the rounds across industries — from the media to education and, yes, economic development.
Putting aside the ethical and moral quandaries about the technology itself, its advantages as it relates to site selection are worth considering. And that’s what the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and its Economic Development Research Partners did in a recent report.
In addition to looking at the economic development side of the technology, the December 2023 report, “Leading and Managing Next-Level EDOs: Leveraging Technology” gives insight into the pros and cons of AI for site selection.
“AI has high-impact applications for the site selection industry, which relies on large amounts of data for decision-making,” the report stated. “AI can quickly analyze datasets and generate predictive models to identify a shortlist of sites.”
For example, the Urban Land Institute zeroed in on how the technology can influence real estate — consolidating data; facilitating feasibility studies; standardizing design and reducing soft costs; and building data sets, generating designs, and rendering models.
“To adapt to emerging site selection standards, EDOs must anticipate how to make data AI-ready for industrial partners,” the IEDC report stated. “EDOs must maintain clean datasets of their properties and variables of interest to site selectors. EDOs should ask site selectors and other partners how they are becoming AI-ready.”
Another aspect of emerging technology to focus on, according to the report, is extended reality (XR) — “an umbrella term that encompasses all types of real and virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables.” This includes augmented reality, as well as virtual reality.
“EDOs can leverage XR to meet site selectors’ evolving expectations for property and data visualizations,” the report stated. “Ron Bertasi, CEO of GIS WebTech, believes that it is ‘no longer sufficient’ for EDOs to simply list properties, their data, and an accompanying drone video.”
Bertasi suggested 3D models that showcase infrastructure and other information relevant for site selection.
The report was created through surveys and interviews with EDO leaders and recommendations take into account the views of technology consultants.
LiveXchange and AI
AI also will be a topic of interest at Business Facilities’ LiveXchange event, March 17-19, in Richmond, VA. Justin Reilly, CEO of Wavelo, will deliver the keynote presentation “6 Ways To Incorporate AI Into Your Organization.” If your company has plans to expand or relocate their operations, more information about the benefits of attending LiveXchange can be found on the LiveXchange website.