An exciting opportunity awaits residents of White and surrounding counties in the fields of agriculture and manufacturing, but first county residents are encouraged to fill out a survey to identify key ways for how a major investment can be used in this region. The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) is a $38.9 million initiative comprised of ten counties focused upon two sectors with a vital impact upon our region: Next-Generation Manufacturing and Digital Agriculture. Manufacturing comprises 35% of the exports, 30% of the sales, and 16% of the gross regional product; and Agriculture contributes $6.5 billion in exports. WHIN’s long-term vision is to make the Wabash Heartland the global epicenter for agriculture and next generation manufacturing empowered by smart “Internet of Things” platforms.
Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors to connect electronic devices to the Internet, and often to each other. This results in powerful information-sharing platforms that optimize service delivery or improve products. In 2014, McKinsey Institute estimated that, by 2025, IoT’s potential impact would be between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion. Within five years, WHIN seeks to make the Wabash Heartland a synergistic 10-county ecosystem that fuels prosperity through the application of real-world IoT platform solutions to advance the region’s high-tech agriculture and next- generation manufacturing sectors. A central tool for WHIN to achieve this goal will be working with Purdue and Ivy Tech to develop five sensored “testbeds” that serve three integrated purposes: research, demonstration and teaching. A $5 million Living Lab fund is also dedicated to creating testbeds in collaboration with regional companies involved in manufacturing and agriculture.
WHIN has also dedicated $10 million for the Regional Cultivation Fund. This is for planning and implementation for multi-county quality-of-life projects, from education to green space to economic development. The Regional Cultivation Fund will help attract and retain residents to the region while still advancing WHIN’s overall goals. WHIN’s many interconnected and complementary initiatives will create a truly prosperous and rapidly expanding regional economic ecosystem.
In order to gauge priorities in those areas, WHIN is asking residents of the 10-county region to fill out a place-making survey. The responses will help guide the selection of projects. If you live or work in the region, please take a moment to fill out the survey at this link: https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0Gjswp4sLhiheCh or visit the website: http://whinsmartregion.org/ and click on the “survey” tab at the top of the page.