Using Real Estate as a Competitive Advantage in Colorado's Robotics Market
Colorado is home to one of the top ten established robotics markets. So, it’s no surprise that in 2020, Colorado was ranked second for the largest concentration of STEM workers and for technology and science.
Colorado isn’t the only market experiencing growth in the robotics sector. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and the internet of things are driving the integration of robots into various aspects of everyday life. This robotics revolution, fueled by trust in technology, cost-effectiveness and evidence generation is transforming industries worldwide.
The global robotics market is becoming increasingly competitive, with a multitude of regional and global players. While the manufacturing sector has traditionally been a major focus, professional and personal service robots are experiencing rapid growth, expanding their customer base across foreign countries. In 2021, 40,000 North American robotics units generated $2 billion in income. The robotics market has witnessed a 12 percent increase in shipments from 2020 to 2022, highlighting its thriving nature.
So, how do Colorado-based companies navigate this fast-changing landscape to reduce cost and time to market to create their own competitive advantage? We believe the answer can be found in their real estate strategy. Because real estate is typically one of the top three expenses, it is one of the fixed costs where robotics companies, with the right approach, can take strategic action to enhance their products and corporate culture while simultaneously increasing profitability by improving their bottom line.
When evaluating new markets, the quality, availability, and retention of skilled labor are crucial factors to consider. Traditionally, companies in this sector have clustered in areas with strong technology roots, access to capital and investors, skilled workforce and universities with robotics and mechatronic departments. Yet, the skills required to design, install, operate, and maintain robotics production are becoming more widely available. While only a limited number of universities have advanced degrees in robotics and mechatronics, these skills are now taught at many universities around the world, either in dedicated coursework or general education on engineering design and manufacturing technologies. The result is an expanded labor field and access to talent in nontraditional robotics industry markets.
In the Colorado market, it’s often assumed that Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins are the centers for engineering (electrical and mechanical) talent due to the proximity to local universities. However, a closer examination of labor demographics, talent availability, cost of living and average commute times shows otherwise. In fact, Boulder may not be the best place to establish a robotics company. The electrical engineering labor heat map shows us that Longmont, Broomfield and perhaps the most surprising Parker, serve as hotbeds for this industry. Companies can double down on their value play through real estate by considering these nearby emerging markets to achieve a win–win growth scenario via improved real estate economics and enhanced access to talent.
Labor analytics are just the start as robotics companies need to consider supply chain impacts and incentives opportunities as they make strategic decisions and look for customized real estate and business solutions. By strategically leveraging real estate as a competitive advantage, companies can position themselves for success. The availability of skilled labor, a supportive technological ecosystem, and incentives create an environment ripe for innovation and growth. Emerging markets in Colorado and beyond are at the forefront of this transformative industry, ready to embrace the future of robotics.
The combination of a thriving robotics industry and strategic real estate decisions presents a unique opportunity for companies in Colorado and beyond. By capitalizing on the available talent, favorable market conditions, and incentives, robotics companies can position themselves for sustained growth and success in this dynamic industry.