How “Innovative Collaboration” is Helping Lake Nona Businesses Thrive
Lake Nona is a hotbed for forward progress at the intersection of technology and business.
The idea of “innovative collaboration” is one of Lake Nona’s central focuses. It’s the concept that when people connect with each other to bring technologically-advanced ideas to life, amazing things happen. That’s one of the things that has propelled Lake Nona into the vibrant, exciting community it is today.
Juan Santos, Senior Vice President for Brand Experience at Tavistock Development Company, Lake Nona’s developer, says, “The idea of building an ideal place that’s the best environment for people to thrive, and do it in a way that’s collaborative — that’s something that’s ingrained in the way we do things at Lake Nona.”
The Lake Nona ecosystem is unique in that the businesses and people here are eager to learn from each other. “We always encourage Lake Nona’s businesses to talk to each other. Their challenges are the same, so they can help each other solution through them.” Lake Nona hosts forums for business leaders to connect and exchange ideas. “Whether it’s cybersecurity or telecommuting or a whole host of other things, innovative collaboration fosters relationships that make a real difference in the way people live and do business,” says Santos.
Within the 17 square miles of Lake Nona, technology and innovation are deeply ingrained in the community, making Lake Nona a truly “smart” city. Santos cites the fiber optic connections that Lake Nona has had in place for its residents for 10 years as one way Lake Nona is Leading the way. “Cisco has designated Lake Nona as the only smart and connected community in the United States. Innovation is really at the heart of everything that happens here,” said Santos in an interview with Technology Magazine. Additionally, Lake Nona is implementing state-of-the-art 5G infrastructure to ensure its residents and businesses have the highest-speed connectivity available. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and many Lake Nona residents began working from home full time, Lake Nona’s fiber infrastructure allowed them to stay as connected to work as they would be in their offices — or better.
Another example of innovative collaboration in Lake Nona is the leAD Sports Accelerator, a one-of-a-kind facility designed to bolster technology startups in Central Florida. Located on the first floor of the Pixon building, the accelerator functions as an innovation lab where companies from all over the world can hone their ideas, processes and execution. They have unique access to indoor 5G, a technology not yet available in the rest of the nation, and are offered a place to live and work, as well as mentorship opportunities, as a part of the program.
The Beep autonomous shuttles that circle Lake Nona are transforming transportation through the concepts of innovative collaboration. The Beep team rolled their vision for autonomous mobility into Lake Nona and planted their headquarters here/there as well. The partnership between Lake Nona and Beep made Orlando one of the ten national “proving grounds” for autonomous vehicles. The initiative called “Move Nona” combines transportation options that range from bike- and car-share programs with these autonomous vehicles. Lake Nona was primed and receptive to the innovations from the Beep team, so they were able to execute and implement their vision and receive feedback very quickly. When the concept is ready to scale, the team will already have massive amounts of data from Lake Nona’s “living lab” environment for them to use in furthering their concept.
Innovative collaboration is one of the main ways Lake Nona is drawing exciting, forward-thinking companies. Santos says, “If you’re doing something at the intersection of technology and wellness, sports, medicine, nutrition…there’s no better place than Lake Nona to do the work.”