As 2018 gets into full swing, we welcome the opportunity to hear from several industry experts on where they think Fremont’s driving sectors are headed this year. These influential voices offer their predictions in clean tech, biotech, IoT, and commercial real estate. It’s a short, but insightful read that gives cause for considerable optimism. Enjoy!

Fred Walti, LACI

Clean tech will remain the fastest-growing business sector in 2018, but it will look very different depending on where one does business. In the U.S., we will continue to face significant headwinds because policies from Washington are turning against sustainable technologies. Hence, we must depend on state policies. While those of us who live in California may still feel the wind at our back, this won’t be the case for much of the country. Overall, the train has already left the station, and sustainable technology markets will continue to grow, but moderately.

Global markets — especially India, China, and Southeast Asia — will accelerate faster than ever. There are just too many mega trends (a growing middle class, government commitment to supplying electricity to the 1.2 billion who don’t have it today, lowering cost of energy, etc.) supporting sustainable energy markets. A significant electric car market will emerge in China and, to a lesser extent, India. These market advances will encourage Europe, and South America will enter the fray in 2018, once again becoming a significant player in sustainable technologies.

Finally, a major breakthrough in energy storage toward the end of 2018 will propel us into 2019 at a greater velocity than we’ve experienced to date.

Michelle Nemits, Biocom

In the Bay Area, the biotech industry and the tech industry have long been strong drivers of economic growth and job creation. In recent years, the two industries have converged to create new industries that leverage the core principles of each, such as digital health and synthetic biology. These new fields are enticing non-traditional life science investors such as Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Richard Branson to engage. 2018 could be the year of breakout technologies and scaling in the areas of clean food, clean energy, and data-driven therapeutics and diagnostics, which could be extremely beneficial to the advanced manufacturing sector in Fremont and the greater Silicon Valley area.

Ming Lee, Wellex

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing many business models. IoT helps increase business output and advances automation across a number of industries. As a contract manufacturer (CM) in Fremont, we see the impact from this technological revolution in terms of growing smart manufacturing capabilities.

Many manufacturers in automotive, chemical, oil, energy, heavy machines, appliance equipment, and electronics have already invested heavily in IoT software and hardware devices, and have significantly benefited from the technology. Manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2017 saw a 20 percent increase in revenues on average. This year, the emerging innovation and investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technology will enhance IoT even more for manufacturers.

There are hundreds of high-tech manufacturers in the Fremont Innovation District, and Wellex is proud to be among them. In 2018, many will look for innovative solutions and incorporate AI/IoT/smart manufacturing products and systems into their operations for higher output and revenue. Wellex is happy to be a leader in this trend.

Doug Rich, Valley Oak Partners

Fremont’s focus on attracting and growing its base of advanced manufacturing, biomedical, and clean tech will continue to see dividends in 2018. Fueled by intense investment from venture capitalists and other seed money sources over prior years, we anticipate growth and maturation of many of these companies. This in turn will drive demand for R&D and commercial space within the City, particularly for mid-size spaces and buildings. In addition, innovation craves collaboration. Fremont’s established base of entrepreneurial companies, coupled with its highly educated workforce, not only fuels organic growth, but will continue attracting outside investment and relocations. All of this has been made possible by Fremont’s foresight into transit-oriented housing. Companies have learned that they can’t disconnect employees’ well-being outside the office from their well-being and performance inside the office. Access to new housing with a variety of transportation options will also spur new tenant acquisitions.