The Mexican state of Querétaro has become a new data center hot zone in Latin America and is taking steps to become a regional hub for Industry 4.0.
Located in the center of the country, the territory has eclipsed other Mexican jurisdictions in technology investment.
It houses the Mexican operations of, among other companies, Bombardier, VUHL, GE Aviation and Continental, as well as IBM, Ericsson, Huawei and Samsung. In a report last year, KPMG named Querétaro as the top Mexican state for foreign investment, while S&P Global made it the first Mexican state with investment grade.
Additionally, Querétaro has received praise for its successful “three-tier” pro-industry approach, which is based on facilitating exchanges between government, academia, and industry.
More recently, a series of projects that include colocation data centers to host hyperscale cloud providers could position Querétaro just behind metropolitan regions such as São Paulo and Santiago as the main poles for data centers in Latin America.
In addition to its pro-investment commitment, part of the explanation for the growing interest in installing data centers in the state is in the supply of electricity and water and in the fiber optic infrastructure, as well as in the demand for services from cloud providers and applications over-the-top such as Amazon Web Services, Oracle, and Netflix.
The pandemic also ended up accelerating cloud projects already in the making, which received a new boost due to the increased use of remote and video tools.
In addition, the state government program to promote innovation and Industry 4.0 also serves to understand the recent boom in Querétaro. This technology and innovation development program, Pedeti 2020 , is promoted by the Secretariat for Sustainable Development (Sedesu).
Through Pedeti, the government offers support to natural and legal persons with information technology and industry 4.0 projects.
Launched in 2020, Pedeti aims to promote the development and adoption of information and innovation technologies that contribute to increasing the productivity of strategic sectors of the state, in accordance with the provisions of the law that created the initiative.
Other objectives of the program, whose first call was launched in Q3 last year, include the acquisition of technological equipment, the training of human capital in information technologies and innovation, the promotion of integration and the strengthening of production chains and supply of companies, and contribution to the development and implementation of projects related to smart cities.
Pedeti is also part of the 2016-2021 development plan for Querétaro, a long-term policy aimed at promoting investment in the state.
FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Although Pedeti is helping to promote Industry 4.0 initiatives in the state, Querétaro also has other programs aimed at the so-called fourth industrial revolution.
An example is the Productivity and Innovation Center for Industry 4.0 (Ceprodi 4.0), which focuses on industry 4.0, big data , internet of things and cloud computing and is concentrated in the El Bajío region, in the center of Mexico. Its attention is focused on the verticals of automation, aerospace, plastics and metalworking.
Ceprodi was born as an alliance between the Mexico-United States Foundation for Science (Fumec), the government of Querétaro, and the Technological University of Querétaro (UTEQ), with support from the Prosoft program of the Ministry of Economy.
In addition to Ceprodi, there is also the advanced manufacturing program and 3D ConMad (Additive Manufacturing Consortium), an alliance between the Center for Engineering and Industrial Development, General Electric (GE), the Center for Advanced Technology, the Center for Research and Advanced Studies ( Cinvestav) of the National Polytechnic Institute, and Sedesu.
Cinvestav is also home to Querétaro’s first quantum communications technology laboratory (LaTeC2), while Sedesu is jointly investing in the K’oto nanosatellite, which is being developed at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in Mexico City.
In an interview with the local newspaper AM Querétaro in December, Governor Francisco Domínguez Servién indicated that the state is already attracting investments that would otherwise go to other countries and that at least four of the companies established in Querétaro compete with others in United Kingdom, Brazil and Spain.
But perhaps one of the most visible facets of the burgeoning Industry 4.0 in the state is new data center construction.
Some of the projects under development in Querétaro are public and known, while others are still in planning. Among the audiences, there are those of the Brazilian multinationals Ascenty (two data centers) and Odata and that of the US group Equinix.
BNamericas has already released details of the Ascenty and Odata works. One of Ascenty’s data centers is under construction, while work for Odata’s has not yet begun.
“We chose Querétaro not only because it is located in a less seismic region, but mainly because of its proximity to important economic centers and because it is a crucial fiber optic backbone network for our end customers,” said Ricardo Alário, CEO of Odata.
Digital Colony’s Scala also has two data centers planned in Querétaro, as operating partner Marcos Peigo recently told BNamericas.
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BNamericas also accessed details of the data center projects being developed in the state.
Microsoft , for example, is building a data center in Querétaro on the local campus of Arkansas State University. Opened in 2017 with an initial budget of US $ 75mn, the university campus sits on 370 acres (150ha).
The Ascenty and Odata sites will be relatively close to each other and to the Microsoft facilities. In addition, Santiago de Querétaro, the state capital, also has data centers for KIO Networks, Santander and Banamex.
According to market sources, the problem with this concentration of data centers is that companies end up “competing” for the same energy supply and for the licensing process, which can cause delays in the works.
This could already be happening with some of the projects in the capital of Querétaro.
The Queretaro Post