By Sumeet Sharma, Consultant, Social Listening & Analytics and Anshul Wadhwa, Associate Director, Social Listening & Analytics, Cogent

Over the past 30 years, Pittsburgh has gone through the Rust-Belt era. As Detroit fell with the American auto industry, the collapse of the iron and steel industries dragged Pittsburgh into the economic abyss.

Despite this enormous setback, technological innovation continued within the city’s major academic institutions. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon pioneered AI and machine learning; however, for these technologies to create jobs and rebuild Pittsburgh’s economy, technology markets needed to mature.

That maturity is happening right now. As a result, Pittsburgh is enjoying an economic revival.

2018 a banner year for tech in Pittsburgh

The year 2018 saw 23 tech startups come out of the University of Pittsburgh, and they have attracted billions of dollars in private investment. Innovation Works, a startup investor that funds Pittsburgh technology companies, reports a four-fold increase in startup investment between 2008 and 2018.

The investment in Pittsburgh’s tech sector has paid off with jobs. In 2014, research and development (R&D) jobs exceeded iron and steel jobs for the first time. By 2018, R&D jobs exceeded iron and steel by 41 percent. Jobs in AI, robotics and the biomedical industry led the way.

Many Pittsburgh neighborhoods now look like miniature Silicon Valleys. Autonomous vehicle pioneer Aurora parks its test vehicles outside its Lawrenceville neighborhood office. Tech facilities, high-end apartment complexes and nightlife are changing the face of once-sleepy, middle-class neighborhoods.

2018 was a year of the inexorable rise of the Pittsburgh technology sector.

Trends in four big tech areas for Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s technology boom makes it fertile ground for gathering marketing data on technology trends. Pittsburgh-based Cogent Infotech uses social listening and analytics to provide its customers with data-driven, actionable insights. Empowered with the marketplace understanding often results in the swift and accurate decisions helping brands stay ahead of the competition.

Cogent Infotech’s analytics provide insights into brand health and industry trends. It allows clients to develop a detailed knowledge of the audience, create audience segments and target them effectively. Knowing what the audience wants results in efficient product innovation.

Using Social listening & analytics, Cogent Infotech identified Twitter data to identify four key technology trends in 2018:

Artificial intelligence; Blockchain; Cybersecurity; The Internet of Things

Artificial Intelligence (15K mentions: 26 percent female, 74 percent male conversations)

Social listening data revealed that:

• The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) startups in Pittsburgh were frequent social media topics

• The development of robotics using AI and ML and research work in both at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh

• Ethics, such as decision making in self-driving cars, was a frequently discussed topic

• Other top topics include research work and entrepreneurship policymaking

Blockchain (3.8K mentions: 18 percent female, 82 percent male conversations)

Here we noticed that:

• The most popular blockchain discussion topic in Pittsburgh was around tech architecture and social responsibility

• Legal and economic concerns were also frequently discussed

• Many participants discussed the timeline for development and implementation

• Other hot topics included upgrading blockchain technology, scaling and supply chain functions

Cybersecurity (6.3K mentions: 23 percent female, 77 percent male conversations)

Hot topics from social listening included:

• Cybersecurity for healthcare, GDPR and cybersecurity jobs in Pittsburgh

• Lack of policies at big companies and ransomware and phishing scams

IoT (5K mentions: 17 percent female, 83 percent male conversations)

Most conversations revealed:

• The IoT impact on smart cities, robotics, health care, supply chain and wearables

• IoT for digital transformation

The pace of change in the digital transformation space continues its rapid increase. AI, blockchain, cybersecurity and IoT developments disrupt the tech industry with surprising developments. Though advancement is exciting and lucrative, it often proves fatal for companies that fall behind the curve.

Cogent Infotech understands these technologies. By partnering with Cogent Infotech, our clients gain the market and technical understanding that not only keeps them up to date, but also provides a blueprint for informed planning.

Social listening has become a core part of a brand’s journey. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the impact it has on your brand health and reputation.

Cogent’s state-of-the-art technology captures online data from 300 million sources across 190 countries in 80 languages. It uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Automatic Sentiment Algorithm (ASA) to quickly identify trends in data and measure sentiments. Our experts help brands understand industry trends, which often leads to driving product innovation and demand sensing. By tracking the competition, brands can understand how they are perceived within the Industry and what is being spoken about their own products and services. This helps the brand fine tune their marketing strategy. To further amplify your reach, Cogent helps you identify the right influencers for your business.

“The Pittsburgh Technology Council was excited to work on this social listening project with Cogent. We are always looking to the marketplace for what is trending and turn that into valuable programming and insight for our members,” said Jonathan Kersting, VP of Communications and Media at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “Seeing IOT, cybersecurity, blockchain and AI rise to the top confirmed many of our suspicions into what is driving interest in Pittsburgh’s tech ecosystem. We’d also be curious to see if there are meaningful conversations across social media around health care IT and manufacturing.”