Retail giant Walmart now thinks of itself as a tech company — but it’s not putting all its eggs in Silicon Valley. The company announced today that it is opening an emerging technologies office in Dallas, Texas.

Thirteen employees have already been hired at the office, and the company expects to hire roughly 32 more by year’s end. Walmart’s vice president of tech modernization Chris Enslin made the announcement onstage at VentureBeat’s Blueprint conference in Reno, Nevada.

Employees at the Dallas office will be conducting research in machine learning, computer vision, and IoT. “We have a vast amount of data that we haven’t truly democratized or captured the value out of it to create new products,” Enslin said, discussing the opportunity Walmart sees in investing in these emerging technologies.

In a phone interview last week week discussing the new office, Walmart director of engineering and Dallas office lead Carlos Riojas told VentureBeat that the company chose Dallas due to its proximity to a number of universities, including the University of Texas at Dallas and Baylor University, its attractiveness to young professionals, and Walmart’s preexisting presence in the city. The company has more retail stores in Dallas-Fort Worth than any other U.S. market.

“Dallas is a big area to recruit from for even some of the schools that may be on the coasts, or other places in the Midwest. It’s a desirable city for a lot of those college graduates,” Riojas said. Read more from…

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