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Blog // Connect Michigan

Connect Michigan Goes Global!

By CMI Staff

Connect Michigan’s work to develop comprehensive technology action plans in communities throughout the state has garnered international interest.

This summer, Connect Michigan State Program Manager Eric Frederick is traveling to South Korea, Japan, China, and Malaysia to share Michigan’s lessons and stories for broadband and technology expansion with government officials, academics, and many others. This blog series provides highlights from his trip as well as updates on Connect Michigan’s efforts to put the state at the forefront of the digital economy.

What follows is the first in our new blog series about Eric’s trip abroad. Enjoy!

Today ( July 26, 2013), I depart for a two and a half week journey to share Michigan’s broadband and technology story in Asia. Michigan’s work with communities to expand infrastructure, improve the web presence of local businesses, and increase digital literacy has recently received international attention. While countries like South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia are often included on lists of the most connected places on the planet, rural areas of these countries often face similar challenges to technology access, adoption, and use like we find here in Michigan.

While I will be sharing stories and lessons from Michigan, I also plan to glean policy and use best practices from the areas I’m visiting to help strengthen Michigan’s place in the digital economy. Below is a summary of the activities, places, and people I’ll be visiting while overseas:

Gwangju, South Korea: I will be attending and moderating a session at a Mega Event Planning Conference in South Korea’s fourth largest city. Information and communications technology play a big role in planning for mega events. Mega events typically include the Olympics, World Cup, World’s Fairs, and others--and thousands of attendees gathered together poses a big demand for bandwidth.  While Michigan rarely hosts events of this scale, lessons from these events could apply to gatherings such as Big Ten football games, concerts, and others. The conference is a cooperative effort between Michigan State University and Chonnam National University. Highlights of the trip include a visit to the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and meetings with several government representatives.

(IGU) Regional Conference, Kyoto, Japan: The IGU is a worldwide union of geographers in various disciplines. My paper, “On-Site Broadband and Technology Training for Small and Micro Rural Business Establishments: A model for local engagement,” was accepted for presentation by the Geography of the Global Information Society Commission of the IGU. The conference is being held at the Kyoto International Conference Center, the site of the signing of the historic United Nations Kyoto Protocol.

(MDeC), Cyberjaya, Malaysia: The Multimedia Development Corporation of Malaysia is charged with the management of the Multimedia Super Corridor and is working to implement Digital MalaysiaSimilar to the United States National Broadband Plan, Digital Malaysia establishes goals for advancing the country towards a digital economy. I will be meeting with several representatives from MDeC to share our work in Michigan and hear their successes.

Stay tuned to the blog to follow my travels through Asia over the next two and a half weeks as I share pictures, lessons, and stories that can help Michigan succeed in the digital economy. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages as I’ll be sharing photos and quick anecdotes from my trip as well!

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