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Blog // Connect Michigan

Connect Michigan Meets The Global Information Society

By CMI Staff

Connect Michigan’s work to develop comprehensive technology action plans in communities throughout the state; efforts to raise the awareness for and adoption of technology among small businesses; and their unique broadband research has garnered international interest. In the summer of 2013, 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 and Connect Michigan’s efforts to put the state at the forefront of the digital economy.

While the Internet has reduced the friction of distance, enabled instant global communication, and reduced the time and space between us all, the networks and machines that comprise the Internet are still very grounded in geography.


The Kyoto International Conference Center. Kyoto was the historic capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years before it was moved to Tokyo. The Conference Center, while modern, blends elements of ancient Japanese architecture in a pristine natural setting.


Distance, terrain, population density, and even weather, among many other factors, impact our ability to access information and communicate across the planet. Because of these geographic and social issues, the Global Information Society, a Commission of the International Geographical Union, seeks to provide an international forum for the study of geographical aspects of information and its social context.

On Tuesday, August 6, I met with members of the Commission of the Global Information Society (CGIS) from around the world and presented a paper titled, “On-Site Broadband and Technology Training for Small and Micro Rural Business Establishments: A model for local engagement.” This paper provided research on the adoption and use of broadband and related technologies by small businesses in Michigan, and shared a model of local engagement aimed at increasing technological adoption and use among small businesses in a local setting.


Pagoda of the Eiken-do Zenrin-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. While construction of the temple took some time, it was founded in the year 853.

Finally, I presented examples from Michigan of four communities that have created a Small Business Technology Taskforce and are working to get more businesses online. The paper was well received; sparking discussion of approaches to this issue from abroad, including the hotel industry in the remote, mountainous regions of Japan, an island community using technology to assist its unique fishing and cold storage industry, and Montpellier, France where public-private partnerships have taken the lead to build wide-reaching fiber networks.

The conference was attended by more than 1,700 geographers from around the world who met at the historic Kyoto International Conference Center, the same location where the famous United Nations Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997.

Check out more stories from my trip on our blog and share your feedback on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m looking forward to sharing more from my trip very soon -- stay tuned!


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