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Blog // Connect Michigan

Otsego County, Michigan Utilizes Revolutionary Web Service To Connect Families and Friends Worldwide

By CMI Staff

The new video sharing, correspondence, and connectivity platform, BeBloomin, has recently expanded their beta testing program to include participants throughout Otsego County, Michigan, which was awarded Connect Michigan’s certified Connected community status in December of 2013.  

Since working toward and achieving Connected community certification in the County, the Otsego County Commission On Aging (OCCOA) has played an integral part in advancing information technology adoption and use in its region.  OCCOA has championed a number of innovative programs to introduce seniors to broadband capabilities, including the TAP program in the summer of 2014.  Now, BeBloomin offers all Otsego County residents and, older adults in particular, a chance to connect with family, friends, the community, and the world in new ways.  

One user ID and one user interface gives BeBloomin users access to a host of new and intuitive capabilities including video calling – up to 6 users on any call – email, e-books, games, live face-to-face tech support, even live tours through museums, parks, and tourist hotspots all over the world. 

“It can be rather lonely to be left outside of the technology that everyone else is involved in and you’re not involved in,” said Joel Ackerman, founder of BeBloomin. Ackerman is the former International CIO and Director of Advanced Technologies for UnitedHealth Group. “I believe that when technology oriented toward consumers is complex, it is a failure of design.”  Ackerman’s platform, BeBloomin, corrects complexities in design and packages the Internet’s latest capabilities in a way that is intuitive and accessible for everyone. “It is targeted toward older adults and family caregivers because the need is so strong, but what we’re doing is applicable to anyone.”     

“BeBloomin is safe, user friendly, affordable, adds quality and meaning to life and it is supportive,” says Dona Wishart, Executive Director at the OCCOA.  The Otsego County community has been active in integrating the web service into daily life.  Fourteen Otsego community organizations are now using BeBloomin as well as more than 250 individual users.  “Each of our partner agencies has their own ideas to use the functions and bring their programs and services to their constituents via BeBloomin,” said Wishart.  Churches, parks, museums, libraries, the United Way, and other organizations are using BeBloomin’s video streaming capabilities to reach directly to people in their homes through their computers and, soon, through their TVs.  Soon, users will be able to live view church services, take a tour of local parks, ask questions during museum tours and much more, all through the BeBloomin platform. Best of all, BeBloomin requires no additional software or downloads and, if users encounter any problems or questions during their use of the platform, face-to-face human tech support is available at any time from the BeBloomin Video Support Center in Minnesota. 

 “I see BeBloomin as having great potential to change our world,” said Wishart, noting that the number of users throughout the community, throughout the country, and even worldwide continues to spread at an incredible rate.  BeBloomin is currently in beta testing through partner communities in Minnesota and Michigan.  To learn more visit www.bloomeverywhere.com and www.otsegocountycoa.org.

Otsego County worked with Connect Michigan to develop a Technology Action Plan to become a certified Connected community. To learn more about the certification process please visit the Connected Community Engagement Program website.  Connect Michigan is a subsidiary of parent organization Connected Nation.



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