A technology infrastructure can raise up a community by helping it attract new businesses, keep existing ones, and improve its systems for healthcare, education, law enforcement, and first response. In some cases, it can help level the playing field for rural communities by providing access to services and solutions available in larger, more economically developed markets.

Some innovators are making a difference by developing solutions that connect people, places, and things in underserved markets or communities. Earlier this year, in the Apr/May 2014 issue, Connected World covered WellCar, one of many examples of how tech enthusiasts can harness M2M for the good of all. WellCar is a mobile care center vehicle equipped with connected health devices and technologies. It was created by an innovative team of students and staff at the University of Kansas Center for Design Research to bring healthcare to those who need it but can’t easily access it.

With a similar goal in mind, HealthNet connect and BroadNet connect, wholly owned subsidiaries of nationwide health system UnityPoint Health, www.unitypoint.org, have announced a new cloud infrastructure that will provide rural communities with access to cloud services. HealthNet connect is a healthcare consortium aiming to provide instant communication of medical data via technology. BroadNet connect is a communication and technology company that provides value-added services to “anchor institutions” within a community, such as governments, schools, and businesses.

The companies say the new infrastructure will support critical services such as broadband Internet, transport, and data center services and support without the need for multiple vendors. In addition, it will support disaster-recovery services, such as cloud backup, virtual machine hosting, colocation, and data replication.

Whether it’s extending healthcare into hard-to-reach areas, bringing a community online, or streamlining emergency-response efforts, a technology infrastructure is an investment in a community’s present and in its future.

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