As an executive at Dell based here in my hometown of Detroit, I see firsthand the transformation technology can bring to businesses, schools, governments and hospitals in this comeback city. This is why I’m especially proud that the Techonomy conference, a day-long event centered around the idea that technology is “at the core of all economic and social progress,” will take place in Detroit this year, starting just next week. Techonomy Detroit will bring together national and local leaders to discuss the topics of economic growth, job creation and revitalizing cities.
With the collapse of the economy just a few years ago, many turned their backs on Detroit and Michigan, seeing no hope in its future. But I know from experience that with technology, revitalization is not only possible, it’s already happening.
I’ve seen how Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology has helped Advomas, a healthcare company based in Troy, MI, enable desktops to follow employees wherever they go. When Michigan was hit hard by severe snow storms in early 2011, Advomas employees were able to stay safely at home yet still be productive. And every day, nurses, doctors and clinicians are able to roam freely and access the information they need at any system, without the hassle and time-wasting effort of going back to their desk. This allows caregivers to devote more time to patients and less to administrative tasks.
And for those who go looking for trouble, I love the story of native Michiganders Reed Timmer and Chris Chittick. They started their career as storm chasers, driving around Michigan chasing bad weather in a 1985 Plymouth Reliant. They now live in Oklahoma, the center of the world for tornado research, and they use rugged Dell laptops that can be placed into the heart of a tornado, withstanding pounding rain, extreme temperatures and accidental drops to capture the data and video they need to produce their popular Discovery Channel show, Storm Chasers.
As a lifelong Detroiter, I couldn’t agree more with the Techonomy philosophy. I know that technology will continue to be a huge part of the solutions that help Detroit accelerate its economic growth, and even more than that, as our CEO Michael Dell says repeatedly, “technology is about enabling human potential.” Technology is there to enable our neighbors, the thousands of engineers in Michigan, the graduates of our strong universities (Go Blue!), the dedicated civil servants and the new creative energy in our community that will come up with new ideas and businesses that will help Detroit become, once again, a showplace city.