The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a non-profit aimed at improving digital access in municipalities has partnered with the Mississippi State University Extension Service (MSUES) to create a new global institute to help rural communities take part in the digital economy.
The partnership is part of ICF’s “Rural Imperative” initiative which was launched last year. The initiative is dedicated to finding best practices for reviving small towns and rural communities worldwide with the help of technology. ICF has designated the MSU Extension Service as an Intelligent Community Institute, which is the second such institute in North America. The other is located on the campus of Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.
Former Cisco executive, futurist and Intelligent Community Forum Senior Fellow Norman Jacknis heads the Intelligent Community Forum’s Rural Imperative efforts worldwide.
Roberto Gallardo, an associate Extension professor at MSU and the MSU institute’s leader, said Mississippi will become a focal point for a worldwide effort designed to capitalize on the many opportunities and challenges rural communities face when transitioning to and planning for the digital age.
The institute will be looking at a range of issues including telemedicine, broadband access, and economic development. ICF already leads a yearly review and competition for “Intelligent Community of the Year” which highlights municipal leadership on technology access. Over 125 communities worldwide are known as Intelligent Communities as designated by the organization.