Microsoft’s three-part commitment focuses on ensuring the cloud can serve the public good in the broadest sense by providing additional cloud resources to nonprofits, increasing access for university researchers and helping solve last-mile Internet access challenges.
“Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet with a donation of cloud computing services — the most transformative technologies of our generation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who will speak today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Now more than 70,000 organizations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition and drive new growth equally.”
Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for unlocking the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs not just for science and technology, but for the full range of economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. It can also improve communications and problem-solving and help organizations work in a more productive and more efficient manner.
In September 2015, 193 heads of state and other world leaders unanimously adopted 17 sustainable development goals to achieve by 2030. This ambitious agenda—which includes ending poverty, ending hunger, and ensuring affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all—will only be achievable with the benefit of significant inventions and technology innovations. The scale and computational power enabled by cloud computing will be essential to unlocking solutions to this list of some of the world’s seemingly unsolvable problems.
“We’re committed to helping nonprofit groups and universities use cloud computing to address fundamental human challenges,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “One of our ambitions for Microsoft Philanthropies is to partner with these groups and ensure that cloud computing reaches more people and serves the broadest array of societal needs.”
Microsoft Research is working with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) Biodiversity Research Program through the use of 700 wireless sensors, cloud technology and automated data-stream processing to understand how cloud forests work and study the impact of climate changes on the communities supported by those forests.
Through a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin called Project Catapult, Microsoft makes advanced cloud computing technology available to researchers that have demonstrated the ability to deliver lower power and cost, higher-quality results, or a combination of both.
In Botswana, Microsoft is partnering with the Botswana Innovation Hub, Vista Life Sciences, the United States Agency for International Development and Global Broadband Solutions to assist Botswana, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ministry of Health in leveraging cloud-based health records management and Internet access enabled by use of TV white spaces to remotely deliver specialized medicine, including cervical cancer screenings to women at rural healthcare clinics.
“Access to technology is critical to the operations and services of NetHope and its 44 humanitarian nonprofit member organizations,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “The power of cloud computing will create exponential value for all we do to serve the millions of people in our communities around the world.”